Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

First the brain, now the body

No. I wouldn't say I'm better. My depression symptoms continue. I feel low, isolated, and hopeless most of the time. It doesn't matter that I have lots of friends, coworkers and professionals who care, the nature of this illness is to negate all evidence to the contrary. I know that. I'm trying to fight it, but so far I've had little success.

I have had glimpses of feeling lighter and more hopeful, but they don't seem to last. I'm trying to do what I can, but my brain is still so addled with negative, hopeless thinking, it's difficult to keep moving forward. But I'm trying.

Yesterday I actually made it to the gym for a light workout. I did some spinning on the bike for 15 minutes, rested about 5 minutes while trying to decide whether to stay or go, and then I performed 20 minutes of light to moderate (mostly light) strength/cardio training. I was pretty tired afterward, which I attributed to depression, so I sat down to rest and text a friend. That's when it happened.

About 10 minutes after sitting down I had another episode from the "you-can't-make-this-shit-up" file. Suddenly my pulse rate shot up. My heart felt like it was beating irregularly. I got dizzy and lightheaded. My legs felt heavy and weak. I started breathing heavily, and my hands went numb. I barely made it to the front desk to let them know I wasn't feeling well.

The staff got me into a chair, checked my blood pressure (a bit low), monitored my pulse and breathing (still high and heavy), and when I just about passed out they called an ambulance. I was so embarrassed. I hadn't done much of a workout, and I had been resting for at least 10 minutes when this all began. It wasn't anxiety. It was just weird.

Long story short, I developed a significant headache on the way to the emergency room. Blood tests revealed my platelets were low and had dropped significantly as compared to a blood test performed just 3 weeks ago. The combination of headache and low platelets led to concern about bleeding in my brain, but two CT scans were normal. So they gave me fluids and pain meds, monitored me for 5 hours(!), during which time my symptoms slowly improved, and then they let me go home.

The doctors didn't really have an explanation for what happened. They were concerned about the platelet count, especially the fact that it had dropped so significantly so rapidly, and suggested I follow up with my regular doctor in a week. Other than that there were few clues as to what may have caused such an uncomfortable episode. My blood sugar was a bit low but not so low as to cause the significant symptoms I had. I wasn't dehydrated. I had eaten and drank everything as usual that morning. There was no change to my routine, medication, etc... No obvious explanation.

So now I'm off kilter mentally and physically. I still have a low grade headache. I still feel the heaviness of depression. And now I'm afraid to challenge myself physically. It's tough enough getting active after a bout of severe depression without the added worry of my body physically rebelling, too! I don't know what to think or do now. I feel low, isolated, hopeless...and now stuck. I'm not sure what to do next.


Jaclyn said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles. My mother is going through a similar issue - chronic neck pain - she's on meds. she's off of work. but there is no surgery - she's just trying to learn to cope with the pain. And with that came severe depression. I can't offer advice, but I can say, that you are not alone. Rest, relax, and just try to get better, knowing that there's a whole group of us suffering too :(

Anonymous said...

So sorry.

N said...

I’ve been reading your blog for almost 9 years now. You have put depression into the most eloquent of words (ironic) and your unabashed honesty of your journey is truly admirable. Sorry to hear of your added health struggles as of late, hoping they get mended sooner than later. You should know that at times where I’ve felt lower than low your blog is the one I’ve read to inspire me to continue my own journey. Thinking of you, Etta!

etta said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful words. @ N: comments like yours are what keeps me writing. Thank you so much for telling me that. Often I don't get a lot of comments on my posts (which is totally fine) so it's nice to know there are people out there gaining something from the words I write--even the ugly ones. Thank you for taking the time to communicate that. Here's hoping my words become more inspirational again soon.

Nathalie said...

Hi Etta,
I so agree with N in that I have followed your blog for a long time and found your honesty, eloquence and courage inspirational in my struggles with severe and frequent episodes of anxiety/depression. I do hope you feel back to your well self very soon.