Kickin’ the Brain Fog, My Mental Health Story

Dealing with candida overgrowth helped this woman understand her autistic son better.

Dear body,

I understand your frustration, you feel abused, over used and under-appreciated. You feel there’s been too much trauma in your life, I get that, really. May I remind you, there’s been a lot of good times too?

Like that decade we were a major athlete—training for 3 hours or more on a daily basis.

Or that 30+ years of making fresh, homemade, real meals.

Or hey, how about that that time we abstained from alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal substances? Oh yeah, that’s been

Your.

Entire.

Life.

My only offense has been an over-indulgence in stress. I’ve tried to make up for it—turning to professional help and researching like crazy. Hey, I’ve completely changed our lifestyle for you!

So basically I’m saying, ‘Get over yourself!’

There’s been far more good than bad—you just need to focus on the good. I can only do so much dragging your moping but around. So quit hurting. You’ve whined long enough, missy. I’m still taking care of you, so get up and get to work.

Tough love,

The management

 

Health has taken center stage at our house-in a big way.

It’s almost impossible to be creative when your body is using all it has to combat bad health.

I know from experience.

I’ve been struggling with fatigue and brain fog for almost 4 years. It got so bad in 2012, I had to quit blogging for a year because it was so hard to read on a computer screen. During that time I also started to become nauseous -and I wasn’t pregnant. Let’s repeat that again, I was NOT pregnant.

The Dr. wasn’t helpful -6 months of blood tests and no diagnosis. Sure the blood tests told me that my Vitamin D and iron was a bit low.  My thyroid was fine as well as my blood sugar. As for mental issues, we concluded it wasn’t depression or general anxiety. Yeah that’s a lot to go on, great use of my 6 months…

Oh but hey he gave me a referral to a fibromyalgia specialist, it was only an hour away to get checked and see if I have a condition that neither of us thought I had…

Dealing with candida overgrowth helped this woman understand her autistic son better.

Dr. Google was far more helpful. With his help I found my symptoms were close to hypoglycemia, but my blood sugar was fine-weird. I searched some more and found that too much stress can cause your body to act hypoglycemic, even though it isn’t. So I put myself on a low Glycemic diet *say goodbye to chocolate* 🙁 , started eating more regularly, and listening to my body closely.

After following a low GI diet for a while, I started to fine tune it. If a food caused me to go fuzzy brained or fatigued within 30 minutes of eating, I dropped it. If I noticed my stomach consistently hurt the morning after eating a certain food, I dropped it. If a food made me feel better (no matter how little!) I added more. I dropped beans, cheese, and almonds, while eating more oatmeal (it creates serotonin!) and carrots. I also meditated and exercised solely to lower stress.

Within a few months I was much better, energetic, and no longer needed to be so strict on meal times or Glycemic index foods. I felt awesome, not to mention it’s a ton of fun to lose weight during the holiday season, instead of gaining. I was totally rockin’!

Then my world crashed.

And the stress came back in.

Dealing with candida overgrowth helped this woman understand her autistic son better.

I no longer took time for myself. I spent every available moment researching, or on the phone. For 6 months I worked to get our little guy a diagnosis. As a result I tailspinned back into my stress-induced hypoglycemia (totally made that diagnosis up-sounds impressive right?). I didn’t really care-what did that matter compared to my son? He needed my time far more than I did. So we kept going-me researching for answers and DIY therapy while my son only had minor improvement.

Seven months in and friends and family started to talk about candida overgrowth. I looked into it and found it explained more of my symptoms than the hypoglycemia, there was even a connection to autism.

There’s a connection between your gut and brain. Your emotions signal to your gut/digestion how to act and your immune system/digestion affects what goes in your blood (and consequently your brain).

When you have a leaky gut it allows toxins into your blood and can cause all sorts of crazy stuff in your brain. Sounds totally fun right!? In my case-foggy brain. In my son’s, far worse.

Dealing with candida overgrowth helped this woman understand her autistic son better.

With this new knowledge we attacked candida, and attacked, and attacked, and attacked, and failed miserably. I was working so much harder and felt worse than when I started. Luckily I ran across this post by Lauren of Empowered Sustenance, she mentioned blood sugar and it clicked (oh yeah, that’s what worked last year-doh!). So I abandoned the candida diet and went back to listening to my body (sometimes I take forever to get to the obvious conclusion…)

It was important to know about candida, because it led me to include my son into my new lifestyle and also let us know we need to repair the damage that candida causes. Without repairing that damage we’d just be in a cycle of going in and out of low GI foods. Believe me the cycle totally stinks. I’m grateful to have the knowledge of how candida affects the body, I’m not for all the misinformation on the web.

*If you think you have candida overgrowth, do not try a candida diet! It is a side effect of other issues. When you successfully treat the root cause your body will automatically combat the yeast for you. The cure is a side effect as well. Focus on the root cause of candida and in healing it’s damage, going on a no sugar (including all natural forms) diet will make the problem worse!

Thankfully we’re starting to do better and I’ll be sure to share the journey. They’ll be new recipes, ways to combat stress, and anything I’ve found helpful in our new lifestyle.

Last year I questioned God, why he would allow me to go through all this? Why am I passed out on the couch by 5:00 every night? Why can’t I just eat dinner with my family? I made it for goodness sake!

Dealing with candida overgrowth helped this woman understand her autistic son better.

This year I thank him, because I can understand my son so much better. I understand him on a chemical level I never could have achieved if I had proactively tried to achieve it. I now know that if I’m struggling with a certain chemical or hormone imbalance, it’s likely my son is too. I literally have a sounding board in my own body to find out what to do with diet to help my son overcome his sensory issues.

No wonder he wasn’t connecting to this world or developing properly-he’s been in the same fog as me during crucial developmental milestones! But now I know how to help, at least a little. It’ll still be rough going I’m sure, but I’m also sure it’ll be worth it.

 


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