Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Climbing out: The cold never bothered me anyway.

It has been three years since I remember feeling this way for not just half of the time.
What I mean is, even when I felt like myself, I always knew that this freaky thing was going to crawl inside of me and make me feel bad. Bad is an understatement, if you have read past blog posts. I felt so awful, it was scary, sometimes.

I didn't know what was real, what wasn't; I didn't know how to feel better; I didn't know how to get out of the well; It wasn't possible, I don't think; not then.

 I had friends who made me laugh, and made me forget how bleak things seemed... at least for a little while. But somehow things got worse, some kinds of friends disappear, in the end--No more laughing or forgetting--and then I was only more aware of the darkness and walls. That was my fault. I should never have needed anyone else to make me feel "happy." When you need someone too much, it becomes too much.

Too much of anything is never good...  Right?  (Well... I don't think you can get too much fresh air. There can never be too much justice.  Too much love and kindness isn't really something anyone would say. Too much Veronica Mars?  Nah, not possible.  Oh, and I would take too much lovely flawless skin, and too much respect.  [And yes those two things can be used in the same sentence as if they have equal importance.  Yeah, I know, we have to know darkness to appreciate the light and all that.  And there's the thing about being human and humans have pores and wrinkles and...  yeah...]).

Here it is:  I feel happy.  Even when my hormones are betraying me with ridiculously unpleasant brain chaos, I'm here.  I'm not gone.  I feel me punching the darkness in the face, saying, "Go away, I'm happy.  I'm happy and you are making me feel like shit.  Leave me alone."  I used to check out, sit at the bottom of the well, and wait for it to go away.  I really couldn't do anything else.  I mean it.  I was so far down there, I couldn't reach any light.  It was too sad to look up anyway.  Who wants to know how deeply alone they are in their own depression?  Not this girl; I just wanted to close my eyes real tight, and hum loudly so I could't hear the silence.

And, it was funny when people said to "think positively, and you'll feel super great."  You can't think anything when your brain is the thing that's all messed up.  For about 12-14 days every month, I was sad.  I was sad, and there was nothing anyone could do about it... especially me.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I took 2 mg of Prozac during my luteal phase and calcium, magnesium, and B6 every day.  I exercised.  I tried to avoid alcohol and caffeine... I talked to my doctor fairly regularly...  and I learned everything I possibly could about my symptoms and PMDD.  Those are things I did.  I was still sad.

She saved my life...
Then this amazing thing happened.  The iron curtain of depression lifted like the Brezhnev Doctrine was a post-it note.  I watched "Frozen."  Elsa sang, "Let it go."  I let it go.  I just let it all go, and decided I was going to be free!

...  No, that's not what happened.  Wouldn't it be awesome if a Disney movie soundtrack was the cure for PMDD and depression?  It would be ridiculous and awesome.  Damn, it would be glorious-fireworks-booming-light-shining-from-heaven-fucking-amazing if I could just march up a mountain and stomp my foot and all tragedy, mistakes, and sadness--(everything that some majorly messed up parents who shamed, isolated, and alienated their little girl for being different, for that matter)--and hormone imbalances, and brain chemical deficiencies became beautiful, crystal, triumph!  Yes!  No.  It's not so easy.  Frozen is a good movie though.  Kristen Bell is a surprisingly lovely singer.

I don't really know what happened.  All on my own, after weeks worth of research and reading, and talking to doctors (including Dr. Daniel J Heller from PMS Comfort.com), things started to make a little bit more sense.  See, me and PMDD out of the blue made no sense, and it's a pretty hopeless diagnosis.  No matter what "helps relieve symptoms" I was certainly batshit crazy feeling at least a few days every month.  I felt bugs crawling all over my body.  I saw the tendons ripping through the skin of my hands.  I saw a withered old woman when I looked in the mirror.  I wondered if I loved my husband.  Those are crazy things.  All of them.

What did make sense, as I pieced everything together, from every medical study I could access, and every article, and medical journal, and...  From all that I learned, I realized that what did make sense was I have Thyroid Disease.  I knew that.  I knew that for a long time.  But I didn't put it all together.  I didn't make sense of it.  I waited, with the doctors who didn't know much, for antibodies to show up in blood tests, to tell me that every symptom, and my entire family medical history, pointed to exactly what my Nanny Tops told me was making me feel so terrible.  It's the "Barry Curse."  Every woman in my entire extended family has Thyroid disease.  I would never escape it.  I stopped waiting for a stupid, unreliable blood test to tell me what the Hell was wrong with me.  I stomped my foot and screamed, "Help me!"  No more writing a blog to no one about  how I felt sad.  I wanted to know why and how and what to do about it.  Fuck the tyranny of the test.  (I'm pretty sure Elsa would have incorporated a big "Fuck you" to everyone in fictional Norway as she made fancy ice stuff and sang her song, if Disney wasn't holding her back...)

1) “Even when Thyroid Disease is suspected, it is frequently undiagnosed”
2) “When Thyroid Disease is diagnosed, it often goes untreated”
3) “When Thyroid Disease is treated, it is seldom treated optimally”

Even though I won't ever deny that I'm a little crazy, I'm very logical and intellectual in my thought process.  I want to learn everything possible.  I am thirsty for understanding.  I need things to make sense.  I want to know why.  I need to know why.  Hope comes when things make sense.  I understand when I teach myself.

I'm not all better, but I'm not all worse either.  I feel like crap, right now, to be honest with you.  Yet, I know I am happy, even when I feel like happiness is impossible.  In my darkest places this month, I could see light above me; I could hear laughter and knew what the warmth of that sunlight felt like on my face.  I wasn't hugging my legs with my face buried in my knees.  I was standing, no jumping, with my hands raised up.  I was calling, "Wait for me, I'm coming back."

And Sam was there.  And my babies were there.   Even my daddy and sister were there.  And I knew I didn't need anyone or anything else.

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