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I need to try a new approach.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Before I get to my blog, I want to say I'm very thankful for the comments on my last blog. I was honestly worried that I would get a lot of hate and backlash for posting about my joy, but I was pleasantly surprised at all the positive comments. Anyone who doesn't agree with me, I hope you find peace with your opinions as I have found peace with mine.

Now on to my blog...

Talking with my ARMHS worker today helped me come to a realization that I've had inklings of for the last few years but never really put together until I talked it out with her.

My medical conditions have physical side effects that cause mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. (For example, most of the serotonin - a feel good hormone - is in the digestive tract, so having a malfunctioning digestive tract will inhibit serotonin and cause depression. Also, having my blood sugars sometimes plummet into the 30s and 40s - which would make many people unconscious - forces the body to release hormones that mimic the fight or flight response, leading to extreme anxiety and even panic attacks.) This means I'm pre-disposed to mental health conditions, and it is due to a PHYSICAL issue and thus not within my direct control. I can't force my body to release hormones and chemicals properly. Because most of my conditions are incurable, untreatable, and/or I've failed treatments, this means I will always have to deal with depression and anxiety in one way or another. It also explains why mental health medications only make things worse and/or do the opposite of what they are supposed to do, and why I can go through multiple cognitive treatments and know all the 'right' things to say and do but it doesn't help much either.

My PHYSICAL issues are causing mental health issues. Due to the severe lack of support I had growing up, severe bullying, and a whole lot of screwed up crap, that worsened the effects of the physical issues I've had since I was a baby, when the mental health problems arise, my brain kicks it into overdrive and essentially drives my hope and optimism over a cliff. This causes a downward spiral that continues for hours or days. It's essentially a catch-22: the physical causes mental causes mental causes physical... so without addressing what starts the problem it will never change.

The irony here is that the physical doctors are trying to cut and run saying the mental health issues cause the physical issues (which is absolute crap). The mental health doctors tend to give up because every treatment they try will fail at addressing the underlying physical problems. So I'm stuck having to address this on my own.

Starting today, I need to do things differently. I understand FAR MORE about the physical causes of my mental health issues than any of my doctors, so I need to pay attention. I need to identify when they symptoms are occurring and ALLOW THEM. Just feel all the crap instead of trying to stop it like the doctors want me to (or hide them as I was forced to do growing up). Then, as the feelings ease, distract myself with something so the follow up mental health doesn't come charging in and taking over. Essentially, I need to acknowledge and accept that I can't stop the depression and anxiety that comes from the physical issues I have. They will always be there; BUT, they are temporary symptoms that last only while my body is having its temper-tantrums (such as when my nervous system goes haywire, when my pain level goes sky high, when I blackout and go unconscious from lack of blood to my brain, when my blood sugar plummets, when my digestive system doesn't want to work, a direct link between TOM & a huge increase in depression that could be PMDD, etc). I can't control the physical. I CAN control the after-effects where my brain takes all that bad, snowballs it into a mountain, then explodes it into an unending mess of horrible-ness.

I know this is going to be crazy difficult for me. I have to tune into my body even further and find the line where the uncontrollable physical symptoms end before the controllable mental health issues start. I have to dive into the emotions that are forced upon me, then step out of them and into an intellectual mindset where I can figure out what is physically happening to cause them. I can tell you this is going to suck because I have to totally retrain my reactions. But it is something I must do. The doctors can't do anything and keep giving up, so it's up to me now.

I'm not posting this to endorse anyone else trying this. In fact, PLEASE DON'T. I'm painfully unique and have spent hundreds of hours researching my conditions, have been through years of trying dozens of conventional treatments, and I am embarking on this quest under the supervision of my ARMHS worker.

I've posted this blog for accountability. I also have memory issues, so I want to be able to remind myself of what I'm trying to accomplish by doing this. Hopefully my sparkfriends will also be able to gain some understanding about why I am the way I am, and forgive the times I'm silent, negative, and/or fall short of what someone might expect of me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I can relate. I have had debilitating chronic pain for so many years. The vicious circle you describe, and causing mental health issues, are all too real for me as well. I believe in you, I believe you have a good plan for dealing with the continuous surfacing of issues and anxieties that are highly likely due to your medical conditions. I also believe in your trying a different approach, after experiencing both mental and physical issues that MDs are unable to treat without using very strong drugs that have side effects that are worse than the disorder itself. There is never a really easy answer..... Keep yourself as strong as you can. I still praying for you!!
    1499 days ago
    The fact that YOU understand now is HUGE. I know it's not enough. Not nearly enough. But understanding is just the beginning. Now if you can make an extended appointment with your doctor and sit down and read all of these articles to him...
    1504 days ago
    What an experience for you. Just going in the vicious circle would be enough for me to become depressed! Some doctors can't find anything because they don't know exactly what they are looking for. I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean it because there are so many "New" things going on with health these days that some don't realize that what is in front of them is the cause. I hope I'm saying that alright. That is my problem along with memory issues - I can't always put things in correct sentences that make sense. I wish you a lot of luck with your new routine and I hope you know all of your Spark Buds are here for you whenever you need us.
    1505 days ago
    I can relate to a lot of that with what I've gone through, and still going through, with my cancer. When you are going through health problems with chronic conditions, especially pain, it does affect you mentally, and that in turn affects the physical conditions. It's like a vicious circle.
    1505 days ago
    What you go through is a lot to deal with but maybe the new approach will help. The thing about doctors is that they observe with their eyes instead of listen with their ears and we have to be our own doctors. A lot of us wouldn't have been able to get anywhere if it wasn't for our own research and our own determination to find out what the heck is going on with our bodies.

    It's terrible that physical issues cause your mental health issues. Doctors usually will blame stress for your issues. If it's not stress, it's weight. If it's not weight, it's stress. The truth is that having medical conditions (incurable or not) are stressful! (especially the incurable)

    I don't think anyone who has mental health issues is necessarily in control. I realize that's not what you meant. Someone who has depression not due to a medical issue is more likely to be able to get well than someone who has incurable ailments that cause it. I noticed that when I began getting Hypothyroidism, that is when my anxiety was heightened. I used to be able to control anxiety more easily and it wasn't so bad but then it just crept up and that's when all the obsessive what ifs would spin around and drive me nuts. I think I am doing better (for now) though and I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for you to go through these cycles and not be able to do much about it, except try different approaches.

    I understand what you mean about being negative. Sometimes, I'm like that too and I don't go through half of what you go through (not that I am comparing because I am not). I am just saying I get it. Sometimes you are upbeat and optimistic and other times life feels overwhelming, hopeless, and stupid. I don't think you are alone in going back and forth between emotions.

    I don't think feeling your emotions is a bad idea. I was always encouraged to express and feel my emotions and I think it's healthier than not showing them. I feel bad for my friends who are not allowed to show emotions because it is considered a sign of weakness in their families. I think diving into your feelings-bad or good will help a lot of your mental issues and it may even help alleviate some of the symptoms of your physical conditions. You never know.I I don't blame you for not recommending it to other people because depression or anxiety can be a dark place for some and this approach may be the worst idea for them so I get why you warned others not to try it.

    Good luck on your new approach.

    1506 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/15/2013 4:05:31 AM
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