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Autism with a side of bacon

Discussion in 'My Optimal Journal' started by Christopher, May 19, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    The other day, Kate (MrPinkies on the forum) and I were sitting on the floor in the dim light, reflecting on how we had spent our time that day. She told me that she wished she had named her journal "Autism with a side of bacon". I thought it was a brilliant title, and asked if I could use it for my own journal. And here you go.

    The Autism is because our son, Ryan, our daughter, Lizzie, and myself, have all been diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum disorders (Asperger's Syndrome for myself). The bacon, is because of the change in our lifestyle that has added much flavor to our lives. MMMMMM bacon...

    Before I get to what is currently going on in life, I'd like to give a little background to help put it all in context. Well, this might take a while, so it should probably wait until after lunch.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    I was raised on sugar. Litterally. In my childhood, I had kool-aid all the time. Every meal had a dessert. The only carbohydrate I didn't like was the crust of the bread, lol. Even when I ate fruit, it was either canned in sugar, or had sugar sprinkled on top. As you might have already guessed, I was always overweight.

    Ever since kindergarten, I can remember having a lack of social connection with my peers. I did manage to have a couple of friends, but the rest of the kids were not a part of my world. When I got to middle school age, I no longer played outside. I watched tv, and played video games for much of my free time. Then for high school, my parents took me out of the public school and put me in a smaller private Christian school. I was able to make some more meaningful friendships in high school, probably because of the smaller class size.

    Up through high school, I had good grades and no problems with schoolwork. In fact, I ended up making more friends in high school because I would help them with homework in study hall. When I went to college, I fell apart. I wasn't sleeping well. My grades were falling. I didn't have any friends that were taking the same classes as me and didn't know how to ask for the help I needed with the schoolwork. I became very depressed and ended up dropping out before the first semester was complete. Also around this time, I had started using marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco.

    When I got home from college, the depression was pretty bad. I got a job, but couldn't hold it because I was staying up too late drinking cheap malt liquour (still under 21), and had to be at the job at like 7 am. My depression got worse. I remember locking myself in my bedroom (at my parents house) for at least a couple of weeks. I would smoke marijuana, be high for a couple of hours, then go to sleep for a couple of hours, then repeat. I would only come out of my room at night to gather food (had the munchies of course). That summer, my dad cut off the power to the air conditioner in order to get me out of my bedroom. It was miserably hot in there, and when I could no longer take it, I came out and asked my parents for help. I wanted to see a psychologist, and my mother made the arrangements. After a few sessions of therapy, my dad stopped paying for it. Knowing of my alcohol and marijuana problem, he thought I was just trying to get some prescription meds to catch a buzz. He was wrong. And I got angry.

    This anger I had gave me new energy. I decided that if dad wouldn't pay, I would just go get a job and pay for it myself. That'll show you dad! lol. So I figured if I got a job doing something I liked, I might be able to keep it long enough to get my life straightened out. Stereo equipment had always been a special interest of mine, so I ended up getting a job as a car stereo installer. It worked. I mean, I worked. It was suprisingly easy. I didn't have to bee to work til 10am, so even when I was up late, I would still get plenty of sleep. And everyone that worked at that place was on some combination of drugs and alchohol, so I fit right in. (I still joke that the drug test was to make sure you are using drugs before they hire you, lol.

    I was still depressed, but was functional. When I had the rescources, I went to therapy again, for the depression. This time the therapist was less qualified and it ended up being a dead end. I couldn't afford any better. So being the do-it-yourselfer that I am, I went to a Christian bookstore and purchased a self-help book. The book was called Happiness is a Choice. This book was really helpful. It provided me a new way of looking at depression and happiness. That new perspective was just what I needed. It was also around this time that I hooked up with Kate. (She was my first girlfriend, and is the only one I've ever been with. ) Our relationship was difficult for me to handle. It took several years to really iron out the kinks, but it was worth it. Her companionship was something I desperately needed and still do need. She makes me feel like a human being.

    The years of my twenties were a slow progression. I became aware of some of my problems that I had no way to define previously. For example, I discovered by accident that I was lactose intolerant. And when I thought back, it seems that I may have been my whole life. My mother said when I was a baby, I couldn't tolerate formula so I had to be breast fed. And somehow, I never thought that it was a legitimate medical concern that I had diarrhea at least once a week.

    To be continued....
     
  3. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    so happy you are posting in a journal Chris .... you have an amazing story to share......and who doesn't love bacon!!!
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    In my early 20s, I started having panic/anxiety attacks from using marijuana. I had to quit because I just couldn't enjoy it anymore. I experimented with some prescription drugs, but knew the dangers of addiction and kept it under control. That was more about curiosity to see what helped. I knew I could easily get my own perscription from a psychiatrist, but I knew it wouldn't be feesible for a long term solution. Then I quit smoking cigarrettes. I supplemented with coffee and pop when I quit. Then I found out caffeine could also cause a panic attack, so no more of that. I made some stretches without any alcohol or drugs, but would always end up using alcohol again. I tried aerobic exercise for off and on too with mixed results. At some point I started using marijuana again. I found that when I was with Kate, I would not have a panic attack.

    In my mid 20s, I diagnosed myself with Social Anxiety Disorder. No therapy this time, the anxiety prevented it. The self help book didn't do much good either. Somehow I still managed to keep a job. I married Kate. (<-- best decision ever) I survived the wedding, lol. Kate got pregnant, a year later, and we had our first child, Ryan.

    Somewhere in that time, I found the ABS Diet. I thought it was the solution to my problems. This diet had me eating whole grains, fruits, nuts, veggies, and lean meat every 2 to 3 hours. That was like 6 meals a day, lol. I lost weight, and had much better energy. I was so impressed with the initial results, that I loosly stuck with this way of eating for a few years. I would typically eat according to that diet for the first 5 meals, but would frequently end up eating a lot of junk food in the evening.

    Also during that time, at the encouragement of my parents, I tried to believe in "faith healing". I had faith alright, but not any healing. Really all it gave me was the ability to deny the existence of my problems. (<-- worst decision ever)

    When I was 28, I had an email that caught my attention. It was about some kind of place that had some special therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder, and claimed it could be cured. This brought my attention back to my own social anxiety. I started to notice that Ryan was having some anti-social behaviors. I started to worry that it was because of my poor example. Denial wasn't working, the social anxiety was still a problem for me. This of course led to reading the self-help book again. The book did explicitly say that group therapy was a necessary part of the treatment. I couldn't ignore that fact this time. This decision didn't just effect me, but also my son now. I knew this was not something I could fix on my own.

    Kate helped me get a therapist. I was very anxious, it was difficult for me to go. It was a good thing that I did go. This ended up being one of the most important events in my life. This is where I found out that I have Asperger's Syndrome, which just made all the problems I ever had in life suddenly make sense. I also discovered the true path to spiritual salvation. You can read more about that part if you would like here: http://takehisheart.com/15yearpastorsavedsalvation.htm#chris. I din't end up going to therapy for very long before the therapist and I agreed that I could handle things on my own. My mind had been set free, and the possibilities were endless.

    I'd better pinch this info dump off for the night. (Just for you Pinks) The next four years of my life are still to come, when I get a chance, lol.
     
  5. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    People's life stories are incredible - what we all have been thru - in one way or another - and come out the other side and appreciate every single detail of our life and move forward with an open heart. JK has said ...when your hands and heart are open - you will receive gifts.....
    Thanks for sharing with us Christopher .... can't wait to hear more .... and I want the long version!!

    We are so in charge of our own destiny and you are living, breathing proof. You haven't put anything in the "too hard basket" and you have your foot on the accelerator.....just simply awesome....
     
  6. Wow! What a compelling story! You are quite articulate...can't wait to read more.
     
  7. MrPinkies

    MrPinkies Silver


    Apparently, since you asked for the "long version", it's 8 pages hand written... So.. He's typing away.. might be a while.. LOL
     
  8. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    OUCH....... [actually - can't wait - you both are such an inspiration!] and you both make me smile .... a lot!!
     
  9. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    I think you could do a .....He said - She said book
     
  10. MrPinkies

    MrPinkies Silver

    It would be kinda a ying-yang, but, polar opposites story book.. hmm.. that might be fascinating.. lol
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    I would like to spend a little more time on the topic of what happened when my mind was set free. Up until that change, I always had a black and white way of thinking. Things were what they were, and I had it all figured out. I was stubborn, and if I thought something, it was almost impossible to convince me otherwise. I believed the things my parents taught me to believe, and never really questioned any of it. I was selfish, and materialistic. I always getting more stuff, thinking possessions would make me happy. I had many rules for how I thought life should be lived. I was a prisoner to those rules, and I was miserable.

    Now that my mind is free, I can understand things from new perspectives. When I first gained this ability, my excitement and curiosity provided enough energy to make depression and anxiety minor issues. Let me give some examples to make it more clear what a big deal this was.

    I was raised to be Christian, Conservative, and Republican. I believed the typical things that are associated with those labels, and could not even to begin to see where the other side was coming from. Some things, I believed just because they were part of the label, and had no real knowledge of why.

    I don't consider myself to be a Christian anymore. To clarify, I still believe that Jesus is God, and that he was ressurected, and is a living spirit today. However, I no longer agree with many other aspects of the Christian religion. In fact, I think I would have better company among Atheists.

    I can now understand multiple sides of political issues, but I do not endorse any side. I currently view politics and religion as things that cause unnecessary division.

    I can now question many things that I once held as truths. A simple example is the reason why I didn't like onions. The only reason that I could figure that I didn't like onions, was that I made a decision early in my childhood to not like onions. My non-flexible way of thinking then made it a rule that could not be broken. Now that I am free from rules like that, I tried onions. Guess what. I like them. I probably always would have if I could have just questioned that stupid rule.

    Here's an example of something that started small, but turned into a bigger lesson about truth. Around the time of this big change in my life, I had a computer that was painfully slow. It was old and was full of the junk software that seems to build up and slow things down. I decided to make some upgrades, and do a fresh install of the operating system. I had always used Microsoft Windows. I always thought it was the best. I can even remember arguing, with no sound reasoning, that Microsoft was superior to Apple. When I questioned this belief, I could find no good reason for such uneducated brand loyalty. I then researched my options and discovered the Linux operating system. For those that may not know, Linux is free. It is not owned by any person, or corporation. Linux can be developed, customized, and distributed by virtually anybody. There are many non-profit groups that make and support their own versions of Linux called distros. The one I fancied at the time was Ubuntu (now I like Linux Mint which is based on Ubuntu). Anyway, the lesson I learned at the time was how to tell the difference between something that was intended to truly benefit me, and something intended to benefit the finances of a person or corporation. Sure, Linux takes a little more technical knowledge to use, but that knowledge can be applied to make computer use more efficient in general. (Sometimes I even wonder that if I had never used Windows would Linux seem more intuitive?)

    I hesitated to include this example, because I do not want to encourage anyone to spend any more time using a computer than necessary. But this was a crucial lesson for me to learn that made it possible for me to understand the information from Jack Kruse. There are many similarities between the two. Most Linux distros cost no money. Much of Jack's info cost's no money either. Some Linux distros do cost money, but include professional tech support. Some of Jacks services cost money, and have similar benefits. Developers of Linux distros seek to raise awareness and recruit more users. The reason is to get more testing, and feedback, and get more people involved in development. This goal makes the whole thing better for more users. We know why Jack does what he does, and how it compares. This is a way of thinking, is something I do want to encourage.

    I am going to stop here for tonight. This was about 4 of the pages I had hand written.
     
  12. Inger

    Inger Silver

    Christopher, you touched my heart with the above.
    That is exactly my own experience! Also grown up in a extreme religious environment.. and finally when I was bold enough to step out of those dogmas.. it felt so much like freedom. I started to think like you describe - do things different. And it felt just amazing - like the world opened up! A free mind is worth more than anything. I too was very materialistic before.. now I really do not care much for stuff. Not the way I did at all. It is like I do not need it because my joy comes from other things.

    Now I love that exersice in my mind, to look at things from totally different views. It is fun, and it makes me feel very much alive. It is fun to be able to and gives a feeling of freedom and to be one with the universe :)
     
  13. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    I love your writing Christopher ..... and very glad that we are getting the long version!!!
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    Ok, so I got off track a little bit, but the free mind thing was a huge deal for me. I've got a couple more things to say about that, then I'll get back to the story, I promise.

    Another result of my new mind, what that I felt less attachment to my possessions. I sold some of my stuff over the next few years, video game systems, home theater equipment, car stereo equipment, etc. I began to notice that the more stuff I got rid of, the better I felt. Having too much stuff seems to put such a burden on my mind.

    I also found that mindless entertainment was no longer satisfying. Maybe it never was, maybe now I could just acknowledge it. Either way, I can no longer find much joy in video games, mainstream movies, tv, or even some of the music I used to like. Instead, I prefer thought provoking entertainment like, Books, documentaries, independent movies, and internet research. I read some books about things like evolution (Richard Dawkins), and theoretical physics and the origin of the universe (Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan). These books blew my mind, science is so amazing. Why hadn't I learned of this stuff before? Oh that's right, six days of creation did not leave room for any of this fascinating information. As you can see again, it was more stuff that I was learning that seemed to pave the way to find Jack Kruse. I'll tell you, I really get exited when the blogs talk about evolution and quantum theory stuff.

    Ok, so getting back to the story. As time went on, the excitement of having a free mind started to wear off. Depression and anxiety, once again, began to cause me trouble. I began to think it was because of the responses I was getting from others. I knew all this amazing new truth, but nobody was interested in hering about it. You can try to imagine the response I would get from telling somebody something like: "Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus, its all pagan traditions combined with capitalism". Yes, I have no filter on what comes out of my mouth. No wonder I got negative responses. Anyway, I used that as an excuse to start self-medicating again. Back to alcohol and marijuana. Marijuana again, lead to panick attacks. So then, it was just alcohol. I tried to keep it to what I thought was moderation, but it was still like 2-4 drinks 2-3 times a week.

    The anxiety and depression were increasing, and I was learning about some conspiracy theories and such that lead to a bit of paranoia. I soon had to stop myself from reading about new truths. Truth, it seemed, was causing me too much anxiety. Instead, I learned more about computers and linux, but that would lead to obsessing about the computers. Obsession wasn't fun, more of a chore,but it was better than anxiety. I also started a habit of watching tv and binge eating sweets before bedtime.

    Over this time, I was having mood swings that were relative to my meal timing. I would eat and feel fine for a bit, then when the food would wear off (1-3 hours depending on what I ate and time of day), it was like someone flipped a switch. I would become very irritable, and experience increased anxiety. I would feel super thirsty, but would have to pee like every 10 minutes. I would feel cold and clamy, and had a decrease in mental clarity. My thoughts would change to feeling like the world was ending, even though I could remember feeling positive when I ate. The solution? Eat something with carbs. I thought the need to eat frequently was just normal, and never really made any attempt to fix what in retrospect was a severe problem.

    To be continued....
     
  15. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    I love reading your story.........
     
  16. lioness7

    lioness7 Gold

    Christopher, please keep posting your thoughts and previous insights. It is helping me understand the youngest of my kids who went through the whole cancer txt route . Even though he is the nonchalant sort, I know deep down that there is a piece of the puzzle missing that I am trying to address. I personally think he has a bit of a mood issue, though no one else is really recognizing it.... that I have struggled to address even before his diagnosis, so I don't want to use the cancer card with him and never have . Wonderful, interesting kid, just difficult ,..............how does one deal with an "I am God" sort of child..fearless, reckless, yet, so loving and sensitive? I feel like I am playing ping pong with him every day.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    I remember talking about my eating with one of my coworkers. I understood that it was like an addiction. If I didn't have frequent meals, I would experience withdrawal. I speculated that our ancestors from thousands of years ago surely didn't eat 6 times a day. This was just not right. Then one morning, a friend had mentioned the paleo diet in a facebook status. Hmm was this what it sounded like? I had know. I did some online research about paleo. What I was reading just seamed to make sense. I also remembered Kate saying that she had read that a gluten free diet was something that could help with autism, and maybe I should try it. I put the two together, and did some more research. I quickly convinced myself that wheat is not fit for human consumption. I had to try the paleo diet. I jumped right in, cold turkey, or chicken rather, as that along with eggs and fruit, which were the only paleo items I had in the fridge at the time.

    Paleo didn't work so good for me, or maybe it was the abrupt change, either way, I felt terrible. My stomach hurt, my chest hurt, I had no energy, I was light-headed, and my poop was coming out all kinds of wrong. I stuck with it for two weeks. I was miserable, and a little worried that the paleo diet was killing me, literally. But, I was miserable before, so I figured it would either kill me or make me better, either way I wasn't going back to where I was before. I was desperate.

    I kept reading, hoping I would figure out how to make the paleo diet work. In my research, I came across reactive hypoglycemia. All the symptoms seemed to fit what I was experiencing before with the mood swings and such. The solution to that one? No more carbs. Hmm, how do I do that, if I'm addicted to carbs? I kept reading. I found some posts on a paleo forum that mentioned Jack Kruse. Not in a good way, but more of a could this guy possibly be right or is he just crazy. I was curious. I started reading blogs on his website. Yep, he's crazy alright, I thought. Then I started reading the comments. This crazy sounding stuff seemed to be helping people. I found my way over to the leptin Rx. The simplicity and the structure were exatly what I was looking for. What to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, it just took all the guesswork out of paleo. I had to try it immediately.

    The first day of the leptin reset, I fell in love. The BAB saved my life. During the first two weeks of paleo, I was having trouble eating much food at all. But somehow, that big breakfast was no problem for me. I don't remember exatly what I had, but it was probably a half pound of ground beef with some eggs. I do remember being suprised at how much food I was able to eat that morning. Afterward, I was waiting, expecting to get my usual paleo stomach ache, but it never came. Instead, I felt like I was on fire, in a good way. I felt physically warm, and I had this amazing energy like I never had before. It was exciting. I went about my day with no ill effects. No snacks, no problem. Five hours between meals was possible for me for the first time in years. No carbs, no problem, I had no more cravings. It was hard to believe that I had such a positive result from just the first day. No stomach ache, no chest pain, no anxiety, it seemed the only thing it didn't fix was my poop, lol.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher New Member

    I'd like to thank everyone on here who has encouraged me to do this journal. On the pathway to optimal health, there are many ups and downs. It is easy to get caught up in the moment of frustration when progress seems to stall. Having to go back and remember where I came from has been a great experience to put things in perspective. Am I perfect? No. Am I better than I was just a year ago? Yes, its like a night and day difference. I'm also glad to have this all written down here. Writing things down does play an important role. I'm not sure what all that role may include, but it is important.

    Something I almost forgot to mention is the fact that since starting the paleo diet, I lost about 50 lbs. I am 5' 8" and not muscular at all. I weighed 175 lbs in June of 2012. That first two weeks of just paleo, I lost about 10 lbs. I wasn't eating near as much because of the stomach pain, so it was pretty low in calories. The leptin reset added some calories, but the weight still came off pretty quick. I got down to 125 lbs, and now fluctuate between that and 130 lbs. Of course, I get the your too skinny from the people that think my lifestyle changes are BS. Now that I have some clothes that aren't too big, I don't get that response as much. But I still think its funny when people tell me I need to eat some carbs, they never have any science to back up their claims. I tell them, I don't follow the herd, I follow the results.

    But I didn't get into this to lose weight. That was just a side effect. I got into this to make life tolerable. It is apparent that my whole life I have suffered from a poor functioning brain. I think Jack Kruse is right about the poor functioning brain having a lack of energy. That first time, when my mind was set free, I think it was related to the fact that I had started the ABs diet not too longe before that. Jack has talked about the way carbs are used to make ATP being fast, but lower yielding. So when the ABs diet had me increase the frequency of my meals, that made for a more steady supply of ATP. When my brain had more energy from ATP, amazing changes became possible. Over time that way of eating just seemed to lose its effect. Not to mention that sometimes I would need to eat to increase my energy, but be unable to because my stomach was still full from the previous meal.

    I think a big benefit I got from the leptin reset is from being in ketosis. Jack says the fat burning pathway, while slower is much higher yielding. This also seems to be true. It seems like I don't feel anxiety at all anymore, at least not anywhere near the extent to which I used to. This has never happened my whole life. But I don't think I was ever in ketosis my whole life. That is a big deal. I also have never weighed less than 160 lbs in my adult life. These are benefits that I've never experienced by any other means before.
     
  19. caroline

    caroline Moderator

    Love, love, love that you are sharing your story with us ... BTW - I hate it when a guy weights less than I do...just saying!
     
  20. MrPinkies

    MrPinkies Silver

    HA! No kidding Caroline! but I'm getting there! :) we're not as mixed matched anymore...
     

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