There was a time when I felt totally trapped in my own body. It was like a living nightmare and I was totally and constantly freaked out. Looking back I can’t believe it got that bad.
It was 2011 when I first started noticing that my brain and memory were not doing quite what I had been used to them doing for all of my life until that point. In hindsight, I don’t really think it should have come as a surprise. The first contributing factor to my premature cognitive decline was that, at that point in my life, I was going through a phase where I was mainly eating only vegan, raw, unprocessed, whole and organic food. A typical lunch would be a handful of mixed raw nuts and a tomato or some other whole savoury fruit. A bit boring I agree but super healthy right? It was for a while and it might have stayed that way if I had done a bit of research or sought after the advice of a nutritional expert. I don’t have anything against eating only vegan, raw, unprocessed, whole and organic food. It’s not an easy thing to do with ice-cream and pizza being so freakin’ delicious but the way I did it was just plain irresponsible.
I would often miss meals if I didn’t have access to food that stood up to my ridiculously high standards. When I did eat, I often ate very little in a day while still having a busy life working hard, going to the gym, having late nights and having numerous other creative projects on the go. I ended up showing signs of being malnourished within a year or so after I started with my extreme food-snobbery. I wasn’t supplementing. I was low on B-vitamins especially and I got sores in the corner of my mouth that would not heal. I was constantly tired and I started showing signs of depression. If that’s not enough, vitamin B deficiency can affect cognition with symptoms like foggy brain and poor memory.
On top of my self-destructive diet I was drinking alcohol and doing recreational drugs. At that point I didn’t know that drinking alcohol strips your body of b-vitamins, so I was only exacerbating my issue. Drugs didn’t do my brain any favours either. I have recently seen brain scans of drug addicts and alcoholics where the brain look like a deflated balloon, totally destroyed. Yikes. My body was breaking apart and my brain was a part of the demolition.
It all turned to poo
Fast forward another 6 months to a year later and my memory was in a dire state of disrepair. I swear I am not exaggerating with this part one bit… Sometimes, on a bad day, when I was listening to someone talking to me, I couldn’t even remember the beginning of their sentence by the end of their sentence. I had to pretend that I knew what they were talking about and cut conversations short by changing the subject to something I thought I could follow. It was really scary and secretly I was totally embarrassed. I remember being too frightened to talk to people sometimes and my confidence and self-esteem was getting smashed. At one point it had gotten so bad that I honestly was starting to believe that I had achieved some sort of pre-senile dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s or something. I remember being acutely aware everyday that I wasn’t firing on all cylinders and it felt like I was trapped in a body that wasn’t mine. FML.
The journey begins
I never saw a doctor (mostly out of sheer denial and shame) to get officially diagnosed or treated but I knew my condition was serious and I knew that I had to do something about it fast. I started doing research and discovered my symptoms were typical of vitamin B deficiency. Great start! So I put all sorts of food back on the menu including ice-cream and pizza. I supplemented my new diet with good multivitamins, stopped consuming alcohol and recreational drugs completely and started exercising regularly again.
No surprise, over time, those changes helped a lot, returning my overall cognitive function to what I felt was around 80% of what I considered to be normal for me. But I wasn’t satisfied. l felt that my creativity and higher thought capabilities like introspection, future planning and the ability to understand difficult concepts was still definitely limited. My memory, generally, still wasn’t great either and I still felt somewhat trapped in a world dulled by limited brain function.
Crashing through my wall
After about a year and a half of this sub-par existence, I knew that I needed something to take my recovery to the next level. I started doing huge amounts of research into, what was then, the still emerging field of nootropics and the science of enhancing cognitive function through supplementation. I scoured blogs and websites and read medical research papers by the dozens. Based on what I learned through my research, I went online and bought the ingredients I needed to push me over my wall. And with that my journey into the life changing world of nootropics had started.
After only a month of supplementation, I could feel that I was on the brink of the breakthrough I had been looking for. My brain and memory started working better than they had in many years. I noticed I could concentrate a bit better and I there were small improvements in my memory such as being able to remember the word I was searching for in my mind (which may sound like a small thing but it was a big deal at that point!). Small improvements were happening but they were improvements nonetheless.
Then one day, after about 8 months of taking my self-designed nootropic regimen, I suddenly noticed in some random moment in the middle of an average day, that I didn’t feel the normal brain fogginess and dulled-brain feeling that I had come to think of as my default cognitive state. I could distinctly sense that my brain and memory were functioning in a way that felt smooth and clear. It was like all the lights had been turned back on and they were glowing bright. Eureka! I was out of the tunnel. I had broken through my wall!
From there things just kept getting better, to the point I am at now where my brain feels like it is functioning better than at any time in my life. Better than when I last felt at my best as a teenager. The best thing that happened was that I felt my higher cognitive functions returning with ‘extra fries’ and my creativity started to blossom boundlessly.
Today I feel smarter and happier than I have ever felt in my life. And my memory is fantastic. It’s been a truly remarkable recovery which has inspired me to share my experience and knowledge with others. My experience using nootropics has, without a doubt, changed my life.