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Before I take my medicine..

I wake up around 8am and I usually take my antidepressants 1 or 2 hours later with my breakfast. I've been asked before: "what's that feeling like right before you take your medicine? do you instantly feel better afterwards?" This is how I attempt to answer (I say "attempt" because I'll try my best to explain).

For someone that has been taking medicine for months, the antidepressants are already doing their work so I don't really feel anything differently before I take them each morning, but I do feel a bit odd. My guess is that it's more mental than the actual lack of serotonine which doesn't happen unless I stop taking my meds for days (which I don't do anymore). Right before I take my medicine I sometimes stare at it for a minute, I find it hard to comprehend how it makes such a big difference - when I didn't take any medicine, I literally woke up hoping for the best: mood swings used to happen a lot more and I felt like I had no control over them. By taking my pills I feel like I'm doing something about my mental health every day, and going to therapy once a week also helps with that feeling too.

Consistency is something we lack when dealing with depression, since we're not aware of our surroundings as much as we should, cause we're overthinking instead of just "thinking the right amount". But what does it even mean to think "the right amount"? When do you know if you're overthinking about something rather than just thinking about it? lol It's hard to draw the line, and we learn how to identify it step by step. It's weird at first but when taking your pills becomes a daily routine, every day is a chance of a new beginning, or not necessarily a new start but a continuation of the day before, just with a brand new perspective on life.

I'm happy I asked for help and I'm glad I have an appointment with my psychiatrist one a month, and another one with my therapist once a week. Asking for help might've been one of the best things I did this year and I have no regrets. Sometimes we just can't deal with our stuff by ourselves and that is totally okay. I hope the stigma of taking medication goes away someday, but in the meantime, I don't really care about the stigma. Opening up about it helps a bit more to encourage someone else to ask for a helping hand if they feel like they just can't do it alone. :)

#Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth #Medicine

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Why alternative medicine is dangerous - a personal story of #InflammatoryBowelDiseaseIBD

Alternative medicine is a term that broadly describes a medical philosophy and associated treatments that operate outside of science-based medicine. These include homeopathy, "energy work," herbal remedies, naturopathy, and more.

It is a radically different way of looking at nature and the human body that is not grounded in the rational methods that built modern civilization. This is a problem.

These days it is trendy to complain about doctors and many other aspects of modern life. These features of modernity are indeed imperfect, but they are still remarkably effective tools for solving human problems despite their flaws. Rationality is unfortunately becoming a buzzword that is associated with “toxic masculinity” and “patriarchy” and “oppressors” but it shouldn’t be. Rationality is for everyone, even if historically it did not always lead to good for everyone. We can always do better in how we apply it, but the tool kit itself is essential.

When I was young, I was very much taken by the philosophy of #Alternative #Medicine . There is a spectrum along which most people fall in their attraction to it. I was on the far end of the spectrum, taking it’s philosophy very seriously. You could, in a sense, compare me to a religious fundamentalist in how I approached the holistic life. But, I was only listening to what I was taught. I lived out the reality of taking these views to their logical ends.

One of the views in alternative medicine is that we can heal ourselves with intention. I have addressed that claim in another Mighty post. I believed very deeply that I could do this, and it failed catastrophically. Another alternative medicine article of faith is a deep distrust of pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and surgery. These things certainly have their flaws, but like rationality, they still solve quite a few problems pretty effectively despite these flaws. Nevertheless, I was a true believer, and followed suit in my distrust.

When I was diagnosed with #UlcerativeColitis , I’d been involved in the alternative medicine community for just a few years. I am on the #AutismSpectrum and am prone to depression, #Anxiety , magical thinking, and emotional dysregulation in general. I was, unfortunately, a perfect target for the magical thinking and emotional reasoning of alt med. I was also young, getting turned on to these ideas when I was only 20 years old by friends I met playing music.

I didn’t take my diagnosis well at all. I was furious with having to take prednisone, and any drug at all, and was even more horrified that the cure to this condition was a total removal of my colon. Alt med practitioners worship the colon. “Death begins in the colon” was a phrase often repeated. I took this to mean that no colon meant no chance of health. The other medications they offered me were, in my opinion at the time, no better than steroids because they all suppressed my immune system. Alt med practitioners worship the colon second only to the immune system. The immune system can solve everything – you just needed to make sure to “boost” it as much as possible. So the two treatment approaches for my disease were unacceptable according to my religion.

I fought doctors left and right. Reading through my medical records from those days, circa 2003-2008, was like reading a horror story and a dark comedy all at once. I was an irritating, immature know-it-all, combative and non-compliant, refusing any and all treatments, trying to “teach” the doctors what they supposedly didn’t know about medicine. Unfortunately, my natural treatments did not really work. So every time they would fail to maintain my remission, I’d land back in the hospital again and put on prednisone because it was the only thing that could get me out of the emergency state.

I spent 7 years bouncing between natural treatments and hospital trips. This had the unfortunate consequence of me being on prednisone for most of that time. Prednisone also takes some time to leave the body once you finish tapering off of it. So most of the times when I thought my diet or other therapy was “working,” it probably wasn’t. The prednisone just hadn’t left my system yet. Once it did, the flare would start again, and I’d be right back on it.

Years and years of prednisone is not how UC treatment is supposed to work. You go on prednisone to get out of the emergency state, and then you taper down to safer immunosuppressive drugs such as biologics or chemotherapy drugs. At the time, you might as well have called those things “rat poison” and “nuclear waste” because that is what they were to me. My immature mind was completely taken by alt med at that point and I would not listen to reason. “Reason,” to me, sounded like “entrenched party-line thinking of doctors who were territorial about their authority.” My support system at the time, from my family to my extended friend networks, were various shades of sympathetic to alt-med beliefs and there really was nobody to provide a counterpoint. Giving up these beliefs meant giving up my entire support system – and my identity, which was increasingly wrapped up in the idea that I’d cure myself and then be famous and go on talk shows telling everyone how I did it.

I had a particularly traumatic trip to the ICU in the summer of 2008 where I had apparently let my UC flare go on for so long that I developed abdominal sepsis, something that kills 1 out of 3 people who have it. The reason I left my flare untreated was because some scientist-impersonators on the internet had convinced me to try their treatment, which they claimed would cure my disease by killing some mysterious type of bacteria that had never been visualized, measured, or cultured in any way. Part of the recovery involved feeling worse. So feeling worse was good! So I need to just stay the course and don’t go to the hospital, because “they will stop your treatment, put you on immunosuppressive medications, and you’ll never get well.”

I listened to them until it was almost too late. My parents were happy to let me keep doing this because they thought I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. Eventually, even they started to wonder if this whole thing wasn’t going well and if I needed to be hospitalized. Thankfully they took me just in the nick of time.

Today, I am 43. I have no colon. I eventually had to give in to the surgery because the UC was so out of control even prednisone didn’t really work that well anymore. I had a three-stage operation to get my J-pouch. I was well for a decade following. But, I lost my ability to have children naturally, and my metabolism is permanently wrecked from all the crash/fad dieting and all the hospital-prescribed fasting.

But, the worst lingering effects is the permanent damage 7 years of nearly constant prednisone. Today, I am a healthy weight, eat well, and exercise, but I developed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The etiology of this appears to be unclear, but some studies show that ulcerative colitis is an independent risk factor for NAFLD. One of the possible mechanisms proposed is chronic exposure to steroids. Furthermore, another study suggested that biologics, the drugs I was so petrified to take, are not associated with fatty liver.

NAFLD is not curable. I can tighten up my diet and workout regimen, but because I do not drink and I’m not overweight, there’s only so much I can achieve with lifestyle modifications now. It can progress to cirrhosis if this doesn't work.

Alternative medicine polluted my head with unhealthy, irrational ideas that prevented me from getting the treatment I needed to prevent some of the worst outcomes, and now I, and those who love me, will pay the price in the long term.

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I Hate Pill-Poppin’ Tuesdays

Every Tuesday night, I have to organize my medicine for the next week. I have over 20 different prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as supplements I take. Nearly half are prescribed.

On Tuesday night and every time I pop a handful of pills, I am reminded of my illness. If it isn’t the actual Rx, it is the medicine to counteract the side effects.

When I go out to eat, I always feel self-conscious that others are seeing all the pills I am taking. My paranoia kicks in and I wonder what they are thinking about me.

I remember a friend of mine from high school and college. She had a medicine organizer just like the one I have now. I don’t think she ever revealed why she was on so much medicine. That just amazed me when I was a teenager. I felt bad for her.

I would be so embarrassed if any of my friends knew the amount of medicine I take every day. When Tuesday night comes around or when I look at those pills I take at each meal and when I go to bed, I want to throw them all away. It is just another reminder that I am unwell.

In the end, I am thankful to those men and women who created those pills that keep me stable and healthy. I see them as the hands and feet of Jesus in my life. But for them, I would not be here today.

#mentalhealthmatters #Medicine #Bipolar #Depression #Anxiety #Paranoia #Jesus #god #Faith

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At Home

I'm mostly homebound. (Is that a bad word? I don't care. It adequately describes my daily life.) But I can get out sometimes when my pain lets me. I've has a prescription at the pharmacy for a few days now that I haven't been able to get. I haven't been able to get it, and my wife has needed to work late. I know they can deliver it, so I'll probably need to go that route. Anyway...I was hopeful to get there today but woke up in high pain. Maybe it'll come down as the day goes on. We'll see. What do you do when you need something that you're not able to get in a timely manner? #ChronicIllness #Medicine #pharmacy #ChronicPain

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My Invisible Illness

I would like to open up about my invisible illness. I first realized there was something wrong about six years ago when i came to New Zealand in couple of months I got really sick had this persistent pain in my body and I kept getting this shooting pain from my neck to lower back. My pain became more widespread, more frequent, and more intense when I was at university.

I went to several doctors and specialists had several exams for past 6 years finally I was diagnosed in 2022. The neurologist gave my invisible illness a name Fibromyalgia. I was finally relived they found what actually my illness is however it is a chronic illness which is lifelong and has no cure and also accompanied by chronic fatigue and 100 other symptoms.

Living with fibromyalgia means living with a chronic pain condition that greatly influences daily life. I feel pain all of the time and this affects my ability to do day-to-day tasks.Every task I choose to do has a trade-off with another. For example, if I choose to cook something, doing the laundry becomes more difficult.

As soon as i was diagnosed,I was forced to slow down all my activities both in personal and professional life it had gotten so worse that full right side of my body from neck to feet was in so much pain i could barely move, close my fist or hold a cup or grab the spoon to cook or eat.

Hence i had to make so many changes in my life to gain back strength and mobility slowly back to my body.I had to start taking different medications and therapies with many trials until my doctor found what worked better for me, many meds I was on, messed with my sleeping pattern made me feel nauseous and dizzy whole day and others messed with my stomach lining. I tried to work out because I felt that staying active changing my diet to vegetarian would help me sadly it worsened my symptoms even more. The most challenging aspect of fibro, for me, would be the fatigue, since it prevents me from doing a lot.

Unfortunately, there are not too many medical experts in New Zealand who have done research to understand what I have, and how it affects my daily life. My husband is my number one supporter and he helps me with my stress which is a trigger to pain, but there are also those who don’t understand or care to, so I just distanced myself from those people. I will continue to remove such people from my life, whether blood related or not, if you are not concerned about my wellbeing then I don’t need to have you in my already small circle.

In the last six years there has never been a day my body was without pain. I dont even know how it feels to be without pain anymore. I can’t be on meds 24*7 so i try to get as much rest as possible. As the meds have other side effects which causes other health issues.Honestly, i have tried all the pain killers in the world none of those have ever made my pain go even 20% less . There are times when I feel like nothing works and then i started to research and study on this illness myself.

With my findings and study for months i found out that lifestyle management is the only solution with people who have chromic illness. Since western medicine doesn’t have any cure i studied Ayurveda and gain knowledge around it and observed myself by doing trial and errors with Ayurvedic diet and practising spiritualism as a result to balance and manage my lifestyle Ayurvedic food diet which works for me in subsiding symptoms related to fatigue and stomach lining. Spirituality also really helped me such as meditation and yoga in order to focus on the positivity around me and to push myself to keep fighting with my body in order to live my life to the fullest.

As far as being open about my illness & symptoms, I hate to complain, because I know it can be annoying to hear someone talk about how much pain they are in daily, so I keep it to a minimum. I hate to hear that it will get better, when I know it’s not going to get better because there is no cure. So, I had kept it to myself. Remember to be kind to people as behind that smile we don’t know who is fighting a battle not everyone likes to open up about their struggles. I have had people commenting on my life about gaining weight or not going out or visiting families and friend. Last six years has been a roller coaster ride for me. I have been faking being okay!

My biggest battle is the pain I deal with daily, but the biggest is putting on a brave face, getting up and starting my day and trying to keep up with my daily responsibilities either personally or professionally. There was many moment in my life where i would want to scream at the top of my lungs. I just have no control over this illness that has taken over me and i would want to take my life. Then i look around and see I have family who i love dearly, and one look at them, tells me that my life is important and worth fighting for.

Honestly taking it one day at a time, is how I balance my illness in my personal and professional life, there is no other way. I had always been a high achiever and proceeded to put a lot of pressure on myself in every aspect of my life hence people always say i am lucky whenever i attained my goals whether it was graduating with academic excellence being the top scholar or getting a corporate job at management level or buying a brand new home or travelling around and buying luxury items at early 20s it is not luck it is hard-work sacrifices and most importantly journey of fighting with my own body, health and mind to live life and achieve of my dreams. I just want to say to each one of you if your healthy you are lucky one as Health is Wealth!!

I would like people to know and understand that this condition is real and it’s depressing- please be supportive. If you find that you can’t be of any help to that person suffering from Fibro, then remove yourself from their lives, and spare them further pain.

My words of encouragement for others who are living with Fibro are to try to find a doctor who is caring and believes in your pain, and work with them in finding medication that can help you control some of the pain, because right now, there is nothing that take it all away. Continue fighting, and don’t give up, we have people who need us and depend on us, so we must find a way to fight to continue living. And lastly we should all come together and help us spread the word, and know that you are not alone.

Lastly, this message was not for sympathy it was for awareness in the community which is must needed.
#Fibromyalgia #ChronicPain #fibromyalgiawarrior #illness #Fibro #healthiswealth #Bekind #ChronicIllness #symptoms #treatment #RheumatoidArthritis #FibroFog #Medicine

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Shopping Addiction. When #Shopping is beyond #retailtherapy and Breaks the Bank 👀

This cat in the image gives me the face I make when my husband sees me reaching for something to put in the cart and tells me to put it back. I feel like I am so wrong or about to do something that will #hurt me. When things are #Wrong or #IAmStruggling it doesn't feel like I have #power . I feel #powerless .

#shoppingaddiction is real. My mother has it worse than me right now, whereas I have people telling me "No!" And "Put it Back!" Holding me accountable. It still feels hurtful.

I no longer go to stores just to "Look." I cannot go to a store just to "Look around." Especially an issue if I see something and cannot buy it. We are all experiencing some kind of #financial issues. #Medicine is so dang expensive, and that often causes us to fall into a pit. I do not know what to do, but I have been trying things other than talk #Therapy .

I decided to click online "Add to Cart" or "Add to Wishlist." This is common for websites like Amazon or Bath & Body Works. Especially now that the Christmas season is here.. I see things I want to #Buy for other people, or things I want for the #home or for #Myself . It feels #bad .

Have you experienced #shoppingaddiction ?

If so, what do you do?
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I need #Advice .