“Julie” was a close relative of mine. From the time I was little she tried several times to commit suicide, and was frequently depressed. When she wasn’t depressed she was my hero, but when she would get suicidal, I would have to become her caretaker. One day I discovered something that helped her change her life.
After a lifetime of dealing with what she was told was depression and several stays in psychiatric wards for suicide attempts, we found that her problem wasn’t all mysterious and uncontrollable chemical reactions that made her depression come and go randomly. Medically identified sensitivities and/or allergies to foods and environmental conditions seemed to have a strong correlation to the same emotional and mental states that she had experienced throughout the years as depression. These were sometimes accompanied by so-called typical allergy symptoms, but in most cases those medically-recognized symptoms were missing.
I spent months researching and looking for scientific studies to back up our findings (Julie had a degree in psychology so was very hard to convince that she was just suffering from allergies), and what I found astounded us. Medical studies have proven that allergies can and do affect, and can in some cases cause, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, mood swings and more.
Does this mean everyone with depression has allergies? No. Nor does it mean that if you have allergies you can’t be depressed for other reasons. But what it does mean is that if you have allergies or even just sensitivities (especially ones you are unaware of), they can make dealing with depression and mental health issues much more difficult.
Julie did go through a bit of real sadness (but surprisingly not depression!) after we reduced her allergic reactions, sadness and loss at having wasted her entire life with a wrong diagnosis. Over 50 years of useless drugs that never worked and constant psychiatric care. Then one day I shared with her some stories about people her story was helping. People all around the world that I shared my findings with that were being helped by the information. Julie was so happy to know that she hadn’t had a total wasted life. This drove me to write a book about her story so I could share it with more people.
‘I’m Not Crazy… I’m Allergic!” by Sherilyn Powers (me) is Julie’s story. The title is also inspired by Julie from the day she actually found a one to one relationship between an allergen and her becoming suicidal.
This isn’t meant to be a shameful plug for my book, but I do want to reach out to people who might benefit from the information – long-term depression may be exacerbated by allergies or sensitivities to foods or environmental conditions, especially for women.
I also have a blog (I’m a little behind in my posts but hope to get back to it soon) and though I don’t diagnose I can and will help if you have questions about whether allergies or sensitivities may be affecting you, and how you can seek help.