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Depression, bread

Nicola Clarke
March 21, 2019

I love bread. I love ham and cheese sandwiches with mustard and mayo squidged into a thick, soft, granary loaf. I love hot buttery toast with jam and a sprinkle of salt on top. I love the forbidden: a dirty, starchy, plain white slice with bacon soaking into it, humminy. When I am depressed, these are my comfort foods, a guilty pique of pleasure to rouse my senses into something other than hopelessness. Not any more my friend. Stomach disagrees, stomach says no, I take this from you now, blerg. Stomach has been acting out, raging against my jeans waist and cramping in on itself, then the gurgle: meaaaalorrgggpuurp? Then the run to the loo, because who doesn’t love a depressive episode with a side order of diarrhoea? Hurrah!


There’s only so much crap, literal and figurative, that I am willing to take. So, I have decided to go, small eye roll, gluten free. Now, I’m pretty judgemental about food intolerances, ok, very. I am unabashedly vocal about people’s stupid food intolerances. “Oh David can’t have cow’s milk”, “I’m actually not suppose to have eggs”, “I’ll die if I eat that nut” blah de blah. As if people have no consideration for the time you’ve put into feeding them. With perfect irony, I myself, am allergic to chilli, something I never tell people, because I’d like to continue in the belief that intolerances are your problem and not everyone else’s. I have, you’ll be pleased to hear, arrived to countless dinners to be greeted with a thai/indian/japanese curry, or an actual bowl of chilli, or once, (safe as I believed I was at an English BBQ) a burger, packed with “my special ingredient - Chilean chillis”. I have always been grateful for food placed in front of me and with profuse thanks to the host, have returned home to deal with the fallout, itching and vomiting, smugly content in my ability to be a gracious guest. I mean, I don’t sit on my sofa and spoon sriracha sauce into my mouth to prove a point, that would be insane. I’m just saying, I would rather be ill than be ill mannered.


So why? Well, yes, because of stomach; bloated, explosive, gurgling bastard that he is. Also, because of depression: apparently depression has been linked to IBS and Celiac disease. Intriguing… Some studies have shown that people with CD are at higher risk of suicide. Some studies show that people with IBS are more likely to suffer from anxiety (duh). And, as is the case with most cases, more research needs to be done.


I think about how much gluteny things I’ve been eating and it’s a lot, there’s a lot of bread and cereal and wraps, and I have depression. Depression, bread. I’ve never separated the two long enough to think they might affect each other. Do I have celiac disease? Maybe, a bit, I know right now I’m uncomfortable enough to just cut out gluten and see how it goes. I’m not going to get tested for it, the NHS has other things to deal with, like handle their unmitigated waiting list for patients with mental illness (mic drop). It’s worth giving it a go and seeing if it helps, I mean, almost anything is worth it to improve your mental health right?


So, it is with deep consideration that I embrace the food intolerance lifestyle of someone that I regularly refer to as, a pain in the arse. I say goodbye to bread, or gluten or whatever, I will just have to suffer the haunting look of disappointment as I decline a homemade biscuit “but I made it especially for you” the guilt, the GUILT.