Kind of disappeared for a few days. Struggled quite a bit last week with some medicine changes. I’ve been up since 8am Monday and my nerves are razor thin at this point.
This is my life now, minus the beard.
Anyway, I’d like to get more into some tips and suggestions I’ve picked up along the way that I think would help anyone struggling with mental health, ongoing health issues, therapy, or any or all of FADI. So I’ve got to wrap this origin story up.
Picking up from July-ish 2016
from the post Adventures of FADI Queen Part I: Origin Story
I was done, ya’ll. My regular doctor and the specialist had basically given up on me and just threw expensive prescriptions at me with allergic reactions and horrible side effects. I had been dealing with ongoing issues for almost 4 years and was no closer to knowing what the hell was wrong with me or how I could manage it.
And here I thought we were going to Disney World.
I was struggling in a big way, stuck in a negative thought pattern I couldn’t break. Depressed, anxious, hurting, and upset, thinking that everyone else probably thinks I was just faking it. I started thinking it’s all in my head. I told myself, They can’t find anything and on the outside I look perfectly fine. So maybe I am just being lazy. Or a hypochondriac. I’m just weak because I can’t just stuff it down and act like everything is fine. Those doubting thoughts drag you deeper down in the cycle, and if you let them, they will drown any hope of those symptoms ever being manageable.
At that point (June – July 2016) I had told B I was done and I would just have to live with being miserable. But soon I heard about a new clinic, Hope Family Health, that opened in my hometown. One day, tight as a guitar string with anxiety and a lot more understanding about Britney’s 2007 meltdown, I thought I’ve got to give it one more chance. But I did not have a lot of faith in it.
I mean, I totally get it now. I’m not going to shave my head and try to beat people with an umbrella, but I can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. I love the short hair, but bald would be SO much easier.
NP J walks in the day of the appointment. I was just twisted into knots thinking he was just going to check out during my tale of woe and then simply say I can’t help you. We spent an hour going through the timeline, with him asking follow-up questions and my paperwork. One of the first things he said (paraphrasing), “I’m going to help you figure this out. It’s obvious something is wrong. I may not be able to figure it out myself, but I will help you find someone who can.” Those words followed by “I don’t think it’s all in your head” turned me into a blubbering mess followed by a flood of relief.
Take note, doctors, families, friends of people who are struggling with these issues. PLEASE do not tell them to “get over it,” “stop being anxious,” “just ignore it and push through it all,” you just need willpower,” and so on. If you truly want to be there for someone in that situation, simply saying “I believe you” and meaning it is the BEST thing you can say. That validation is what they need, to know you believe them and support them no matter what. What NP J said above? Worth more than anything else he could have said.
We know you are trying to help (most of the time), but seriously, this will not
help us suddenly see the cure for anxiety, depression, etc.
That was August of 2016. We had a number of follow-ups with symptom checks, bloodwork, Vitamin B shots, even a genetic swab test for enzyme compatibility. He would come into every appointment having researched something to try (and still does even now). He TALKS with me and really listens, not at me or ignoring what I’m saying.
I have a LOT to say about the fact that a nurse practitioner working in a clinic in a low-income rural area is amazing at his job, takes time to research, try new medications, check in with me, and make more of an effort than my regular doctor who I’ve been to since I was a kid or a so-called specialist. But I’ve got to wrap this up.
For the first time, I actually feel like I’m on a team trying to solve this very complex jigsaw puzzle that we don’t have a box to know what it will be. Instead of being ignored or feeling just broken.
Trying to figure out what came first, anxiety/depression or the physical symptoms, is a difficult process. I check in every 3 to 6 months with him (sooner if I need it). If a medication is not working, we change things up or do more tests. But overall, I am so much better than I was a year ago, and I’m grateful to Mr. J and that I gave it one more shot.
So FADI Queen, despite her struggles and health, decides to push forward to continue solving this puzzle. If she uses her superpowers…her Edna ‘E’ Mode-like attitude, dark humor, and sarcasm, she might actually make it through this mess.