So this post isn't sewing related. Lets call it a Community Service Announcement. And I'm going to break it up with pictures of cute puppies. Cause why not!
In October last year I mentioned that I had been unwell, and gave a bit of a run-down of my problems. Things have gotten worse, not better, and I feel the need to tell the story from the start and give it its own post. I am hoping that me being honest about all that I'm dealing with will help others feel like they aren't alone, or encourage just one person to seek help.
Back in October 2012, I got pregnant. Well, my body thought it had gotten pregnant. In fact, I had a blighted ovum, which (in really basic terms) means that a sperm had a nibble at my egg, but then got bored and went away, but the egg got all excited and went ahead like it had been fertilised. Anyway, I suffered near intolerable morning sickness for three weeks before we realised that I wasn't in fact pregnant. At this point I want to say that I never wanted children, so the fact
that I wasn't pregnant was actually a relief to both me and my husband.
As dedicated readers will know, he already has two wonderful children
from an previous marriage.
At the end of October, I had an operation to clear my uterus so life could return to normal.
Except it didn't.
I started gaining weight, was exhausted, had a foggy head, couldn't think, and suffered from debilitating migraines every month for the week of my period. All this time I was trying to eat well and exercise hoping that it would help, but nothing did, and no doctors seem to have an answer. After 12 months of three normal-ish weeks and a week in bed every month I requested a referral to an endocrinologist, because I was thinking it was my hormones that were completely out of whack.
So I got a referral to a Doctor that tested me for a whole bunch of things, diagnosed me with Coeliacs Disease (spelt Celiac in the USA) which was triggered by my blighted ovum, and put me on hormone replacement therapy. This seemed to work, and I felt better for a month, then things went downhill rapidly again. I wasn't able to get into the same Doctor for two more months, and I wasn't prepared to wait that long, so I found a GP with a holistic approach instead.
She was HORRIFIED that a 34 year old woman who was on the contraceptive pill had been put onto hormone replacement therapy! She did all the blood tests again, told me to stop taking what I was taking, and sent me for a pelvic ultrasound with her fingers crossed that there was nothing wrong that had been exacerbated by the extra hormones.
When the results came back, my levels for hormones and vitamins were all over the shop, but there was nothing seriously wrong thank goodness. She put me on a mostly vegan and gluten free diet, and some chinese herbal medicine, to help me detox from all the crap I'd been taking. And it worked, and I was feeling pretty good. Tired a lot, but good.
But for the past couple of months, I've been going rapidly down hill. Sick, exhausted, anxious, irritable, brain dead, depressed... not myself. So I started doing some reading about Coeliacs disease. The medical profession would have you believe that if you don't eat gluten you go back to normal. What they don't tell you is this a new normal, not the old normal. The person you are now is not the person you were before Coeliacs. You will also battle with exhaustion, as your body doesn't absorb nutrients from food well, so you will need special supplements. And for some people, the black dog of depression will come to visit.
All of the above is what I'm dealing with, and due to the fact that I didn't know about it, I haven't been taking supplements to support my systems. So I'm in a total state. Luckily, my husband and I have our own business, and he was able to give me a leave of absence so I could try and get myself together. I honestly believe that anyone else would have fired me by now (or I would have quit out of guilt) because I have been unable to do my job or even get to work with any kind of reliability.
I have spent the last two weeks at home having ok days and bad days. Yesterday was a really bad day. Total exhaustion and too many tears. My poor, supportive rock of a husband had to go to the office, so my parents dragged me to a doctor who diagnosed clinical depression and gave me a prescription for anti-depressants to help me get better.
Now, there is a huge stigma attached to mental illness, but there needn't be. If I had a giant cut on my arm I would get stitches. If I broke my leg I would get a cast and crutches. Why should getting treatment for a chemical imbalance in my brain feel so embarrassing???
I refuse to be embarrassed by this. I'm not a weak person, and this isn't a sign of weakness. I'm going to hold my head up high and say I have a problem, and I'm gonna rock it like I rock my crazy outfits. With confidence.
Please, if this strikes a cord with any of you out there... GET HELP! And then TALK ABOUT IT! You will be surprised the number of people who come out to support you.
PS. I'd like to point out the irony of being diagnosed with depression on International Happiness Day...