(At the time of writing because I got distracted…) I’ve been watching Daytime TV for five minutes. So far, I’ve learned that Harry Styles is loud in bed, you can buy swimming pool inflatables which are dimensionally accurate replicas of Kim Kardashian’s arse, and that you can actually get eye cancer. The more you know…
It’s been almost four weeks since my last accountability update, and it’s been quite a four weeks. The main thing is, I’m doing a lot, lot better, both physically and mentally. I’m currently having some tests to work out why I’m in pain all the time, and so far what’s come up is a huge vitamin D deficiency – my doc said the average healthy level is around 75 and mine is like 23 or something – so pretty big. Eep. Though it’s hardly surprising – vitamin D is the only vitamin we have to get from sources other than food, in this case the sun, although there are small amounts in eggs and fish and they add it to some cereals and other processed things that I try not to eat. I love the sun, don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely a summer person. However, I love it from a distance, kind of like a creepy stalker. I like seeing it early in the morning. I do like being out in it, as long as I can take refuge in the shade because I hate being hot. It’s a complicated relationship. So chances are, even before it was stupid winter, I wasn’t getting enough for a while.
Luckily, it’s easily fixed – and luckier still, it could actually be the source of all of my issues. Various studies have linked low vitamin D with depression, which could explain why I’ve had so much trouble fighting my way out of my most recent episode. I’m definitely coming out the other side, but it’s been a long time coming. I’ve had bad spells before, but they’re usually relatively short periods of feeling absolutely hysterically terrible and barely functioning until I manage to bring myself back up with meds adjustment and some self help. This has been more like a period of coasting along, going through the motions, feeling permanently tired of everything and getting tearful and nihilistic at the slightest negative provocation. I’ve heard depression described before as ‘anger without energy’ and that’s definitely how things have felt this time. It’s very hard to describe. A lot of people will say that if depression was a colour, it would be black, and when I’m in the kind of place where I feel desperate and hopeless, then I agree. But when I’m having the more flat, less intense but slowly draining episodes, it’s grey. The world feels grey. Dull.
When I typed barely functioning into my phone just now, my phone threw up ‘vagina’ as the next word. I have no clue why. Must have used that phrase in bizarre conversation at some point. Barely Functioning Vaginas would be a fucking amazing band name.
I’ve never thought of myself as having SAD (seasonal affective disorder) because I know I can feel shit at all times of year, but maybe I do. I think everyone does to some extent. No one likes getting up and going home in the dark during the peak of winter. Why don’t we just hibernate? Squirrels have the right idea. They get to sleep for some of the year and spend the rest bouncing around with their little fluffy tails, being skittish and looking adorable. Be like the squirrel.*
I’m not saying everything is down to the Vitamin D deficiency – just that this particular brand of depression is unusual for me and it would make sense if that was causing it. I have noticed a huge difference in my mood since the weather changed, a lot more than usual. It’s also generally been a very positive few weeks. I’ve been on a placement that I’ve absolutely loved and I finally seem to be getting somewhere in terms of getting some therapy sorted, as well as getting other stressful bits and pieces either sorted or watching them come to their natural conclusion. I’ve been forcing myself to go out more and socialise too, which has been difficult but really helpful. Things are looking up. People who see me regularly have all commented that I seem better. I’m feeling positive today.
So, the pain from the trapped nerve in my hip seems to have been easing. I’ve been trying to wear looser clothes to ease the pressure (it’s called skinny jeans syndrome for a reason) and been doing a lot of walking and yoga, which has helped hugely. I went to the gym earlier for the first time in a few weeks and took it pretty easy for that reason – was also kind of forced to as after five minutes on the treadmill I felt like I was dying – fitness levels have fucking plummeted.
In terms of the general pain, I’m still not much clearer on what’s going on. Doc was suspecting arthritis but inflammation blood test came back negative so that’s a good sign. I had an X-ray on my hips earlier today (apparently I walk funny, why did no one tell me before? No, hang on, they did…) so that might be more conclusive. Weirdly enough though, the pain could be explained by the Vitamin D deficiency too. I was doing some research after doc called me about it and stumbled across an article written by a doctor about a lady who had been suffering with chronic pain and fatigue for a long time, had seen countless doctors and even been told it was all in her head. Understandably, she was at her wit’s end. This doctor was the first to decide to test for a Vitamin D deficiency. Her levels came back very, very low. She was given some heavy ass supplements and abracadabra, within a few weeks she was a new woman and felt better than she ever had. Who knew that something so effing simple could be the cause of so much misery!
It makes me wonder who else is out there miserable and suffering and feeling like they’re crazy all because they have a vitamin deficiency. It’s madness. To be fair, my research tells me that recognition of the problems Vitamin D deficiency can cause is actually quite new. Who knows. Maybe we all just need more sun. I have to say, Britain, with your antics in the past year and your terrible weather, you’re not really selling it to me right now. Either way – I’m hopeful that I will either feel better once I’ve finished this vitamin treatment or at least have an answer to everything soon.
Oh also, I’ve been eating my veggies. So yay.
* I reminded myself of a weird little song by The White Stripes about breaking your problems down into small pieces and dealing with them one at a time like squirrels do with nuts. Check it out. It’s pretty uplifting.