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Candida Die Off

In Autism Research Unit, Department of Nutrition, Food diary, Unforgiving Minutes on May 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm

A few lost days recently, and mainly to Candida Die Off. Probably I have mentioned this before, and certainly I will mention it again. It may be that the mechanism for it is not yet quite fully understood and that it will not in future be described as Candida Die Off, but since the self-styled hard-nosed scientists who ridicule such ideas provide no better hypothesis for how and why I come to feel so shite before I come to feel better following the imposition of a strict dietary regime after a lax spell or the ingestion of probiotics, and since they get many details wrong when they swagger into the fray, since indeed those who talk of Candida die off, off-puttingly flaky though they may be, describe perfectly how I feel and give the only plausible reason why I should feel it, Candida die off it remains.

So, the hypothesis goes something like this:

Because of the increasing prevalence of highly refined carbohydrates and sugars in our diet, because of the high-yeast fast bake process, because of the shift towards milling of flours which removes all nutritional value, because of the over prescription of anti biotics by doctors and the use of prophylactic anti biotics in animal feed, the gut flora (the balance of “good” bacteria to bad and other strains), there is increasingly a problem of Candidiasis in Western populations.

Candida albicans is a common yeast-like microorganism which, given the right environment, and in a dearth of more desireable “gut flora”, can flourish, literally threading itself through the gut lining of suffers.

In itself it can cause a problem, releasing toxins. But this threading through the gut too can cause “leaky gut syndrome”, where particles that ought not to pass through the selectively-permeable membranes of the gut, can pass thorugh. Once they have done so they can in some cases interfere with the function of the central nervous system. In others, they can trigger food allergies which then further inflame the gut lining, decreasing absorption and leading to yet further problems.

To defeat this an anti-Candida diet has to be employed. I have benefitted from this myself, though I have never found myself able to persist in its strictures which involve the exclusion of all refined carbs (I couldn’t give up exercise, for one thing, which makes me crave carbs, I often say that if I had the organisational capacity to carry out the diet, I wouldn’t need it, and I have poor/non-existent impulse control besides). In addition, pro-biotics are important, to build up the immune system against the invasive organism.

While these necessary measures are being taken, though, something called Candida Die off occurs in which, depending on which theory you go for (to me the results are the same and so it makes little odds) either A> dying Candida releases the toxins that would otherwise be left inside or B> the Candida, now that the environment is more challenging, becomes more aggressive in order to bed itself into body tissues. In the process, you experience something called Herxheimer reaction (which also may or may not be the correct nomenclature). Essentially, this is toxic overload. You feel like hell, have all the symptoms of flu, including tingling skin (check), lethargy (check), sleepiness (check), and feeling cold.

Mine came on first a few days ago when I began eating home-made probiotic sauerkraut and took a probiotic capsule or two. I wasn’t quite getting it right. These measures should be rolled in slowly after the strict following of an anti-Candida diet. I hadn’t quite done this. My priorities and obsessions shift so much that I tend to be all or nothing most of the time, and I had come on too strong with the probiotics after too loose an interpretation of the Candida diet. (Another reason I have for believing this hypothesis incidentally, is the severity of the symptoms and the way they corrolate with how lax I have been in applying the diet, how quickly I move from eating badly to eating well – with or without probiotics – and how aggressively I introduce probiotics.)

In addition, I woke up this morning after sleeping badly last night, feeling like I had a cold. Though I had been shaky all day yesterday and knew I was coming down with Herheimer/Die off, I went for a fell run race starting at 19:15 and ran 4 miles with an 1100 feet climb. I came down and felt better than I had all day, but by the time it came to go to bed, I felt alert. My head was spinning. I couldn’t sleep until late, another symptom, now I look back, of Herxheimer. Exercise too helps to kill the Candida and I had ran pretty hard.

And so I have been achy all day, had loose stool (sorry), and felt too crabby for company.

Still, good and bad news. The good: I’ve still got a long way to go. The bad: I’ve found something that works, Sauerkraut and the fermented foods Natasha Campbell McBride believes to be so effective against such problems and the mental difficulties they can cause.

The only lingering bad in all of it, perhaps, is that tomorrow I’m off to do some Dry Stone Walling again and had hoped to chat to the Chainsaw Girl I met last time and who I have been daydreaming about since, but then, since I’m still profoundly ambivalent about relationships and siding, most times, with Gibbon (as Anthony Storr described him in Solitude) who said he often dreamed of being coupled, but was invariably glad to wake up from the reverie and find himself untethered, maybe that itself is no bad thing. All I’ve got to ensure is that I manage to cook something tomorrow morning!

Night Gav-watchers

Gav Belcher

What it means…

In A Walter Mitty Character, Autism Research Unit, Meta Gav, The Uglier House Gavzette, Uncategorized, Unforgiving Minutes, UoG Newsletter, Work Diary, Writing Diary on May 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm

…to be diagnosed.

In short I don’t know. Peace of mind it isn’t. Not in itself. Not by a long way.

Regret and self-hatred haven’t been strangers the last few days. Those fifteen to twenty years that needn’t have happened as they did. Those relationships that needn’t have foundered. Those mistakes that might perhaps not have been made. Those mistakes that keep on being made now. The complexities that have gone on in those long days, months, and years building up into my personality. The fact that the direct difficulties of the disorders I have had to face unknown and unrecognised have become outweighed much of the time by second-order difficulties of social functioning, of past hurts. None of these things are easy to ignore, or to simply acknowledge as passing thoughts in the mind.

Still your face doesn’t fit. Still you don’t know what to say. Still you speak and make no sense.

Still the handful of people who make an effort to understand are few and far between, and the necessity of seeing on a daily basis the people who don’t get it, don’t want to get it, don’t need to care, goes on, making life some days like the necessity of walking those last drudging miles home with failing light, aching bones and muscles and blisters rubbing on every step.

Still people take a kind of unfamiliar pride in traducing you in any way possible, feeling better for it, feeling morally superior for it. Because people like you don’t understand the social niceties everyone has hard wired into them, and so you need to be put down for it until you learn.

Every day you trust less.

Mud can make you prisoner and the plains can bake you dry
Snow can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry

It’s the end of the beginning, with a long fight yet. A long walk ‘home’.

– Clatterbach

Home, psych appointment tomorrow

In Uncategorized, Unforgiving Minutes on May 14, 2010 at 12:42 am

Why I do it I don’t know. Home after a near three hour drive. I walk through the garage door and there’s the bookshelf my dad organised for me. All the books I impulsively bought and didn’t read. Ten to fifteen wasted years laid out in a more or less arbitrary system by a man who never loved books and never could understand that no system could ever work. A man who has to come tomorrow to tell the man who stands in the way of diagnosis and treatment that all is not right with me, and who I have no confidence in to do just that.

His latest in there in front of it. A magpie trap, three foot high.

The welsh rats fall on me as soon as I sit in front of the computer. Coming back I thought on a lot of things. One of them, the way I have periodically been posting on Dark Mountain Forum – sardonic digressions and the kind of solipsistic private jokes I once had as a feature of Baz’s nihilism in an unwritten novel intended as an update of Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons for the postmodern age; Gav Belcher talking to Prof Gavin Belcher; me challenging the world to not understand me – and how I see in myself the preemptive aggression of somebody with attachment disorder.

I sit down and write up a round of fucks on Twitter, like I used to do when I was still on Facebook as something other than a fictional dead St Bernard. That earned me the term Weltschmertz around a year ago, from an old housemate at uni. The kind who never much tried to understand the difficulties I faced. Or in any case couldn’t. His life had been too straightforward to have a clue what might be going on in my mind.

I take a look to see if I can delete the offending posts. I can’t. Glance over them and cringe.

I delete my account on Dark Mountain’s Ning network, leaving the reason: I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member

Initially I sat down to write down a little of one strand of brainstorm that came from the journey back. From a fag break at Llangollen, or thereabouts. My head has been busy. Angry too. Chocolate and caffeine and crap on Anglesey the other day dry stone walling (yesterday in fact. Christ, so much has happened since, in my mind at least, that it feels so long ago). I had a fantastic day as it happens, and believed in something. But then more chocolate and crap walking in the Glyders straight afterwards. And my head was crammed. I wanted to document some of that.

Making up sandwich bags earlier today I was deep in a reverie of walking people down from the mountain. Two lost souls. Me with headtorch walking at night, and seeing them as they rang mountain rescue. Me talking over the phone to MR.

A lot of reveries with someone I met the other day.

Talking to the docs, of course.

I’ve been making governments, on panel shows talking about how my welsh is pretty good (it isn’t) and defending the welsh against charges of bigotted nationalism etc. I’ve been on bizarre reality shows involving going on long long walks. But it all comes and goes so fast that reconstructing it is like trying to reel off the number plates of cars you have passed on a long drive like that one just now. It’s not possible, and then, when you tell of the few prolongued reveries you can recall, it sounds reasonable and wholly ordinary. But it is all the time.

The brainstorm was setting up an internet forum for people addicted to the internal combustion engine. It came from some of the ad hominem posts on Dark Mountain’s response to George Monbiot in the Guardian. A whole philsophy panned out behind it. The Gav Belcher, Prof Belcher interplay I had down pat now. missy g b was on the scene too documenting it. I had it panned out in terms of my day today:

  • Driving the ten country miles over the Llanberis pass to Pete’s Eats to eat something I knew I shouldn’t
  • Chainsaw-related reveries
  • loving the Harley at Pete’s and the Discovery parked at work
  • Loving driving to Pete’s, and being addicted to driving everywhere in North Wales

It discussed how difficult it is to steer yourself to a life where all reliance on the motor car is obviated. It discussed allegations of hypocrisy as not being the hand down winner of arguments people think it is.

It discussed a lot of things. But it is for another time… ie. never. It was long and involved and could have been a good example, not so much of the brainstorms I was talking about in my last post – far from it – but the distractions and part of the pressure of thought in my head even when I’m well stimulated by driving, if not by radio. Besides so far here I’ve been distracted by Twitter and shite all the way and have written this much in an hour and 40 minutes. I’m knackered, have a long shitty day tomorrow and I’m made enough of an ass of myself already.


Víkendy bych zrušil

In Unforgiving Minutes, Work Diary, Writing Diary on March 31, 2010 at 10:19 pm

It’s not the weekend, admittedly, but these lats two days I’ve not been working, and it has been the toughest two days for a long time. Maybe only for a week, who knows, but tough. From one minute to the next unsettled, trying to get through the day doing one thing then the next, and not feeling right in any one of them. Wearing a stupid haircut again but not wanting to take time out to go and get it cut. Not in the mood to climb, or to run, in the nasty wet and then snowy weather, but not trusting myself to stick out writing and get something meaningful done either, nor able to relax into a DVD, or relax into anything for that matter.

It could be anything. Could be any number of things. I have to get back to Kedo still over the question of a holiday in Romania. Something we didn’t manage to do those years ago, years that have slipped by insidiously quickly in this very same confused anxiety of a mix of conflicting impulses. Holidays have led to so much stress with me every time I can remember. I had to drink myself to a sleep that didn’t come last time I went to Prague. And the run up to it, having to let down a friend to go to Slovakia instead of the Brecons or wherever he was going, I would myself up into a rediculous frenzy over that. I haven’t got back to Kedo over whether I can go to Romania in June. To do so I would have to broach the subject with my boss, tell him the dates and get the yay or nay. It’s always a simple matter like that that sticks in me somehow. Broaching Prague to my folks last time who were subsidizing my writing venture, breaking up the progress I was making on Scars and Tattoos, versus having a much needed break and getting out of my habit of reclusiveness I had fallen into.

With my brother too I have been planning a holiday. An active holiday. The first dates fell through. Can’t get the time off. And so it fell off my radar. Of course, in this time too, my mania for activities and climbing and kayaking and biking and all the things I should have been doing for the last ten years or so fell away. Writing and Czech were up there at the top again. More stress. More letting people down. More indecisiveness. More putting off decisions and conversations until it all came to a head, in my mind at least.

And then too, maybe with a few days of overcast weather and feeling out of sorts. Maybe with the one woman I know here going away and, as little as I spoke to her, being more able to speak to her about ADHD (which covers the Asperger’s I don’t talk about, though I have now quite calculatedly placed The Big Bang Theory downstairs in plain view), about depression and problems with relationships, I feel down, alone, and rejected by everyone around me, as if this is simply one more place I don’t fit in, not the first and certainly not the last in a life which will be lived from one to the next, constantly on the move, never setting down roots, and always burning bridges. And so slečna Barbora is back in the picture.

Ok, so she has been for some time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mixed tapes a masterpiece

In The Waste Posts, Unforgiving Minutes on February 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

In Capel Curig a week or so now and struggling to find a routine. I’ve done no writing for over two weeks now, I’m sure. Nothing of any value in any case. Plenty of ideas. Ideas are not a problem. The trouble is I’ve not been able to establish my priorities or the habit of working on a particular story. It’s the old story then. And that’s the problem. Now that I know how much I struggle with consistency of output and priorities, I struggle to believe I can do it – too many bad experiences over the years, too many hopes shattered – and so I can’t even begin. Next to me is another fresh book for me to read. Another compulsive purchase, this time from one of the many oh so exciting bookshops in Bangor, a University Town, The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor. Two boxes full of books and I have to buy another. And then another, last time, a book by Peter Matthieson. And yet I know that even now as my Dad is cataloguing my books back home, writing their names, ISBNs and authors into a database I’ll never use, barely any of them have been read to the last page. A decent minority of them have been read beyond the first chapter. And then others into the twenties and thirties. Pages that is.

Scarcely a week in, having come into this shared house and dared to display my typewriter from the first night here, I started a new novel. And I called it that. It wasn’t a short story. It was a novel. It now sits scrumpled in the typewriter which I haven’t dared use but once, and under it.

It strikes me again and again here how easily a man like myself can learn not to enjoy the things he enjoys. I could love walking in the hills, or walking in general, but then to be surrounded by men who love motorbiking and climbing, I struggle to persuade myself it is not a feeble waste of time.

The case is not helped, perhaps, by the fact that many of my pleasures are ambiguous to me. I’m not sure if I enjoy them, or I tire of them at least as often as I find pleasure in them. Jazz, which I’m listening to now, is one such. Reading, running, cycling. Certainly writing, are duties as often as they are pleasures. Some people are not born to be happy.
As I am not at the moment. I am in fact depressed. I hear it in my own voice, which I despise. I cannot believe in the possibility of closeness to others. I have friends scattered around the places I have tried to make home. In reality I am homeless. Often I am reminded of R S Thomas who I read of recently in a rare example of a book I completed (314 pages of it), who moved from place to place trying to find somewhere he fitted in. I will be here for a while, and I will not fit in. Not really. Not at all. And then I will move on again. Perhaps I will make a friend here who I will keep at a distance as I move on and on again. Perhaps not. But that I will move on and on again seems inevitable to me. This, it seems to me, is the lot of the writer.

No television and little radio reception here. But jets rip through the valleys. In summer there will be motorbikes. This is the entropy of modern life. Read the rest of this entry »


In Unforgiving Minutes on February 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Phone call from the doc today. Asking me whether I want to be referred to Maudsley Hospital in London or the Barberry clinic in Birmingham. I hesitated, not having much looked into the Barberry and doubting it a little since it is a new service. In my first letter I had specified the Maudsley hospital because it is a known centre of excellence and I didn’t much want to have to deal with another clueless doctor. The Barberry was, however, the centre I told the doctor about some months ago and which I asked to be referred to back then. I let him persuade me. I only now have to wait and see when they can offer me an appointment.

The PCT has only, this far, agreed to fund a first consultation. I’ll see how far that will take me.


Cigars and Shooting Stars

In CBT, Creative Writing Department, Department of Psychology, Food diary, Progress Review, Unforgiving Minutes, Work Diary, Writing Diary on December 15, 2009 at 12:59 am

Hard to believe that Thursday gone I told my CBT therapist that I had been feeling so good that if I were to continue feeling as good as I had been that week I would struggle to differentiate my own experience from that of anyone else. I had perhaps felt that way for a couple of days. It was something I had said to B_____ as we went walking up in the hills with our headtorches one foggy night last week. I had eaten pretty well for a while, taken a lot of probiotics, and felt, after reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome, that I was taking care of things.

I don’t know how it was I came to feel that way, only that it was as bizarre a reflection of my own microclimate that feeling that way for a couple of days, with less going on cluttering up my head than usual, led me to think that I was cured.

Friday was a tough night. I Met up with everybody from my old place of work after a break of six months or so. And I didn’t drink. Didn’t drink because I’m trying hard to keep off it, trying to stick to a meaningful anti-candida diet so I can calm down my head for good and get to the top of that hill I’ve been aiming for for months. Didn’t drink because every time I have drank, anything, over the last few months, I have seen so clearly how it only makes me angry and distracted, and irritable and lacking in concentration for the next few days. That was difficult in itself. I chatted for a while, and people were welcoming. But the group grew and grew drunk, and I struggled. By the time we moved upstairs I didn’t want to deal anymore with the complications of women coming on to me I wasn’t interested in, with the people I ended up sat next to who I had literally nothing to say to, with feeling like the dullest man in the world. I left feeling foolish and lost. People around me were having the time of their lives, struggling with the emotions they felt to people they were now not supposed to be feeling emotions for. I was making people feel uncomfortable.

I smoked that day, as I smoked the week before, in a similar position in the first leaving do for a friend of mine, one of two or three friends I have had for years and see on a reasonably regular basis. From that Friday, when I came back at what may have been little later than 12 midnight and stayed up until three with the clenched head I get after being around people and processing it all for hours at a stretch to tread water, I have fallen into a kind of ennui that sits best with the nocturnal hours. All day I find myself rudderless and anxious, and then, at ten, eleven, twelve, I make it up to the summerhouse to the typewriter with a hot water bottle.

I have rediscovered poetry, and written something maybe most days since that Friday, when I had to get something out, however rough it may have been. But the stories have been slow moving. I did finish Quiz Night last Monday, and had the idea for Sham almost immediately afterwards, but it’s moving slowly with this routine I’ve found for myself and almost wilfully exaggerated by being too self conscious about it all.

And as for my head being quiet! The last few days I have been a blacksmith – the result of opportunities that have been discussed and which provide me with a dilemma. I have made damascus steel knives, bracelets, forks and I don’t know what else. I have shown my work to various people and expressed all of the facets of a truly bellicose manner that befits my mood and the role of a blacksmith.

It struck me on Saturday that smoking does for me in much the same way as drinking and bad food. I know this. And yet I forget this, and so here we go round again.

But I’m tired. I came in an hour ago tired to the point of near collapse and have been wasting my time with this barely-coherent piece since.

Once again, I have got to get back to basics. It’s not easy.

Demob happy?

In A Walter Mitty Character, Creative Writing Department, Unforgiving Minutes on November 27, 2009 at 12:14 am

I was out with a friend of mine and his son at fireworks night when we got to talking, not for the first time, about dating websites. He had met a woman over the internet, jokingly (so he says) made mention of a window in his schedule between the end of the working week and his psychotic ex popping round with his little boy. She said, ok, one o’clock you say, and drove the not-insignificant commute. Cue afternoon of rare athleticism. Read the rest of this entry »

A doctor who listens!

In A Walter Mitty Character, Autism Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Unforgiving Minutes on September 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm

There’s a parcel waiting at the door to be posted to some woman who’s bought A Kestrel for a Knave through my Amazon seller account that peaked a week or two back in some bizarre saving-the-world-through-bookmarks-about-colony-collapse-disorder fantasy. I get up late after a late night last night trying to work til I drop by doing a translation of The theatre of Jara Cimrman because until ten I had been writing for this blog rather than Call Them Soldiers (I will have to watch out that I don’t slip into doing that more often) and then I was too awake to sleep. I had a valerian tea, which often doesn’t put me to sleep at all – not the brand I have been able to track down of late anyway – and I think that often makes me irritable and jittery the next morning. I got up late, at around twenty past eight, with the post office opening at half past and the doctor’s switchboard too – you have to make appointments on the day and it is a nightmare of ringing and redialling over and over.

I have a shower. Finally. I was beginning to stink again. I realised my lack of personal hygiene is becoming a problem at times when I got a call from a mate to meet up at the driving range with him and a friend. (He phrased it, as he always does, that I don’t have to turn up if I don’t want to, understanding perfectly that I don’t do well with other people.) My mum told me not to wear those jeans as I headed out, with the tear in them. But it was when I got there I realised that I stank. And telling the guy I don’t work at the moment, this guy who looks so straight-laced. The kind of guy who comes over as older than his years, though handsome. As the hot water hit me I tried to remember the last time I showered. We’re not talking weeks by any stretch, but it had been a while. I do tend to be irritated by the ‘waste’ of time unless I have been out on my bike or done some exercise that I can wind down with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Reasons to be Cheerful

In Autism Research Unit, Commentary, Department of Psychology, Unforgiving Minutes on September 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I read, and the paper moves down the page. The words go into my head, somewhere, like when people are talking to me and I hear them but.. don’t process it.

A couple of hours on and my mood has picked up enormously. I paced. Figuratively and perhaps as good as literally, in that longer-time-frame way I have of walking up the stairs, failing to take to a room and walking down again, over and over. I decided to get out on the bike. The super duper bike this time. And so I pick it up and try and pump up the tyres. No go. One wheel, meant for trials riding and so much thicker and heavier than I need, extends over the valve so that I can’t put my stupid Decathlon pump over it. That gets thrown around. A few grunts (these ugly, loud, gutteral grunts I make, and am making with increasing frequency, which are something like Clint Eastwood’s ludicrous snarl cum grunt in Gran Tourino raised to the power of stupid), a few Fuck off!s and For fuck’s sake!s, and yet, when it comes down to it, and despite my day-long downer and restless agitation, I do well to not get angry and to use three different pumps, none of them much use for the purpose, to pump up the bike and get out.

<< Rewind. Up to seven, eight years ago, and soon after the conclusion of the whole frame and forks bought, bike assembled, badly, piecemeal, bike fixed up at great expense, forks recalled and part replaced drama that was a lot more traumatic than it sounds, and I’m desperate to get out of the house to quell some of the restlessness I didn’t then understand at all. I don’t find a pump or there is some problem. But I have to get out. I can’t not. I’m desperate. I pace, literally for sure. I curse, grunt, no doubt, have a tantrum, get into a state of near-hysteria, and then have to go for a run instead. I remember few of the details. I can picture the bike, leaning up against the two step retaining wall (is that a retaining wall? Is it a wall. Whatever it is it is the height of two decorative steps.) of the lawn. I can remember people making mollifying remarks that would not have mollified me at all. I remember, I think, the shoes I would have been wearing, Hi Tecs I had for much of university. And I remember the state I was in. Back then, I didn’t have a clue how my mind or my body worked. >> Read the rest of this entry »