I Am That Girl Now

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I'm just so, so so tired.

Day 4 of Pretty Much Functioning Meg, through, which is okay. Besides weeping all over my doctor on Tuesday, I've pretty much pulled it together in terms of not being an obvious wreck. I'm not saying it won't come back, but at the moment I'm not bawling all over people or whatever.

I'm just... there. Ever dive so far underwater, so fast, that for a weird minute there your buoyancy and gravity's pull exactly cancel each other out, and you get absolutely no clear feel for which way is up and which is down? Kinda like that for me right now, only my concepts of "like" and "dislike" are just not applying. It's not that I can't taste food, I just don't really have a feeling of liking them or disliking them. Everything else is the same way. I find myself having to sort things out according to what I ought to do, how I ought to respond, rather than feeling any sort of actual imperative. I'm responding like I'm a substitute teacher for myself, obediently following a lesson plan written by someone else; I'm doing what the usual person would do in these circumstances, without a clear sense of why.

In short, I'm pretty much back where I was before Hurricane Katrina. I think, inasmuch as I can, that it's all part of the same thing, and that the post-Katrina weepy breakdown part was mostly because I got slapped out of my coma. The only difference is now I'm aware that things just ain't right, whereas before I figured I was tired, I was sick, I was just feeling lazy... now I'm thinking that it must, must be something else. I don't think I'm supposed to be this disconnected from things, and yet I've been this way with greater and greater frequency, for longer and longer patches, for quite some time.

Looking back at last year, I had a pretty good first half of the year, on and off, and then started coming apart at the seams around July. The weird paralysis at work, the binge eating, not particularly taking pleasure in anything, only making decisions about the wedding when I had to. By Christmas I was losing my mind with stress over the wedding. After New Year's I managed to wrench myself into getting back on the straight and narrow where food was concerned, and out of pure panic managed to force myself to get things done.

I was better during the honeymoon. Not perfect, but a lot less of a basket case than I had been. I had a good month or so, there, and then by May things were falling to bits again. Managed to scrape things together and had a pretty good June, but things have been on a swift downward slope since July.

And this isn't even looking back before I started dieting-- if I do, though, there's still a pattern of months of grey, periods of blackness, occasional weeks or months of near normalcy, and then... bleah. This may be normal for me, but this just isn't normal. I don't think I'm supposed to be getting through life on sheer got-to and ought-to. I remember that I've felt, on many occasions this past year, that my life has turned into a massive to-do list, with no real desire to accomplish any of it. Just a series of obligations. And the thing is, much of that stuff should be things I want to do-- going to the library, or hanging out with friends, or singing in the choir-- but it's all ended up just being something on the list.

My sister, when I told her about what the doctor said, told me that stubbornly-functioning depressed people make up a fair percentage of the Midwest. I believe it; there's this general sense that if you're able to get through the day, no matter what amount of effort you have to throw at it, then you're okay. But... it's like the difference between 3.5 mph on the treadmill with a 10% incline and 3.5 mph on the treadmill with no incline-- same speed, completely different universes in terms of the effort involved. Life should not all be uphill, head down, plodding hopelessly for lack of anything better to do.

It's day 2 on the Zoloft. Just the wee green starter pills thus far. I have read up on the side effects and I have to admit, there's an even chance that I wouldn't notice side effects occurring if they thwapped me upside the head. I've always been removed from reality to a certain extent, but lately it's just totally fucked.

I have an appointment with a therapist on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes.

The good news is that I went directly to our HR manager yesterday and told her what was going on, and it looks like therapy visits are 50% covered, and the prescriptions are covered the same as any other prescriptions. Also, state law apparently says that they have to let me go to therapy appointments. (Rock on, Illinois.) She's doing research and pulling information for me, so we'll hopefully have the insurance stuff all figured out before Tuesday.

My Hub is being a jewel. A gem. A sweet lovely boy. Very, very supportive; I'm not sure what to do with all the support. He keeps telling me how proud he is that I'm doing this, and how brave I am. Sweet boy. He's paranoid, however, that the therapist will convince me that my problem is him. Considering my problems were around for years before I met him, I doubt that I could be convinced that this is the case.

Lord, I wish I felt better. I wish I felt, period. I remember these periods of time when I was up and energetic and getting stuff done and feeling pretty good, and I hope that's what I'm like when I'm normal again. I liked that girl a lot.


  • You gotta like whatever girl you see in the mirror, whether she's up or down, because she's you and you deserve to be treated well. Even more so when you're down. ::hugs::

    I'm sorry you're so numb, Meg. I wish you felt better, too. You *will* be able to get things done like you did before and feeling better, don't worry. But be careful with the word "normal", because that sets a standard that may be hard to live up to and you don't want to feel like a failure, especially after all you've accomplished! You're amazing, girl!

    By Blogger Zara, at 4:47 PM  

  • He's paranoid, however, that the therapist will convince me that my problem is him.

    Yet again, I'm convinced you've found an married the male version of me. I worried exactly the same thing when my hub went to therapy a few years ago (which was short lived anyway).

    I really wish you all the best, Meg. I know how hard this all is.

    By Anonymous Mae, at 7:01 PM  

  • I would *strongly* suggest you get your thyroid checked ASAP. Many people who are diagnosed with depression actually have malfunctioning thyroids. The standards of 'normal' for thyroid function have changed as well. It's now .3 to 3.0 instead of .5 to 5.0, and that can make a big difference. What you are describing, although on the surface seems to be classic depression, can also fit a low thyroid - hypothyroidism. I had 'classic Rheumatoid Arthritis symptons' accompanied by depressive cycles as you describe, and that was attributed to the fact I had joint poin from the 'arthritis, despite the cycles of pain & depression often occurred at different times'. As soon as I was treated for the thyroid the joint pain has mostly disappeared, the depression is gone, my energy is back and most importantly, the disconnected-from-the-world feeling and the brain fog have dissipated. Those are two separated events to me. Sometimes I would have the brain fog - can't focus, can't think what to do next, thinking itself seems HARD, and then the disconnect was when I appeared to be reasonably sharp mentally but the reasons I was doing the things I was doing were vague and only half-remembered. It was all so trivial, even the vitally important stuff wasn't much to get excited about. Just a vast disconnect from life.

    A malfunctioning thyroid can cause a host of bizarre and disturbing symptons and often mimic depression. Please get yourself checked just in case. It's a simple blood test. Can't hurt!


    By Anonymous SothicScout, at 7:55 AM  

  • and even though, TSH is NOT the right way to test the thyroid. YOu need TSH which anything over 2 is suspect.. The ruling is now over 3. not acceptable. But more importantly you need a FREE T3 and FREE T4. If those numbers are not MIDRANGE OR HIGHER, you have thyroid issues. EVen better for women especially to test the TPO anitbodies. LOW FREE T3 is what causes depresssion. Even if they come back "normal" look and see where that range is the bottom of the range maybe be acceptable to drs.. but MOST people feel like sh*t. [u]PLEASE[/u] get the above tests.
    In addition, zoloft is one of the worst meds for people with thyroid disease. It enhances the problems of low thyroid function.Many people, mostly women are put on this med, and has no effect.

    Here is an excellent article about thyroid disease and "mental" disfuntion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:51 PM  

  • oopppssss

    the above comment came from me.. I forgot to fill in the user name.

    By Anonymous ileen natic, at 12:53 PM  

  • sorry to clog your blog (hey that rhymes) but i am very passionate that every patient recieve proper testing and treatment.. I spent literally years fighting to get treatment while nearly losing my mind, my marriage,my job.. I hated myself and my kids.....Life basically just s*cked! I feel awesome now! and never once did i take antidepressants.

    Here is some 'Thyroid 101' information about the different thyroid tests and replacement hormone medications.

    Information provided my thyroid patient advoate friend, Pam.http://forum.ironcrossroads.com/index.php?showtopic=46

    *Thyroid testing*:

    Many doctors test only TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone). The TSH test is not the only test you should have. The TSH can be within 'normal' lab parameters but you can still have thyroid disease or low thyroid. Recently, it has been suggested that the lab range for TSH is much too wide. If your TSH is over a 3, then further tests should be done to measure the exact hormone levels.

    TT4, TT3: These are 'Total T4' and 'Total T3'. The major hormone secreted by the thyroid is called T4. Part of the T4 is 'converted' to the actual 'energy' hormone, T3. Total tests tell you how much T4 and T3 is found in the blood...but don't tell you how much is AVAILABLE and being USED by your body. Hence, your Total T4 and Total T3 tests could look just fine...but you may not be able to utilize the amount the test is showing. If you are taking any HRT, eating soy, etc., then most of the Total T's the tests are showing you have are being bound up from going into the cells.

    FT4, FT3: These are "Free T4" and 'Free T3'. These tests tell you how much of the hormones you are actuall USING. In other words, your Total tests could 'look' like you have enough hormone, but not tell you if they are usable to you for metabolism. Free's will tell you what's getting into the body and used for energy, weightloss, metabolism.

    T3 Uptake: This is an expensive test that is actually a T4 binding test. 'Some' doctors 'think' it's a measurement of your T3 levels. It's not. It used to be used along with some other tests (like FTI) to 'calculate' your Free levels...it's no longer needed since we now have Free T4, Free T3.

    Most NORMAL patients who have a NORMAL working thyroid (have normal metabolisms, normal weight, etc.) have a TSH of around or under 1, and their FT4 and FT3's are about midway of their respective lab ranges. They also have a 'normal' body temperature. So when doctors do these tests and tell you everything is 'normal' and 'within range'...that doesn't mean you do NOT have low thyroid or hypothyroidism.

    TPO or TSI: These are tests to determine if you possess the antibodies for autoimmune thyroid disease (about 98% of ALL cases of hypothyroidism is autoimmune...hyPO autoimmune is called Hashimoto's Disease, hyPER autoimmune is called Graves' disease). Hashimoto's is also called the 'Rollercoaster' because the patient goes in and out of hyPO and hyPER states...the TSH can be very low (like hyPER) but the patient will not have enough thyroid hormone, then the TSH goes high, and back and forth, while the antibdodies attack and DESTROY the thyroid gland. Many cases of autoimmune hypothyroidism are not caught because the antibodies tests aren't DONE...OR the doctor thinks the labs MUST be out of range before he/she can treat the condition.

    Women are most afflicted with Hashimoto's. Men can have clinical or autoimmune thyroid disease also. The action of the antibodies can go on for literally YEARS, making the patient tired, fatigued, have depression, anxiety, gain weight, lose weight, have dry skin, etc. Women can have miscarriages and pass the condition onto their babies, or not be able to conceive.

    The hormones:

    Until just 50 years ago, patients with thyroid disease were treated by symptoms...if their temperature was very low, skin dry, inability to lose weight, hair falling out, heavy menses. They were treated with natural thyroid (from pigs, the Armour meat packing company made this and it's very much like our own human thyroids). Then the TSH test was developed (again, hypothyroidism is generally a female's disease) by testing it on a group of MALE students (none of which HAD thyroid disease).

    Nowadays, doctors have been taught that synthetic hormone (containing ONLY T4) is 'easiest' and 'best' to use. While this may work well in those patients that still convert T4 to T3 (if you don't convert, then you can't get the energy, the main point of taking hormone!), most whose thyroids have been obliterated from antibodies attacking them don't convert anymore.

    If you have been taking a synthetic T4 ONLY product and you STILL have symptoms...you may need to add either synthetic T3 (Cytomel) OR switch to Armour Thyroid (yes, this is readily available and about 1/3 the cost of synthetic medication). Many doctors think that Armour is "old fashioned" and not as 'clean' and doesn't have a stabilized formula, but that's not true (otherwise, the FDA would NOT let Armour be an approved source of replacement hormone).

    I take Armour Thyroid...I feel 'normal' on Armour Thyroid...no highs, lows, etc., no returning symptoms (unless I need my dosage titrated up). I know many who take a combination of synthetic T4 and synthetic T3 that also feel well on that. I know a few who are on T4 replacement only...and fell well too. Thyroid hormone replacement is a very individualized thing....but be assured that if your practitioner doesn't do the correct tests or isn't making sure you are replaced back to YOUR NORMAL, there are lists of doctors that specialize in this type of individualized treatment. It is your human right to be replaced until YOU feel well again.

    By Anonymous Ileen Natic, at 1:04 PM  

  • Good for you for taking this step. It can be really hard, but you'll feel so much better.

    You can tell hubby that in general, good therapists don't blame people. A good therapist won't blame you or him or your parents. He or she will just listen and talk and, if you're lucky and the therapist really is good, then you'll get strategies for first, recognizing when you're not yourself and second, determining a strategy for dealing with it beyond just powering through it.

    The therapist might eventually want to talk with hub if it turns out that there are ways in which he could react to you that would be more productive for the both of you, but under no circumstances should there be blame involved.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 AM  

  • One more thing. Pay attention to how the medication affects you differently (if it does) right before and during your period. Also monitor your mood around that time. Doctors hardly ever mention this, but in my experience, it can have a huge effect on how you react and what side-effects you get. Hormones can be pretty powerful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:53 AM  

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