Tag Archives: Depression

An Update on Me

Back in July, I posted this picture on my Instagram page.

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It got a lot of people worried…so I thought I would fill in my health woes.  I’m not sure if you’ll remember, but back when I was pregnant, I was admitted to the hospital with strange stomach pain.  The doctors couldn’t decide if it was my gallbladder, an ulcer, or just a whiny pregnant lady.  I thought for sure it was my gallbladder.  I mean, I was in some serious pain – bad enough that I went to the hospital.  The doc told me to lay off coffee and left it at that.

It wasn’t the coffee.

Since the baby’s been born, I’ve been on and off with the crazy stomach pain.  I thought it was due to eggs – it seemed that every time I ate an egg, my stomach would go into terrible spasms.  I went to my Family Doctor who listened to me and ran a whole bunch of tests.  She sent me for allergy tests to see if the egg was an issue.  She sent me for a bunch of blood work to see if anything showed up there.  And she sent me for a CAT scat to see if, God Forbid, there were tumours.

Turns out that I’m not allergic to anything (yay!) and that, thank God, there are no tumours.  However, my blood test did show something.  I have Celiac’s Disease.

Now, before this diagnosis, I thought Celiac Disease was a fairy tale…that all this “gluten free” stuff I’d see was over kill.

Lord, how the tables have turned!

My stomach pain is real guys.  To me, it’s the equivalent of swallowing razor blades and then having labour-like contractions in your gut.  I get the brain fog (here I thought my inability to write my blogs was due to the loss of my muse…turns out, I couldn’t even physically think clear enough to string words together).  I felt like I was getting dumber and dumber by the moment…losing my ability to think things through.  Nope – Celiac Disease.  I also get this horrible itching, burning rash on my hands and legs.  Once it even came on my face.  Other issues include depression and thyroid problems.  All of these (and likely more) are due to Celiac’s Disease.

So – what is Celiac Disease?  “Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, barley. At present there is no cure, but celiac disease is readily treated by following the gluten-free diet.” (Canadian Celiac Foundation)

The solution is simple enough – don’t eat gluten.  Trouble is – it hides in a lot of things like Soya Sauce or even your face creams.  I’ve been avoiding it for about 3 weeks now – and though I know that there’s still a ways to go before I really start feeling well again – I can already tell if I’ve eaten something that’s got gluten in it.

So, take it from me guys – if someone you know is suffering from odd stomach pain – a simple blood test is all you need to diagnose this.  Avoiding gluten is relatively easy.   I know some people who still “gluten binge” every now and then…I don’t think I will be one of those people…the pain that I get is too much for me to take lightly.

Summer Blog Challenge – Day 3

Again I’m going to go with a comment that inspired a post.  Aliya asked for an update on my depression (you can read the series of background posts: first, second, third and fourth).  I feel that it’s important for those of us who have suffered through (or are suffering with) depression talk about it.  As someone once told me, “you wouldn’t be embarrassed of a broken arm, why would you be embarrassed about being depressed?” – smart woman, I tell you.

In my last update, I’d talked about the medication (Welbutrin) that I was on.  It worked well enough.  I was no longer wallowing in self pity, but I wasn’t 100% myself either.  I was just happy to have emotions again.

Then there came along that news story about the dangers of Yaz – the birth control that I happened to be on.  My doctor had warned me of it before – and also told me that a lot of the other complaints that I had come to him with (night sweats, tender breasts, crazy mood swings, lack of…uh…interest, and more) so I finally decided that it wasn’t worth the risk.  I stopped my pill that very day.  I had only 2 pills left of the Welbutrin…so stopped those ones too…and lo and behold – I felt WONDERFUL again.

No. Really, I felt great!

And I still do.

No more rages.  No more waking up in the night with rivers of sweat running down my rib cage.  No more depression.  I’m no doctor here, so this is all just based on my opinion – but I honestly think that the birth control that I was on had a lot to do with the depression that I was facing.

It’s been 3 months on no pills (well, my synthroid, but that’s something I honestly need) – and I feel fine.

Life is good.

Update 2

It’s been a while since my last update and I thought that I’d give you all another one.  So, you’ll remember that I’ve had an off and on struggle with depression and finally decided to go to the doctor about it.

He gave me a starting dose of Wellbutrin, then upped it a bit the following week onto what he called a maintenance dose.  I was to try this out for a month and then get back to him.

I noticed no difference at all in the beginning.  I thought that this was yet another dead end for me. Then suddenly around the 3 week mark – something happened.  It wasn’t a gradual “I’m getting better” – it was an instantaneous thing.  Like flicking on a switch.  One moment I was in a fog, then the next, I was seeing clearly.

And not just metaphorically.  I was seeing things clearly.  As if I’d been looking at the world through a fogged up mirror that someone had suddenly wiped clean.  I can’t really explain it any better.

And it hasn’t gotten foggy again.  I am actually feeling things again.  I have patience.  I have ambition.  I have emotions.  I feel like a human again.

I went for a follow up with the doctor last week.  He was happy to hear that I’m doing better – and understanding of my (continued) fear of drugs.  I don’t want to be taking something that isn’t needed.

He agreed – and wants me to take these meds for another 6 months at which point we’ll lower and lower the dose until I’m no longer on them…and if I go back into that fog – then we know how to get me out again.

I’m all backed up

In case you all haven’t noticed, it’s been eerily silent over here.  I have things to write (God, you should see my drafts folder) but I’m trapped lately.  Stopped up as efficiently as a river with a dam.

This seems to happen to me every once and a while – and I’ve begun to notice a pattern…without writing, I lose a little bit of myself, I get sad, mopey, whiny, selfish…I feel this insane need to write – but by that time I can’t think of anything nice to say (and I’m sure that a profanity, hate-filled blog would go over like a dead balloon) and so I don’t write and then the viscous circle starts.

I’ve danced around the topic of depression before – A stealthy little bugger that you don’t realize is there until it’s too late.  I knew that I was wallowing in it for a while now…I even mentioned it to my close friends – tried my best to claw my way out…but it hasn’t worked.

Then, my brother (who also suffers with depression) posted this link.  A game about depression? I thought – how stupid.

But I clicked.

And I cried.

I saw myself in there.  I saw myself suffering silently – telling people I’m fine when really I just want to scream that I’m a shell of a human being walking around without feeling or hope.

Then, I made an appointment with my doctor.  I’ve had enough of trying to get over this by thinking positive and eating right.  There’s something WRONG here and it needs to be fixed.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Friday Gratitudes

So, I’ve looked back over the last few fanpage posts and even some of my blog posts, and realized that I’ve gotten into a bit of a negative state.  I thought that the best way to combat this is to come up with a list of things that I’m grateful for.  I’m also going to start a hash tag on twitter (#FridayGratitudes), because I’m oh-so-popular there (ha!), and hope it catches on.  What’s that?  You didn’t know I’m on twitter?  Well – I am, follow me!

So, here’s my list of Friday Gratitudes:

  1. New windows!  I have a giant picture window in my living room – it does NOT open.  When we cook, when it’s above 20 degrees, or when you have more than 3 people in the house, it gets HOT in here, so we have a new window (will be installed tomorrow, God willing!) that actually opens.  Thank God!
  2. Pay night!  I love my job, and spending my days playing is, in a way, a great form of pay, but that paycheque at the end of the month (that will help pay for windows this month) is also a good thing.
  3. My knee is feeling better!
  4. My Dyson (this may be on my gratitude list for a long, long, long time)
  5. Arm sleeves with thumb-holes from Pearl Daisy.  A woman after my very own heart.
  6. Great friends who hold my hands and help me through dark times (even if I don’t share those times here).  You all know who you are and I’m so blessed that you are in my lives.
  7. Skype.  Calls overseas.  Hearing lovely accents.
  8. Cherry Chip Coffee.  Sounds gross, it’s my new favorite thing.
  9. Fresh bed linen.
  10. Michael Bublé.  I think I was born in the wrong era.  This genre of music is so ME.

I am a Muslim Woman.

It looks like I’ve gotten my Mojo back!  Here’s yet another post…yeah, a tiny bit of a repeat from a while back, but this one goes into much more depth and explains what I wanted to say but just couldn’t because all those words were just trapped inside.  (let us all pray that this is the light at the end of my depression tunnel!)  They’re out now, baby!

That statement can cause quite the reaction.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Sometimes people look at me, in my hijab (head scarf) and I see pity, other times, I see anger.  I want people to know something important.  I chose to wear my hijab.  In fact, I fought with my husband about it.  He didn’t want me to.

Yes.  You read that right.  My husband tried to talk me OUT of wearing it.  I did it anyway.

I started wearing my hijab almost 13 years ago.  I was 21.  When my mom first saw me in it, she cried.  It was like the final step – to go from being a non-practicing Christian who converted to Islam was one thing…but for her to see me “all Islamed up” was another.  I think she mourned the loss of what she’d hoped for me.

But…fastforward 13 years – my hijab has not stopped me from achieving anything.  It hasn’t presented any obstacles (I still go to the health club, I still swim – yes, in a burkini) and I am educated, articulate and have pride in my abilities.

The funny thing is – when I started wearing my hijab and even until this very day – the reaction that I get from men (Muslim or not) astonishes me.  Before, they used to look (openly or otherwise) at my chest.  They would give my that head-to-toe size up.  I was looked AT. I was talked AT.  After hijab – men will hold open doors for me.  They look into my eyes when they speak to me.  They are polite – there is no unecessary touches of the arms, shoulders – or worse, my butt.  Now, I am seen rather than looked at.  I am spoken to and heard.

Ironically, it’s the woman who’s eyes fill with pity or sorrow.  I think that this is mainly due to what is seen in the media.  Sure, there are countries (and some people) who will take cultural practices and backwards thinking and then use Islam as a way to control their women.  But that is not the case with me.  It’s not the case, in fact, with anyone that I know.  And why? Why is there an issue with a Muslim woman in hijab?  No one seems to have issues with Nuns who wear a Habit, or Orthadox Jewish woman covering her head…so why can’t I do it without your glares?

To help fight this, my friends and I put together a video…check it out.

Here, but not

So, many of you may have wondered where I’d gone.  Fact is I was here, staring at my screen and that blinking cursor every day, but unable to let the words come out.  I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating that is.  It’s not as if I didn’t have a plethora of inspiration at my fingertips…between my kids, my husband, my schooling…my life – yeah…there was stuff to write about just no heart in it.  In times like these, if you really miss me, you can always check on my fanpage.  I usually update that daily…and it does give you a (scary) glimpse into my mind (and thus, is set to those 18 years and older).

So – where have I been?  Well – I’ve been here, but not.  You see, I have this problem called procrastination.  I’m sure that there are some of you who can relate to this.  I put off things.  Usually it’s putting off with things I don’t want to do (like…oh…cleaning) but this time it was getting my prescription refilled.  “What prescription?” you ask.   Well I have something called Hypothyroidism.  What that means is that my thyroid, which is a gland found somewhere in the throat (I’m a child care provider, not a doctor!) – this gland simply doesn’t produce enough thyroid “juice” for my body to function well.  When I first learned about this, I did a little research(as my mother, some of her sisters, and my grandfather all have it and she told me to get it checked).  My google search found me this page and my jaw nearly dropped when I got down to the list of symptoms.  I could have checked off just about every single one of them.  Just off the top of my head, I’ll list off the ones that bothered me the most:

  • constipation
  • hypothermia
  • extreme fatigue
  • feeling run down/lethargic
  • shedding hair like a cat in spring
  • dry skin
  • joint pain
  • moodiness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • forgetfulness
  • ZERO sex drive
  • tinnitus
  • eye sensitivity/dryness
  • (there are more…but well – you get the point)

And all this time, my (old) doctor never checked me for this because I didn’t have the “big” symptom – I wasn’t overweight.  When I argued and made him give me the test anyhow – he was shocked at my results.  He literally said “I don’t know how you’re able to still walk around!”  Yeah.  It was that bad.  But – nearly 8 years later, and I’ve been on my synthroid all this time and have been relatively good with a few minor tweaks that are needed with time.

However, about…oh… 4 months ago, I went to pick up my synthroid and the pharmacist said to me, “This is your last refill, don’t forget to make an appointment to get another prescription.”  And I thought to myself…well, duh…I’ll do that later.

Famous last words.  I kept “doing it later” for weeks….weeks turned into months.  I ran out of my pills and kept meaning to make that appointment tomorrow.  It just never happened.  Then I started getting moody and blamed it on stress.  I started getting cold and blamed it on the changing season.  I started gaining weight and blamed it on stuffing my face.  Not once did I stop to think about my missing pills.

Then…then I stopped caring.  My kids were fighting, so what?  My school work wasn’t done, big deal.  My house was a disaster, who cares?  I didn’t realize it, but I was walking a precarious line over the deep, dark pit of depression.  Suddenly, without even knowing it, I was in the middle of that pit and I didn’t know how I’d gotten there, or how I was planning to get out.  I just wandered there in the dark, silently.

You see – I didn’t have the kind of depression where you sit in the corner and cry.  I didn’t have suicidal thoughts.  I didn’t mope about and not shower and watch sad movies all day.  What happened to me was that my emotions, my feelings…my soul… everything  just turned off.  As if someone had flicked a switch – I was gone.  I was simply a shell.  A body walking around.  Lead arms holding my children.  Some part of me willing myself to feel something, but I had nothing.

It wasn’t until I read a blog post by Allie of Hyperbole and a Half that I realized that I was even in a depression.  I thought I was just a horrible, evil person who’s heart had shriveled up and died.  Instead, I read that post and thought “Holy sh*t, that’s what’s wrong with me!”  

I confided in a few of my best friends, asked them for their love, support and prayers – and even though they’re miles and miles and miles away – they helped me get through it.  They hassled me about making that appointment.  I finally did it.  I got into that doctor’s office and when he asked “what can I do for you today?” I broke down and sobbed and told him my life story for the past few months.  It’s terrifying for someone like me, a person who likes to be in control of her emotions and hates showing weakness (crying) in front of ANYONE to do what I did.  But I had to let him know how low I had sunk.  He smiled wrote me a new prescription, ordered a blood test and told me I’d be better soon.

And what do you know…a few weeks after that visit and with new, stronger meds coursing through my body…a ray of sunlight in my life.  My soul is starting to stir and stretch out after it’s many months of captivity.  I’m starting to feel again, and I can’t even begin to describe how great that is.