I am not embarrassed to admit that I’m a long term devotee of “Coronation Street” – its theme music and characters are planted in my subconscious and it’s a drama I’ve watched for 46 years or more.
It’s the only programme I have on auto record on Sky and sometimes a Weatherfield drought will see 20 episodes stacked up and never, ever, do I click delete on 19. I catch up and watch them all in 3 hour sessions. Why?
I find the characters and stories compelling and comic; at times the script is superb, and it’s been a big part of my life since 5 years old, when Albert Tatlock and Ena Sharples featured. I’ve never been on the Coronation Street tour, oddly, despite living near Manchester for 9 years. It’s on my bucket list.
I used to occasionally see stars from there: Alf Roberts on Deansgate; Kevin Webster and Martin Platt in Oldham and I did teach a Michelle LeVelle at Failsworth School (I think) who was some relation to Kev.
Hopefully, if you have no passion for Corrie, you’ve not clicked close yet because I do want to bring a parallel to the fore about mental health and food.
You see, as many of my friends know, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease – an auto-immune disease where my body finds gluten and even minute traces of it, toxic.
2001, when my son was two, I’d dipped to 10 stone in weight and an awful (in the true sense of the word) resemblance to a concentration camp occupant. All skin, all bone, no muscle and slowly wasting away with permanent diarrhoea and vomiting.
Mental health issues too – a permanent echo in my head, paranoia and OCD, depression and anxiety.
That protein gluten was destroying mind and body.
When I walked in the doctor’s again in 2002 about stomach issues, the avuncular Dr Sinclair in Epworth surgery, looked at me and said “Dear God, you look terminally ill. I’m sending you now to Scunthorpe General.”
He saved my life.
They did all the usual tests, kept me in, made me fast, drink Picolax and subsequent endoscopies and blood tests revealed coeliac disease.
I went gluten free the next day.
Regained physical and mental health and ballooned to what I am now – a 36 waist, 15 stone 10, 6 foot 2 male.
I don’t eat gluten ever – unless inadvertently – but that echo, those anxieties, those mental demons disappeared.
Depression and anxiety, along with PTSD, did resurface in 2013 but I’m getting better – despite the odd crap day where I pick the scab of the past.
So what’s the link to those cobbled streets?
Jude and Angie’s baby boy, grandson of Mary, previously accused of making the bairn ill.
It turns out last night, on catch up, that a banana was the culprit – a food allergy.
I spent 37 years suffering mental and physical pain with an undiagnosed allergy – my daughter Ruby (now 11) was diagnosed at three.
So if you’re feeling low, if you have stomach pains, a head echo, depression, anxiety, OCD, bodily pains, thinness, lack of energy etc – think about what fuel you use, and get your diet checked out professionally.
You don’t even need a camera up your bum any more either, I was told last week at my daughter’s annual check – a blood test can identify allergies without biopsy.
Your mental and physical health may be exacerbated by what you eat – think of me with gluten, or avenin, or baby George with a banana.
George is now on the mend (I know I need to get a grip) and if food affects you, a proper diagnosis will heal you longer term.
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It’s good to talk openly about mental health as men.