Thursday, May 29, 2014

Purple Pee and me

So I'm sitting in a darkened bathroom, trying to wee into a yellow sample jar. It's hard,
because it's dark and not much is happening.
The nurse told me to fill it two thirds full, and I've got one third. The rest is
 over my hand.

Along with three pints of blood, or so it felt, my shaded from light pee is
 off to get snap frozen and sent to Brisbane for the purple test.

Well mauve, actually.

When you have mauve pee, it's sign that you, along with other
characters like Charles Manson, Charles Darwin and the postal murder guy,
Patrick Sherrill, might have biological reasons for not being happy.

You've heard the phrase:"chemical imbalance in the brain,"right? Well here's
what's behind that.

No matter how much vitamin B6, 12 and zinc you swallow, your body is
never going to turn that into seratonin and dopamine flavoured happy.

In Australia, 40% of us don't soak up the goodies we need to make happy brains,
and we have to resort to pizza or anti depressants or chocolate.
It's called  Pyrroluria, or undermethylation. It's a genetic blood thing and also
brought about by trauma.

The studies are fascinating, ranging from LSD gobbling government funded
doctors in the late 50's to autopsies of a mass murderer.

After coming off antidepressant and NOT bouncing back into happy land,  I was
willing to part with the bucks needed for the pee test. Especially after
reading the symptom list. Embarrassing.

  • depression
  • obsessive-compulsive tendencies, perfectionism or feeling driven
  • high motivation
  • racing brain
  • agressiveness
  • inner tension
  • oppositional defiant disorder in children
  • insomnia, not needing much sleep
  • headaches
  • respiratory allergies
  • high sensitivity to pain
  • large ears, hands or feet or long fingers or toes
  • addiction to drugs, alcohol or sugar

  • oh, and throw in seasonal depression just for fun. Maybe I wasn't kidding about
    holding up a pizza place.

    Of course my pee tested mauve, and then it was a cocktail of specially formulated
    vitamins designed to get absorbed. I swallowed the pills and waited. This was when
    I reached for the journal.

    Slowly slowly the glass became half full again and I could see the point of
    getting up and out through the day. The early morning walks began to be fun
    and then more fun. The day shines brighter and I'm positive my pee isn't mauve any more.

    Sounds crazy - but people with autism and the ones who love them have known
    about this for years. It's all about getting the right building blocks into the brain. More here.

    yes that's me aged 9.

    This brain is very thankful.
    Enjoy the journal pages.


    1. Hi, I can really relate to a lot of the symptoms you've had, though in my case it was down to hormones - depression, paranoia, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts descended on me with puberty and didn't disappear till I was 41 and thank God hit the menopause early. Suddenly I was sane, happy and psychologically normalish for the first time since I was 11. All that time I had no idea, I just thought it was how I was. I hope you continue happy! and by the way I love your work.

    2. The brain is a truly incredible thing. Thank God for those who understand some of its workings and for miraculous purple pee tests! So glad the fog is lifting:) x

    3. So glad you are doing a bit better.
      How horribly complicated our brains are. I don't think they have taken up with the purple pee test in the US yet.
      Sending you lots of love.

    4. Great news that the vitamins are kicking in and you feel lighter. Great!
      May I ask how much the test cost?

      1. Well medicare does not cover it, because - of course the cure is not something you buy from a pharmacy. The pathology cost $160, then it had to be frozen in the dark and flown to brisbane etc etc etc, so all in all it was about $300. Well worth it to answer some questions about why I’ve been like this all my life.

        Weird stuff like the white marks on my nails and why I was never hungry in the morning. The thin hair and why I could never ever get a tan back in the day when that mattered.

        It also answered my family’s behaviour - the sudden burst of rage from my father, the constant anxious motion of my mother. What price for that?

        If you are in Sydney I can recommend my fabulous doctor who pointed all this out to me.



      2. Thanks D. I'm in Melbourne. I have some of the symptoms, and glory, I'd love to be off the antidepressants and on vitamins. Hmm. Will talk to my doc.
        Very pleased for you that you've got answers - truly wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to reply, and for the info'.

    5. Love the pages! Glad your feeling a bit better!

    6. I'm so glad things are on the upswing for you! Brain chem is a really interesting thing, a near-lifelong study for many of us. I do wish you well for now and the future. Love and hugs.

    7. With all of that, you produce an extraordinary journal. I couldn't have. You are truly amazing. xoxo

    8. Yay! This makes me happy. :D

    9. Write Draw even when you don't feel like it. Yes. Today I went to the shore because I do every day but today I really really needed the shore. Don't know what colour my pee would be but my heart is a deep mauve. I'm missing family and friends and the simple things I left behind - the market with my step-daughter, fish and chips at the truck, a book launch, a musician playing anything. We're here three more weeks and while I do love the wild nature of this place I'm feeling a little freaked out about coming back. My anxiety is through the roof. Do I need vitamins or a latte? Thanks for this and thanks as always for your fabulous artist heart. It helps so much.

    10. In journalling comes therapy and hopefully happiness.
      You are very very brave and inspirational.
      Lynn xx

    11. I am glad you are gradually getting better. I love your journal pages and I hope they give you comfort as you regain your health. xx

    12. Thankyou so much for sharing this Denise!
      Does the test have a name?

      1. Hi Pearl,

        Yep it does - testing for pyrrole disorder or pyrroluria as it sometimes called. They will look in the blood for high copper levels, (undermethylation) or really really low copper, (over methylation)and the urine test for pyrrole.

        Also high levels of histamine in the blood indicate the body isn’t using B6, B12 and zinc.

        When I had my bloods done I was so low in B12 I had to have a shot. Normal was about 100 - I had 6.
        Don’t be surprised if a regular doctor knows nothing about this. Oh, and not all path labs do this test.

        I hear that the US is a lot more hip to it than we are here at the moment.

        Hope that helps.


    13. I am so glad you are getting better and feeling better. I know I would have been doing the happy dance singing 'I'm not nuts! I'm not nuts!

    14. So sorry to hear that you have been dealing with all this and have had to go through the roller coaster of figuring it all out. Sounds like you are on the right path now. That is good news! No doubt the journaling helped you through and even though the content is anything but light hearted -- I find the pages quite inspiring.

    15. You are an inspiration and this will help so many people x

    16. I adore your honesty, and thoroughly enjoyed your journal pages. Best wishes.

    17. I find this post sooo interesting...I've been on an antidepressant for a few years now and it definitely has helped my panic attacks but if I forget to take it or heaven forbid can't get them for some reason or another.....OMG! The first day I get the electric shocks, the next day nausea and diarrhea by the third day voices whispering in my head!! If I had known all this about the withdrawal effects I would never have started it! I'm glad you got off of yours and are feeling better. I'm to scared to try.


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