A Funny Thing Happened


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.






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  • I’m really glad you didn’t piss yourself, but when I was reading the first part I kept thinking “I wonder if she’s seen her doctor for some blood-work lately?”, so I’m not sorry you were dizzy enough to fall and vomit if that’s what it took to get you there. I only say this because I went through two years of living in a fog of desperate fatigue only to find out that the fix was a simple monthly B12 injection. The difference was so dramatic I kicked myself for not going to the doctor about it sooner.

    • Yeah…I don’t know why I didn’t talk to him about the anxiety and depression getting so much worse. I assumed it was because of menopause.

      I am so glad you got your issue worked out!

  • That’s terrifying, I’m so glad you didn’t do yourself more damage and I hope sorting the meds out helps right across the board.

  • How scary that must have been for everyone. I had a surprise seizure in front of my husband once and when I restored consciousness I saw that look Randy gave you. Fear, love, terror even.
    I am so glad you saw your doctor and you are on the mend!

    • That is so scary. Yeah, I am glad, too. I still feel really bad, but at least I know why. I am so looking forward to not feeling uncomfortable all the goddamn time.

  • Holy Shit… something so simple… yet causing so many issues for you! I wish mine was that simple. I have actually had my thyroid checked hoping that was what was wrong with me. My mind is so bogged down with my past that I teeter on the edge between sane and complete meltdown. Trying to find a mental health professional is a nightmare. They are all “contractors” and you have to leave messages or emails for them to call back at their convenience. Bastards.
    Good for you!!! get your meds right and you will feel like a new woman!!!
    The chin will heal 🙂

    • I am sending you ALL my good thoughts. I hope you find some relief, I know how hard this is. Just remember..all the bad things your head is telling you are lies. I know that doesn’t always help, but sometimes holding on to perspective keeps the meltdowns at bay. Please let me know how you are doing.

  • WOW! What a read…you help me and I bet others as well. I’m relieved to hear your on the mend. Hypothyroidism is brutal. Thank you for sharing your truth. For many years I thought I was losing my mind until diagnosed with the same disease.

    • It really is…and I didn’t understand what was happening and by the time it got really bad, I was no longer thinking rationally…I mean even before I passed out. I was so erratic in my emotions that I felt hopeless and fearful all the fucking time.

      I still feel bad. Today is the first day on my new dose and it will take a while to even out..but at least I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Holy shit and vomit and no piss !!!!!! Good girl
    Trust me you are gonna feel a lot better when the drugs start kicking in , don’t wait so long when your feeling like shit next time, at my age 50 something !! Sorry can’t remember the something !! I can’t believe what my body is doing to me fucking menapose,
    you will be OK don’t let it get you we have to love are DR and Randy xxxx

  • I’m so glad you’re safe and now have a medical POA. I’d be super bummed if I couldn’t read your blog BC you didn’t feel well!!

    • Hahah! I would be bummed if I didn’t write it…and that is where my head was going..I just didn’t see the point. I’m glad I am getting this fixed. It’s been miserable.

  • I was so worried reading this and I felt horrible for giving you crap in your last post about falling again. I’m glad you got it figured out and I certainly hope that it makes all the things better. It has to be of some relief to know that things might be better than they have been for you, hopefully very soon.

    I know it’s scary. I’ve had a couple of vasovagal episodes, basically a rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure that decreases blood flow to the brains and BAM!, lights out. Scared my husband half to death but now we laugh a teeny bit because I…..did piss myself.

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  • I am so happy and relieved for you! So often we just shrug and accept how we feel as the new normal. But every once in a while we get a wake-up call that lets us know things can be better. You really are a goddamn superhero, you know.

    • It had gotten really bad in the past few weeks..I think I would have ended up at the doctor anyway even without the episode..but it would have taken longer.

      Thanks, sister. XO

  • I was worried that you were having a stroke, but that would mean that Randy would have to blog and it wouldn’t be funny…I have been having a downturn myself, lately. I am glad your doctor figured it out! Be well.

    • Yeah..stroke was my biggest fear. I am sorry to hear you are on a downturn. I am pulling for you, sister.

      Randy is a LITTLE funny…he’s just not as funny as he thinks he is. haha.

  • I completely understand why you never mentioned your symptoms to a doctor. They were so nebulous and not unknown to you although not as intense as before. There are so many possible causes and the thought of all the testing and what if the tests don’t find anything, and it’s just all bullshit and a fucking waste of time. And doctors don’t really know anything for sure. Best they can do is guess. That’s why the called medicine a “practice”. I imagine that those are all the thoughts that were running through your head. I imagine that because those are the ones that were running through mine. I am very glad it all worked out. Speaking from the point of view of someone who’s been there, it’s great being on the other side! I actually can no longer recall how the despair felt. I remember that I felt it but I can’t remember how it felt. Well that sentence makes no sense?! Hopefully you understand what I’m trying to say. Glad things are looking up. I love reading your blog. Thank you!

    • I understood that PERFECTLY. And yes, those were my EXACT thoughts. I’m going to pay a goddamn fortune for all these tests and they won’t be able to tell me ANYTHING. But I was wrong. Yay!

      And thank you. 🙂

  • Holy shitsnacks, Michelle.

    I’m glad that you are all right, busted chin & abused ego, notwithstanding. I am super-glad that all of this led to a better grokking of everything going on with you (mental/emotional/physical).

    Here’s hoping that everything evens back out and you start feeling a LOT better. Soon.


      • What kind of crazy world do we exist in that we tell ourselves that feeling like utter and complete shit, for *months* is a totally normal and OK thing? That we weigh the costs of paying for tests, feeling embarrassed to ask for help, for knowing (in our deep and dirty little hearts) that OF COURSE they won’t find a fucking thing – it’s all in my head/the hormones/my fault.

        And then, on top of all this, being _grateful_ that having slammed our face into the ground and being embarrassed because we were sick in front of friends, we are now able to get the care that we needed.
        Six. Months. Ago.


        • I know!! I AM grateful that I’m going to be feeling better, though…god..so very much grateful.

          Haha..when you put it like that…well…yeah…probably should have seen someone sooner.

  • I’m so glad you’re all right – or will be. That’s one of my deepest fears, being uncontrollably sick in front of people. But at least it sent you to your doctor. And you didn’t break anything when you fell. Win-win.

  • I’m relieved and also laughing that your doctor gave you a sarcastic lecture. That’s a cool doctor. A doctor who gives sarcastic lectures is what far too many of us need. And it’s also great that you’re sharing this story because some of us have just started taking medication for hypothyroidism and are now thinking, oh, great, this is something I have to look forward to. I hope when I throw up my fajitas in front of a stranger I at least don’t piss myself.

    That’s the sarcastic response. The genuine response is, this is wonderful information to have, and thank goodness you’re all right and there’s a light at the end of your tunnel and you can continue regaling us with hilarity.

  • “A good thing wrapped in a bad thing”…very well put. The relaxing weekend you were so looking forward to ended up being not very relaxing and peaceful at all–unless you count getting catered to as an invalid, which I must admit I enjoy. What a blessing it turned out to be, though! I’m so glad that there was a medical cause for your increased anxiety and depression and that you were able to find it. Even if you’d pissed yourself in addition to the vomiting, loss of consciousness and chin injury it would have been worth it. Congratulations!

    • The rest of the weekend was great…and actually, the time leading up to the incident was awesome..it was just that hour or so..well, and trying to sleep with a bleeding throbbing chin…

  • So glad you shared this! It’s so important to every now and again stop and assess yourself and whatever medications you are taking. I know that we all stay busy and it’s hard to make the time…but a full yearly workup is usually covered by most insurances.

  • Oh, wow! At some time or another, I think most of us have suffered from depression and/or anxiety attacks. I have. They’re scary, embarrassing and debilitating. Thank you for the advice to see your doctor. So wise! I’m glad you know what the problem is and have taken steps that will help you get better. Brava! Brenda

  • It sounds like frog in boiling water syndrome – things got bad so gradually that you sort of didn’t notice, like a frog in a pot of cool water with heat added slowly. I am so glad that your doctor was able to help you!

  • I’ve been wondering, these past several weeks, how you’ve managed to get to work, write, read, etc. while feeling so crummy. That’s fkn impressive. Really. I work with the elderly and often times behavioral changes are due to meds that require adjustments, not simply worsening dementia. It’s easy to make assumptions. Hoping you start feeling “normal” real soon!

  • Geez lady, I care about you and that was scary to read. I’m so glad you’re okay! And you are a superhero for persisting under the circumstances. I guess it’s “good” it took such a dramatic thing to force you to get checked out?

  • So if I understand this, your report card was actually awesome if you were being tested on over medication. See? You are a rock star.
    I am sorry about the tripping and barfing, but glad that the doctor figured it out so quickly and that you will be feeling SO much better soon.

  • I’m grateful that you found out what was going on too. Here’s hoping that your related issues will now subside! You have an explanation why you were feeling crummy. Sending positive thoughts 🙂

  • Yeah, that was just a little bit scary. So glad the mystery has been solved, well, maybe at least many of the pieces put into place anyway. 🙂 Life after I (yes *I* b/c none of the doctors helped me) pinpointed my food intolerance issues is sooo much better than before. I was a total mess before, avoiding all things social and pretty much anything away from home. It is a great feeling to know it wasn’t all in my head and I have so much more freedom now. Happy days, Michelle!

  • Didn’t know that about your thyroid, or I would have said something. Glad you’re gonna be OK, by the way. Thyroid problems can’t be ignored. They don’t allow for that.
    So now I’m gonna tell you a little story about someone I know who has thyroid problems, and a little incident that resulted from him not taking his meds one time…
    Robert is about 6’5″, 250 lbs., and African American. Originally from Texas. He has thyroid issues, and has to take medicine for it every day, which he has gotten better at doing, but wasn’t that good at at first. When he forgets his meds he “loses his mind”, his terminology. So the people who knew him, and knew about him knew this about him and acted accordingly. One day, after forgetting to take his thyroid medicine for three days in a row, he was at his house in Berkeley, and he saw his tenant come home, and thought to himself “It’s a shame that he has to die, and it’s even worse that I’m the one who has to do it…”, pulled out his pistol, and began chasing him around and around the outside of the house. Someone eventually called the cops, who already knew of his problems, and they showed up and yelled at him that his neck was swollen, and that he needed to take his meds, and it dawned on him that they were right, so he stopped and took them. Everyone was freaked out, but still intact. I shudder to think what would have happened if this had happened today.
    So even considering the fall and the vomiting, it could have been worse…

  • Fuckin’ no-good thyroids, eh?

    Being hyperthyroid is terrifying. When I first started my meds for being hypo, the dose the doctor prescribed ended up being too high, and after being on it a while it pushed me into hyper territory. Rapid heartbeat, constantly on edge, panic attacks…I thought I was losing my mind.

    Luckily it only took me one hellish week to figure out the reason why. I can’t even imagine how you’ve coped for so long but I’m glad you’re finally on the road to recovery. A toast to cool doctors.

    • I was on that dose for 15 years. I have no idea when it got out of whack… But YES..ALL of that. I thought I was losing my goddamn mind. I still don’t feel right, but I expect that will change. At least I’m not crying all the time. Haha.

  • Sounds really scary. I’m glad you’re feeling better now. As someone who has hypothyroidism, I can relate to the dizziness and weird feelings. Hope the new meds help. Also, stay well-hydrated. Water helps a lot.

  • Well, shit Michelle! I’m glad you found out what was going on. I’m the same as you — I have to be practically at death’s door before I’ll see a doctor. In fact, it was my eye doctor who figured out I have an autoimmune disease during a routine eye exam for new glasses. I had just casually mentioned some weird things going on with my eyes and he asked a few questions and then diagnosed me. Sure enough, when I saw a rheumatologist, it was exactly that. By the way, don’t feel bad about the fainting spell — I’ve had three episodes of those in my life and I peed my pants in every one of them!

    • It’s such an uncomfortable sensation! I hated it so much.

      It’s not that I don’t go to the doctor. I do. It’s just that I didn’t want to be a bother more than anything…you know..ruin the weekend just to find out it was a one off thing and a dumb waste of time.

      I guess we just need to take better care of ourselves.

  • WOW – so glad to hear that you are OK now and that there was a reason for what happened. Menopause sucks big time and certainly has a lot to answer for if you ask me !!!
    I know what you mean about loving it out in the mountains, while we don’t live in the mountains, we do live on acerage and I just love coming home in the afternoon to our little piece of tranquility.
    Take care of you

  • Thank you for sharing your story. People tend to minimize the way they feel in an effort to be “strong” – we really need to listen to our bodies and not let symptoms become the new normal. If your Dr. won’t listen – make him/her understand and if that doesn’t work find a new Dr. We must advocate for ourselves.

    I’m glad you are on the way to feeling better and I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt in your falls.

  • So scary to read this! I was thinking.. some strange head injury or stroke… Noooo

    So so glad to hear how it ended up, even though it came wrapped inside a bad thing, and that a change in meds can help! What a relief!

    I won’t tell how long it’s been since I had a physical but I am hoping to change that soon, because I definitely feel like the thyroid symptoms line up with a lot of my issues. I will be SO pissed if I find out I could’ve fixed me 10 years ago.

  • I am glad you are on the mend and I hope the test will be able to tell you something. I had a similar situation happen to me years ago which after I went to the doctor, she determined that I was hypoglycemic. I was at work, I had only been there for about an hour. I worked at a Kinkos, I was taking an print job order for a customer. Next thing I knew, I was laying on the floor, my boss looking sitting neat to me. I didn’t go in the ambulance either (they called one as a precaution). I had been rushing to work that morning, only had coffee and the stores AC was not working, so this factored in to my fainting.

  • Omg what a story! (I wish I could say that I’d never been on the floor in my own vomit surrounded by people, but that would be a lie) And the relief at the end! Yes, you definitely are a super hero! I’m so happy you finally see some light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Not gonna lie…it’s good to NOT be alone in this. haha. And yes, I am glad there is a light. I feel like hammered shit today…really yucky..but I have a 3 day weekend coming up and I plan to do a lot of resting.

    • I hope that it encourages people to see a doctor if they aren’t feeling ‘right’. (whatever that is). I could have avoided so much unpleasantness.


  • Love your italic comments within your comments and how you knew all your people would be on that doc for the sarcasm if you didn’t explain it was ok. You have a fab way of expressing yourself, even when talking about barf and confusion and unhappiness. Here’s to feeling better.

  • i read this with an icy feeling of dread that you were going to say you had a stroke. Ugh.

    I’m relieved it’s something that can be addressed. Did you also think about the things you’ve been going through in your life, while in a bout of hyperthyroidism? Not fun.

    I miss you. I’m going to start bothering you via text so you don’t forget me.

  • I am so glad that you did go to the doctor and at the very least, albeit late, have an explanation for what has been going on with you both physically and mentally. I think as women, especially when we are not well, try to hide it and put the focus elsewhere. This can have very serious consequences. You can rest assured that you have inspired other women to go get checked out at the very least because of even the slightest notion that they may puke or void themselves in public. Hey, whatever gets the job done! Lol

    • And that is exactly what I was doing..I was powering through it…like I always fucking do. Turns out, there was no powering through this. I won’t let this happen again.

  • I hope that you feel much better soon. Next time, though, go to a hospital! My best friend had a stroke at age 37. If she hadn’t gone immediately to the hospital, she would have died. You never know what’s going on until you get it checked out.

  • How scary…not to mention embarrassing! It’s weird how we will “put up” with feeling low-level crappiness for a long time. That’s what happened in the many months that led up to my Lyme/adrenal fatigue/thyroid diagnosis, and it took a while to get it all taken care of. It only once I felt better that I was able to see how truly awful I had felt, for so long. Here’s to feeling better as soon as possible!

  • Thank God you found out what was wrong. I know my go-to when feeling anxious, depressed etc. is “well it’s just me being mental again” then wheeee beat myself up. I am so glad you are okay and doing better. Glad it’s a happy ending!’

By Michelle


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