I'm so happy to write to you my story of overcoming DP (Depersonalization Disorder) and other mental illnesses. Just last April I thought my DP, severe depression, and anxiety would never go away. Why would they? I had all of these illnesses in a very severe form since I was 18, and I was already 21.
Before my illness, I was an outgoing, popular, straight A student athlete with a full scholarship and a bright future ahead of me.
The nightmare all started when I smoked pot in college for the first time and had my first DP experience which was just prolonged by later use of psych meds. Eventually, after the meds it would not go away on its own.
I had taken a lot of drugs such as benzos, antidepressants, and anti psychotics to get rid of Dp but they always made me feel much much worse, so I had cold turkeyd off of them a while ago (and had the most awful withdrawals imaginable!!) My mom would look at the DP, Depression, and other forums and tell me other people's stories. Hearing those stories only made me feel worse about my situation. I thought everyone else had it better than me because at least they were writing on the forums; I myself couldn't read well at all or comprehend anything. I couldn't make out a sentence most of the time. I felt disconnected from reality, an alien in an unreal world.
I had dropped out of college where I used to be a straight A student with a full scholarship. I was suicidal and tried many times to end it all. One time, I crashed my car on purpose. It was an awful crash that no one believed I could survive. I didn't wear a seatbelt. Miraculously, not only did I survive, I wasn't injured. Not one bit. God had saved me from a horrible fate.
Throughout this time, I was in psych units many times. All the psychiatrists (many of who were considered "top experts") said my case was hopeless and that I would have to be on meds the rest of my life. I was diagnosed with DP, Severe Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Psychosis and DR, just to name a few. I have also suffered from severe Insomnia and severe Anorexia (this was in my teens. I believe my eating disorder contributed in large part to nutritional and chemical imbalances that later influenced these illnesses).
All my friends and all of our family friends had turned away from us. My mom was severely depressed and had long term insomnia because she was so worried about me. She had quit her job to take care of me full time because she was scared I would try to kill myself again. We were in a horrible financial situation with no insurance and close to losing our house.
There was no hope. My mom did not give up and found me a wonderful naturopath with whose help I started to slowly detox and make sense of the world again. It has been 6 months now and a very hard, arduous process but I can truly say that I have fully recovered mentally, physically, and emotionally. Of course, I put a ton of effort every day to stay this way but it is so worth it. I've been admitted to my college again and am going to go online for spring. I have started to work part time doing freelance. I can work out everyday like I used to 3 years ago, before the start of my illness. I'm a happy and outgoing person and I believe in God 100%.
If I can do it, I believe you can too. Of course, I had the support of my amazing mom and my great naturopath who has a lot of experience with detox. I know that if you have absolutely no support it will be harder for you...but don't give up. Give life a chance. Do what I did and I promise you will see improvement, even if it is small at first. I'm here for you.
You are more than your diagnosis. All the symptoms you are experiencing will not be fixed by psych meds. They will just make your mind and body more and more toxic. There is an alternative solution. I'm not the first one to cure myself this way and I won't be the last.
This is the first thing you absolutely have to change before starting Detox. I urge all of you to switch to an organic diet if you can. Personally, I have found that eating plenty of :
• organic vegetables
• some fruits (in moderation--you want to eat a diet low in sugar)
• raw dairy (in moderation),
• whole grains (not bread, pasta, cereal, etc. but actual whole grains such as brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, whole grain oats are extremely beneficial),
• organic poultry (in moderation),
• wild fish (not farmed),
• and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, fish oil, using oils like olive oil, sesame oil, pine oil, ghee are extremely beneficial to your health and will make a big difference in how you feel.
Please stay away from:
• refined Sugar (any sweets, candy, etc., but also yogurt, juice, anything that has Sugar in it. The less you eat the better mentally you will feel)
• anything packaged or processed (like granola bars, frozen dinners, bread, pasta, etc. even if it says on the box it's healthy, trust me, it's not)
• caffeine (it's everywhere, so no coffee, tea-only herbal, energy drinks, etc. It's found in a lot of meds too like Excedrin so be careful before taking any)
• gluten (this is HUGE! I had celiac disease and didn't even know it. This means no wheat, rye, barley. Buy gluten free grains if you can. Research gluten and its effects on your body)
• dairy that's not organic (I prefer raw, it is so much better for you. Get raw goat dairy if you can but if not opt for organic dairy. Eat dairy in moderation at this time. For some people it's best to cut it out completely)
• meat that's not organic (this is big-you don't want the hormones and crap that the meat industry injects the animals with)
• white salt (this is toxic. Switch to Sea Salt or better yet Himalayan salt)
Really Helpful Foods
These things have helped me regain my health and sanity.
• organic greens (try to eat everyday either in salad, juice them yourself, or make into a green smoothie. They might seem gross but are very important to detox your body, esp. dill, oregano, cilantro which are great for detox.)
• organic berries (so many antioxidants. Blueberries are esp. great for brain function).
• raw whey protein (the only place I think you can get the real thing is at a farm. It is very much worth it though because there are a ton of aminos like taurine and glutheonine that have sulfur which help in detox. I would stay away from the regular store bought stuff because I've only had bad experiences with it)
• garlic and onion (lots of sulfur, great for detox)
• organic pumpkins (lots of fiber and vitamins)
• practically all vegetables (you should be eating as much vegetables as you can. This will give you nutrients and help with detox).
• organic fruit (apples have lots of pectin, bananas for potassium, add lemon juice to your herbal teas, eat 1 cup of berries + 1-2 servings of fruit per day, not more because of high Sugar content)
• white fish
• sardines (small fish have less toxins. These are healthy, cheap, and good for brain function)
• organic free range eggs (high in sulfur. Even better are quail eggs which are super eggs in comparison. The very best way to eat them is to drink them raw if you can stomach it).
• ghee (you can get this at health food stores or Indian stores. It is like butter but slightly different. I suggest cooking with it, cooking on it, and lathering it on your body. It is an amazing health tool and will help make you feel more relaxed and balanced). Look into Ayerveda if you are interested in finding out more.
• nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts...almost every kind of nut. Watch out for allergies though). Stay away from peanut butter because of additives.
• seeds (pumpkin seeds are great for killing parasites, chia seeds are power seeds, flaxseeds are great, sesame seeds, you name it, these are so beneficial for you).
• apricot kernels (I eat 10 per day, get these if you can. Make sure not to eat more than 10-12 per day as they are slightly toxic but carry a multitude of benefits such as stopping the progression of cancer and other severe illnesses if they are eaten in the right amounts)
• raw honey-use instead of sugar with tea, in baking, etc.
• bee propolis-has many vital nutrients, it's a super tool for health
• super foods (google the list-there are many variations-and incorporate these into your diet)
• raw cocoa-who doesn't love cocoa? It's packed with antioxidants (avoid if you are copper toxic though)
• ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, curry, other spices are great for digestion and improving your mood. Incorporate these into your meals as best you can. :)
I would suggest eating 4-5 meals per day. Eating regularly is good to improve your mood and energy levels as well as gets those toxins moving out of your body. Try to have a balance of healthy carbs, proteins, and healthy fats with each meal. Also, try to steam or bake or stir fry your food. Avoid any frying or greasy, fattening foods. These put stress on your liver.
This is very important. I believe the only reason I got better was because I have done some very serious detoxing, as well as Water Fasting later on. For now, just worry about Diet and Detox. I have a lot of suggestions. Don't try to do them all at once because that would overload your body. Start slowly and see how you feel. Expect to feel worse before you feel better because detoxing is very hard on the body and mind.
Ways to Detox
• follow the suggested Diet
• take charcoal capsules (I took up to 20 most days for several months)
• take edible Bentonite clay ( I get mine from greenclays.com and take 1 TBSP. in morning and 1 TBSP. at night, stirring the tablespoon in a big glass of filtered water). Take this together with the psyllium husks.
• psyllium husks (this will cleanse your colon, I took 1 TBSP in morning and 1 at night with a lot of water.)
• take detox baths (clay baths-clay can be found in bulk at greenclays.com, charcoal baths, dead Sea Salt baths, Epsom Salt baths are great for relieving tissue pain from detox). You can also take foot baths instead for gentler detox.
• saunas (try to go as much as you can. They can be found in gyms or you can invest in one at drwilson.com. That's where I got my small infrared sauna from.)
• drink herbal teas (try liver or kidney detox teas, dandelion tea, kombucha, etc.) These will help flush toxins out.
• enemas (this is HUGE. No one wants to do them. I never did. But as soon as I started to do them every day for several months I noticed an amazing difference in my mood and energy level. If you want to seriously get better, you have to start doing enemas. They are not as awful as they seem. I promise)
• zeolite (also another great detoxifier)
• chlorella (also great for detox)
• supplements (it is important to supplement your body but not go overboard taking 100 different supplements either. Avoid anything synthetic)
• exercising (this could be very good or very bad. In general, when you are going through detox do not do resistance training, weights, anything hard core because you don't want to put too much pressure on your body. Walking outdoors and stretching is something I recommend doing every day, even if it is just a few minutes. When I first started, I could barely walk a couple of hundred feet. I was so weak so I know how that feels)
• filter your water. You might want to switch to Distilled which you can buy for the first month or so. Then, you should try to invest in a filter. Clean water is a must for good health. Tap water is full of toxins.
• dry skin brushing, massage (improve the lymphatic system)
• acupuncture (helps many people, but I would avoid it if you're on meds or are withdrawing from meds because you could have an adverse reaction like I did)
• Green your life. Avoid any chemicals, whether it is in your makeup, body products, home products, etc. If you can, buy the organic version of these things. If you can't, then do without. I know because I have had severe aluminum toxicity (there is a lot of it in conventional deodorant, toothpaste, and psychiatric drugs). Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's. I've also had copper toxicity and others.
• Look into liver flushes, kidney detox, parasite cleanses, and fasting (ONLY after you have been detoxing for several months, preferably 6 mo. to a year. This all depends on how healthy/sick you were when you started detoxing. Honestly, the slower you go the easier it will be for your body to adapt. )
• there are so many more. Feel free to add your own suggestions. Look into curezone.com. It has a ton of information regarding alternative treatment and detox.
• DURING DETOX you are bound to feel worse, maybe a hell of a lot worse. It is just your body responding to the excretion of toxins from your liver, brain, blood, and other organs. This is very normal. This is why I urge you to do enemas everyday; if you're feeling extra horrible like I did (nauseas, fainting, throwing up everyday), then do enemas 2x per day for a while. Also, if it's this hard, please slow it down and get plenty of charcoal/bentonite/zeolite...etc.
• AFTER DETOX you will be a brand new person. My personal experiences: better mood, better energy level, happiness, weight gained from meds was lost and then some, muscle tone, way sharper intelligence, great memory-it all comes back people! :), and so much more.
• YOU HAVE TO KEEP IT UP TO KEEP IT UP TO KEEP FEELING GREAT. This is a lifestyle change. The diet I have mentioned is something I do EVERY SINGLE DAY. I also take charcoal and Bentonite daily in smaller doses and certain sups as well. I also do daily exercise, deep breathing, and only surround myself with positive, God centered people.
• fish oil (very, very important)
• flaxseed oil (if you're not eating flaxseeds)
• probiotics (will help your intestines heal and will improve your digestion and mood)
• multi vitamin (natural, not synthetic)
• bee propolis
• bee pollen
• vitamin B complex
• magnesium (great for relaxation)
• melatonin if you need it for sleep
• glycine (an amino acid if you need it for sleep)
• glutheionine or taurine (aminos, have lots of sulfur)
(If you drink raw whey protein, don't take any amino capsules)
-chugga mushroom (something to look into)
I've had experience with many food and vitamin brands and can recommend some good ones if you ask. :). Also, I suggest researching the quality of what you're going to buy online before you buy it.
Don't do too many supplements at one time. Take it slow and see how you respond to them. Also, try to take a blood test and see what vitamins you are missing. You can look into getting a hair analysis done to see whether you have heavy metal toxicity too. However, as you eat well and detox, your body will bring itself into balance and you will see that you won't have to supplement as much anymore.
Important: It may make things worse to do a detox if you are taking any medications at this time. If you are withdrawing or tapering, detoxing helps but be very gentle. Also, if you want to get off your meds, do not I repeat do not cold turkey. I did and it was a huge mistake. Taper slowly instead. Look for forums with tapering support ( I used to use BenzoFriends, a yahoo group that was very helpful).
Tips to Change Your Life and Healthy Living
• Surround yourself with as many positive things and people as you can, even if you don't feel like it. Don't read, listen to, or watch anything negative on TV. Listen to calm, classical, or relaxation music. If you can read ( I know many of you can't concentrate like I couldn't), then read positive health articles or visit forums where you can bond with people going through the same thing. If you watch TV, avoid the news and any depressing information. If your friends or loved ones invite you out somewhere, try to go. I know it's hard but getting away from the house is useful even if it just makes the time pass faster.
• Try to explain to your friends and family what you're going through but not in great detail. Trust me, they won't understand. Just say you're going through a hard time and need emotional support. Let your close ones know of your intention to live a healthier lifestyle.
• Reach out to God. I know this is hard because most likely you don't believe in God after what you've been through. I didn't either. I was the most hard core atheist you'd ever meet. However, during this rough time I started going to church anyway at the insistence of my mom and soon enough a way to healing was found when I least expected it. If you can make it to church or to some other religious affiliation, please do. If not, I suggest watching Joel Osteen's sermon or listening to his free podcast because his message is very easy to understand and inspiring.
• Spend as much time outdoors and in nature as you can. Being outdoors has shown to improve mood dramatically.
• Make small goals for yourself and try to write them down. I know it's hard. It doesn't have to be anything big. Things like cleaning your room, doing laundry, and preparing healthy meals already sounds like a marathon but try to keep busy. You now have hope. You will get your life back soon and it is time to start your journey.
• Do positive affirmations and visualizations. Talk positively to yourself. Imagine yourself healthy and radiant. It helps to cut out pictures from magazines that illustrate what you want to look like, how you want to feel, etc. and pasting them in a notebook. Also, carrying around a piece of paper with positive thoughts will help.
• Take quick showers often, at least 2-3x per day when you're detoxing. They are very relaxing. Baths are great too.
Emotional Support for Your Journey:
This will be a difficult journey but worth it. Obviously, it is easier if you have the support of your loved ones. If you don't, then the hard truth is that you have to go it alone but you are worth it. Your life is worth it and you have the ability to get it back. I believe in you. I will be checking back often to see your comments. :)
A word to loved ones of people dealing with mental illnesses:
You will not be able to fully understand how this person is suffering. It is indescribable and inexplicable. Please help him or her to the best of your ability and understand that this is a long process. He or she needs your love and full support.
P.S. I know this sounds like too much to do and also very expensive. I should mention that we sold a lot of our things in order to do this and moved to a much smaller apartment in order to be able to finance all these changes and my naturopath who worked with me extensively for several months.
However, we are both doing much better now and can work and go to college now, so it was worth it! :)