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 I didn't have an appetite, my creativity was gone, and I was withdrawn and not chatty like normal when not on medication.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.