So you have probably read in previous posts that not only do I suffer from several Mental Illnesses but also Lupus, Sjrogrens, Raynauds, RA and all those nice immune system Chronic Illnesses that like to lump together. I have always known I was “sad”, there was always something different even when I was a young child. Nightmares, thoughts of death, fear of death of loved ones, and anxiety. Don’t forget anxiety. Scared to get on the school bus, scared of everyone at school and afraid to get off the bus to go home.
It wasn’t until after I had my first child 20 years ago that I knew there was something “physical” going on. My childhood doctor did lots of blood work both of us thinking I was having some sort of postpartum depression that was causing the tingling in my feet and hands and the overwhelming exhaustion I had. Blood work came back and at 21 I had the numbers of a 70 something year old. I was so afraid when he said the Lupus word. They didn’t have as many med out at that time to help, I thought I was going to die. I had just had my first child and I would never see him grow up. The depression grew worse and I couldn’t get out of bed. Someone mentioned chronic fatigue syndrome so I rushed into my doctor’s office and said “I just have chronic fatigue, I will take some vitamins and be okay.” I refused to see a specialist and I went on with my life accepting I was depressed and tired all the damn time.
Then came the day a few short years and one child later…..I woke up and couldn’t open my hands. Husband #2 dropped me off at the E.R. and my grandmother came to sit with me in the E.R. First thing the doctor asked me was…..drum roll please…..”have you ever been tested for RA or Lupus?” Um, yes sir and I tested positive. Then I had more blood work done, was scolded for not going to a specialist, given medicine so I could walk and move my hands and sent home. I followed up with a doctor in Sarasota who said I have mixed connective tissue disease….which means I have a bunch of chronic illnesses mixed together.
Funny thing is, well not really funny, but depression can cause some of the fatigue and aches and pains I had so how long did the doctors let it go without properly testing me? My doctor at the time said I probably had Lupus in my teens. For one, that is when the tingling started in my feet when I would wash dishes or such. Lupus can actually cause typical depression, so the medical doctors started treating me with antidepressants without sending me to a psychiatrist….big no no. I went through horrible side effects and sometimes the medications made me worse, example….I still have myclonic jerks because of one of them.
Back and forth, back and forth, and until recently when I had my 4 days in gray I finally got real dx’s and real medications for those dx’s. So now I take medication to treat my Chronic Physical and Chronic Mental Illnesses. I am good about taking them on a regular basis, but life messes that up sometimes. Generally I am doing what I am supposed to do. Am I pain free? Hell no, I hurt every day. Am I happy? Nope, but I will smile and I will continue to play on the playground with my 5 year old to the best I can. It’s all I can do. Life goes on whether we want it to or not. I will list some links for more information on some of the diseases I listed in the article.
Thanks for reading.