Anxiety and Depression
The body works as a system with the mind; if one is healthy, so is the other, and it is the same the other way around. Some of my clients approach me because they feel low, often they are beating themselves up as they cannot understand why, when they have ‘everything’, they are not happy. Not realising that emotional problems are a symptom of physiological issues.
One of the first things we check when a baby cries is whether they are hungry. Despite food being the most basic requirement for our survival, health and comfort, we somehow lose touch with that instinct when we get older. Many people with mental health problems, or even just temporary emotional issues, often just need more / better food. This is an unpopular view because in a world of increasingly fanciful fixes because eating more seems just, well, too pedestrian. People consider it trite to suggest that problems will disappear with more food. Of course they won’t, we will always be faced with stressors in life. However our ability to cope with them, and respond in a better way (for our own health), can be improved greatly with an adequately fuelled brain.
Meanwhile, some people think that they will be happy if they can just lose weight / get back into their size 10 jeans. Of course, this is not true but we are socialised into thinking that it is.
My approach with clients who are experiencing what they may initially believe to be only mental health problems is to first pinpoint their physiological health issues, using the detailed questionnaire designed by my mentor Billy Craig. We then begin to address those physiological issues, which may include a change to diet, potentially the inclusion of supplements, and the omission of stimulating substances, a review of sleep habits and hormone disruptors, whilst also exploring the things that may be considered to be outside stressors which may be exacerbating the emotional burden. This can include things like relationships, jobs, pastimes, lifestyle. Invariably the physiological and the seemingly external stressors are connected - for example, people tend to remain in relationships longer than is functionally healthy if their health is sub optimal, whether that be a personal or a professional relationship. And that compounds the health issues by increasing stress, and so the cycle continues.
Whatever your presenting issue, working with me will always look at every area of your life. Similarly, my approach to mental health issues can be classed as holistic: taking in all aspects of your life, while at the same time, teaching you how to put yourself, and your health, first.
How do you know when your day of felling a bit glum has extended to the point where it could be considered a mental health issue?
Are you suffering from anhedonia?
Do you feel overwhelmed or lost?
Have you noticed a change in your eating habits / weight?
Do you feel as though you are going through the motions, rather than participating fully in your life?
Has your sleep pattern changed – either struggling with insomnia , or conversely, wanting to sleep all the time?
Do you find it hard to have perspective, instead focusing myopically on how things affect you?
Do you find yourself creating and / or, are you involved in drama, on a regular basis?
Are you self-medicating on a regular basis? Alcohol, drugs, shopping, uber-hobbying (lots of hobbies to distract from life), working, counselling others?
Do you say yes to things and then regret saying yes, but struggle to extricate yourself from the arrangement?
- Your body’s preferred source of fuel, is carbohydrates. If you have been hoodwinked by the low carb police (we’ve all been there), then just experiment: try a few weeks of using carbohydrates as your primary fuel source and see how you feel compared to how you feel on your low carb diet. My article contains a helpful way of checking in on how your metabolic health is doing.