Crazy with a panic disorder, or gluten intolerant?
I have always had a few weird “nervous ticks” ever since I can remember. I was just a little kid, around 11 or 12 and I was afraid to touch any food with my bare hands, I was afraid to go into buildings with high ceilings, I was afraid of fire of any sort. I thought I was just the normal kid with normal fears. Years went by and everything was going smooth(well, as smooth as it could). I had this one best friend who was just about my everything in this world. When I was 14 he committed 0119. My whole world turned upside down. Six months later, I had my first panic attack. I was in the car on the way to my friends house and BAM! The feeling of depersonalization(at the time, had NO idea what was going on) started to come on. Then I felt as if my throat was closing and I started sweating. I got all shaky and thought I was dying. I was brought to the hospital only to find out it was a panic attack. I was put on Celexa by my primary care and given Xanax as needed and diagnosed me with PTSD. The next four years were full on panic attacks, but I managed to live and get by. Then, when I was 18…almost overnight, my panic attacks got worse. Much worse. I started limiting how far I could leave the house. I was having panic attacks daily. This is when my living HELL started. My last full blown panic attack before being housebound, I was about a half an hour away from home. I started to have all the classic symptoms, but of course thought I was dying. It lead to me fainting and scared me worse than I ever have been. Little did I know, when I got home, that it was my last time being out of the house for the next 2 years. I. Was. Agoraphobic. I spent all 2 years in bed, every single day I would have crazy irrational thoughts like, my throat was closing, I had a tumor, I was having a heart attack, someone poisoned the food I just ate, I was allergic to my medicine, I was allergic to the food I have been eating all my life. These thoughts, consciously, I knew were irrational, but my subconscious believed them and lead to panic attacks, sometimes so bad I would call 911 from my bed. I would be laying down shaking uncontrollably, feeling like I could not breath, I could not think, I could barely pick up my phone to call my mom to tell her I loved her because I thought this was it. When I wasn’t having attacks, it was constant fear of living in worry of when the next attack would be. My doctors kept prescribing me medicine. Klonopin, Celexa, Prozac, Seroquel, you name it…and wrote me off as another number of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer with OCD/Panic disorder. Then, I got in touch with a long time friend from Texas, who moved away years ago. I could hear his jaw hit the floor, so to speak, when I told him what was going on in my life. He broke down in tears and told me “Josh, THIS IS FOOD RELATED”. I almost laughed…but…he was right. He told me that he dealt with the same exact thing, and found out he had a gluten intolerance and since then, he is almost back to normal. I did not believe in a million years that was my case. So then, I started to become more conscious of my symptoms after eating highly processed meals. I found out that ALL of my horrendous panic attacks were after eating meals that were high in processed chemicals and gluten. I decided to take the test. The test came back that I was intolerant to Gluten and that I was intolerant to casein, which is the protein in milk compared to lactose, which is the sugar. After significant diet changes, six months later…I am here. Typing this from the library. I spent two years not even stepping foot out of my door to back to, almost a normal life. I would of never of believed it, if I didn’t live it. I have since then, done workshops, talked with hundreds of people, and written blogs about my experience and how drastically it has changed my life. I have found the hundreds and hundreds of symptoms and diseases gluten can cause in people. Not even people with intolerance’s. It is even linked as extensively as schizophrenia, seizure disorders, and in my case, panic disorders. So many people who I have worked with came back to me in tears saying how much I have helped them, whether it be anxiety problems, digestive problems, muscle problems, headaches, various stomach problems, various psychiatric problems, even vision problems. There IS a reason they put autistic kids on a gluten free case free diet. They show significant behavioral changes. This is a new field for doctors, it is not textbook medical. You really have to talk to someone who has lived it or you are going to have one frustrating time going to doctors telling you there is no way possible. I have gotten in touch with this women named Jaqui Karr. This women and I shared numerous conversations about what has happened to us and how we want to help people. She has truly been the most important mentor in my life. She has helped me in so many ways possible. She has come up with a program to educate people on what Doctors today, just simply do not know about, or refuse to tell the patient because when it comes down to it…Your continued illness, is ultimately, and unfortunately, a Doctors continued paycheck. You can view her program here. I hope that this has been touching to some people and I hope nothing more than to change more peoples lives and educate them on this silent killer.
It is amazing how what you are eating is effecting your brain chemicals and your CNS. Why today in this day and age all of a sudden? We are eating MUCH more processed foods and MUCH more chemicals. I thought I was at the end of my life when I was 18...I am 20 now, and feel alive again. I just want to help people open up and see this. 20 years ago panic disorders weren't nearly as common as they are today, why? Because we live more stressful lives? Not really no. So what else could it be. I have found out what is was for me, and since then 4 other people I know personally, and countless number of people online I have met, have gone completely gluten and casein free...Not ONE of them didn't show significant improvement within the first few weeks of diet change. It sounds insane, but anxiety is a symptom, it is not a condition.
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