Sunday, July 7, 2019

Getting Enough Magnesium?

Almost as far back as I can remember, I suffered from dreadful anxiety and nervousness. I thought it was caused by something I was imagining (psychological), but it turns out it was caused by a lack of magnesium in my diet. The anxiety seems to come mostly after eating — perhaps the ratio of magnesium to all the other nutrients in the body is not what it should be after introducing food into the body. Some foods seem to cause more anxiety than others, but I've never been able to pinpoint an exact type of food. Whatever the case, I pulled a muscle in my back one day and took some magnesium to help ease the muscle tension — coincidentally, my anxiety felt relieved. I suppose pulling a muscle was a blessing in disguise that came at the right time.

I mention magnesium because when dealing with bipolar disorder, which can be an uphill battle, you'll want as many assets as possible working in your favor. Stress build-up, which can be caused by a lack of magnesium in the diet, can thrust those with bipolar disorder into manic or depressed episodes. Whether bipolar disorder is present or not, a lack of magnesium in the diet doesn't help anybody anyway and can cause a lot of health problems.

There are many different types of magnesium. I've experimented with a lot of them. The one that works best for me is 100-350 milligrams of Magnesium Oxide after eating — depending on how big of a meal is eaten and what type of food is eaten when symptoms of anxiety and nervousness begin to appear — everybody is different and sometimes more might need to be taken.  Furthermore, for whatever reason, there doesn't seem to be much consensus on why anxiety occurs after eating, although a lack of magnesium in the diet, in general, has certainly been linked to anxiety.

A Brief History of My Bipolar Illness

I tend to be more stable these days, but there was a prolonged period in life when I didn't know what was happening, and it took me to the threshold of Hell. Having not fully bounced back from the brink — and perhaps I never will — I thought a good backstory to my life would be entertaining before viewing any further blogs about my bipolar life. I have several crazy stories to tell but for the sake of keeping this short and giving you the basic idea, I'll only discuss a few of them here.

I always seemed to be very emotional as a child, and skateboarding kept me stable during a lot of that time. In the early 90s, I walked away from skateboarding, mostly because of a girl I started going out with in high school — when that ended badly a couple years later I was a chronic nobody with a mental illness that was starting to rear its ugly head, exacerbated by a variety of unpleasantness and circumstances. Aside from some people who continually tried to manipulate and provoke me, I had no goals, low self-esteem, little if any confidence, little common sense, and I was physically unhealthy.

Until I started to exhibit symptoms of the bipolar-1 disorder in 1996 which people seemed to notice, I thought my unhealthy life was normal because for whatever reason I didn't know any better. Many people tried to tell me that I was not acting normal — I listened to them for a little while, however, the problem with accepting a life of medication and sobriety (no partying and self-medicating) was too scary, most likely because I had too many things wrong with me for it to be worth taking a straight path. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I believed there was no hope for a person like me, and continued further toward the brink.

In 1994 with one year of high school left, I made an explicit decision to start doing drugs. It wasn't a gradual gateway-thing where somebody let me try pot, which led to other things. No — I wanted a life of DRUGS. Why not? As far as I was concerned, I had nothing else. In 1996, after a couple years of experimentation, on the heels of an LSD trip that never seemed to go away, I ended up committed to a psychiatric hospital. Doctors told me I was exhibiting symptoms of the bipolar-1 disorder. However, I wrote my behavior off as caused by drug use — furthermore, I didn't want to stop what I thought was fun. It all went on crazy like that for about 10 years.

One time after purposely overdosing on an antidepressant and street drugs, being pushed into what's called a "manic episode" of bipolar disorder, I stayed up all night thinking up and writing down imaginary mathematical formulas believing that I had discovered the cure for cancer. I stuffed my formulas into a backpack and got on a bus to San Luis Obispo, CA where I walked around homeless and crazy for a few weeks telling everybody that I had the cure for cancer. Why I picked San Luis Obispo, I can't remember — perhaps because it's such a nice area. Most of it was uncomfortable although some of it was fun — especially the part when I camped on the Morro Rock beach dunes with a bottle of Whisky and sleeping bag by myself, toasting with God about my perceived success. When I came back to my senses, I wasn't sure what to believe about what the doctors originally told me about my diagnosis. I kept wanting to write off my symptoms as caused by excessive drug abuse.

When I calmed down eventually and stopped abusing drugs, my symptoms of prolonged depression continued, naturally followed by those occasional manic (high) phases. Eventually, I started to suspect that doctors who I spoke to all those years ago were right about me — that I suffer from the classic bipolar-1 disorder. Fast-forward to today. After starting a medication regimen, getting counseling, and becoming a Christian, I am a lot more stable although my battle is far from over.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to contact me and read my future posts about bipolar disorder.