Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Living with Anxiety/ADHD


 I've always been pretty open and real with you guys about my anxiety and the struggles I have faced with it. While telling my stories about my anxiety I always purposely left out one important detail. The detail that I have ADHD. I could say that I am not really sure why I left that out, but that wouldn't be the truth. When I was diagnosed at age nine, I remember feeling so relieved, yet so ashamed at the same time. Relieved in the sense that someone understood how I was feeling, and that there was something that could help, but ashamed because I felt so different. 

Well, that relief quickly faded as I was put on and taken off of many different medications over the years. With every medication I was prescribed (Ritalin and Adderall are the main two I can think of), I was able to focus and my grades always quickly improved. The downside was that when I was on these medications I never felt like 'me'. I didn't have an appetite, my creativity was gone, and I was withdrawn and not chatty like normal when not on medication. When I would come home from school I was always in the worst mood and had horrible headaches. Eventually, by the time I was in high school I had stopped taking all medications. While school was a huge struggle, I finally felt like myself again, and to me, that worth it. 

Then, when I started college I remember the extreme anxiety setting in. Now, knowing what I know about the correlation between anxiety and ADHD, I'm not sure if it was a combination of the two or my ADHD just mimicking anxiety, but either way, I decided to go see a doctor and get on something to help. From that moment on (at the age of 18), I've been on and off medications to help with anxiety, depression, and ADHD. And while these medications have always helped with my anxiety and ADHD, they've also had negative side effects. 

I wanted to share all of this with you for a few different reasons. One, because it's real life, and in order for me to connect with you guys and for you to connect with me I know that being real and honest is the only way to do that. And two, because Taylor was recently diagnosed with ADHD and I want to do everything I can in my power to help her live a full and happy life. That being said, I want to try to do this without medication if at all possible. I want to show Taylor that with the challenges of having ADHD, there are also SO many positives and gifts. 

After working closely with a board certified functional psychiatrist, we've decided to clear gluten and dairy from our diet. I have heard so many wonderful experiences from people living this lifestyle, but it's still a huge change for us so I am nervous and excited all at the same time. The doctor that we are working with fully believes that while this will not cure myself nor Taylor from having ADHD, but it it gives us a chance to drastically improve both of us and our symptoms. 

I'm excited to share this new journey in our lives with you guys, and I would love to here any stories or suggestions you may have, as far as living a gluten and dairy free life. 








27 comments:

  1. Sooooo interested in this journey!! As a former Kindergarten and First grade teacher, pre-baby, I watched so many children deal with ADHD ...medications and classroom strategies...this is such an interesting topic and route towards managing it!! Awesome job for putting it out there!! Look forward to hearing about Montessori school, Too!!! -Lindsey

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  2. My 16 yo old son has ADHD and anxiety. It's been a learning curve from day 1 (he was diagnosed ADHD at 6), but it does get better with time! Sending positive thoughts your way!

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  3. Have you tried the Feingold diet? It takes a lot of commitment but I know many people who have had good luck with it! Unfortunately, it didn't work for us and we had to put my 8 year old son on focalin (to focus) and intuiv (for the impulsiveness). We are also working with structured play groups and a therapist too-- I worry that my son feels like he's the only one that feels like his "engine works different" but I really applaud you for being so honest with your own journey because the more that we talk about this issue, the less there will be any stigma attached to it, so thank you!

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  4. Never comment but just wanted to say that I am so touched by your honesty. I am sure it is not easy to put yourself out there like this but there are good people reading who wish you and your daughter nothing but the best. Good luck on the gluten and dairy-free living. I went dairy-free a few months ago to feel better mentally (just feeling crabby and negative and that something needed to change) and I have never felt better. It was so much easier than I thought because the results are amazing.

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  5. Try Whole30. It's life changing. Such a supportive community too. Good luck!

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  6. Hi, Caycee! I've been a long time reader - I applaud your transparency and your drive to help your daughter as much as possible. A few years we began cutting refined flour and sugar from our diets and saw an improvement in our whole family. We also began using essential oils to support our different needs. As a homeschool mom I use different blends that promote focus, creativity, confidence, and (always) the immune system. My personal friend, Dr. Jim Bob Haggerton, provides great information on his YouTube page that you may be interested in. I think they could be a complimentary resource as your family makes these changes. Would love to answer any questions you may have. Here's a video he did for a Back to School series on Focus: https://youtu.be/CNhrMbCqkAA

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  7. Thanks for your honesty! Im curious - what signs did you see to have her tested? i have a 4 year old daughter that I'm struggling with and I'm wondering if this can be an issue (it runs in my family) ...

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing this! My husband had dealt with the same things, and a few years ago, we noticed that our son was experiencing the same struggles. I will say that removing dairy, gluten, and sugar from the diet is HUGE!!!! We also increased his fat consumption with good fats. When his focus goes out the window for a few days, I can tell that we've derailed too much with what we have been eating.

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  9. Love your honesty ! Sharing things such as this can be difficult but you never know who is reading your blog and may be experiencing the same issues ! Thanks for sharing Caycee, I'm a long time reader and love following along !

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  10. Wow! Thanks for sharing your journey. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD at the age of 6. My parents refused to put me on medication, instead they hired wonderful tutors that taught me skills to cope (little tips and tricks for when I felt like I was starting to wonder or having a hard time processing). I too felt extremely embarrassed about being different. As an adult, I now know how silly that is and am proud about being my unique self. I started medication once I went to college and had a similar experience to yourself. It was awful!!! I was no longer my happy go lucky self. Kuddos to you for not putting your baby girl through that. Now I have a nephew who is on the low end of the Autism spectrum and ADHD. They have seen amazing results by removing gluten and red food dye from his diet. He also takes a hemp oil supplement that has helped enormously as well; you can tell the days when he has missed his dose. Check out the Realm of Caring, they have a great support team that will answer your questions about whether or not hemp oil is a good option for your family. Hemp oils have little to no THC so they can mostly be shipped nationally and don’t have any psychoactive properties (get you high). I know it sounds crazy! My nephew has seen such amazing results that I just started taking my own this week. Can’t help but want to share.

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  11. Longtime reader but have never commented. I'm proud of you for talking about this so openly and wish your family the best with all of this. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. Good for you. I struggle with both, so very interested to see how gluten-free/dairy-free works for you! Best of luck!!!

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  13. Long time reader, but first comment. I agreee with another comment about the whole 30 diet. Read the book. It Starts with Food. Very interesting information about ADHD and it's relationship to the food we eat. I following the plan for other reasons but found that dairy and my body don't work well together. Good luck!

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  14. My son was diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive. Like others, I am very curious to see how the diet helps. Please keep us posted!

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  15. Caycee, A while back I emailed you directly about MTHFR. You are on the right track going to a gluten and dairy free diet but you also need to be on a methyl folate supplement as you have all the symptoms of MTHFR. It's a genetic mutation that's very, very common and ADHD, anxiety, and migraines are part of the symptoms. Go to 23andme.com and you can get the test done for $99 and you can find out which MTHFR genes you have because if you have them, your kids do as well and they will benefit from the same diet and supplements. You can read all about it at MTHFR.net. Medication unfortunately is only a band-aid. ADHD and anxiety are symptoms. They are not the cause. It's deeper than that. The main issue is your bodies inability to process certain things. Please check it out and I hope you will use this platform to then spread the word about MTHFR. I really hope you will go to 23andme.com and get the test done. It's super easy, takes 5 minutes once you get the kit and only costs $99 and it will save you a lifetime of distress. You don't have to feel this way and I want to see you thrive! It's more than just the food we eat. The supplements are equally as important and unfortunately, cutting out alcohol is, too. It's hard but it's a journey. I hope you the best! I'd love for you to share this journey. I'm very private but I let everyone know that I can about it because it is very treatable.

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    1. Yes! I have been reading up on ADHD and the studies are crazy about how much higher he rate of diagnosis is in the US compared to basically everywhere else in the world. "A Disease Called a Childhood" was one of my favs.

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  16. I went dairy (milk proteins) and soy free because I am nursing and my son has a sensitivity to those things and it was so tough but so wonderful and healthy! Even though I am allowed to eat it now my husband and I enjoyed it so much that we are trying to stay that way! I didn't eat things with natural or artificial flavoring in it since it can be dairy and I think that made the biggest difference. As hard as it may be you can do anything when you remember it's for your children! Aldi's gluten free brownie mix is dairy and soy free and it's delicious (and doesn't break the bank as bad!) also the enjoy life brand is yummy! In baking just substitute coconut oil for butter and you can make tons of things!! Eating out is the hardest, but just plan ahead and bring your own salad dressing! Good luck :)

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  17. I admire you for your courage to speak out your diagnosis and your treatment plan. This is such a personal topic that it will probable bring many opinions and statements both for and against your decisions. I agree with the Whole 30 diet. It does require time to adapt to a new way of eating, but it can be done. There are many bloggers who tried this and offer meal plans to make it easier (jen @ peanutbutterrunner does a great job of meal planning and did this in Jan or Feb of this year). Good luck to you. Here's an idea...reach out to your readers for breakfast, snack and meal ideas for your Taylor!

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  18. I love your honesty! Both my mom and myself have ADHD/Anxiety and have been on and off medicines, tried vitamins and holistic approaches etc. etc. forever. I have not heard about this method so I'm very excited to follow along!

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  19. Hi Caycee, thanks so much for sharing. I am 49 and have struggled with similar symptoms my whole life and so have most of my siblings and some of my children. My primary physician recently ordered blood work and it came back positive for homozygous MTHFR A1298C - this explains a lot!!! I am now beginning my journey to improved health and will keep you and Taylor in my thoughts.

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  20. I find this very interesting. For years I've dealt with Anxiety/Depression. After retiring last year I went off the anxiety meds and don't miss them a bit. Our 8-year old granddaughter was diagnosed with ADHD/Anxiety/Dyslexia this year. School is proving to be a struggle for her. Am anxious to hear how things go for you.

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  21. Loved reading this! Thank you for sharing with everyone...what courage that must have taken!

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  22. Caycee...please please contact me. I will give you my #. Taylor is so young and I have dealt with this with my soon 11yo for MANY years...and like you I feel the same things about myself. Contact me on FB...might be easiest. xo.

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  23. Love that you are always so open and honest sweet friend, thank you for sharing all aspects of life. I am very interested in your new journey and pray that it helps both of you x

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  24. We went gluten and dairy free to help my daughter with some skin issues she was having. I found the cookbook Cooking For Isaiah to be very helpful! It is all gluten and dairy free recipes and they are all very good! Best of Luck!

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  25. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 7. Heartbreaking, but I guess I always knew. Upon further testing, we also discovered she had a learning challenge (I refuse to call it a disability). We tried a variety of meds (we had to control the attention so we could tackle the learning issue), and she was on Concerta for 5 years, in addition to seeing a language therapist. We've gone gluten free, while she was on the meds, and it helped. Ultimately, though, we became concerned about her weight (she was losing weight) and as she is extremely small for her age, we became more lax in an effort to fatten her up. Last year before middle school we let her take the summer off of meds, and it was amazing to see some of her moods change. Keep in mind she was 12, so I'm sure much of this was hormonal. I began doing research on vitamin supplements and realized she may be missing key nutrients like magnesium and zinc. I found some supplements created by parents of an ADHD child and they have been wonderful for her. She's gained weight and is growing and she likes the way they make her feel less jittery than the meds. She's a healthy eater by choice, choosing salads over chicken nuggets any day, but I also make sure she gets plenty of protein and plenty of exercise. Hang in there. It's heartbreaking to watch your child struggle but you'll be amazed at her strength. Good luck! And let me know if you want the name of the vitamins.

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  26. Good job mama for taking this leap of faith and trying something to help you and your family! Starting by removing gluten and diary will be huge! There is most certainly a gut-brain connection and we definitely are what we eat! The journey can be tough at times-eating out, friends/family not supporting you, but pray and plan ahead is my #1 tip! ;) After having a little with colic, severe reflux and multiple food allergies it pushed me to do my research and take it on to heal and help my family including myself. Paleo, probiotics, healthy fats and Jesus have changed our lives forever! Good luck on your health journey for you and your family. Following your mom gut is huge! Praying for you!

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