May 11, 2009 It’s time to see the doctor.
So for years I’ve been getting these crippling headaches. They come, they stay a couple of days then they go leaving me exhausted. I *DID* do the rounds of the doctors trying to get an answer, but they didn’t come up with much.
At the time I also had pretty bad insomnia. They didn’t need to give me an answer to that one. I was the single mum of a kid with disabilities, and I had no money, no job prospects, and very little in the way of support or connection in the area in which I lived.
But over and over I’d be told ‘You have depression’ and be prescribed Zoloft. Except that I didn’t *feel* depressed. And I did consider it, I really did, but I didn’t think that depression was my issue. Stress, anxiety, exhaustion yes, but those came from my life stressors, and to me, it was possible that it would end in depression and reasonably so, but I didn’t think the symptoms stemmed from depression so much as from the fact that I was kinda screwed being the very young single mother of a child with special needs and having no financial resources beyond the ability to hover near the poverty line.
Also there was the whole ‘Huh, what the fuck happened to my life, how did I get here’ stuff. And the fact that I’m also an incredibly physical being. I love affection, I need to share laughter, and well dammit, I would have liked to be having sex somewhere in all that. But despite conventional wisdom that if you’re tall and leggy with the bosom from heaven you’ll be fending them off with a stick I found that no stick was required when you had a child. They just stayed away. (That and I lived on the Coast and the feral bogan munthead fuckwit men there were not interested in me, and the feeling was MUTUAL. Gaargh. Celibicacy was unfortunate but preferable).
Anyway. That’s depression was the best they could come up with (and it felt so kneejerk at times…woman? In pain? Tired? Depression, here have the magic zoloft and all will be well – except how was the zoloft going to change the circumstances of my life?).
Now I don’t say this from an anti medication perspective. My son is on medication to help him regulate his anxiety and his concentration and it has improved his life no end. And I really did think about it for a long time for myself – if I’d thought I’d needed it I would have taken it.
But I’m talking about the fact that doctors have shrugged their shoulders and sent me on my way with a script for zoloft and no follow up appointments after I’d told them of themultitudinous phsyical symptoms which could percievably all have been connected, and which were, in conjunction with other factors really putting a serious dint in my quality of life.
Anyway…I woke up Sat with a headache so bad I could barely think. It was so painful I felt nauseous. I also couldn’t walk properly as my back was feeling weak and stiff and like it was about to clunk out in a big way.
And then I found myself doing the wierdest things.
I was standing straigthening my goddamned hair for half an hour. WHY? WHY would I do that when I want to throw up, be sedated and sleep it off for a year?
Later in the day I ended up standing in the bathtub, with a tub of Nads gel and backing strips giving myself a bikini wax. Um…what? I’ve never done that before, and despite the fact it made sense in other ways (I refuse to continue to pay sixty dollars a pop, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while I definately do not have to do this for anyone else, that *I* like for my bikini line to be a little contained, so I’m going to keep doing it) it was also an undeniably foolish way to spend time when I could have been laying down with a hot pack and regrouping.
I think it must come from this feeling of being helpless and out of control, and so going for the small things (apparently the grooming) in an attempt to assert some sense of control and independance.
And then of course, you get the flipside of that. You feel better for asserting some kind of control, but then you also feel like the level of pain you’re experiencing is not real. (Seriously, after the head and the back all fucking day, I started to get these horrendous leg cramps right down into my foot and NOTHING would make them ease, so The Bearded One arrived to find me frazzled and exhausted having been crying in pain and frustration for the last half an hour – part of that frustration being that I can’t seem to STOP this level of impact on my life and my choices. *I* was in the mood for silly happy Sat night fun, my BODY was apparently in the mood for amping up the level of excrutiating pain I was in til I broke).
I don’t know why I haven’t been BACK to the doctors to say “I’m going to stay in your face til you tell me how to STOP this from happening” except that I don’t want to admit it’s real, and continuing, and that it impacts on my life. I don’t want to risk it “being” something, rather than just something that sometimes happens. I thought I could control it, that it would go away some day. That it would get better when my sleeping got better, or when I did more exercise. But you know. The insomnia is gone, I am making a reasonable amount of money, I enjoy my life, I have lots of balance, I eat well and I exercise enough. So WHAT??? What is it that my body needs that I am not doing?
Anyway…so that’s it I guess. Going to spend my lunch hour in a seamy infectious waiting room and start all over again with ‘Here are my many and mysterious symptoms’ and the response of ‘Hmm strange…not sure what it is, are you depressed?’.
I figured if I wrote about it publicly that I would at least have to answer to some people about what answers I’m getting as I seem to be quite good at denial.