Last week I told you about my breakdown. I talked about the build of my depression and how it got me to the moment where I finally fell apart. But today, I’m going to talk about what happened after the breakdown.
Something about the intensity and the duration of this low hasn’t been right. It’s lasted a lot longer than normal. It’s worse. Darker. Scarier.
Usually, Elias is great support. Not that he wasn’t trying, but I had completely withdrawn from him. He just didn’t know what to do or how to help. Not this time.
My falling apart was the turning point to seeking more serious help. I scheduled an emergency session with my therapist. She suggested that there might be something physically going on triggering this low to be as bad as it is.
I’ve been seeing her for several years, which means that she knows me well. I trust her wholeheartedly, which is exactly what a relationship with your therapist should be. She was seeing something new and different in the way that I was expressing myself, and in the symptoms, I was having. She was able to recognize that there was more going on.
Part of my hesitation to see an MD was that my experience has always been a quick 10-minute appointment that involved the same series of 3-5 questions. Then, a prescription is usually thrown my way to mask whatever the issue is, and usually, that prescription comes with new side effects. Or, if further exams are done, things always “look fine” and I feel like it’s just in my head.
So this time I decided to see a naturopathic doctor instead, and I’m so happy that I did. Not only did my doctor do a very comprehensive blood work panel, I’m talking 12 vials of blood, but my appointment going over the results was an hour-long!
We went through every single part of the test. She explained what the normal levels are for each component, and compared them to what my levels are and what it means. We went over everything point by point and she explained the side effects for each result.
I was so relieved to learn that all of the results were reflecting exactly how I was feeling. They were also a huge cause of how exhausted, and sick I’ve been. I was especially thankful to know that several of them would cause severe depression.
Mental illness is tricky because it can be situational or chemical, or both. For me, it’s both. However, physical illnesses can cause a disconnect between brain and body, which can affect your mental health and cause severe mental illnesses. This is why it is so important to take care of your physical health as a way to ensure your mental health is at its best capacity.
I won’t get too in-depth with the details of what it all means but I do want to address the vitamin D issue. I was shocked to know how detrimental that vitamin is to so many other functions of the body. My doctor was incredibly concerned because I essentially had nothing in my body. It was the lowest she has ever seen.
Living in Arizona, where the sun feels like it’s inside of my skin sometimes it’s so hot, I didn’t think it was possible to be as deficient as I am.
I learned that I was at risk for kidney and heart failure, joint deformity, and other bone disorders. Actually, as low as I was, my doctor was concerned that some of this may have already started considering some of the symptoms I was having.
In addition, my severe depression, fatigue, and pain in certain parts of my body were all more than likely as bad as they were due to the deficiency. She decided that the most important thing to tackle first was this. So get your vitamin D checked!
If I got into every result above, we would be here a long time, so I won’t. I will say that a list that long is insane; I broke down in tears of relief if you can believe that. I wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t in my head. And there was an explanation as to why I’ve been so incredibly sick. There was hope and I started my treatment right away.
It’s been about a month now and it’s insane how different I feel. The doctor said that it would take about 8 weeks for me to feel the way I should be feeling and I’m ecstatic about it. We will redo all my blood work at that time and follow up with a new treatment plan to tackle the less severe results once the detrimental ones are taken care of.
There are so many things that I want to do and am looking forward to. Having the energy to get up in the morning and tackle the small things excites me like it never has before. It’s so funny how we take those little things for granted until they’re no longer a choice.
I know that my depression is still going to be an up and down for me. Now I can find comfort in knowing that I have more control than I thought I did. I don’t have to allow my depression to control me. By ensuring I keep up with my physical health, I can avoid another horrific season from happening again.
So what I’ve learned is that it’s important to listen to your body and take care of yourself. Depression has many sources and it can come and go situationally. Our physical health is an important part of it.
Don’t wait until you’re so deep in the hole and seeping in the pain to do something to help yourself. Don’t wait until you have a complete breakdown to listen to your mind and your body.
I cannot stress this enough…please get help when you’re feeling mentally ill. Even when it feels like it won’t, it will get better. Even if you have to crawl yourself out of the hole to get help, do it. You’re worth it
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