Lifestyle: Health Update

Hi, friends.

I’m back today with a post that was requested through a poll I posted on twitter, so I’m here to deliver the content you asked for. If you’re not following me on twitter scroll to the bottom of this page and you can find all of my social media links to keep up with my daily antics and to let me know what you’re wanting me to write about.

I’ve talked to y’all before, mostly through my Girl Talks,  about my periods, my birth control, my body image, my anxiety and my depression, so today I thought I’d give you a little update on all of these things. It also turns out that quiet a few of you are curious about my life in all of these aspects, so prepare yourself for a large update on my mental, physical, and emotional well being! This is going to be a long post, so I’m going to give you a quick rundown of how everything is going and then I’ll get into the specifics for those of you that want to know more.

In short, my periods (and cramps) are gone, my birth control is going well, my thoughts on my body image went down really low but have since made a turn around, I got the bump on my arm removed (there’s nothing else to update you on with this. the bump was benign) , I found out I have a thyroid problem, and my anxiety and depression in the the process of being taken care of.

Now let’s get into all the nitty gritty.

We’ll start with my mental and emotional health. When it comes to my anxiety and depression, which you all know has hindered me from doing a lot of things in life, it’s not near as bad as it has been previously. A while ago, maybe a month or two ago, I decided that I was fed up with my anxiety and depression and I decided to utilize the free heath services that were offered on my campus at USC Upstate. (by the way, if you are in college I urge you to check out your health services office and see all of the things they offer. I don’t have to pay for any of my appointments and all of the staff are so kind.) I made my first appointment for just the cold that had been bothering my little nose and from there told them I needed to make an appointment for my anxiety and depression. Reluctantly I went to the appointment, and ended up being pleasantly surprised. I was greeted by the most kind woman named Mary, my doctor, who asked me a bit about my symptoms, any previous medications I had been on, and everything about my anxiety that was bothering my body health wise. After speaking with her and deciding to try out a nonaddictive SSRI, she prescribed me prozac -which we’ll talk about more later- and also asked me if I was interested in the FREE COUNSELING SERVICES the school offers. That’s right people. Free help once again. Yes, I was super reluctant, scared, and skeptical, but after speaking to Mary a little bit about my past she already knew which therapist I should talk to. So with much hesitation, and the help of Mary, we called the campus counseling services and booked an appointment with my sweet therapist, Liz.

Liz has been the kindest soul and the most helpful when it comes to my mental and emotional health. Before meeting with Liz I had seen a few counselors before but never for more than 2 sessions. I hated therapy, I hated being poked and prodded at with somebody’s eyes and thoughts, and I HATED, AND STILL HATE, being the center of attention. However, since meeting with Liz, I’m a firm believer in the statement that you just have to find the right therapist for you. You have to find somebody who understands you, your past, your thought process, and you as a person. It’s helped so much that Liz is essentially an older version of me. We curse with each other, she laughs at my jokes, finishes my sentences and she reminds me of Pam from the office which is just an added bonus. So far, I’ve had 4 or 5 sessions and I’m absolutely feeling so much better. Liz gives me somebody to talk to about everything without judgement and with all of the advice I could ever need. It’s great! I can’t put it into words how good it feels to be able to talk to her, feel safe, feel comfortable, and gain life tools to deal with my depression and anxiety. I think someday soon I’m going to work up the guts to share stories of my past with you guys in hopes of helping other people who are struggling with the same things I went through.

Let’s get back to the Prozac I was prescribed when I first went to see Mary. After we talked over all of my symptoms and the areas my depression and anxiety were hindering me Mary decided that a 10mg dose of Prozac would be the best choice for me.  Now, trust me, I wasn’t really all for this, but Mary made me feel so at peace and at this point in my journey with anxiety I was willing to try almost anything. So I mentioned I wasn’t all for being prescribed Prozac, but in reality I didn’t really want to be prescribed any pills for the fact that my mind fucks me over on the regular. It’s just not a good thought to think that you need to be on medicine to be “normal”. Anyway, the whole reason I was worried about Prozac in particular though was because of the movie Prozac Nation. Literally, this film just shows you all of the negative effects of Prozac, but in reality, the movie turned out not to be too far from the truth; just highly exaggerated. To say the least, this was one of the worst medicines I’ve ever taken when it comes to the side effects, and I only took it for a little over a week. I took the medicine every morning when I woke up, but for the first two days I didn’t know I was supposed to take the medicine with a whole meal, so I became EXTREMELY NAUSEOUS! And to be honest even after I began eating with the medicine I was still nauseous…almost all day off and on. Besides the fact that I was nauseous all day, I also got really high off of the pill in the mornings…and not in a good way…at all. I was just groggy, half asleep, feeling shaky, nauseous, and I couldn’t keep any thoughts in my head for any amount of time. The biggest issue for me when it came to the medicine was the nausea though because it would just hit me at random and I couldn’t function. It would be the worst when I was out at school or during work because I couldn’t escape the belly ache. Needless to say because I was so nauseous I ended up not eating for almost that whole week and therefore ended up loosing around 10 pounds…in one week. This, without a doubt, was COMPLETELY NOT OKAY due to the fact that I was already at an unhealthy weight, but we’ll get into the weight issue a little bit later. Since I was experiencing so many terrible side effects from the medicine, Mary took me off of the Prozac and decided to prescribe me something that was simple; A beta-blocker. Essentially a beta-blocker is just a pill that lowers your heart rate. Mary’s thought was that if we can lower my heart rate we can we can give my body enough time to calm itself down, or not get worked up in the first place, lower my anxiety, and therefore get rid of my anxiety induced nausea. The nausea from my anxiety is one of the worst symptoms for me, I even end up puking sometimes which isn’t fun at all. The beta-blocker I was prescribed was Propranolol and I was given a lot of flexibility with how I take this pill. I was told to take it in the morning, since that’s when I have most of my anxiety, and then Mary told me that the pill is almost completely harmless so if I feel the anxiety rising up throughout the day I just should take another pill and my heart rate will lower and hopefully the anxiety will subside. So far this has been so much better than the Prozac- NO SIDE EFFECTS AT ALL- and it has actually seemed to be helping as of right now. We’ll see if it continues to work when my anxiety reaches one of it’s peaks.  Some other little thing I’ve picked up to help my anxiety is bullet journaling, and working out, however I can’t really workout hard because of my doctors fear of me loosing more weight, so I just work out my booty and my thighs. If you want to see my workout routines let me know in the comments below and I’d love to write up a post on that!  Like I said though, for now, the combination of the beta-blocker, the once-a-week therapy sessions with Liz, bullet journaling, and working out seems to be helping me immensely!

Now let’s get back to the whole weight situation…which will unfortunately lead to the not so fun chat about my poor body image.

Like I mentioned, the problem with Prozac for me, was that there were so many awful side effects, and the worst of those side effects was the nausea and the weight loss.  Due to the immense amount of weight loss in such a short time I became overly aware of how I was looking, and in my eyes it was NOT GOOD. I had lost so much weight that my clothes were no longer fitting properly and it became very evident to me. My pants were too loose, my dresses weren’t hugging my body, my hips bones started poking out, and the booty seemed to disappear. I didn’t like the way I looked, I hated the fact that I was putting on clothes every morning hung off my body so loosely, and I didn’t like that other people were starting to notice my weight loss as well. I was unhealthy. A 5’6, 20 year old girl should not weight 100 pounds. I was unhealthy, underweight, and feeling like shit about how I looked. I even ended up going to buy all new clothes because I was feeling so bad about how my current clothing looked on me. Mary decided the solution to this was a meal plan. Load up on all of the calories. Eat everything I want no matter how unhealthy. Just eat eat eat. Essentially I had to keep a piece of paper that gave me all the details about what I should be eating and when I should be eating it, and then came the task of tackling this meal plan. It was hard…so hard… After not eating for so long, Mary described it as my body putting itself into starvation mode so my body thought there wasn’t food around so my belly kept telling me I wasn’t hungry so I wouldn’t eat. In return my stomach shrank and it became very hard for me even put a snack in my belly. I didn’t feel hungry, so I ended up just having to force myself to eat and drink. Once I got past the difficulties of forcing myself to eat, everything became a lot easier. I was able to start eating again slowly, and began to gain my weight back AND MORE! (which is so so so so good) Every few days it gets hard for me to eat, or I forget to eat, or I’m too sad to eat, so this is an ongoing battle, but I’m trying my hardest and I’m hoping to keep on all of this weight and gain more!

I’m just going to touch on this next point briefly because my doctor and I and some specialists are still trying to work through the issue and figure out what is really wrong. After doing a lot of blood work, we discovered I have an issue with my thyroid.  Contrary to the normal, I actually have Hyperthyroidism which means my thyroid is overactive and my numbers are too low. The funny thing is that this thyroid issue explains all of the negative issues I’m having with my body. The shakiness, the tiredness, the anxiety, the irritability, the inability to handle high temperatures, a few more tmi problems…everything. Every single bad symptom I have that I had no clue why I had it is coming from my thyroid issue. The next step is for Mary to set me up with an endocrinologist where they will most likely do more blood work and then an ultrasound on my thyroid to see what exactly needs to be done. Even though this isn’t the best news…I’m just glad they found out the underlying issue and we can hopefully get it resolved and I can feel like a normal human again.

The last thing we have to talk about is the situation with my birth control, endometriosis, and my periods in general. I’m not exactly sure where I last ended the update on this situation, so I’ll give y’all a bit of the background information and then let you know the update. In short, I have endometriosis and was told that the best option for me to get rid of my cramps was to be on birth control, and that journey didn’t start out well. Some made my endometriosis worse, some made my periods heavier, and others just did nothing. I ended up going to a wonderful OBGYN at Mountainview OBGYN and she gave me the option of taking birth control consistently, without the sugar pill, and therefore I wouldn’t have a period and in return I wouldn’t have all of the negative side effects that came with my period and endometriosis. The birth control she put me on is Alyacen and it is working wonders. I don’t have a period and none of the awful side effects. Everything is going stellar as of now, and I only have spotting every once in a while when I forget my pill for two days and that usually comes with a few cramps, but overall everything has worked out so well in this situation.

Well, my pals, I think that’s all I have to update you on when it comes to my health. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or blog post requests feel free to leave them in the comments below or email me if there’s something more personal you want to talk about in regards to mental and physical health. I love hearing from you guys so don’t be afraid to interact with me!!

Thanks for the read, and I hope to see you back here soon!!

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