Perhaps not so much funny as a good thing wrapped up in a bad thing.
I have been circling the drain for months now. The abyss of anxiety and depression has been growing over the past few weeks. I started feeling a very real fear that I was losing my grip. I was afraid that I was finally reaching my limit on how much I could endure.
That is a scary, hopeless feeling.
If my physical and mental health were a report card, it would look like this:
Sleeplessness – A
Fatigue – A+
Anxiety – A+
Behaving Reasonably To Normal Life Situations – F
Motivation – F
Self-Confidence – F
Depression – A
I am an all or nothing kind of girl when it comes to report cards. Apparently.
In the mountains
When we visit our mountain friends, I usually squirm with excitement. I LOVE visiting these friends. I love their land. When I am there, I feel peaceful.
Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to visit them, but that happiness was pinned behind a veil of anxiety and depression.
We arrived last Thursday evening and spent hours outside on their rooftop deck surrounded by treetops. Mountain girl made some truly bad ass fajitas. We were joined by her neighbor, who I enjoyed meeting and would grow to appreciate even more as the evening progressed. I can only describe Mountain girl’s neighbor as a female Doctor Doolittle in gym shorts and cowboy boots. She told us some fascinating stories, but I will save them for another post.
I said in my last blog post that I fell.
Well, that wasn’t a lie. I did fall. Twice.
I just neglected to say how that happened.
Alcohol was involved, but in six hours I had only had a few drinks, not even enough for a buzz. Night had fallen and the sounds of conversation competed with cicadas and frogs. The temperature had been uncomfortably hot and humid, but the night air was thick and lovely.
I started feeling uncomfortable.
One minute, I was listening to a story about a girl who gave herself a black eye while shooting a rifle. The next I was fighting dizziness that made me break out in a clammy sweat.
I became disoriented so quickly that it didn’t occur to me to be afraid of how I felt. I laid my head down on the table for a moment, which made the feeling worse. I wanted to leave and lay down, but I wasn’t sure I could talk. It felt as if every molecule in the universe started spinning and converged inside my head, squeezing out the only gray matter I had that was still firing in a way I understood. I could very nearly see a picture of what it looked like. Stark black with intricate patterns of squares and circles and dots and triangles spinning in opposite directions before slamming into my brain.
My awareness allowed me to at least be concerned about the stairs from the deck. I turned to Randy and told him that I didn’t feel well and I needed his help. At this point, my vision was nearly gone and I could feel the blood pumping in my ears.
I made it four steps before losing consciousness and pitching forward.
My chin took the brunt of the fall and the pain snapped me back into consciousness.
At this point, Randy and our friends thought I had tripped. They knew I wasn’t drunk. I had just been participating in the conversation so nothing seemed amiss.
My memory of the next few minutes are hazy, but I remember basically what happened. I know I was immediately surrounded by four people who helped me up. They didn’t know that I had passed out, but were quickly realizing that I was not lucid.
I made it another four steps before collapsing again on the stairs going to the upper deck. This time, they all knew something was wrong.
I managed to move forward a few feet before giving up, laying on my side and vomiting in a spectacular manner.
I remember Mountain girl squatting down in front of me and speaking in a soothing tone that everything was going to be okay and that they would take care of me. Doctor Doolittle sat behind me and held my hair. The one memory I have of Randy’s face is difficult to think about. My heart broke to see so much fear on his face, but I couldn’t reassure him as my puke fest pretty much took all the strength I had.
Moments after I stopped vomiting, it was like a curtain lifted from my brain. I felt completely lucid. The dizziness and disorientation seemed to be expelled with the fajitas. One minute I was so out of it that I couldn’t speak coherently and the next minute I was staring around and wondering what the fuck I was doing laying in puke.
Mountain girl wanted to load me in the car and take me to the emergency room. I insisted that I felt fine. I just wanted to lay down and nurse my throbbing, bleeding chin. I was sure it was just the heat and really, the thought of going anywhere but to bed was intolerable to me.
For the record, this was a bad choice. If you don’t believe me, call my doctor and he will tell you. He gave me a truckload of shit for not going to the ER.
Randy and I made our way to our cabin. He cleaned me up and made sure I was comfortable. He wanted to start packing up so we could cut our trip short and go home. I told him to wait and see how I felt in the morning.
I was fine in the morning.
You know how when something upsetting happens? Then, you sleep on it and when you wake up, you know you’re upset about something, but it takes a few minutes to remember exactly what that is? When I remembered the vomiting episode on Friday morning, I wanted to crawl into a hole.
Awesome. I laid on my side and vomited in front of four people. One of them a stranger.
I was catered to on Friday. I took full advantage of that and referred to myself as the invalid. Mountain girl told me that Doctor Doolittle used to be an EMT and said that she was glad that I didn’t lose bladder control. If I had lost bladder control I don’t think I could have protested enough to keep myself out of the hospital.
My only response to that was “So, what you are saying is the one bright spot from last night is that I didn’t piss myself.”
I promised that I would see my doctor on Monday after we got home.
The rest of the trip went without incident. I was worn out when we got home Sunday night and a little freaked out about what happened, but I felt okay.
I saw the doctor yesterday and, after getting a long and kind of sarcastic lecture from him, he ordered some tests. Don’t be angry on my behalf about the sarcasm. The sarcasm was funny. He’s actually a cool doctor.
I got the results this morning.
My thyroid gland was removed 28 years ago and I’ve been taking medication since. As it turns out, the medication had built up and I had more than double the level of thyroid hormone than I should have. I had severe hyperthyroidism. This is what caused me to pass out.
You know what else hyperthyroidism causes?
Sleeplessness. Anxiety. Depression. Nervousness. Fatigue. Heat intolerance.
My doctor called in a new prescription. Now, all I have to do is wait. I’ll be better soon.
A thought occurred to me after I got my test results. I have dealt with anxiety and depression my entire life. I am menopausal, which exacerbates the anxiety and depression. Then on top of all that, my medication was kicking it into maximum overdrive.
I still went to work every day.
I didn’t break down.
I am a goddamn superhero.
You can think of this as a public service announcement.
If you are suffering from anxiety or depression and you feel like you’re spinning out of control, please talk to your doctor about it. If I had talked to my doctor months ago, I probably wouldn’t have suffered as much as I have over the past 6 months. Don’t just assume that there isn’t anything you can do about it. Maybe, it’s something as simple as adjusting your medication. Had I known about this, I would have saved myself much grief. And a busted chin.
Randy and Mountain girl’s husband, the bass player, teased me about writing a blog post about the barf-o-rama incident. I said I wouldn’t and then I laughed and said that I probably would.
I wanted it to be funny.
As it were, I am so fucking grateful that I understand what has been happening to me that I can only see gratitude. No humor.
I still don’t feel great. But understanding that I will feel better soon has definitely dried up my tears. I’m even smiling a little.