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.