Today was The Day. Today I went to the doctor.
I really went for a couple of reasons. I had a 6-month follow-up on my physical because I’m almost always woefully deficient in Vitamin D and my blood pressure has been making moves at higher numbers. I won’t know anything about my blood work (and therefore Vitamin D levels) until Monday, but my blood pressure was fine. Fine, y’all! Vitamin D tends to be one of those figures that seems to be scored on some kind of secret scale- I’m supposed to be taking 2-3,000 IU a day, but my “value” will be some two-digit number. Usually the nice lady who calls with my results is kind to me and just says, “The levels are good”. She does give me a number for my cholesterol so I can then go Google it and start worrying that maybe I should eat more GMO Cheerios (insert laugh track here).
Now, on to the OTHER part of the visit. The skerry part. The part I was “sore afraid” of. All that trouble sleepin’ (this is the first line of the country song I just now planned to start writing), all that trouble with feeling like I was going to bubble over into a pile of angst, all of that trouble with skating on the edge of hysteria some days and feeling like I didn’t want to move the next- has been diagnosed.
I got a serotonin problem, people.
Because I have always had… shall we be nice? Mental issues. Because I have always had mental issues (depression and anxiety, mostly anxiety), I have always separated my “thoughts” into two parts: Brain and Mind. My brain is pretty rational and knows what’s up and understands the truth. Mind is the part of me that worries, freaks out, doesn’t react correctly, and lets me feel like I’ve been feeling. Basically, I anthropomorphized my anxiety. It helps me put the blame on something besides myself because it’s not like I can control what my body is doing in there when it decides to mess up. If you have mental illness, it is no more controllable by willpower than diabetes. Yes, it helps to have willpower. Of course it does. But that ain’t all a girl needs (you’re singing that Christina Aguilera song now, aren’t you?)
Anyway, to the point. I have a serotonin problem. Your entire human experience is pretty much controlled by some hormone or another. Every emotion you’ve ever felt was triggered by a hormone (or lack of one). Sleep, sex, love, hunger, elimination… it’s all about the right hormones being expressed in the right places at the right times!
Mine are decidedly off. My lady hormones are fine (thanks for asking) and since the discontinuation of hormonal birth control, I have felt fine. If endometriosis rears its ugly head again, we’ll reevaluate. My doctor- who listens, which is a miracle- started me on the very lowest dose of Lexapro. We talked and talked about possible side effects, what I could expect, a timeline of what to do when, and my options for further down the road. He’s a very caring doctor (and an internist, if you need that in your life) and the entire office is just amazing. Seriously, his nurse, Mandy, is the best ever. I hope she reads my blog someday and sees this because she will straight up smack me and then blush and say, “Shut uuuuuuup. Aw, thank you!” She’s just that kind of fun person. And she called Brooks and I adorable, so there’s that.
I knew this day would come. I knew being the daughter of depressed people would probably mean I would battle it someday. And I have- I’ve struggled through it. I’ve fought and given in and pulled myself back out many, many times. Sometimes you’d probably be able to tell. Sometimes you’d probably be able to look at me and think, “Holeeeee shiznizzle, that girl has got problems,” and other times you’d never know a thing. I’m generally a heart-on-my-sleeve type of person because I just HATE playing the games, but there are times and places, you know? I don’t let my students know I’m down*! Gracious no! They have enough to deal with. It’s hard being ten when you’re ten and living it. And some of their little lives aren’t always the best- what they need from me, as the adult in the room, is a solid, functioning caretaker. And I know I give them that, all day, every day of school. I’m a rock for my kids.
But at home, when I’m safe and sound and have a miracle of a husband to take care of me and want me to just feel better, I can be less of a rock. He gets to be the rock for a while (and yes, I’ve been the rock for him, too- ask him about how long it takes to get published and he can tell you a story that proves it!) and I get to take a close, hard look at how I really feel and if I’m okay.
Taking stock as of right now at this minute- I’m okay. I’m not OKAY okay, but I’ll get there. I have a wonderful friend (we’ll call her Angela, she’ll know who she is) who understands what I’m going through to a degree that is supernatural. Seriously, sometimes I think God said, “Ohhh, these ladies are gonna have problems, let me make sure they know each other. They gonna need it.” Yes, God is Southern in my brain. He’s God, He does what He wants.
I’m on Day 1 of Lexapro. Onwards and upwards from here! Brooks read the side effects (I don’t read those- people with anxiety should NEVER EVER read those. Let your spouse or friend or pastor or live-in maid read them and then they can just keep an eye on you).
I still have various methods of helping me sleep. Melatonin makes me feel like a crazy drunk the next day, so I try to lay off that one. I have CRAZY cool dreams about my co-worker Stacy having alien eyes and trying to make me into an alien when I take it, though. I love Stacy, so I’m not sure why she was trying to turn me into a monster. She’s the nicest person I have ever met, so it was a pretty fun dream.
I have great friends. I love you, friends! You’ve been there for me through all of this and this has turned out to be something that couldn’t be helped with much of anything tangible. But you’ve been there with ears and hearts and gentle sympathy, so I thank you for that. And for your understanding on the days when I’ve been so down or so tired that I just couldn’t move.
I have a great husband. Sure, he does strange things and occasionally forgets to turn the AC down at night and leaves the lid off the peanut butter. Hey, I threw an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet! Nobody’s perfect. He’s perfect for me, though. He gets me. Even when he doesn’t like it, he gets me. He pretty much always figures out what I need and when he doesn’t, he does this crazy thing and asks me what I need. INSANITY.
I feel like absolute crap today because I had a bad night last night. But now, at least, I feel hopeful. Problem identified. Problem addressed. Doctor aware. Help on the way!
I know some people view medication as a cop-out or a sign of weakness. I invite you to have exactly what I have going on for… let’s say two weeks. Then we’ll re-evaluate your statement. If you’ve been on medication and it didn’t work out, I’m sorry. I hope that something else did or does. I know plenty of people who feel absolutely renewed by having their systems reset with meds and I plan to join them. I’m all about holistic healing, but I’m also all about living life and feeling like a human being and I haven’t felt that way in over two months. It was time.
Onward and upward!