The first time that I can remember having significant depression was my third year of varsity. At that stage I didn't do much about it, but I do know that good diets tend to go out the window at varsity – I was having a lot of fast foods and fizzy drinks. Whenever I was under stress my 'drug of choice’ was chocolate. I was sure chocolate could get me through anything and could eat up to a block a day.

Somehow I finished my third and fourth years of varsity with good enough grades to get into a job that I thought that I should have.

I started my job about six months after finishing varsity into an environment that was full on learning and living.  Through the first year of steep learning curves I found it more and more difficult to cope, I was crabby, had no self esteem and 'lost myself'.  I couldn't concentrate, and therefore got more down on myself because I felt I wasn't doing well enough so started eating more and more chocolate and fast foods, which caused the cycle to continue, chocolate, stress, depression, lack of self worth …

About a year into this I went to a doctor who said I would be fine, that I was just stressed out with preparing for our wedding, new job, change of city etc, basically to get on with it.

Three years later, I went to another doctor with the same symptoms, this time though I was put onto a 'minor' antidepressant.  This did help to stabilise me, and I was able to make some decisions about where I was and where I wanted to go. I then changed jobs and felt much better, though saying that the much better as a comparative wasn't really still 'good'.

A year and a half ago my sister suggested that I try the failsafe diet for symptoms that my doctors were calling irritable bowel. I had gone off antidepressants for about six months before testing for IBS, but the first thing the doctors did when looking into my bowel problems was to put me back on antidepressants.  During this time I had still been eating my old diet of chocolate, plus other foods that are high in amines.

So for my bowel reasons I went onto failsafe, cutting out everything including wheat and dairy.

This was very hard, and the withdrawal symptoms were awful, my husband put up with me yelling at him for no except that he wouldn't go and get me chocolate!  At any time I transgressed, the withdrawal symptoms would come back.

Being on the diet showed many symptoms that we would have never had associated with food, for example, black rings under the eyes disappearing, lack of concentration leaving and a levelling of the depression that I had been experiencing. Before failsafe I never suspected that depression could even be related to food.  I had decided that it ran in the family so I was just prone to it.  After the diet, I suspected that amines were going to be the big one as whenever I ate
cocoa based products I had always had either a major craving or it made everything seem worse.

During the amine testing, I think my husband just about divorced me. I felt awful, didn't want to get out of bed, couldn't be bothered with anything and was sure everyone hated me. Anything anyone said was taken the wrong way and I nearly chucked in the job that I sometimes really enjoy. I spent hours telling my husband about how terrible my life was and analysing everything in detail trying to work out why everyone hated me. I had an increasing intensity in suicidal thoughts,
thinking through what was in the house to help me, though, thank goodness, never got to the stage of actually doing anything about it. It was scary!!!

Dairy had also shown an affect on my moods, making me grumpy when I consumed too much, though grumpy, I wasn't as bad as on amines to live with.

I am still on the antidepressants, but know that I don't really need them. When I am doing diet wrong, the antidepressants don't help, but they are effectively a crutch that I haven't been game enough to get off.

When I am staying strictly on failsafe, I feel happier, am nicer to be around, enjoy life and have lots of energy instead of lying on the couch like a half comatose couch potato.- Reader, NZ

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