My Friend Vitamin D

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I used to live in a wonderfully lit flat, it helped me get back on my feet after a period of extreme anxiety. I would wake up in the sunshine and would be blessed with natural light in every room. 

After 4 years, my partner and I decided that we needed something bigger and moved to a flat in October 2016. The problem with viewing flats with agents is that you get such a limited time to decide properly. I wish I had taken more time, but I also felt guilty because sometimes people don't have a choice where they live or if they have somewhere to live. 

When we moved in, I had a slight niggle. The rooms didn't surround a hallway and in fact, there was one massive long strip of the hallway with a very dark carpet and no real light. The only rooms that were well lit were at the back and were the kitchen and the bathroom. 

As the days and then months started to go on, my anxiety reached a level I hadn't experienced since I was around 21 years old. The darkness started to overtake and I started to develop pain in my left shoulder bones, the bones in the palms of my hands and my fingers. I started to panic that I was getting arthritis and subsequently became quite depressed. 

It got to the point I couldn't cope with the pain and the anxiety so I booked an appointment with my GP and had a number of tests done. I got called back in and they informed me I had a severe Vitamin D deficiency. I remember sitting there looking at my doctor thinking, "what the fuck does this have to do with why I am feeling so much pain and misery?" She started to explain that vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and a deficiency can lead to bone pain and also can contribute to anxiety. I was still sceptical, but I was willing to do anything. 

I was put on drops to give me the maximum dosage and was advised it might take a few weeks to notice any difference. After 3 weeks my pain started to disappear and I could feel my mood lifting and the anxiety lowering. 

It's now been around 12 months and I take a vitamin D supplement every day. When I forget, I immediately start to feel a bit more jittery or feel slight pain. The spring and summer months have obviously been a bonus and the added daylight hours and sunshine has boosted my confidence. It's worth noting that I live in the west of Scotland and our weather is so shite that we don't exactly get the most sunshine. 

I now take Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D tablets. They aren't cheap at around £5.30, but you get 96 tablets in the packet so if you divide that over the cost, it seems more worthwhile. There are obviously other cheaper brands so make sure you investigate. The dosage I take is 1000IU. I must stress this might not be for everyone and if you have any concerns or queries, always refer to your GP. 

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.

Sources include:

  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna

  • red meat

  • liver

  • egg yolks

  • fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals

If you are vegan, here is a link to a list of foods that also may benefit: https://oldwayspt.org/blog/vitamin-d-sources-vegans-and-vegetarians 

It's also worth making sure that you try and get outside. I understand how difficult it is sometimes to even set foot out of the door, believe me. Even if you start by sitting next to the window, then try walking out of the door. Do these things a few times to get confidence and then try walking a few doors down or to the end of your road. All these elements will contribute to you getting some form of light. 

This isn't a magic cure for anxiety, but it has contributed to helping me on my journey and might help some of you. 

[Halina Rifai]

 

 

Halina Rifaivitamin d