Health

Daily Living

Over the course of this blog I occasionally/often complain about the way I feel.  Some of this is simply a blatant request for sympathy; however, in the interests of fair disclosure it is worth noting that comments about mental health and some other issues are not made from a disinterested standpoint.

Firstly, I spend much of my time in physical pain. I have had a number of treatments to combat chronic joint pain. There was no clear trigger for the onset of the pain but it is almost certainly linked to my muscles failing to adequately support hypermobile joints. The general issue  has often caused me regular wrist pain since my teens (I am exceedingly limp-wristed…) as well as a serious long-term shoulder problem (constant pain and instability since 2008 and 1 operation)  and possibly contributing to my tearing the cartilage in my left knee (also requiring an op)..
As a result I should do a long series of physiotherapy exercises to try and keep the muscles strong but supple! Unfortunately, I struggle with the actual practice because of the pain.

I used to take 500mg Naproxen twice a day for the pain (Aug 08 – Aug 13); it is a prescription NSAID related to ibuprofen and (on Dr.’s recommendation) I frequently took it in combination with OTC co-codamol and prescription Omeprazole is to stop the Naproxen causing a stomach ulcer. I stopped taking it because I wasn’t convinced that it was making a difference ..

Secondly, I have also lived with varying degrees of depression and anxiety since my mid-teens. In terms of ‘diagnoses’ at one low point (but not my lowest) I was offered the following assessment: Chronic Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic disorder with Agoraphobia. I have also struggled with self harm since my teens. This is a life-long battle for me but it isn’t unrelentingly awful.

So far I have had 7 different attempts at therapy varying in length (1hr – 6 months) and style (CBT, online CBT, Mindfulness and Counselling) and taken the following medications:

  • Propanolol (beta-blocker) – for anxiety. Wonderfully effective at reducing the symptoms of panic attacks but mostly a stop-gap measure because of side-effects
  • Citalopram (SSRI) 20, 40 & 60mg dosages – for depression. Helped at first then seemed to plateau and then slip down.
  • Fluoxetine (SSRI) 40 & 60mg – depression again. Probably the most ineffectual of the meds I have taken. I briefly overlapped this with the citalopram while switching which was wonderful but probably dangerous and later supplemented it with
  • Mirtazapine (SNRI)- 15, 30 & 45mg doses between Jun and Nov ’11 – still depressed. I took this both with the prozac and on its own. Good for sleep at first but I put on a lot of weight. I quit it cold turkey.
  • Search meds to see more of what I thought at the time…

My mental health has consisted of plenty of low but steady years and a number of distinct, even epic, troughs including a couple of minor suicide attempts over the years. A bad patch resulted in me taking in an 8 month break from my doctorate and subsequently being supported through DSA –  I am a huge advocate of government and institutional support for mental health issues in academia because I believe my life might have been very different with earlier active intervention.

When writing I also try to bear in mind the struggles of my friends and family who boast a broad array of illnesses, conditions and disorders including but not limited to: sight-loss, CFS/ME, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, diabetes, MS, cancer(s), dementia and heart conditions.


2 thoughts on “Health

  1. The picture in this article made me think of Glencoe. Do you live in Glencoe or somewhere like that?! (I dreamt of Glencoe or somewhere like that once and I was litteraly flying!).
    I got here from musingsofanaspie (I’m certainly not NT) and i’m having a grand evening with some wine, pardon me.
    Are you aware you could improve your “condition” with better/more physiological food? (Im’ sure there are not many of a doctor who could say that, but naturopaths, hell yeah! http://www.youtube.com/user/robertmorsend)
    Are you aware we’re like our closest “cousins” (monkeys): fruitarians!?!
    (So I’m being very much of one while drinking grape in some form)
    (when I read “polyfidelity”… and “growing potatoes” in your “about” I knew I just had to comment here somehow, sorry)

    • The photo is of Ben Vane (which is near Loch Lomond). I don’t live there but I do love to go walking in Scotland, I love the freedom and the quiet it always makes me feel more alive.

      Sometimes I am very aware of the fact that the food (and alcohol) I consume have an effect on mood and my joints but mostly I just try to eat a balanced diet and not to give in to food cravings at certain times of the month..
      Did you know that some scientists believe that our eating habits and digestive patterns are intimately connected with the process of evolution?

      Thanks for stopping by.

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