I live in one of the best craft beer capitals in the known universe. Cheap and easy beer has a place and time, but around here we revel in fantastic craft beer instead. I go for a luscious, lovingly crafted amber ale. Or a creamy porter, an oatmeal stout, and OMG the winter jubelales – or I had a habanero pumpkin ale that was unbelievable, with a hint of earthiness and a long slow burn. I could go on and on, which is funny because I don’t drink that much, but I really love beer. Here it’s a finely honed scientific craft, and an edible art form. Which makes it even harder when a doctor tells me to try going gluten free and sugar free for 6 weeks. I’m pretty sure this is my karmic payback for slightly mocking those diets – “I can eat anything, and sugar IS a food group!” Dammit anyway.

The deciding factor was looking in the mirror and seeing how awful I look right now – dark circles, pale as death, too chubby to run comfortably anymore, and as predictably as sunset, when my physical health is bad, my mental health needs to be addressed too. The symptoms aren’t worth going into – also the predictable manifestations of depression, panic attacks, anxiety, C-PTSD – blah blah blah.

I broke down and went back to my western medicine doctor – that was a disaster. It was a new guy because I needed to be seen to get paperwork done, and he was the only one available even though I never see male providers if at all possible. He looked at my chart, heard the 2 minute summary I could give because they’re always in a hurry, and then they start bringing in the social workers and “Behavioral Health” specialists. Fuck. I hate that term, for starters. I appreciate that they want to address what they think is critical and imminent (it’s not), but they never look at the whole body health, or the chemical issues that could be causing the problems. Western medicine just throws pills at the symptoms, without addressing the root causes really – that way the whole system makes more money, and I stay sick and dependent. Pardon my cynicism, it’s borne of many years of experience and reading, and more experience.

Now that I’ve been in one good job for a couple of years, I could afford to see a naturopath (finally covered by my insurance – what???). She spent an hour and a half with me, and I felt like she actually saw the whole me, it was wholly refreshing. I’m more than some behavioral manifestations, and I just need some help with a customized vitamin/diet suggestion, and I will be a lot better. Here’s the new daily plan, more or less:

Vitamin D 5000 IU
Iron 325 mg
B vitamins
No folic acid
no sugar (omgomgomg)
no gluten (NO BEER, for the love of GOD, and GF beer tastes like a mockery, oh Guinness, how I loved thee)
Magnesium “Natural Calm” drink
15 minutes minimum of walking per day (I can’t believe I need the reminder, I love to walk, hike, bike, swim – that tells me how bad it’s gotten)

My also plan:

daily stretching and push ups
More reading
Abstinence from sex and dating
Quilting – I made a denim quilt that changed my sleep forEVer
And I got rid of all my flour and sugar, of which there was a LOT after all the holiday baking
Lots of music
Write more

I’ve consciously focused on treating my mental health for a very long time, but I got caught by surprise on this one. It slipped in so slowly, curling and twining its way back into my life like vines of ivy heartbreak. If changing my diet for 6 weeks rips that vine out, it will be worth it. Oh god though, NOT THE BEER.

Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down
I Could Use A Love Song – Maren Morris
Drink A Beer – Luke Bryan

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