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Is there a connection? I've been vegetarian for a decade and transitioned as I hit my teen years, the most important development years. About the same time I developed depression, anxiety, panic attacks and a lack of appetite that left me malnourished and underweight.
I recently attempted to go vegan. It did not go down well with my family. Worried about my 'extremism', they called out doctors, who attempted to force me into a mental hospital. I avoided it by a small margin. To avoid further trouble, I have abandoned the strict vegan diet, though I will continue to minimise the dairy I consume and avoid things such as leather where possible and practicable. I'm afraid to stand by my morals and refuse food with animal products in it because it turns my whole family against me.
Having seen shocking footage such as Earthlings and having become aware of the environmental and health related damage animal based diets cause, I've become deeply upset by the majority of humanity's attitudes and their arguments to defend their carnism. I'm often misanthropic. I'm asocial - I avoid socialising with other humans where possible because I can't abide the common ignorance people have concerning their diets. I feel I'm a failure because though I've been a vegetarian for a whole decade, my family still has no intention of making that change themselves and would rather label me mentally ill than compassionate. I'm afraid, because I see that people can act without conscience and cause horrific cruelty without remorse if they profit by it.
All in all, veg*ism has opened my eyes to the extent of barbarism in our world and I despair of it. If I had never become aware, and had remained an omnivore, would I be happy instead of suicidal?
Sounds to me like the thing that makes you sick is the people who have administered junk food of the mind . Millions of healthy vegans in the world and millions more on the way. The best way to beat the heat of No meat is to simply understand that the family chooses not to take the challenge and would rather have you follow there easy and simple footsteps . Keep up the good work and if you are feeling down pump yourself full of pure energy without cutting into the life of another life . Cheers !!!
I was omnivorous through all my teen years, switching between a healthy and unhealthy diet, and never noticed a difference in my mental health. Same with switching to veggie a few months ago--no change, positive or negative. I've had severe depression (among other things) for years now. My diet has never affected anything, except maybe stress (related to high sodium levels and dehydration though).
There could be a connection for some, but I imagine not for the majority.
Have you heard of HSP's??! Highly Sensitive People. It could be that you are a highly sensitive person and as such you are finding it hard to cope with the harsh realities of this world - especially in terms of how humans enslave and destroy our animal friends....I know this is true for me. Instead of thinking that there is something wrong with you, maybe you should celebrate the fact that you have a really big heart and a fine mind, open enough to see all the cruelty for what it is. Take it easy on yourself and maybe look up some info on how to cope.
On the other hand it is possible I believe, for there to be a link to low mood and diet. I think I am right in saying that brazil nuts contain selenium (read it somewhere) and that eating at least 3 nuts a day can help veggies to feel better.
I hope my comments are helpful to you. I truly know how hard some days are to cope with when contemplating the horrible cruelties that exist, we can feel encouraged that there IS a growing movement towards vegetarianism...I am hopeful big changes will come :-)
Unfortunately, as comforting as it would be, veg*nism doesn't emancipate us from universal human ailments. Just like with more physical ailments that veg*nism protects us from (but does not absolutely prevent us from getting), we are also still susceptible to mental disorders.
Unless anybody on this board is a board certified psychiatrist/psychologist and goes through your life and medical history, there is no way to conclusively determine whether or not your diet was in any way responsible for the manifestations of your problems. If you delve into the psychology of the mind, you will find that the teenage years are years in which many changes occur, which is also correlated to the manifestations of many of the symptoms you described. With that being said, it is not so simple as to say that your views are solely responsible for all of your problems.
However with that being said, being a compassionate human being in our current society can certainly be a nightmare that can, at times, create a large amount of external stress in the form of staying true to your convictions despite the persecution you face from others.
In my educated opinion, I would suggest several potential solutions that you could work towards. The first of which is gaining acceptance from your family and creating a home environment that fosters acceptance and encouragement. This could be accomplished by simply sitting down with your family and laying out your viewpoints and not necessarily try to force your lifestyle on them, but instead ask them for support in your convictions. If its not that simple, there are family counselors and professionals out there trained specifically for your circumstances.
Another suggestion is to change the way you think about things. You mentioned in your post that you often wonder if you would have been better off staying omni, which is not a healthy way of thinking. Instead of going down that avenue, I would encourage you to think of all of the positive changes you are making in your life and the life of animals that you are protecting; the benefits of being veg*n so heavily outweighs any possible negative aspects of the lifestyle.
In addition to these suggestions, I would furthermore suggest that you schedule an appointment with a nutritionist that "specializes" in veg*n diets. Unfortunately, some nutritionists are still clinging onto "traditional" diets and might also attempt to sway you away from veg*nism. An open minded or veg*n nutritionist will best be able to assess your situation and be able to guide you down the path of a complete, balanced diet that will restore your physical health.
I hope these suggestions have helped you in some way! I wish the best for you and I hope that everything works out!