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Diet, Anxiety and Depression

By Dr. Margaret Paul
March 30, 2009

Discover what and how you are eating - even if you believe you are eating well - that might be causing anxiety and depression.

Marianne consulted with me because of anxiety and depression. She had tried various forms of medication, but was not reacting well to any of the drugs. She was exhausted from lack of sleep, and from the intense anxiety that kept waking her up. While there were challenges in her life, like in everyone's life, none were extreme enough to have this effect on her. She spent her days depressed and her nights awake and anxious.

Marianne had done years of inner work and fully understood that her thoughts create many of her feelings. She was vigilant about thinking thoughts that were positive, so she could not understand why she was having such a hard time. When she awoke at night in a panic, she could not seem to gain control of her thoughts. She would ruminate over and over about the various challenges in her life. She was very discouraged that she had had so much therapy and had done so much inner healing work, and still felt so awful. Sometimes she felt like she was going crazy because she felt so out of control over her thoughts and feelings.

Marianne had a deep spiritual connection. She did not feel alone in her life, knowing that her spiritual guidance was always with her and always guiding her - which made her anxiety and depression all the more perplexing and upsetting to her.

"I just don’t get what is happening here. I take really great care of myself. I attend to my own feelings, I eat well and exercise, and I have great friends and a wonderful relationship. My kids are doing well and I love my work. Why am I having such a hard time?"

Fortunately for Marianne, I had gone through the same experience. I discovered the source of my problem through research on the Internet, which proved much more accurate than what my doctor was telling me. It appeared that Marianne was suffering from low blood sugar - Hypoglycemia.

Marianne would fall asleep just fine, but would awake in a panic four to six hours after falling asleep, and then not be able to go back to sleep. When a person's blood sugar goes too low, the adrenal glands take over and shoot epinephrine, also called adrenaline, into the system to raise the blood sugar, which causes anxiety or even panic.

I suggested that Marianne ask her doctor to give her a glucose tolerance test, and it turned out that she did have hypoglycemia. Her doctor told her to go off all sugar and refined products, such as white bread. Her doctor advised that she eat six small meals per day, balanced between protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats, and to be sure to eat just before going to sleep. Her doctor, fortunately an alternative medicine doctor, also advised her to take a chromium supplement just before sleep.

Within days of going on this food plan, Marianne started sleeping through the night. When she did wake up, she was not anxious and was able to go back to sleep. She no longer felt depressed. Then one night she went back to not sleeping and having the anxiety.

"Marianne, what did you do the day that you couldn't sleep?"

"I joined a gym and did a hard workout. I read that exercise is good for hypoglycemia."

I asked Marianne to do a little more research on this and she discovered that intense exercise greatly lowers the blood sugar - that she needs to eat during exercising. After doing this, she had no more sleepless nights.

It is important to know that anxiety and depression can have various causes - physical, emotional and spiritual. The emotional/spiritual causes of anxiety and depression are generally related to what we tell ourselves and how we treat ourselves. Self-abandonment - through judging ourselves, ignoring our feelings, turning to addictions instead of to Spirit, and making others responsible for our feelings - causes anxiety and depression. Diet, illness, and hypoglycemia can also cause anxiety and depression.

If you are willing to take responsibility for yourself and learn how to lovingly treat yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, you can heal your anxiety.


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