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Other things…

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Aside from the therapy assessment, there is a whole host of other things that I want to write about. I don’t really know where to start, but I’m going to have a go, because I think it may help me to get some of these thoughts down at last.

I need to start giving myself some more time. I’ve taken a twitter hiatus lately to try and free up some time, but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. If I was spending an hour a day or whatever (probably more like 3 if I’m honest!) on twitter, I want to know why I don’t have an extra hour spare each day?

I am not sure if I prefer to have twitter in my life or not. Leaving twitter should at least reduce the number of arguments with the bloke – twitter is quite often the trigger for them, but whether or not it really has remains to be seen. He will probably just find something else to criticise. If he gets to win the argument on twitter, he will go back to trying to get me to completely stop blogging as well.

It should in theory give me more time to do other things, but I don’t think it has made much difference. It is very much true that whatever you have to do, will always expand itself to fill however much time you have to do it in. It is the same in that I haven’t worked for 2 years, yet I seem to have filled my time with other things. I don’t quite know how I would squeeze work back into my life, although I’d work out how to somehow I guess.

I do feel like I’ve lost something without twitter. It gave me two things. A feed of interesting information about the world in general and a more personal support group from the madosphere. I am missing both of these for different reasons.

The lack of general stuff leaves me feeling just a little bit behind. Twitter is great in that it can keep you up to date with things, real time. I have to go to more effort to find out things and to keep on top of the latest goings on. If a band that I follow releases tour dates, they will usually tweet about it. Now I have to wait until I spot them on some listings or on their website. If someone posts a news story about something I’m interested in, chances are I’d see a link to it on twitter pretty quickly. I am having to pay more attention on BBC News to spot things of interest. I guess I can do without this info, but when you are used to having it fed to you all the time, it is weird to go back to having to look for it. Twitter is certainly convenient. You can pretty much find anything on there if you wanted.

I am missing the support group side of things too. I feel that by stepping away I am neglecting people and I really don’t want to do that. I hope that people don’t take my hiatus to mean I am not interested in them or don’t care about them any more. It is not about that at all. I feel like I am letting people down by not being there all the time. Of course I miss receiving the support of my twitter friends too. It is nice to know that there is nearly always someone out there to talk to if you feel like it. It makes the world a little less lonely.

I do miss it, but a lot less than I thought I would to be honest. I can live without it, which maybe surprises me a little. It is convenient though

I don’t know if I will go back, stay away longer or perhaps just change how I use it. Maybe I will go private for a bit? I don’t know. If you are waiting for me to go back though, don’t hold your breath.

I didn’t start out with this post to write about my twitter hiatus, but there we go. It was something I wanted to explain on my twitter feed, but hardly possible with 140 characters. At least by saying it here, I can feel like I haven’t gone without explaining myself.

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So what else is there?

Physically, I am struggling. I have been suffering with persistent “tummy trouble” and irritable bowel issues lately. It has been there for months now. I was too embarrassed to say much at first (no one really wants to share their toilet habits do they?) and I thought it would improve, but it just got worse and worse and has been making things pretty rough. Constipation, diarrhoea, both, often with urgency, occasional vomiting, frequent nausea, awful tummy cramps that rival the worst period pain, chest tightness/pain, bloating and lack of appetite… None of which are particularly fun and when it all happens at once it makes you feel pretty awful.

Dr N and I are both pretty sure it is the Reboxetine to blame. I saw the locum last week as Dr N has been on holiday for a few weeks. He got me to have a collection of blood tests to see if there was anything else to explain things, but they didn’t bring anything up. I phoned up for the results on Tuesday and the receptionist reeled off a long list of the ones that were clear, but said I should come in to see the doctor about my liver results. I had a suspicion that this would happen, as it has done in the past. Apparently, one of my liver hormone levels is slightly higher than it should be, but it has been for some time and it is actually a little better than it was earlier this year. The other doctor probably wasn’t aware of this, so wanted me to see a doctor, but Dr N wasn’t worried about it. He did tell me that I should really keep any drinking to a minimum though, as my liver will struggle with any heavy drinking. I don’t tend to drink very often or very much anyway, so this isn’t so much of a worry, but it is a little concerning if I am going to be taking this medication in the long-term. Dr N thinks it will go back to normal if/when I stop taking the Reboxetine and joked that I can hit the booze then, whilst chastising himself for being a bad doctor for saying so. I don’t relish the thought that my liver results make me look like an alcoholic though. It is probably worth trying to be careful for the time being, I guess.

When I last saw Dr N about 6 weeks ago or something, he started me on alverine citrate as an antispasmodic, but so far it hasn’t helped all that much. I am having a few less of the sudden desperate trips to the loo, but still struggling with the pain and diarrhoea/constipation a lot. Today, he’s decided to double the dose, so fingers crossed it will have some impact. I am not sure I can carry on with these kind of problems for much longer. How anyone survives a life of IBS, I have no idea. Hopefully for me this will be temporary and I guess if it is caused by the Reboxetine there is always the option of stopping the meds, but I am not sure I like that idea.

The only good thing about all of this is that I have lost quite a bit of weight. Although that possibly isn’t such a good sign for my health. I put on a stupid amount of weight at the start of this year. Considering I wasn’t eating that much because the food was disgusting, I think I put on about a stone whilst I was in hospital in January and that continued when I came out. I don’t actually know heavy I got, because I stopped getting on the scales when it went over a certain number. I have pretty much always been overweight, although it probably bothers me a lot less than it should do considering my weight is not good for my health. However, over the last 6 months my appetite has disappeared and the weight has been falling off, without much effort at all. I have been more active over the summer, especially when I was travelling, but I think the loss of appetite has made the biggest difference. I often feel too ill to eat and most of the time I could quite easily go all day without eating anything. I am fed, because the bloke does virtually all of the cooking, but if he wasn’t around I’d live on the occasional bit of toast or the odd crumpet. I have lost all of what I put on earlier this year and more. My weight has yo-yoed a lot, but I am now somewhere near the lowest weight I have been since I was about 17. Admittedly, I am still many stone overweight, but I have lost over two stone and getting on for three. My clothes which had all got too small are now all too big. I am fed up of having nothing which fits properly, but I don’t really want to spend too much on new clothes if my weight is still changing. I have cleared a lot of stuff out, but I am reluctant to get rid of stuff in case I put the weight back on. We shall see.

Unfortunately, the way I am feeling physically hasn’t been helping my mood at all. In general, my mood has been dropping off over the last couple months. I felt a lot better during the earlier half of the summer than I did in the latter half and I felt a lot better 8 weeks ago than I do at the moment. At first, there were just a few warning signs and I did my best to ignore them. Whenever I noticed them and started to worry, I tried to stop myself because I didn’t want it to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Worry that I was getting worse, so I got worse. Unfortunately, that strategy doesn’t seem to have helped much, as my mood seems to have dropped regardless.

I haven’t wanted to tell anyone that I am not feeling so good. I am disappointed that my recovery has stalled and almost feel ashamed. I wanted this time to be the time where I get well and stay well. Instead it’s a return to the old “one step forward, two steps back”. I am worried that if I am getting depressed again, then maybe I am to blame for it all. I wish I had made more of the time when I was well, because I don’t think I really appreciated how much better and easier things were.

I hadn’t wanted to write about it here, because I was worried about what the bloke would think, but he had noticed the drop in my mood, despite my best effort to carry on and pretend that nothing had changed. I didn’t and still don’t want to worry him. I do not want to go back to how things were when I was really ill.

I wasn’t sure I was going to tell Dr N today, but he knows me too well now and I think he could tell before I even said anything. I was there about the tummy trouble, but he asked me about my mood and I couldn’t tell him that all was fine. He seemed sad and a little concerned, but he was reassuring too. I think I feel a little better now that I am not hiding it so much.

Thankfully, although things have dropped off, they are still better than they were a year ago or back in January. Most of the time they are still a lot, lot better, but I’ve been having some bad days. Last Wednesday was really rough. I felt truly awful all day. Cried on and off for most of it and at one point instead of sorting out the huge mountain of washing I’d put on the bed, I just lay down next to it and crawled under the covers for a while so I didn’t have to face it. I pretty much cried myself to sleep, but then woke up in a panic that I had less time to get everything done. We had guests around for dinner that evening and the house was a mess, so there was plenty to do.

Unlike usually when I have been depressed, I am not especially suicidal. The thoughts come and go, but it is not like before. I was chronically and painfully suicidal for so long, I thought it would never go away, but it did. Over the summer, I stopped wanting to kill myself. I had started to see the point in life and recognised that I could have a future where I didn’t feel at mercy to my moods or awful all the time. Thankfully, despite the fact I have felt pretty low at times, the suicidal ideation hasn’t come back with such ferocity. I think I have retained the hope that I can be well again. I had lost that before, but Reboxetine has given me that back. I thought I was always going to feel so depressed that I didn’t see any point in life. There are times when I feel like that again. When I think about relapse, I get so frustrated that again I am going backwards. This makes me feel pretty hopeless and I wonder what all the point is. I sometimes just want to throw in the towel and give up, but I am resisting. Occasionally, I do want to die. A lot of the time I don’t really care if I live. Even when I have been well, that hasn’t really completely gone away, but I am managing. The thoughts pass and for now I can handle them. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

I told Dr N today that I do think there is something in the seasons. He has asked me in the spring when I started to feel better if I thought there was and I said I didn’t know. When the Reboxetine showed the first signs of helping earlier this year, it was at the same time as the weather improved, so we weren’t sure if it was one or the other or both. Often my worst times have actually been in Spring, when most people are starting to feel better. However, I think about it now and I think the seasons do have some form of effect. My mood has definitely dropped in September/October for the last three years. Last summer I was better than I had been during the rest of the year (although still much, much worse than I was this year), but things went downhill from September. The year before was generally awful from June onwards, but it wasn’t until September that things completely fell apart and I first ended up in The Priory in October ’08. I used to struggle in October whilst I was at school too, but I always put that down to an increased workload and the fact it was usually a time for deadlines and the ramping up of rehearsals for Christmas concerts and the like. So maybe there is something in it? I don’t know. I just hope that January/February 2011 isn’t as bad as 2009 or 2010.

Anyway, I see Dr M on Monday. Dr N told me to mention the seasonal thing. He said it is worth knowing and perhaps we should be aware of the rough cycle of my moods as it may help us pre-empt things. I have tried to be aware in the past, but it is hard when you often forget how you have felt before, even when you try and keep track.

He said that she may choose to raise the Reboxetine, but he is worried about the side effects. I had of course thought of this too. I considered doing it myself, but thought I had better see what she said first. I am worried about the side effects too. Things are so bad on that front, that it may not be wise. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem, because the side effects are making my mood worse, but to counteract that drop in mood, I will probably have to make the side effects worse. I don’t know what is worst. It’s a hard balance to strike. I don’t think I can tolerate the side effects getting any worse unfortunately. They are trying my patience enough as they are. I had hoped that when I was settled on these meds, the side effects would subside and although some of them have done, the tummy troubles just seem to get worse.

Anyway. I have written enough for now. This is a long post and I must try and get to bed. I have been waiting for the bloke to come home from playing computer games with friends, but he is not back yet.

No Veins…

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I had to have my blood taken today, but we can safely say I have really crap veins. It took multiple attempts to get the tiniest amount of blood. I’m having the tests to check my platelet count has improved and also to check my thyroid. It seems my last test showed slight hypothyroidism and Dr G wants to check again before she gets the thyroxine out. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know it may affect my weight and mood, but I’m not sure if it’s just a bit of an excuse. I guess we will see.

Aside from that it seems Dr G has been talking to the ward doctor, Dr C about me and they’ve decided I need extra support when I leave the ward. They want to work with the NHS and refer me to the CHMT. Dr G says I need regular support. She says in the past the NHS trust I come under has been good when she’s had to work with them, so fingers crossed. Also, she wants to refer me for some long term psychodynamic therapy which could be interesting. It’s assuring that she is thinking about what I need after the ward this time.

I had some upsetting news today. Someone that was in when I was here the first time died last week of alcohol poisoning. She just couldn’t stay off the drink even with the help here. It’s sad. I hate that I’m jealous of her, which feels disrespectful, but I can’t help it. I still wish I was dead. I wish it was me, not her. I hate this world. It’s too unfair.

Written by intothesystem

Thursday, 9th April 2009 at 9:57 pm

Another doctors appointment… another sick note.

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Managed to get a doctors appointment this morning. Wasn’t a very nice appointment. Started with a few questions and me not really knowing what to say. She asked about my relationship. I didn’t know what to say. She asked how my mood was generally. I told her how I’d felt better Monday/Tuesday but less good yesterday – or rather awful yesterday. I didn’t tell her I’d been feeling fairly suicidal again and self harm was on my mind (I’ve not done anything though. Trying to resist), so I don’t know if she realised how awful I felt, but nevermind. She doesn’t need to know.

I finally got the “you should eat better, exercise more, lose weight and you’ll feel better” lecture this morning. I’m surprised it took her this long, but I’ve heard it all before and it’s somewhat annoying. Even more annoying was the way she went about it. I was not impressed. She tells me that now I am at home I have no excuse not to plan my meals, work out what I’m going to buy at the supermakert, cook balanced meals and eat healthily. I wasn’t sharp enough to point out that it is my partner that does all the cooking in our house, he buys the food at the supermarket as it’s next door to his work and we already eat balanced, home cooked meals. I did point out we eat balanced meals, but she evidently didn’t believe me. I wonder if she would even consider that it might not be me that does the cooking considering how old fashioned she is.

I did tell her that I’d not really been eating all that much lately as I’d not been hungry or would forget I hadn’t eaten. You could tell she didn’t seem to believe me and was thinking “you can’t tell from looking at you”. She then obviously told me that not eating wasn’t good for me either and that I probably wasn’t eating the right things when I was eating. The truth is I’m not all that hungry, but I’m eating fairly healthy and balanced meals when they are put in front of me. I’m trying to eat regularly and eat good things, although the only thing I ever feel like eating is chocolate. I’m being good though and not giving into the temptation of sugar. I eat properly when my partner is home, because he makes me and cooks for me. Take for example our meals this week – We had veggie curry (butternut squash, peppers, beans and pulses etc) on Monday, which I also had leftovers of on Tuesday. We had savoury bulgar wheat, pitta bread, salad and sliced spicy sausage yesterday and tonight I think we’re just going to have veggie tomato pasta. Not exactly unhealthy meals. I don’t think I can do much more on the diet front, unless I start starving myself.

She also tells me I have no excuse not to regularly exercise. As you already know, I plan to start swimming now I’m off, but I’m struggling with the costume issue. Think I’m just going to use my emergency costume (that is too big and falls down – but I’ll tie extra knots in the straps) and go anyway tonight. I do enjoy swimming and I miss going regularly now we don’t have a nice pool nearby. Trying a different local pool to see if it’s any better. When I was at uni I went to the aquatic centre a few times a week and generally did 30+ lengths a visit so I used to swim a lot – a few miles a week.

We are trying to get more exercise at the moment – going out on our bikes etc, although our bike ride got called off on Tuesday when a massive thunderstorm started 10 minutes after leaving the house. I know I don’t do enough and I should increase this, but I don’t need to be told. I know exercise releases endorphins. I know I need to lose weight. I know I don’t have an excuse because I’m not at work at the moment. She doesn’t need to tell me all this. I’m not stupid.

The thing is now if I go see her in two weeks time and I’ve not lost any weight she will be able to accuse me of not listening – the problem is I don’t think there is all that much more I can do. I don’t see why she has to bring this up. I know I’m overweight, but I’m actually physically pretty healthy and not all that bothered by it. There are lot more unhealthy slim people around! I also don’t really see how losing weight is going to make me feel any better – I don’t have any weight-related self-esteem issues so this depression is not caused by that and is not going to go away by being a bit lighter.

Hmm this is turning into a fairly defensive rant. I don’t mean it to be that way. I think it just pisses me off that if you see a doctor and you’re overweight any other issues are automatically blamed on that. My problems are not going to be magically solved by getting to the gym more or eating less chocolate. I just wish doctors would understand that. I think by her mentioning this, she’s just made me lose respect in her even more.

She followed this lecture by signing me off again. This time for 2 weeks. She’s concerned I don’t seem to be getting any better (although I was until yesterday) and wants me to feel better before I got back to work. I was curious that my diagnosis line has changed from depression to low mood. I wonder what the distinction is?

This 2 weeks brings me up to my holiday. I have another appointment with her on 17th July and I’m off from 18th July until 28th July anyway. Going to Truck Festival (little music festival in Oxfordshire) and then going to France for a week with uni friends so that’s something to look forward to.

She said if I’m not feeling better when I see her next then she will have to reconsider medication. I’m still resistant, but then I don’t see when this mood is going to lift. I worry I will never feel much better than this and I’m worried I’ll keep relapsing.

I’m feeling rubbish right now.

Following my appointment I talked to my (old?) line manager and told him I had at least another 2 weeks off work. I need to rant about work and my manager in general, but I might try and order my thoughts and do this in another post. The short story is work is frustrating even now I’m not there. There’s a lot of change and I hate being out of the loop. I’m scared. I don’t want to go back and don’t know if I’ll ever even be up to it, despite the fact I love my job. I think it’s because I love my job that I don’t want to go back – because it won’t be the same. It makes me sad thinking about it. It’s complicated though – so more later.

Written by intothesystem

Thursday, 3rd July 2008 at 1:17 pm