I went to a follow-up visit with my psychiatrist yesterday. When she asked me how I was doing, I told her that mood-wise I feel better than I have in a decade. That wasn’t entirely true. Truth be told, I feel better than I have, well– ever! I can’t remember a time in my life when I felt so much positive energy flowing so effortlessly through my body. Sure, I’ve had times when I felt more up than down. I’ve faked it till I made it on many occasions. But I’ve never felt like this. Light and free and optimistic. Hopeful and, dare I say it, happy. There is no trace of the tortured woman who was curled up in a ball last year feeling like she was already dead. I want to sing, and dance, and shout for joy!
Nothing has changed in my circumstances. I still live in chronic pain. I am still disabled. We still struggle financially. I still have painful memories from past traumas. Some of my kids still make choices that cause me to worry about them. And so on. What’s different, though, is the way I respond and react to those difficulties, and the way I feel about them.
I attribute this miraculous change to several things. First and foremost is the actual miracle — the healing power of God. I believe he led my doctors to the source of my problem, and gave them the wisdom and tools to fix it. Those tools included intensive therapy , antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications. They got me on the right footing but something was still missing. I just couldn’t get past a certain point in my recovery. I was tolerating life, but still not enjoying it. Until my doctor decided to do genetic testing.
The genetic testing revealed that I have a genetic mutation that occurs in about 40% of the population. I have two mutations of my MTHFR gene called 677CT and 1298AC. I am not at all qualified to get into the science of this gene or it’s mutations. What I can tell you is that it affects the metabolism and absorption of B vitamins, which are essential for many bodily functions including mental health and the neurological system.The way I understand it is that my body cannot complete one of the steps needed to metabolize B vitamins, so it cannot absorb them. I can take all the vitamin B supplements I want but they will pass right through my body unused. For further information I recommend you visit MTHFR.net. There’s a plethora of information there by a doctor who does extensive research on this MTHFR mutations.
Once my doctor knew I had the mutation, the fix was simple. I started taking a prescription form of folic acid (the B vitamin most important for mental health) that has already been broken down into a form my body can absorb. The medicine (well actually they call it a “medical food”) is called Deplin, and you can read more about it here. It took about 3 weeks to really kick in, but once it did I began to notice a significant change in my mood. Now, 5 months later, I am a new woman. Is this really what life is supposed to feel like? Who knew! I guess mom was right when she told me to take my vitamins!
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22