Oh. Hi. I was going to title this post “2016: Can I Take a Mulligan?” because 2016 can suck it. But I realized that what I am about to embark upon is really an all-encompassing, full-life mulligan. Last year was a shit show, my friends, and it has taken me several months to fully recover from the tale I am about to tell you.
My last blog post was almost a full year ago. I had seen only a fraction of the craziness I was about to endure. I don’t have bipolar disorder. It wasn’t a psychological issue. It was an endocrine one. Shortly after my last (and 2nd! yeesh) blog post, I descended, yet again, into madness. They thought they had me on the right cocktail of medications, but what no one (myself included) realized was that maybe…just maybe, the problem wasn’t that I was bipolar and needed mood stabilizers, but instead that 5 months earlier, my new, Floridian primary care doctor had lowered the dose of my synthetic thyroid hormone by 25 micrograms. After a month or two of trying to work and live, of the deepest depression I had ever faced in my entire life, still tweaking the psychiatric meds with the behavioral hospital, it dawned on me: holy shit…I have felt this depressed. It was immediately after I had my thyroid removed.
For 6 months following my thyroidectomy, which my endocrinologist in New York was trying to find the correct dosage of synthetic hormone, I was a living ghost. I was a shell of a person. News Flash: your thyroid is responsible for way more than you think. So now, almost three years later, I was feeling that again: a darkness, a palpable hopelessness…It was August of 2016, and I had already changed primary care doctors at this point. The guy that lowered my hormone dosage was a fat-shamer: but more on that in a future post. I had had enough of his bullshit, and so I had changed to a new doc. The problem was, when I explained to her that I believed my insurmountable depression was being caused by that 12% decrease in my synthetic hormone, she refused to raise it, saying my thyroid hormone levels were elevated as it is. Even after I begged her, sobbing over the phone, to increase the dosage, she said no. I was devastated. Nothing was working. At this point, I had been on over 10 different psychiatric medications over the past four months. My brain was numb. And yet, in such excruciating emotional pain. I finally asked for a referral to an endocrinologist. Lo and behold, as soon as I told her the nutshell version of my experience thus far, she said “Oh, no! You’ve had cancer! You need to have elevated thyroid hormone levels!” Of course…
Needless to say, my synthetic hormone was raised to its proper dosage. The various psychiatrists I had been seeing had finally realized that I do not have bipolar disorder and, as it has been for over 15 years, I have major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. But since I had been cycling through so many psych meds, my body and brain were still adjusting, and my depression continued to get worse until I finally decided to check in to a residential treatment facility. It’s not quite a mental institution, per se, at least not in the House on Haunted Hill, Arkham Asylum sense. But it was certainly 31 days under lock and key, following a rigorous schedule of therapy and psychoeducation, only leaving the property for field trips to mini-golf and Barnes and Noble. The purpose of these residential stays is primarily to stabilize your medication under strict supervision. And stabilize they did. It took a couple of weeks in the “real world” to readjust, and I’m still very much struggling with what I’ve termed my “midlife crisis” (despite my 31 years of age), but holy shit, am I back to “normal!” There were periods of time last year where I believed I would never be normal again, never feel human. The brain is a sensitive and powerful organ, something I will never again take for granted. I became reclusive. I took a four month medical leave of absence from work. I all but achieved radio silence on social media. But I’m back, baby. Today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I’m not going to fuck around. Stay tuned for more detailed recollections of what could very well be described as a complete nervous breakdown. But for now…Happy Saturday! It’s good to be back 😉