*Disclaimer: I am not a physician or a mental health professional. The information on this post is simply a description of what I did to help myself overcome Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depersonalization Disorder.
What It Feels Like To Have Anxiety
Have you ever felt that gut wrenching anxiety that makes you feel like your stomach is turning inside out?
The type that makes your shoulders and neck hike up and makes your muscles feel so tight that you want to cry.
Everyday you wake up and pray that you won’t feel nervous and scared to face your friends, family and the world around you. But when you open your eyes everything still looks and feels like a nightmare. A nightmare that you just can’t seem to wake up from.
I used to feel like this everyday.
I tried to keep a smile painted on my face but many times my friends would see right through it.
“Hey, Jorge are you okay?”
No. I wasn’t okay. But what was I supposed to say? “Oh, yeah you know the world doesn’t look real, I feel disconnected from my body and I’m so scared I feel like I’m gonna hurl, but I’m doing fine.”
Obviously, I would never say that. I would just smile and say, “Everything is good, just feeling a little bit off today.”
How It All Started
It all started when I was fourteen years old. I decided to experiment with marijuana and it was probably my fifth or sixth time smoking weed. I tried to seem normal around my friends but on the inside, my brain and heartbeat were going crazy. I felt like my stomach juices were swirling and my head felt detached from my body. I looked down at my hands and they felt like they would disappear. I could only compare it to the scene in the movie, Back To The Future, when Marty Mcfly looks at his hands as they start to disappear.
I went back home and tried to calm down. That night I went to sleep; hoping that the feeling would go away.
When I woke up I felt the same. My mind felt like a car that had someone’s foot on the brake and the gas at the same time. The engine revving but the car not going anywhere. I thought that the drug was too much for my mind to handle and that this was the beginning of me going insane.
After a week of hell, I finally surrendered and told my mother that I had smoked weed and was feeling sick. She didn’t seem mad which really surprised me. We booked an appointment with the doctor and I felt relieved.
The doctor referred me to a local psychiatrist. After a couple of consultations with the psychiatrist I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depersonalization Disorder. He prescribed me some anti-anxiety medication and told me, “Generalized anxiety typically does not get better. As you get older the symptoms get worse. We will monitor how you are doing and you can attend therapy. As your symptoms progress I’ll adjust your dose.”
Hearing those words were a shock to me. I was not subscribing to the idea that I would need to take medication for the rest of my life. I had to look for another way.
Six months later, my psychiatrist and I decided that I would wean off my medication. I had hit a plateau in my treatment and I did not want to experiment with more medications.
For the next seven years, I scoured the internet in search of natural remedies for anxiety and depersonalization. I have tested every popular heath diet, herb and supplement.
It wasn’t until I was twenty-one, and tried going on a high carb low fat vegan diet, that I felt profound relief of my symptoms. It was hard to make such a drastic change but the longer I ate this way the better I felt.
My muscles felt more relaxed, the gut wrenching anxiety subsided and the symptoms of depersonalization went away. I felt more rested in the morning, which led to a more positive attitude and confidence to conquer the day. I had the mental capacity and emotional strength to build in-demand technical skills and find better career opportunities.
My Routine For Anxiety and Depersonalization Recovery
There is no wacky secret to this lifestyle or difficult recipes. There are four main things to focus on when starting a high carb low fat vegan diet. The first thing is to make sure I get 5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day. My first two meals of the day consist of massive fruit smoothies with sugar. My last meal of the day is centered around starches like rice, potatoes, corn, and beans along with my favorite veggies. I avoid oils, dairy and meats.
The second thing is I drink a liter of water before each meal and drink water throughout the day.
The third thing is that I maintain a regular sleep schedule. I aim to get into bed by 9:30PM so that I get plenty of rest.
Lastly, I take a 2,500 mcg supplement of B-12 each week.
That’s it. The hardest part of the high carb low fat vegan diet is adopting a way of eating that is so different from what typical Americans eat. At first, my friends and family thought it was weird but I didn’t care because I felt so great! Now, my family members and friends have jumped on board and eat less quantities of meat and diary because they have seen the change in my attitude.
I owe all of this to my tenacity and to a YouTuber, that was promoting a high carb low fat vegan diet, because it had helped him overcome suicidal depression. I took a chance and listened to what he had to say. I was tired of feeling horrible all the time and just wanted to be a productive member of society. I’m glad I made the switch to a healthier lifestyle. Now, I have more control over my mood and my level of productivity.
My mission is simply to bring awareness to how I was able to overcome chronic anxiety and depersonalization. My hope is that other people that are suffering will read my story and feel inspired to make healthier lifestyle choices. I understand how horrible and lonely it feels to deal with these conditions and I want people to know that there is a way to get better.
Image credit: skeeze
Jorge Ramirez is a blogger and healthy lifestyle advocate from 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 Facebook page.
Thanks for telling your story. I found it truly helpful and inspiring.
I can attest to the vegan diet and mental health correlation. Last year, I decided to eat only vegan meals for two weeks, just to see how I felt. Along with feeling physically amazing, I did also notice that my brain was less foggy, and I felt less symptoms of random anxiety (sweatiness, rapidly beating heart, shakiness). However, I’m just putting two and two together after reading your post.
It begs the question: Are meat and meat products causing anxiety? What do you think?
Vegan here no difference yet, hopefully soon
Hi there Jorge !
I have been dealing with derealization for almost 3 years now … I would love some tips please ! What would you make for your food and should I go to a hollistic doctor for help? I told my normal doctor about that this but she just looked at me like I was crazy ….