Anxiety, Challenging, Change, Chronic health condition, Death, Depression, Doctors, Exhausted, Family, Gastroparesis, Generalised Anxiety, Grief, Mother and daughter, Panic Attack, Siblings, Sisters, Social Anxiety, Step-father, Tired

2017

Well another year is over! I survived another 365 days of being chronically sick, mentally sick and grieving. I stayed alive to see another year through. I should be proud of myself right? I wish I could say that 2017 was my year, but it really wasn’t.¬†

Here’s an overview of what happened in 2017:

The best thing to happen in 2017 is that I got my puppy Asher in June! She is the sweetest little cavoodle, although she does have a bit of a mean side like her Mum… (me)ūüėȬ†She is now 8 months old and going through her terrible threes a little bit. Yikes, indeed. But when she’s not running around trying to chew everything and destroy tissues she is loving and loves to give you hugs and affection. She has been a great distraction and friend for me but that’s not to say that it’s been easy looking after her. There are some days when I’m just too exhausted emotionally and physically to give her what she needs (a walk, attention and to be played with ect) and that’s where my Mum steps in. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t get her and have the extra responsibility but I guess that extra responsibility is what I need to make sure I don’t become a complete hermit and let myself get sucked into the dark hole of depression and lay in bed all day. Asher makes me get up out of bed, feed her and look after her. I love her so much and could never re-home her but I’d be lying if some days I thought it would be easier without her… Those thoughts usually only occur when like I said before, I’m exhausted -usually from life- I’m in a lot of physical pain or when I’m having a really hard time with my anxiety and depression. It’s nice though that when I am feeling so down she comes into my room and climbs onto my bed and attacks me with her kisses and hugs. She can make me smile when I feel like I might never smile again.

Here’s a photo of one of the funnier ways she’s fallen asleep. ¬†

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She also has her own Instagram page if you’re interested!¬†https://www.instagram.com/asherthecavoodle/

There was also a lot of bad sh*t happen in 2017, mostly regarding my physical and mental health. My physical health got so much worse which I didn’t think was possible but I was so wrong. My chronic fatigue became unbearable to the point of me literally not being able to get out of bed or I was able to just make it to the couch and that is where I stayed for the rest of the day. My gastroparesis also went through a couple of pretty bad flares which left me in a lot of incredibly bad pain and nausea. My medication for that also stopped working like it used to so I stopped that for about a month to give my body a break from it and just stuck to soft foods while I let my body rest and now I’ve been back on that for the past few months. I didn’t lose anymore weight, I actually put about 2kgs back on. Dammit! I tried to walk everyday but between my physical health and mental health I had a pretty hard time with that.¬†

I joined my local youth programme within my council and went to one of their programmes which was once a week for 4 weeks. That didn’t help at all with anything and was really just a waste of time. I never heard back from the youth worker after that finished though so no more help from them.¬†
I went to a programme at the outpatient pain clinic at my local hospital. That was for two days and once again, I didn’t find helpful at all…¬†

I really suffered with my mental health. There was a period a few months ago where I thought I was going to end up back into the psych ward but I was able to medicate myself and find a way out of that suicidal hole. I still have extremely bad anxiety every day so me going to both of those programmes I mentioned above was such a big deal for me even if I did come home and have a  total breakdown and panic attack over it. 
I continued to see my psychologist regularly and even spoke up one session and told her that what we were doing and some of the things she said to me wasn’t helpful. That was a massive step for me because I had never said anything to her about how what she was saying I found unhelpful before.
I started seeing a new psychiatrist whom I have been seeing every fortnight. She has been very helpful medication wise but there have been a few things she has said in our sessions that I found to be very insensitive and hurtful. I tried talking to her about how I found those things she said insensitive and hurtful and I was semi-able to say what I wanted to say but I also found myself lying to her about something because I felt like she would never hear me properly…
She started me on a new medication to help me sleep and with a few dosage changes we have found a dosage that usually gets me to sleep and keeps me asleep. It doesn’t work all the time but I don’t expect it to work every single time. She also started me on a new medication to try to help me with my chronic fatigue and I guess it works the tiniest bit. It takes a very thin layer off of my fatigue so that I’m able to get dressed and move off the couch but it hasn’t helped with my brain fog or given me energy. I don’t know if a higher dosage would help or not but for now we’ll keep it at what it is. She also gave me a new medication for my anxiety and panic attacks and that definitely helps but I try not to take it unless I really have to and can’t handle my anxiety or if I have to go somewhere like to a medical appointment. I also take it if I’m having a really hard day with my depression and grief.¬†

Yes my grief is still here and active. I still miss Chase every single day and struggle with him not being here. I don’t cry as much as I used to and I don’t know if that’s because I’ve gotten better at suppressing my overwhelming grief or if I’ve become more detached from my feelings but there are still days like I mentioned before where the grief is so bad that I can’t handle it and I have to take something to help me get through the day. ¬†
2017 marked 4 years since Chase’s death and it also would’ve been his 9th birthday if he was still alive.
A few people said this year that it was time that I moved on from Chase dying and that it had been long enough and to them, four years might sound like a long time but to me, it feels like it happened last week or a year ago. People also said that Chase dying was the cause of all my health conditions and to that, I say no, it wasn’t. It is so unfair and disgusting that they are happy to blame my baby brother’s death for the reason I’m sick. I had stomach problems since I was a BABY! NOT only after Chase died. Sure, the emotional stress put a strain on my body and therefore triggered or flared my stomach problems up but him dying didn’t cause them. Same with my anxiety and depression. I was already starting to get anxiety from school and my stepfather before Chase died and I was also starting to show signs of depression before Chase died.
I will continue to grieve my brother because I have that right and if his death and my grief stops me from doing certain things in life then that’s fine too. What I went through was so incredibly horrific and I have the right to take as much time as I need to heal and process what happened. My brother dying, my right to take as long as I need to grieve.

Since we’re talking about siblings, my sister Holly comes to mind as one of that bad things of 2017. She continued to hate on my Mum and I for saying that we didn’t like her boyfriend and therefore pushed us out of her life. I decided to write her a letter which she read but never responded to and then in April after not hearing from her for months she randomly messaged me one day asking for my details for her will. I messaged her back and said that I hadn’t heard from her for months and then all of a sudden she wanted my details for her will and that that isn’t ok. She then decided to tell me (all through message) that she had a brain tumour not that I would care! Yes, you read the right folks. My sister told me over message that she had a brain tumour and then added that I wouldn’t care.
(Side note: For those of you who are reading ¬†this blog post and who haven’t read my other posts about my brother Chase, he died from a rare, incurable and inoperable brain tumour at the age of 5 and from the day he got diagnosed to the day he died it was 12 weeks.)
So of course I rang her straight away and asked her what was going on and what did she mean when she told me that she had a brain tumour and she told me that she had a MRI done and they found a brain tumour. Well, that brain tumour ended up being a pretty common pineal cyst, NOT a brain tumour.
The fact that she said and I quote ” I have a brain tumour not that you’d care” hurt me so ¬†much. The next day I rang her and said to her that if she wanted to talk about the letter that I sent that I would be happy to talk to her but I also said that if she wants that to happen that she has to contact me and that I wouldn’t chase her around trying to get her to talk to me. Well, I never heard from her again so I guess she didn’t miss me that much and doesn’t want to have me in her life…¬†
I am so hurt that she basically disowned me but I have to accept that I guess. Holly will never be able to be the sister that I want and we’ll never have the relationship that I want to have. And before you say “But you’re family” or “Maybe in a few years you two will reconnect”, Holly and I have always had a very strained relationship and the fact that she dislikes my Mum so strongly I can’t handle. I don’t want to have someone who can feel so negatively about the ONE person in my life who has been there for me through everything and who is my best friend. Anyway, that’s another story for another day.¬†

So basically 2017 was a big ball of sh*t! It was meant to be my year for everything to change from 2016 but that didn’t happen. I really need 2018 to be different; I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive another year like 2017 and have nothing change. I will take all the steps that I can towards things changing this year but I also think people in my life need to remember that I’m not just fighting mental health issues OR physical health issues, I’m fighting BOTH at once. It’s not one or the other for me.¬†

I hope 2018 will be the year that things change for the better for you people reading this and that you get everything you want. I also hope that 2017 wasn’t too bad for you.

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo  

 

Twitter: @DMWAAG
Email: depressedmesswithanxietyandgrief@outlook.com
Featured Image: http://imperial-properties.com/en/2017-happenings

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Chronic health condition, Depression, Doctors, Exhausted, Family, Grief, misunderstood, Mother and daughter, Tired

Behind The Mask

Behind my mask I am struggling everyday and I am trying to be the strongest that I can be.

A lot of doctors have no idea about mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety. It astounds me when a medical professional (especially if they’re in the mental health field) says or does something completely wrong knowing that you are mentally ill.¬†

I had an appointment with my gastroenterologist the other month and it was the day after Chase’s birthday or death, I can’t quite remember… Anyway so I was obviously more upset than normal and crying more, so I went into his office and had my appointment and told him how I’m really struggling at the moment and he only said ‘Well of course you are’, yeah that’s fine whatever, but when I went back two months later, I had been having a really hard time and feeling suicidal the week before the appointment so I went in and he asked me how I was going and I said ‘not good at all actually’ and he just said ‘well you look like you’re doing a lot better which is good’ and mum was with me this time and she spoke up and said ‘no, she really hasn’t been doing well and she’s really struggling’. Bob (my gastroenterologist) cut her off and argued with mum saying that I look like I am doing better and then I spoke up and said ‘just because I’m not crying doesn’t mean I’m feeling any better.’ Bob just stayed quiet and ignored that and went on to ask me about how my gastro symptoms are going. I felt so belittled by Bob and like he didn’t understand mental illnesses at all. It was a really horrible moment.

In the past a similar thing has happened and it was even harder because it was in a special mental health school. The teachers’ always thought that because I had smiled or laughed that day I was automatically not depressed anymore and they would treat me differently. My case worker saw that and understood how I was feeling, so quite a few times he had to remind those teachers that just because I smiled or laughed doesn’t mean I’m all better now. Sometimes I feel very ¬†misunderstood by doctors and it’s really hard to understand because they’re medical professionals and you would expect them to have at least done a psych rotation at medical school right?¬†

The other day mum was at the doctor and a couple of days before mum’s appointment I saw that doctor. Mum has her appointment and the doctor tells mum that I’m doing quite well and I look like I’m doing good; or something like that.¬†
Just because I have clean clothes on and I brushed my hair doesn’t mean that I’m not struggling every day. What do doctors expect a depressed person to look like? Do us depressed people just have to walk around in our pyjamas all day with knotted hair and not having washed for a month? Or do us depressed people not get out of bed ever? But then how are we meant to go to the medical professionals to get help? And if we stay in our pyjamas all day not caring about self hygiene or stay in bed all the time and we do go to the medical professionals for help, they say that we’re not helping ourselves and making ourselves worse by not getting dressed and brushing our hair! So really, it seems that we can’t win.¬†

A month ago I got into a really bad depressive slump and I was very suicidal and nearly ended up in the pysch hospital again. My mum called my psychologist because she was worried about me and didn’t know what to do and my psychologists answer was to take me out to lunch! Because when I’m feeling like killing myslef because I see no reason to live, the only thing I want to do is go to a busy place for lunch and hang around outside! No, what I actually want to do is take my medication that knocks me out and go to bed until I feel like I’m not going to harm myself. When my psychologist said that, I felt so… I don’t even know what emotion I felt! I honestly couldn’t believe she had said that.

You kind of lose faith in the medical system when people who are meant to help you say such unhelpful and ignorant stuff.  

¬†I feel like I have gotten very good at hiding how depressed and hopeless I am. I’ve had to implement my poker face since Chase died. No one I have ever met has seen through it and seen how much I am struggling. It’s so tiring being so strong all the time and keeping my sh*t together. I just want to stay in bed all day where it’s warm and I don’t have to worry about anything outside my bedroom. I don’t know who I am outside of being majorly depressed, anxious and chronically ill.
I go to my appointments and I get dressed and I have showers and brush my hair and brush my teeth and wash my face, I do all this stuff and just because I do it, it doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly not depressed and mentally stable.¬†

I am broken and I will never be whole again. There will always be a part of me missing that Chase took when he died. I will always be grieving and some days it will be too hard and I WILL stay in bed all day and cry.
Being strong is good but breaking down is also good. I can’t always be strong.

I don’t know what the doctors need to see that I am struggling. My anxiety and depression are overwhelming a lot of the time but I keep going because it’s the only choice I have. I’m so sick of doctors and their small minded ideas of mental illnesses.
If doctors want to see me when I’m at my lowest then come on over to my house and watch me cry myself to sleep and cry so hard I start hyperventilation or I cry so hard that I feel like I’m going to throw up or see the look on my face when I think about everything I struggle with every day or the nosies I make because I’m so sad and I just want to die. If they want to see that to prove to them that I am in fact not doing well and depressed then they can.
I keep myself together so I can help mum because she can’t lose another child. I am struggling and I just want people to see that and acknowledge that and not assume that because I’m smiling or laughing I’m not dying inside. All I want is to be understood.

Behind my mask I am struggling everyday and I am trying to be the strongest that I can be.   

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo 

Feel free to follow me on twitter!

 

 

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Body image, Chronic health condition, Depression, Doctors, Gastroparesis, gluten free, Misdiagnosing, Uncategorized, Vegan

Misdiagnosing

Misdiagnosing a patient isn’t something a doctor wants to do but sadly it happens. Doctors are only human after all; even if they do act like they’re better than everyone and everything.¬†

I myself have been misdiagnosed a couple of times in the 3 years it’s taken me to finally get an accurate diagnosis. My chronic fatigue was easily diagnosed but diagnosing my gastroparesis hasn’t gone well at all!¬†

3 years ago I started getting really bad stomach aches and would alternate between diarrhoea and then constipation with a lot of blood in my stool. I was also bloated and looked pregnant (I still do but the doesn’t matter at the moment). Anyway, mum and I went to the emergency room at the Royal Childrens Hospital 4 times because of my double over stomach pains and the blood in my stool and every time they would do a blood test and then send me home. They never did anything more than take my bloods and get me to talk to a doctor. They referred me to one of their gastroenterologists and got me to talk to a social worker. They really weren’t any help at all. Well, I saw the gastroenterologist and he put me on the waiting list for a colonoscopy and endoscopy; that was meant to happen in April and I finally got in in November (even though I was on the category 2 list). I got the scopes done and the gastroenterologist told me that nothing was wrong and to come back in a couple of months.
Of course mum and I weren’t happy with that so we got a referral from my GP to see a paediatrician and to see if he could help. We went and saw the paediatrician and he straight away diagnosed me with the chronic fatigue which was great because now I had an answer to that and also to my heart problems but we originally went there for the stomach issues so we told him all about it and what had happened. I think it’s important that I also tell you that I was in the psych ward at this time. Anyway, so he basically told me that I was obese and needed to lose weight and then all my stomach issues would go away. He also made me get an X-ray which he told me was normal but when I went to my new gastroenterologist he told me that it WASN’T normal and that I needed to fix the issue ASAP. So after telling me that I was obese, grabbing my fat, telling me there was nothing was wrong with me and making me get an X-ray and then saying it was fine when it wasn’t he sent me on my merry way and told me to come back in a year or never if I didn’t need to see him.

I mentioned before that I was in the psych ward and that I thought that that was important to mention because what doctor who knows that you’re in the psychiatric unit at the hospital and knows that you have problems with your weight tells you that you’re obese and that you need to lose all the weight and then you’ll be fine? I was obviously in the psych unit because I wasn’t doing well and I had told him that part of the reason I was in there was because of my weight gain. Safe to say that I never went back to him!¬†

After that failure with the paediatrician¬†mum and I went back to my GP to get another referral to see a different gastroenterologist (Lets call him Bob) ¬†because nothing with my stomach had improved and it was actually getting worse and not better. So off we went to see another gastroenterologist; this time it was privately and hella expensive. Bob thought I had ulcerative colitis at first and put me on steroids and another medication he also booked me into hospital for another colonoscopy and MRI. I ended up staying in hospital for a week while we tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I had the colonoscopy done and once again nothing showed up and nothing showed up on my MRI either. I was so frustrated when nothing showed up, I didn’t want ulcerative colitis but I also didn’t want to not have an answer. I was tired of seeing doctors and getting told there was nothing wrong with me when I KNEW there was something wrong with me. I got discharged from hospital and went back to see Bob. He told me that he didn’t know what was wrong with me and then sent me home and told me that I had to do a bowel flush out every month. If you’ve ever had to do a bowel flush out to get ready for a colonoscopy or just because like me, then you know how disgusting it is. I mixed it with apple juice and now I can’t drink apple juice, I also used a certain glass for the flush out liquid and now I can’t even drink from that glass because it reminds me of the flush out and how disgusting is. Yuuuck.
So I did that and it didn’t help with the symptoms at all so I went back and he told me to try this medication which I did and it didn’t help at all; it made me feel really sick. Sent me back home. I went back to Bob a few months later and he said that I should do a gastric emptying study. So I did that test and… FINALLY an answer! My stomach empties 1.5 to 2 hours slower than the normal stomach. I asked him if it was gastropareis as I had been doing my research and he said yes. So there you go, after 3 years I finally got diagnosed with a rare and horrible disease called gastroparesis. Bob hasn’t told me anything about it so I’ve had to learn what I can on the internet and through Facebook groups. He also said that I need to see a pelvic physio who I’ve been seeing and has given my exercises to help me relax my pelvic floor and to help my bowel motions come out a bit easer and for other stuff…¬†

Bob put me on a new medications and it has really helped. I can now eat most meals without getting double over stomach aches and horrible nausea. The medication doesn’t work all the time so I still get the stomach aches and nausea but it’s not every meal I eat. I’m still bloated all the time and look pregnant which really gets me down. I pretend with mum to have maternity shoots and pose in funny positions because it’s easier to laugh about the way I look than to remember and think about the fact that I’m 18 and look pregnant even though I’m not and that I will always look pregnant and be bloated. Since Iv’e lost weight the bloating has become a bit smaller so I’m hoping that the more weight I lose the smaller the bloating will get. But that’s another thing, gastroparesis can cause either weight loss or weight gain and I suffer from the weight gain aspect of it so it is so ridiculously hard to lose the weight that I’ve gained. It takes me months just to lose 500 grams and that’s with walking every day. I also eat pretty well. I’m vegan and gluten free and I don’t eat much junk food at all. It’s so discouraging and annoying to try so hard and to not see results.¬†

Since Bob hasn’t told me anything about gastroparesis and I’ve had to google it, I’ve come across some scary facts about it. I never knew it was such a serious illness! People die from it and it’s scary. I’m not saying that I’m going to die from it but I am worried that I will get worse and I’ll end up with a feeding tube in hospital not being able to eat or drink… Gastroparesis is scary and I’m scared.¬†

So, here I am! Finally got my stomach issues diagnosed along with my chronic fatigue. Now I just have to get my fibromyalgia verifed and diagnosed. 

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo 

Follow me on twitter if you’d like xx

PS- I got a puppy! Her name is Asher and I’m going to train her to be a therapy dog and get her certified so she can go everywhere with me and support me out there in the scary anxiety inducing world!¬†

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