But You Don’t Look Sad

by Emmy on August 12, 2014

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I’m copying this from my other blog emmycaitlin.com because I think it’s important for everyone. Depression can be managed well with exercise and a proper diet, but it doesn’t cure it. So I think it’s something that everyone needs to be aware of. Now the post…

Right now my Facebook feed is full of the news that comedian Robin Williams most likely took his own life at the age of 63. He was very well loved, so it’s shocking, but it’s even harder to believe that he suffered from severe depression and that’s likely why this happened. Like so many others, I’m saddened by this news. He brought so much joy to so many with his comedy, and it’s hard to believe that it’s over. But, as someone who suffers from depression, I’m heartbroken that another life was lost to it.

A few days ago a favorite social media personality posted something about how easy a certain goal was because the means to achieve it were so simple; and if you didn’t do those things, then she questioned if you really wanted it at all. I’m not going to say who, because I know how she meant it, and on any other day I would have totally agreed with her. I also knew she was speaking about normal circumstances in life. But that day that reality seemed so far from possible it was as if she was suggesting I would have the wealth of Bill Gates if I’d only do one little thing.

That day I was in the deep black hole of depression. I had actually just clawed my way out of a rather long period of it, and had some really good days, but had dipped way back down that day. I didn’t have my children, so I had come home from work thinking I’d do a bunch of things around the house and online that needed to be done. Instead, I ate dinner, and went to bed. I didn’t go to sleep, even though I easily could have. I just laid in bed and stared at the ceiling until it was “time” for bed. “But you don’t look sad” is a common thing depressed people here when they confess their illness to others. Truth is, people who are depressed often have wonderful lives. They have “nothing to be depressed about” according to those who really don’t understand it.

For me, depression isn’t really sadness. I usually don’t want to cry, though sometimes I do. It’s just paralyzing. You can see everything you are capable of, every thing that’s possible in life, every wonderful thing you have to be thankful for, and you just can’t bring it to you. You can’t feel the happiness you should, you don’t understand the gifts you’ve been given, and the potential to reach out and take what life has to offer seems like an insurmountable task. That’s how it is for me anyway. I’m sure each person experiences it in a different way.

I don’t have a relationship with my father, and the last thing he said to me was that I come from a line of people with mental illness and that I wouldn’t escape it. Well he’s right, I haven’t escaped it. I’ve never been suicidal. There’s only one point in my life that I remember understanding how someone could get to that place. I wasn’t there, but I could see where that was.

Depression doesn’t have to take your life. There is help to be had. Reach out to your doctor, your friends, family, and the world of online resources that can help you find treatment. Don’t keep it a secret. There are people who will listen and help you. If things get too bad, call the National Suicide Prevention line at 1.800.273.8255. You matter in this world.

You never know if the smiling face in front of you is fighting a tough battle inside.

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Time for an Update

by Emmy on August 8, 2014

Well this blog is supposed to be about my health and fitness, and my journey back to a healthy weight on a plant based diet. I haven’t talked about that too much lately, because I’m doing so poorly with it. My food addiction post is the closest I’ve come, but that’s not the whole picture. I’ve still been trying to move toward the way I really want to eat, but just not getting there. My biggest issue, for as long as I can remember, but extremely so for the past few months has been fatigue.

Ever since my thyroid diagnosis back in high school I’ve struggled with being tired when I shouldn’t be. In the past I’ve attributed it to my thyroid, to my poor diet, to lack of exercise. But, even when I was doing the best on all of those things, and my weight was much lower, I was still very tired. But over the past few months it has become almost debilitating. I will wake up after a full night’s sleep feeling like I never went to bed. I don’t have sleep apnea, and I rarely wake up during the night. In fact, I slept through a hurricane warning with my window open once. These days, I come home from work and if I sit down, I’m nodding off. I haven’t been working out that much because even after getting into a regular pattern, I’m so tired after a workout that I need to sleep. This isn’t the fatigue of a great workout, it is MUST SLEEP NOW tired.

So I went to my regular doctor, but everything checked out fine. Then a frightening episode on the treadmill caused some tests on my heart and lung function, which thankfully, were also normal. But, I still felt awful. So, I made an appointment with an osteopathic doctor and had my first visit today.

For the first time, I had a visit with a doctor that felt productive. I left feeling like there was a plan, and that I’m not crazy when I say something is wrong. He was fascinated by my initial thyroid diagnosis. I was diagnosed on accident. I had no symptoms of a thyroid condition. I was there because I was always sick to my stomach. He only found it because he ran out of things to test me for. That was almost 15 years ago, and I’ve been on medication ever since. I’ve also had all of the traditional symptoms of a thyroid condition since going on medication. So, whenever I see a change in how I feel,  I get tested again and my meds are usually adjusted.

This doctor sort of blew the lid off of things for me. He told me that he felt like my issues are primarily dietary, which I totally agree with, and that I had a very good grasp of what I should be eating. But, he does think that something else is going on. He’s running a Free T4 test, a test of my vitamin D and B12 levels, and a celiac panel. He also wants me to give up dairy (been trying to do this anyway) for two weeks to see if the stomach issues I’m having go away.

But the kicker was what he said about my thyroid. He said that when a doctor discovers an elevated thyroid in a patient without symptoms of a thyroid condition, they always treat it. New wisdom on the subject is to not treat the condition, if the patient is not symptomatic. So he said that if I came to him now as I felt then, with no thyroid symptoms, but an elevated level, he wouldn’t have me go on medication. He said that it is possible, not guaranteed, but possible, that my medication is what’s causing the symptoms I never used to have, and that won’t seem to go away. So, he said if I get anything else that might be out of whack fixed, and I’m doing what I’m supposed to with diet and exercise, and these things persist, he might take me off of the medication. He said he’d also consider natural thyroid and other avenues, but that it is possible I don’t need these meds. Taking this medication isn’t hard or expensive, but if I didn’t have to, I’d be thrilled!

Overall, I was super impressed with his doctor. He recommended a holistic health coach for helping me transition the things I know I need to do into my life. He wasn’t against traditional medicine, but he was so in favor of natural approaches whenever possible which is what I really want.

So, I go back in a month unless something pops up in the tests he ran today. I’ll begin my totally dairy free adventure tomorrow, and I’ll keep you posted!

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Free Jillian Michaels Workouts for Amazon Prime Members

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2014 and Many More

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