Thyroid Madness

Just two days ago, I switched from a synthetic thyroid replacement hormone (Levothyroxin) to a natural dessicated thyroid hormone (Armour Thyroid). I have already experienced remarkable relief from symptoms that I worried stemmed from various mental health issues, about which I have written before. I know that whatever is going on, whether it is being made worse by being on the wrong kind of medication for me, that stress makes it worse. So I do not repudiate everything I have written about how the stress feels. I am just hoping that I will be able to dial things down a bit, once I have been on the new medication long enough to get rid of the side effects of the synthetic.

If you are interested in learning more about this issue, feel free to check out this blog, Stop the Thyroid Madness: 
http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/

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October 13, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A Pattern. A Problem?

Thinking about writing and the dark cloud lifting, I notice a pattern. No blog posts between October 2011 and February 2012, and more recently, no blog posts between October 2012 and March 2013. I do remember thinking about writing and wondering if anyone would want to read about my aha moment, when I realized that seeing the days stretching out ahead of me and feeling I was going through the motions, looking for joy but really just waiting to die, that this could possibly be the same thing as being “depressed.” In the time it took to think all that, less time than it took to write it out just now, I had decided that, nah, even if people would feel like reading it, I didn’t feel like writing it.

Plus, I was worried. If I wrote about being depressed, or how I really feel, what if someone from the school district got hold of it and used it to blame me for my son’s disabilities, and then tried to take his therapeutic placement away. What if they knew how little emotional reserves I have, and took advantage of that to ramp up the campaign to get my son back in a program in our home district, where it will cost less. Much, much less. Or what if one of my children read it and it hurt their feelings, so deeply that they could never recover, and would spend the rest of their lives estranged from me, even just the tiniest bit alienated in affection? That would be awful.

It felt like the dark days were almost over, at least for now.  Then the storm came.  Being inside with the sound of the television bouncing off the walls of our tiny house, this feels unbearable.  Then I look at the murals my husband painted in the dining room, and the penciled outlines for the kitchen mural I am planning, and I think, maybe I would feel better if I did something creative.  I think I taped those paint sample strips on the wall back in the fall.  How did all that time go by?

I could paint, or I could get out my sewing machine and make that weighted blanket.  But I would have to clear off the table, and that would take more energy than I have.  In fact, I don’t have any energy right now.  I feel like taking a nap.  But that seems scary, like I am old — old people nap — or maybe I am…depressed…so depressed that I need to sleep too much.  I feel swear words swirling around as if my head were a hollow can and the swear words were bits of gravel.  They want to fall but the can keeps spinning around so they go around and around.

Can’t I even take a nap without condemning or doubting myself?  That would make me really mad if I had any emotional energy at all.  Maybe this is the beginning of feeling better.  Surely I have not felt this bad for months on end.  I think I have felt better from time to time.  That must be so, because I don’t see how I could possibly go on and on feeling like this.  Now I’m sure of it.  I’m just having a bad day.  I actually have gotten a lot done today, and it’s okay to take a little nap.  I think I will find the cat and persuade her to take a nap with me.  Feeling her soft fur under my hand and hearing her purring on top of the quilt, next to me, always makes me smile.

March 7, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Hard lesson at the hardware store

I was standing in a long line at our small neighborhood hardware store, having come in for a few things I needed to get to work on a project I had been waiting for good weather to start, wishing I had realized earlier that I needed these things, so that I could have been out in the beautiful weather working on my project instead of standing in line in the store with all the other people who had been brought inside by the beautiful weather. There were two cashiers, and as we stood in the one line that is customary in this store, a man walked up from the direction of the head of the line and started another line behind one of the customers at the counter.

My intrapersonal battle of wits began. Who does that? That’s just wrong! Calm down. Let the staff handle it. Even if they don’t, letting one person go ahead is not going to add much time. Oh my God, another person got in the spurious line. This is ridiculous. Oh, great, now it’s three people. As I waged my inner battle to maintain equanimity, feeling outraged and at the same time judging myself for my rigid thinking and tendency to self-righteousness, I became very uncomfortable to the point of being on the verge of tears or some other inappropriate outburst.

I briefly considered complaining out loud, articulating the problem as a lack of clarity about where the line starts. That would be stupid, I thought, as everyone here knows what is happening, not only that there are now two lines, but that the cashier over there is being sooooo slooooow. And that was funny, because the spurious line went to the slower cashier, thwarting the people trying to get out faster than us conformists. As I calmed down, it came into focus how much time the slow cashier was spending talking to the person she was serving, the same person she had been serving while three customers paid and left the store from the line I was in. As she was processing his rewards card, she asked about his name and was he related to someone else in town of the same name who had been her teacher in kindergarten, and he began talking about his genealogical research. As the young man went on and on about his research, I wondered if I would actually get out of the store before the line-jumpers, and then declined to berate myself for being so opinionated, so inflexible.

Suddenly the penny dropped, and I realized that from his name, I knew who the young man was, that I knew his mother from the special education community. I realized that he had disabilities not unlike my own son’s, and I wondered if my son would someday be in a line in a store on a busy Saturday, with people behind him on the verge of complaining, and if they did, would he understand that it would not be about him, that it would be mostly about them and their own limitations.

As I left the store, I felt worn out emotionally, so glad I had not said anything to embarrass myself and hurt other people, so glad no one else had, feeling like a terrible friend and mother for having had all those feelings and thoughts, feeling awful about my own resistance to a life sentence caring about others. I had so wanted to be a mother and I remember enjoying it for years, even after we realized my son had issues though we did not fully understand what those issues are. When did I get so worn down that I struggle for control when faced with the least of adversities? I guess I will check out that “caring for the caregiver” series. Clearly, I have been standing too long in a never-ending line, but I am the cashier serving everyone else, letting everyone else come to the head of the line before I take care of myself, an all-weather project that cannot wait any longer.

October 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Tears for a friend

I hear my son laughing, Skyping his friends as they play online together.  He is not yet aware that a girl he went to school with has ended her life, and that her body has been recovered from the park where they once played.  Her close friends found out within minutes of her mother finding the note, texting and calling each other.  The neighborhood found out as we heard and saw the first responders converge on the park by car, firetruck and helicopter, searching for the lost girl.

My husband and I talk about how to break the news.  Should we wait until we have more information?  What if he finds out from someone else?  That is not likely.  He is engrossed in his game, temporarily shut off from the world we consider real, in a different world inhabited by him and his friends, and their electronic allies and enemies.  The teenagers in the real world around us are of minimal interest.  Our teenager is no longer close to that crowd, having left them in middle school for extended stays in the hospital.

Even during the most difficult times, we were grateful that our son’s mental health issues had been discovered while he was young enough to want to return to our home and be with our family, while he still enjoyed our company, while he still trusted us, and before he could learn to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  The friends he plays with now are from his new school, a school for kids like him, and his isolation from friends from the neighborhood, from our old church, from elementary and middle school, is no longer as painful to him as it once was.

For me, the change was almost unbearable.  The end of his social world was the end of my social world, and I exchanged my work, parent coffees and volunteering for questionnaires, consultations, and waiting rooms.  The camaraderie I had enjoyed with other moms was gone.  No more conferring over those compelling questions, how long to let him play on his Gameboy, how much to spend on a birthday present for a friend, whether or not to require him to exchange valentines with classmates.  The questions were different now, the stakes higher.  Where do you draw the line with aggression?  Zero tolerance for physical violence, sure, but what about threatening posturing?  Yelling?  Sarcasm and disrespect?  How intrusive should you be when they seem down?  How much independence do you give them around taking their medications?

In my new peer group, the common bond is a profound love for our children, alloyed with profound sadness, weariness, and a bent towards self-blaming.  We help one another on the path to a healthier place.  It is still painful for me, but it is a pain I embrace, knowing that while our family is no longer in the social mainstream, my son will have the support he needs to deal with whatever comes his way.

As we talk about how to break the news, I wonder what kind of support he will need.  He may not need any.  After all, he spent months in the hospital with other kids with mental health issues, some of whom tried and failed to end their lives.  I’m sure they talked about it.  During one of our visits, he said he felt bad that an older teen who had been discharged, had had to come back to the unit.  I remember thinking, it was good that his family had access to great mental healthcare for him, and that they had known how acutely he needed it.

I know that later I will have to go in and talk with him about stopping the game and going to bed.  The dread I sometimes feel in advance of a difficult discussion is not there.  Whether or not he goes to bed on time, or at all tonight, seems trivial.  I hear him laughing with his friends.  I think of the girl we knew, and her friends and family down the street, weeping.  I am so sorry for them, and for the first time, I wish that other families could know what we know.

April 23, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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