I’m like a bulldog when I latch onto something. I have celiac disease, and I have latched onto research and read everything I can about this “disease of the gut” (awful sounding name, isn’t it?) What I recently read was this disease of the digestive system actually has a lot of what are called “atypical symptoms” and they have nothing to do with the gut! There are probably literally millions walking around with no idea they have gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Yet they have plenty of symptoms. Some of the symptoms are the ones we don’t like talking about in public – I call them the “potty symptoms” in front of my kids (stop rolling your eyes). But my research on symptoms taught me some interesting things I didn’t know. There are plenty of symptoms that have nothing to do with the gut, but could actually clue one of the clueless doctors that gluten might be causing a problem. These are the atypical symptoms, meaning they are not the typical “potty symptoms”. An aside: I don’t mean to sound cynical about doctors, by the way, but what does it take to convince doctors they need to be testing a whole lot more people for gluten intolerance? Okay, back to my message. One of the atypical symptoms is depression. Depression is one of those problems that can be caused by a lot of things including a life full of problems. But a lot of times depression is caused by a chemical imbalance or nutritional deficiencies that rob the body of certain elements and minerals. Hellloooo …. doctor …. are you there?! Could you please test for gluten intolerance? I’m tired of feeling ill, tired and sad. That’s what a lot of people should be saying to their doctors. For many people it takes literally years before they find out their emotional sadness or depression is due to a nutrient imbalance due to being gluten intolerant. Of course, some people with celiac disease (who don’t know yet) get depressed because they have been sick for years and no on can tell them why. Depression can be debilitating. It is an ongoing state of sadness or feeling life is pretty much hopeless. A person with or without gluten intolerance can get depressed. But when depression is coupled with years of “potty symptoms” then the depression can be viewed as an atypical symptom. That means the doctor should stop telling you it’s all in your head and find out for sure what ails you through diagnostic testing. Are you depressed because you don’t feel well? Are you sad all the time, because life is so difficult due to your digestive problems? Or are you a known gluten intolerant and depressed because you find life to be too difficult having to watch everything you eat? Do you worry about what everyone else thinks – waiters, friends and family? If you are depressed and have been sick with relentless digestive problems, you need to find a doctor who’ll test for gluten intolerance. If you know you are gluten intolerant and your restrictive lifestyle is making you depressed, then you need to talk to a doctor, support group or someone who can help you understand your condition is controllable and life is good. I don’t want to sound like I think depression is something easily fixed. I know it’s not, but you shouldn’t be sad all the time. So if this message hits home, then you need to know you are not alone. For many people, going on a gluten free diet is the catalyst that not only makes them feel better physically. It makes them feel better emotionally and mentally too.