Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When I started my gluten-free experiment, I hoped that it would calm my stomach down and alleviate my IBS symptoms. What it actually did was completely unexpected. It cured me of the depression that has inexplicably plagued me since October 2007. In varying degrees since then I've woken up feeling sad and lonely, have cried a lot, have had trouble sleeping (and believe me, that's never been a problem for me), and generally have just felt that my life must have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. I've learned to live with it, but have been constantly searching for a way to make my life feel right again.
On April 18th, I stopped eating gluten. On April 19th, I woke up happy. I distinctly remember getting out of bed and telling my boyfriend, "I'm in a good mood." I was surprised, and didn't quite believe that it was the gluten. Maybe it was the placebo effect. Maybe it was random. But I was willing to keep eating gluten-free to find out. Over the next 2.5 months, I felt better and better every day. On June 28th, my birthday, I remember feeling as if it was the happiest day I could remember in years. Life suddenly seemed exciting and I felt once again that I had a purpose.
Fast forward to July, when I started eating gluten again so that I could get tested for Celiac Disease. Up until now, I didn't truly believe that it was the gluten making me so happy. Now, there's no doubt in my mind. In the past 3 weeks that I've been eating gluten, I've cried almost daily, fallen apart at every little thing, and felt incapable of getting anything in my life done. Everything suddenly seemed hopeless, and although I knew I would feel better once I stopped eating gluten again, I couldn't manage to think positively. I felt like my life had no point.
Yesterday, after deciding I couldn't take another day, I called my doctor and told them I needed to get tested ASAP. I had an appointment scheduled for the following week, but couldn't handle the thought of eating gluten anymore. I was amazed when my doctor listened to me and said, "Please stop eating gluten today." It's rare that I've been to a doctor that really listens. She took the blood test, but told me to stop eating gluten no matter what it said. "It's just a test," she told me. "You're the real authority on your body." Huh. Imagine a doctor saying that?
So as far as I'm concerned, today is the first day of the rest of my life. My gluten-free life. I still feel pretty depressed. I still woke up sad this morning and have cried already once today. But I feel a little better now than I did yesterday. And hopefully tomorrow, I'll feel a little better than I do today. I have no interest in ever eating gluten again. No sadness about giving it up. I stopped at Trader Joe's and picked up some gluten-free goodies. And now I can start using the cookbooks I got for my birthday. Gluten-Free Quick & Easy and Babycakes (Thanks Grace and Grandma!). Now that I know this is a lifelong thing for me, I'm ready to spend the money on gluten-free flours and start learning to bake. My first challenge? Gluten-free cinnamon rolls. I'll let you know how they turn out.
And I'll let you know how my gluten-free life turns out. I'm thinking things can only go up from here.