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Last week I had a mini-epiphany. Not a big one like when I realized that I, too, would one day become a sixteen-year-old. Yes, I clearly remember realizing that. Or when I decided to dedicate my life to sex, at least writing about it and making it a permanent topic in my life. But those are for other times.
The past year I’ve been struggling with taking my vitamins. And I mean the literal food supplements containing essential vitamins like B12 and D3. I found some new ones and stopped taking others. And then I decided to stop them all. This is what happened.
For most of my life, I’ve been taking supplements. As a kid, my mother gave me Echinacea tablets. I remember being so proud I could say ‘Echinacea Purpurea’ when in the store to get a refill. It’s a homoeopathic supplement meant to boost your immune system.
I’m not against homoeopathy at all. Throughout my life, I’ve encountered several alternative herbal medicines that really worked for me. Several years ago, I went to a homoeopath. Amongst other things, he was insistent I take vitamin B12 every day. Even though the effects aren’t that noticeable, I feel worse when not taking them, so I have since then.
No More Bread
Last year during the first lockdown, my husband and I decided to stop eating bread. We hoped a low-carb diet would help us lose weight. Since I have always hated eating bread, I was sure my body would be happy if I stopped this habit.
Ever since we stopped, I have gained considerable weight, but we haven’t taken up our bread eating again. However, both of us developed many tiny ailments during this time. Things like dry skin, dry eyes, and overall not feeling great. My husband had an idea: what if we had a shortage of iodine in our system? Iodine is added to bread-salt in the Netherlands, so it was very possible we would now have developed a deficiency. We both did our research online and discovered this might very well explain our symptoms. We could supplement it with kelp tablets, and so we did. The first days taking these tablets were an eye-opener. I had so much energy! I felt so much more like the real Liz in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. But I know iodine is a tricky substance, something you should be careful with. So I went to my GP and asked for advice. sigh
My GP had never heard of kelp tablets, and when she looked them up on the computer, she found several articles saying how dangerous they are. She advised me not to take them anymore. How bad could my deficiency be anyway? She offered to have my blood taken and go from there.
I had my blood taken, and a few days later, I was told the results: nothing wrong with your blood or thyroid and no iodine deficiency. That was it.
When I told her during this visit I also took vitamin D3 daily, she mocked it. Yeah, she had heard of surgeons who benefitted from it, but regular people didn’t need it.
Her reluctance about taking vitamins led me to a decision: I would stop them altogether.
Quit Them All
So I did. It was partly because of what the doctor had told me and partly because I didn’t believe it could be necessary for me to take so many pills every day. My diet isn’t that great, but surely it wasn’t that bad? The medicines I bought at the local drugstore couldn’t be that essential?
I quit them all, also the B12 and D3 I have been taking for years. And slowly but surely, I descended into, well, I guess, darkness. The past four to six weeks, I didn’t note when it began; I deteriorated. I had trouble focusing, I only managed to complete the most necessary tasks, and my diet turned into meals that were easiest to make. Worst of all: I couldn’t sleep. Our sleep rhythm isn’t the healthiest, but it has worked for us for the past couple of years. We go to bed between 2 and 3 AM and get up after 10. The past month I was tired, which also caused or at least worsened my other symptoms. I felt terrible.
Starting Up Again
While discussing it with my husband, he proposed that maybe I should begin retaking my vitamins. I didn’t really want to, because what good would it do? But I tried. I started taking my B-vitamins complex pills and kelp. This was about a week ago. And you know what? Since I began retaking the B vitamins, I’ve slept! I sleep deeper, and I feel less tired throughout the day. I’ve taken my D3 pills daily the past couple of days, which immensely improved my mood and overall sense of wellness. I hate to admit it, but I need my vitamins.
I Need My Vitamins
My epiphany this week was that I do need my vitamins. I need them for a decent sleep, better concentration, and to improve my mood. If I ate things like fish and red meat, I probably wouldn’t need them, but I don’t eat those. While taking the pills, I can once again accomplish multiple tasks per day. I feel calmer and better overall. The tricky part is when I’m feeling down for lack of vitamins, I don’t realize that that’s the problem. I become overwhelmed by the feelings of sadness and despair and simply surrender. I have learned from these events to continue taking all the vitamins, no matter what doctors or other people say. My body has shown me this is necessary. I feel brighter and happier than I have felt in a long time, especially while the world outside is bleak and scary. So yes, I need to take my vitamins every day.