Disclaimer: I am not a physician or a mental health professional. The information in this post is simply a description of what I did to help myself overcome generalized anxiety disorder and depersonalization disorder.
My bouts of anxiety and depersonalization started at the age of fourteen. I was just going into my freshman year of high school when I began to experiment with marijuana. One day, after smoking with friends, I felt my heartrate start to rise, my shoulders and chest became very tight and my breathing became shallow. I was having a panic attack.
After this incident, my body was stuck in a constant state of anxiety. The world around me became a scary place and I was always sick to my stomach. The most frightening part of it all was that everything seemed dreamlike and I felt emotionally disconnected from friends and family. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. My symptoms got so bad that I finally caved and told my mother I had tried marijuana and was now feeling very sick.
After being taken to a doctor and evaluated by a psychiatrist I was diagnosed with having generalized anxiety disorder and depersonalization disorder. I was prescribed medication and had checkups with my psychiatrist every week. The initial treatment got my anxiety symptoms under control but I did not feel 100% better. My anxiety was still constant and it made it difficult to focus in school.
After about a year of treatment, and reaching a plateau in my recovery, I decided to take responsibility for my own health and wellbeing. I started by incorporating more whole foods into my daily diet. Instead of having Oreos, I would pick up a piece of fruit. Instead of having a hot dog I would eat baked salmon. And I did start to feel a difference in the way I felt, which sparked my interest into how food affects a person’s mood.
Over the course of about 7 years, starting from the first time I had a panic attack at 14, I experimented with many different health-promoting diets that are popular on the internet. But the one that decreased my symptoms of anxiety and depersonalization the most was a high carbohydrate low fat vegan diet.
The name of that diet is intentional and specific for a good reason. You can eat French fries, drink beer and still be following a vegan diet. A high carb low fat vegan diet focuses on getting the majority of your calories from fruit and starches.
For breakfast and lunch I would drink a big fruit smoothie with some sugar. Then for dinner, I would make lots of fresh steamed rice with some vegetables, stir fried in lime and soy sauce. Since I keep oil to a minimum, the volume of food I eat is typically larger than what average Americans would put on their plates.
Because these high carb low fat plant foods are a less concentrated source of calories than meat, dairy and oil, I make sure that I’m consuming an adequate amount of calories for my body weight and height.
For me to feel my best on a consistent basis I maintain a regular sleep schedule, where I aim to get into bed by 9:30 PM. I also make sure that I stay hydrated and drink a liter of water before each meal. These lifestyle choices, coupled with the high carb low fat vegan diet, have improved my anxiety and depersonalization symptoms dramatically!
It has been two years since I made these changes and my doctor no longer has to prescribe me anxiety medication. I’m also glad to say that I am panic attack free!
I love the way I feel when I’m taking care of my body. Whenever I feel the onset of my anxiety symptoms I know that I have not had enough sleep, water or carbohydrates. This lifestyle makes me feel like I’m actually in control. Now that I know how to alleviate my symptoms, I’m much more confident in life and I have the energy to contribute to my family and my community.
My goal is to share my story and hopefully inspire some people dealing with anxiety and depersonalization to make healthy changes to their lifestyle. I know how debilitating having these conditions can be, but knowing that you can take control of your own health is the first step to recovery. Never give up hope of getting better. You deserve a life where you feel happy and have peace of mind.
Author Bio: Jorge Ramirez is a blogger and healthy lifestyle advocate from Dublin, California. He enjoys riding his bike, making banana smoothies and traveling to tropical destinations. To learn more and get in contact with him, visit his blog Depersonalization Cure and his Facebook page.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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