Lately I have been avoiding posting on here because I don’t like admitting my struggles. However I know the only way to get better is to face all my struggles head on and stop hiding and start working on them.
So first of all I have struggled with mental illness my whole life, I spent 10 years misdiagnosed as bipolar, the medication they put me on literally drove me crazy, my life was an absolute mess, and I hated myself. But then in my early 30’s I found a doctor who finally listened to me. I was diagnosed was bipolar with no mania other than insomnia and racing thoughts. Now I know my insomnia stems from a rape when I was 18, but I have dealt with that and know the insomnia will be around but I can handle it. So that doctor listened and realized I was clinically depressed but the bipolar medication had caused me to get worse, I heard voices due to it, saw things that wasn’t there because of it, I wanted to die because I saw no hope for my future. But then over the course of a year I was taken off those medication and put simply on an antidepressant to help my clinical depression and anxiety. Over the next ten years my life changed, I found I had hope and finally saw a person in the mirror I didn’t totally hate anymore.
However looking in the mirror has never been easy for me, I suffer from body image issues and am anorexic. And most people would look at me now and say how can you be anorexic, you weight way more than you should. Well that’s because I am not actively anorexic at the moment. I refuse to diet because I know I will spiral out of control. And the last time that happened I ended up weighting 93lbs and having massive health issues due to my restricting my calorie intake to 250 a day. Yes I said 250 a day. And what is the saddest is I can still look at the pictures of me at that weight and I still see imperfections, because I don’t see my body like I should. So while I have been able to keep my anorexic under control I have struggled with my weight. I have no thyroid due to a medical issue and it’s hard to keep my thyroid levels under control, as due to my being very crappy at remembering to take medication.
My life seems to be filled with medical issue after medical issue. About 5 years ago I though I was finally getting everything under control and finally getting to a place I wanted to be and then I was struck with vertigo. Now I had had vertigo numerous times so I went to the doctors to get medication and they referred me to an ENT who quickly saw this was not just vertigo. So after many tests I was told I had Ménière’s disease which causes vertigo, ear pain, ear pressure, balance issues, and hearing loss. So over the next few years I had to come to terms with a new normal for me. I moved back to Rochester to be around my family so they could help me when this condition knocked me down. My job has been great about it and I am lucky for that. But it was spiraling. I was dealing with horrible bouts of vertigo 3 to 4 times a week, barely able to function, I was ready to give up. I was unable to function and going deaf, I saw no hope at the end of the tunnel. But then my PCP referred me to a new ENT in the area and he suggested steroid injections into my inner ear to stop the vertigo. This treatment has been life changing, I now have very mild vertigo spells and them rarely lasting more than a day, and those days are getting rarer. He and I still need to figure out the best amount of time between doses but I have a glimmer of hope again.
So just when I had a glimmer of hope again, I injured my knee, I was so scared I was going to need surgery again and I hate being stuck in my house and not being able to move normally or go to the gym. After getting my Ménière’s under control I finally hoped I was going to be able to get back to the gym, get back in shape and I know all those things will help my mental health but then I blew my knee. It crushed me, I was struggling and truly didn’t know what I could do. But I talked to my mom and I admitted my mental health had been struggling for a long time. And everything I was doing to get it under control it wasn’t working. I was struggling to get out of bed, find no joy in anything, crying often, sitting in the silence and dark by myself hiding from the world, I knew I needed more help. So I got into see my PCP and she agreed on upping my dose of Prozac as I was on a very low dose. This pleased me Prozac has been the only antidepressant that worked and gave me no side effects. So I am one week one of my increased dose and while I haven’t noticed a change I know it can take up to 4 weeks for it to work. I am also going to try light therapy as she thinks this may be seasonal effective disorder as well.
And then yesterday I finally saw the knee surgeon who replaced my ACL 5 years ago, I had nothing torn but a lot of arthritis in my knee, which runs in my family so that’s not surprising, and while nothing was torn I had sprained my knee and that will take time and work to get better, so he injected my knee with cortisone and I will start PT very soon.
So I am once again seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I am finally hopeful things will improve and yet I know I will always face struggles, that’s life, but if I refuse to give up I will be ok. I will be ok because I am strong enough to handle this, no matter how weak I feel, I have gotten this far, I can keep going. I will be ok because of my family, my mom and dad are truly my rocks, they lift me up when I can’t do it myself and they have refused to give up on me through all my struggles. They tell I am loved and make me feel loved when I think I am unlovable. They have put up a lot with me but they tell me it’s all worth it, because to them I am just who I was supposed to be and they are proud of me. That helps me a lot. My brother still texts me every single morning to tell me he loves me, he started this after a suicide attempt many many years ago and he never lets a day go by without telling me I am loved. He is someone who I can be honest about my life with and he truly has never judged me, he has saved my life more than once and I am forever grateful to have him as my big brother and one of my best friends. And I will be ok because I have friends who are like family to me. I live in the same complex as two of my best friends and their two kids, who help cheer me up and keep me going on my dark days. I can tell Katie the darkest thoughts I have and she hugs me and tell me they are ok to have and I will be ok. She reminds me I am not my dark days and thoughts, they are a part of my but they do not define me, she reminds me that I am loved and worthy of love. My friend Sheryl is like a big sister, she calls me on my bullshit and reminds me I am a good person in spite of my fault. She checks on me and reminds me that I am allowed to be annoyed by my health and struggles but that it’s worth it to keep going. She lifts me up when I feel lost and has truly changed my life by being in it. I have so many others I could mention who make my life worth it… Lessa, Ani, Mia, Gabe, Randy, my coworkers and friends near and far, they all remind me that it’s worth it to get through the struggles.
So while life isn’t easy I do know that no matter how dark the days feel, better days are in the way and it’s all worth it. Life is worth it, I am worth it. So thanks for listening to my struggles and know you are worth it too, and never let anyone or anything make you feel otherwise.