Friday, March 24, 2006

So Why Am I Doing This To Myself, You Ask?

Well it all started like this... (Diclaimer ** Real sob-story to follow. Try not to think I'm a whiny idiot, because there is a point to it all in the end.)

I was a fat teenager. Wait, no... before that. I was a fat little kid. Not obese, but quite chubby. I danced every day (my parents are both dance teachers), but I was always chubby. And then when I decided to rebel and not dance anymore, (which happened to coincide with puberty), I ballooned into a 180 lb. 13-year-old. By the time I was 15, I weighed 220 lbs. By no means was it unjustified - I was a big ol' binge eater.

Right around this time, I was feeling incredible stress in my life. Partly from being so heavy, partly from my diet and partly from the surrepticious consumption of mass quantities of OTC anti-nauseants (dimenhydrinate), to which I had become addicted. Kids, these days! Always with their drugs! The truth is that I became addicted to them because I felt incredible pressure to live up to all sorts of expectations from the people around me (and myself) and I wasn't doing a very good job of it. This pressure manifested itself as a sick feeling in my stomach, which I naturally tried to relieve with drugs. I especially feared that sick feeling because I have suffered from emetophobia since I was a child. I still do. The drugs were easy to get - no one questioned me or asked for a parent's note. I just bought 'em. All on my own. At the age of 14. How industrious of me.

By the time I was 16, I was taking about 20 to 25 pills a day. I was having panic attacks, constant paranoia, horrible insomnia, my phobia was out of control... oh and that nausea that I suffered from before? I was suffering from it sixfold now. As soon as the drugs started to wear off, I'd start to feel as if I were going to be sick and I'd pop 3 more.

Needless to say this was not a good time in my life. I was afraid of everyone and everything and had become a shut-in. I stopped going to school. My parents didn't know I was using, but they knew there was something wrong with me. I was developing pinpoint bruises all over my body and I never slept. There was a time when I only shut my eyes for about 30 minutes a night. I kept insisting that I was sick and needed to be taken to a doctor, an internist... even the emergency room. I was in such deep denial that I didn't think the drugs caused the problem - I thought the drugs were the only thing keeping me going. But for some reason I knew I should keep them a secret because no one would really understand why I took them. Ugh. It was a horrible time in my life and I prefer not to think about it too much, but it's all part of my current situation, so I may as well spill the beans.

My mum took me to an internist. He tested me for everything (except drugs, shockingly) and determined that there was 'nothing physically wrong' with me, but since I was nauseated, here were some great anti-nauseants that would make me feel better. Well I took them too, on top of my own stash! Why not? I was nauseated, after all.

Then all of the sudden, I stopped being able to stomach food. I lost 20 lbs in two weeks. I developed a constant need to walk - I couldn't sit still. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't talk properly. I was overdosing and no one knew. Not even my brilliantly thick head figured it out. My mum took me to the hospital and they tested me for everything (once again, not for drugs). They determined there was 'nothing physically wrong' with me and that I needed a psychiatrist. There was one on-call at the hospital and she immediate could tell I was having an adverse reaction to drugs. She asked what I was taking and I told her about the internist's drug, but not about my own little secret. She ordered me to stop taking them because, "you must be having a reaction to that drug! Your face is paralysed on the left side when you talk!"

Smart lady. Well, I thought so until I started having regular appointments with her and she decided to stupidly put me on prozac. At this point, I realised that the dimenhydrinate was the real problem. I stopped taking them, cold-turkey. Over the next two weeks, I suffered more than I ever had and ever have since. I won't get into the nitty gritty, but I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone.

I began taking the anti-depressants - pointlessly, I might add, since I had already fixed the real problem. I actually stopped taking prozac a year later, suddenly and without my doctor's permission and simply stopped showing up to my appointments with her (which was stupid, as stopping a drug like that suddenly can cause serious reactions). I turned out fine, though. I must be built like a brick sh*t house, considering the crap I've put my body through. I even lost a little more weight over the next year, although with a low-fat diet and loads of exercise. Don't worry - I'd gain it all back a couple of years later in chef school. Back up to 210 lbs.

My weight fluctuated a lot in the years to follow. When I was in my early twenties, I toyed with starvation methods again (this time on purpose) and lost 40 lbs. Obviously, I couldn't keep that up, so I stopped, but coincedently found low carb around this time. Well, I tried it and, much to my disappointment, it didn't work. (This is not a shock to me now, as I'd really bunged up my thyroid with all the damage I'd done to my body in the short time I'd been on this earth.) I was expecting big hunks of lard to be melting off me by the day, but my weight didn't budge until I started to exercise extreme calorie control again. Luckily (or so I thought) the starving was much easier to do with low-carb than it had been before. Eventually I whittled my way down to 145 lbs. Quite an achievement for a weight loss f*ck-up like me.

Well, then all of the sudden, I started to gain. 150 lbs, 155 lbs, 160... I reduced calories further, but only gained more. What was happening?! Was this even possible?? I was only eating 800 - 1000 calories a day. I was also feeling incredibly depressed and constantly irritable - always snapping at poor A, even when he hadn't done a thing to deserve it. This is the point that I desperately started searching for answers. The pill was at fault! My thyroid was damaged! I was estrogen-dominant! Aliens had come down from Mars and implanted me with a microchip that interfered with my... well, I didn't go quite that far. But I was looking everywhere. And not connecting anything.

Luckily, I stumbled across The Porker Diet and gave it a try. Finally, the weight gain stopped. I even lost a bit. But then I'd gain it back. Then I'd lose again. Then gain it back. I was yo-yoing in amongst the same 10 to 15 lbs and starting to feel as if I was going insane. My poor partner really stuck with me through it, but I was pretty horrible to him, at times. My depression was getting out of control. I went off the pill, but even after a few months, saw no improvement.

By this time, Optimal Nutrition was my preferred diet. Even though I wasn't losing weight and I still felt like utter sh*t, I felt the best on ON than I had on anything else previously. Then came The Wise Witch to my rescue again by informing me about food intolerance, salicylates and amines. Sometimes I think we were separated at birth (with our health issues, that is!).

For the first time in what may be years, I feel different. I feel human again. The rosacea on my face has disappeared. In fact, my complexion is downright beautiful - the way it was when I was a child. I haven't even had the urge to wear makeup, which is both unheard of for me and a very good thing, since it's full of salicylates. I'm losing a bit of weight, which is fine with me, considering I haven't lost weight this consistently in over a year. I've experienced moments of happiness and contentment in the last couple of weeks that have exceeded anything I've felt in years. I don't yet know what exactly I'm sensitive to but I damn sure I'm sensitive to something. And I now feel confident that I'm finally on the right path to finding the answer.

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1 Comments:

Blogger the witch said...

Hi Annabelle,

I was really interested by what you said about dimenhydrinate when I read that the structure of this drug contains benzene and a purine (an amine)! What a connection!

Glad to hear about the weight loss too!

Emma

11:16 AM  

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