There comes a point in your life that if something is bothering you, you need to talk to someone about it – and the best bet is your medical professional.
Last week I ended up at sick parade (basically a walk in clinic at the military medical clinic) due to a migraine getting to the point of being unable to work… but that wasn’t everything. I’d been feeling extra emotional, unmotivated, exhausted despite getting decent sleeps, no interest in doing anything positive – whether it was going to the gym, drawing, painting, working on the courses I’m taking, reading – nothing. I’d stopped taking care of myself physically and because of that, I’d been dealing with emotional binge eating.
The doctor, when she came in to talk to me about my symptoms and the medication that I had run out of – or was at the point of running out. I had reduced the dosage to try and stretch the pills out to get me to my doctors appointment the following week. As it turned out, the medication was also an anti-depressant – which I was NOT aware of. She asked me if there was anything else bothering me – how was work, home, etc. As she sat there watching me, like she was waiting, I could feel that chin wobble as I tried to fight back the tears until I couldn’t. That’s when she told me about the meds being an anti-depressant. She wasn’t surprised at the tears as I had changed the dosage from 75mg to 25mg – even a 25mg change would wreak havoc on my mood, let alone a 50mg change!
So they hooked me up to an IV, pumped me up with pain killers and fluids, gave me a couple of days off, and sent me home. I kept my doctor’s appointment the following week as I had some other concerns I’ve been avoiding. The avoidance has been unintentional – the fact is, the military clinic is extremely inconvenient now. It was nice having everything right on base, but in Ottawa, as there’s no real “base”, everything is so spread out and it takes forever to get anything medically related done, so I try to only go when I HAVE to.
So this morning I had my actual doctors appointment. We discussed me being in there the previous week and what had happened prior to end me up there with the medication… then we got onto why I kept my appointment as previously I would have just canceled. Almost right away, I started crying.
The fact is, I’m feeling unhealthy (aka, sad, “depressed”, lethargic, unmotivated, utter exhaustion…) Yes, I have my issues with binge eating, but my regular daily diet is very healthy. I consume 1800-2000 calories a day and I feel that my body weight/composition doesn’t reflect how I eat the majority of the time. Yeah, I know that the binging isn’t helping, but I don’t do it daily. I’m moderately active (or at least trying to be) and I feel that the binging is a symptom of a bigger problem. I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if I had a thyroid issue – as a LOT of my symptoms indicate that possibility – or hormonal. I’ll be 43 this year and my estrogen levels could be decreasing causing some issues.
He asked me if there’s guilt – yes! Of course there is! I’m so unmotivated to do anything that at the end of the day, I’m guilty that I wasted it doing nothing. There’s so much I want to do in this life – and I’m no spring chicken – that if I’m not actively working towards it, then I feel shitty!
How is my sleep cycle? What time to I go to bed and get up? The truth is, I love sleep. Maybe a little too much! No matter how I’m feeling I always try to get (at least) the 8 hours. My “normal” sleep times are 9-5, though it’s usually closer to about 7 hours by the time I get to sleep, then possible waking during the night, or awaking early. If I’m not feeling well, I’ll go to bed earlier.
He asked me if I would like a referral to a nutritionist and I declined. I KNOW what to eat. I know this. I got my holistic nutrition certification before joining the military and I’m working on my vegan nutrition certification. And, actually, when I mentioned I was vegan, he was like “ah. That might be the culprit.”
He ordered blood work: B12, iron, thyroid, red blood count, sodium… those are the ones I can remember.
He also suggested I get more active in areas that are known to increase mood:
- get physically active/do cardio
- get outside
- do something fun
- volunteer/do something for others
- increase social network
- random acts of kindness
I’m glad he didn’t suggest that I’m depressed and should go on medication. I hate that – pushing pills instead of naturally trying to increase mood by other means. I’ve been saying for a couple of weeks that I’m exhibiting depressive symptoms, but I don’t feel that I’m depressed. It feels like there’s a bigger issue at play.
I WANT to go to the gym, but by the time I get home, my motivation is next to nil and I’m exhausted. I feel that if I could increase my mood and energy levels I’d actually want to go to the gym – and actually make it!
I also want to start running but due to issues with my knee, I’ve been hesitant. I requested some physio and after he examined my knee – with much giggling from me – he figured out what was going on. I don’t know why doctors are so amused by my ticklish kneecaps, but as soon as they start poking at it, I’m in a fit of giggles – today was no exception. As it turns out, I have patella femoral syndrome – which is what I had as a teen that ended my highland dancing and got me out of gym in high school… because of all the running the teachers made us do. But I WANT to run now!
He gave me some exercises and stretches to do to hopefully help with it as it usually has something to do with imbalances in the muscles pulling the kneecap off course – it was actually really gross when he had me put my hand on my knee and he moved my knee from bent to straight. I declined the physio… for now. I’ll do the exercises and see how that goes – and in 6 weeks, I’ll go back in for a follow up.
Unless, of course, something shows up in my blood work.
The truth is, I do NOT make a very good sick person. I hate feeling “sub-par” and usually when I feel that way, all areas are thrown off, no matter how unintentional it is. I love living as an energetic, vibrant, positive being… but as soon as I’m out of balance, I turn into a sloth. And I don’t like it.
In Ayurvedic medicine, my dosha is out of balance. I am kapha by nature and ALL of my symptoms point to that imbalance. I’m too kapha. and, as characterized as kapha, the more I indulge in certain foods and lifestyle, the worse the imbalance becomes. I know what to do to fix it, but, damn, it’s hard!!!
So for now, I’ll practice mindfulness and try to be aware of what’s happening in the moment – not at the end of the day when I can’t do anything about it!