Memory Loss Due to Food Allergy
I'm telling this story based on stories of other people that, fortunately, were with me to help me through this experience at the time. For obvious reasons, I do not remember most of the details from my own perspective.
Before my Sophomore year of high school, I celebrated my 15th birthday. As part of the celebrations, I had a lemon meringue pie. Although it didn't taste very good, I was hungry and Lemon Meringue was my favorite. The next day I came down with severe food poisoning from the meringue. A week later, I also came down with a stomach flu. I finally recovered after 2 weeks, but that's when problems with my memory began.
It started as relatively minor lapses in my memory; I'd forget to do my homework, new friends' names, or where I'd placed specific items at home. But slowly, over a couple weeks, it worsened. I would forget what day it was for sure. I'd not only forget to do my homework but that I had homework assigned to me at all. After a few months, I was forgetting whole days and weeks. Intermittently, I would become lucid and realize the time I had lost only to forget the following several days. Teachers, peers, and other parents treated my behavior as typical for a misbehaving teenager, but my own parents began to suspect something else.
The first semester ended, and I failed 4 of my 6 classes. My personality changed along with my memory loss. I became frustrated and easily angered. When the second semester of my sophomore year began, I showed chronic signs of fatigue and the most frightening symptoms of my amnesia. Short term memory was almost non-existent. I would lose a train of thought in the middle of a conversation, I'd forget important dates and any new acquaintances almost immediately. Weeks and months of time would go by with absolutely no recollection whatsoever. It can be likened to falling asleep in early February and waking up in late April.
Shortly before the end of my 2nd semester, my family doctor called my parents late one evening to tell them he had figured out what was wrong with me. An intolerance to Gluten (A protein found in grains), triggered by my food poisoning and stomach flu was to blame; My body was treating anything with Gluten in it as poison, which did not allow proteins, carbohydrates, or sugars from other food to go to the rest of my body as I digested it. It explained my lethargy and memory loss.
One diet change and I was on the road to recovery. While I was mostly unaware of the events as they happened to me, in retrospect I can honestly say that all other phobias pale in comparison to the terror of losing one's mind.