It’s been a while

For the past 12 months I have deliberately not blogged much here because I wanted to use all my writing energy for finishing my MPH dissertation. Since there are only a few minor changes for me to make on that, I’m having a go at a brief blog.

Being brief is difficult now as I have heaps of topics that need some background investigation before I write about them. This isn’t exactly obsessional behaviour, but I do like to have a set of pix and links for each blog post in the hope of stimulating people to explore and have a go at something new. This time I’ll just get in some practice. If you want to know more you can research the question yourself and do your own blog post!

I have re-conquered most of my depression this year, with the help of my old shrink (whom I’d seen a few years ago for about 6 months) and some concentrated self-talk and exercise. The first thing my shrink did when I saw her in March was to recommend I start having large doses of liquid fish oil and a big fat glucosamine capsule every day! This was a new approach for her AND for me, as her training had been heavily on the psychoanalytic side but she and I both decided that was NOT the approach for me. After my first session, I trotted off to the large public hospital in the city (Royal Adelaide Hospital), where the Health Promotion Unit has a small store, dispensing various items recommended by local doctors at virtually wholesale prices. I collected my fish oil and tablets and after taking the fish oil once, I found it was quite pleasant taken in a shot glass over a mouthful of cranberry juice! Then I went to the pathology collection centre and let them suck quite a lot of blood out of me into big fat syringes for a heap of blood tests.

A week later I fronted up to the shrink to hear about the results of the blood tests and discovered quite a few startling facts about the meagre state of my blood’s contents! It turned out I was massively deficient in thyroid hormone (helping explain why I felt so sluggish & wasn’t responding well to my anti depressants [ADs]) and Vitamin D. The shrink decided to reduce my ADs by 25% to kick the side effects [the zinging noises & “brain zap” effects of venlafaxine, as described by many people] and to test out if the increased thyroxine and Vitamin could have positive effects on me. The plan was to try to reduce the ADs down to a minimum where I was functional and happy while the side effects were minimised. 

I have always been deliberately tolerant of side effects as I figure that depression is the worst feeling in the world for me, while friends have dropped like flies after trying venlafaxine because of the various different effects it’s had, including extreme nausea & retching! To cut a long story short, I started to feel better both mentally and physically within 2 weeks of the new regime! I am FREE OF SIDE EFFECTS except when I exercise vigorously towards the end of the day and then I only get a little buzzing in the head- nothing spectacular. What’s more, that effect lasts only about one minute, then I’m fine. I’ve been motivated enough to keep going to aquarobics classes every week, even when friends don’t pick me up and drive me in when they go. I’ve also been able to resume quite a bit of the regular housework, in spite of developing nasty osteoarthritis in both my wrists. I’ve stayed reasonably motivated with my MPH work, although when my supervisor didn’t give me any feedback for nearly 2 months, I slacked off, rather bewildered.

Feeling so well has been great at home because it seems to have cheered up my partner [Spotrick] so that he helps out more with the daily chores etc. This in turn has a positive feedback effect for me and there you are! My shrink has agreed that I’d best stay on the same level of ADs for a while now until I finish the MPH in a few weeks’ time. After that, we’ll try to get them down even further, gradually, until I start to get a bit too slow and then we’ll rack them up a little and continue along that track. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into my hobbies fully then, as  haven’t knitted, sewn, quilted etc in many months, despite wanting to. I feel too guilty devoting time to hobbies and blogging while the damned MPH is unfinished. Here’s hoping I’ll be up there on stage in my fancy cap & gown come April 2013!

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