Friday, October 6, 2017

So. It's been a while....

It's been over a year since my last post.  I've contemplated what to write many times, but just haven't been able to begin.  I am blogging from my phone and already quit twice because sheesh I am going to have to relearn how to do this too? 
My battle with mental health has taken a great deal of energy, and my physical health hasn't been stable either.  In October of last year I was referred to an internist to finally get to the bottom of the fatigue, pain, and digestive problems I've been coping with for years. Since that time I've seen a gynecologist, gastroenterologist, general surgeon, and psychiatrist. I developed anemia which was unresponsive to treatment with prescription supplements.  I had uterine ablation, and weeks of IV iron treatments. Multiple biopsies and hospital visits , coupled with exhaustion to the point I could barely walk around the house. I have celiac disease. 
So the treatment is a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately, the symptoms were dismissed for so long (19 years) that as a result of long term damage to my small intestines, I have multiple complications associated with celiac.  It affects your pancreas (hello, resistant to treatment diabetes), your spleen (constantly sick), your reproductive system (endometriosis-like symptoms), your gallbladder  (still being evaluated for gallbladder disease), skin conditions  (chronic boils and infections), osteoporosis, and ultimately your brain (balance and memory issues).
I also have bipolar disorder, was recently also diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and have been struggling with depression and suicide.

I haven't been able to make cards. I've found an outlet in canvas, and I'm grateful for the tiny steps back to creating. The anxiety and depression have made me afraid to do most things, and the physical toll of recovery is overwhelming.  I miss my friends, but I'm unable to reach out. I miss going to the market, but I'm terrified to interact with groups of people. Even going to the grocery store is something that requires preparation and advance planning.  Going  for more than a few hours means bringing a bag with insulin, needles, blood testing equipment, and enough guaranteed gluten-free food to keep my sugar from dropping too low....and trust that the gluten-free food I order hasn't been cross contaminated. Even crumbs in the butter are enough to induce nasty gastro consequences. 
My sense of self is badly battered. I'm unable to remember things from day to day (sometimes even less than that). I can no longer focus well enough to read a book. I can read,  but more than a few chapters and I get confused and lose track. I lose my train of thought while speaking.  Words and art have been my life long solace, and I am struggling to regain those skills.
There's no shame in mental illness.  Intellectually I know that. The social struggle of explaining why I've become a hermit is daunting.  Sharing this is something I feel might help me continue to recover.  I joke that, for someone who continually wishes for her own death, I'm awfully conscientious about my diet and medications. I want to feel better.  I don't want to die, not truly. What I want is to feel comfortable in my own head. And maybe,  maybe,  telling all of you that I've spent so much time actively fighting to not kill myself will help.