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Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm Not Faking It

One of my brother's favorite sayings growing up was "you are faking it" whenever I got sick.  There was even one time I was covered in hives and he said this.  He did have a point, I was sick all of the time when I was younger.  As far back as I can remember I have had some sort of illness.  Now that I look back I wonder how much of it was due to my anxiety.  The more I learn about anxiety and its affects on my physical wellbeing. 

Going to the doctor when I was younger was a horrible experience for my parents.  I was a horrible patient, on one occasion I even bit my mom's wrist as they tried to test my blood.  I was nine when I finally got some answers to my illnesses, I was diagnosed with a hernia.  This was the first of many times that I became overwhelmed and passed out.  The doctor thought he needed to describe the surgery to a nine year old.  Resulting in me passing out and almost hitting my head on the sink in the exam room.

The passing out became a regular occurance in my life.  My second time was very humorous to my fellow classmates.  We were in fourth grade and watching the video on how our bodies were going to change.  I passed out right in my desk and had to go to the nurses office.  The next time was just as exciting as it was at an amusement park.  They said it was due to heat stroke but it was more likely caused by panic, as my friend fainted before me. 

I can laugh about these situations now but it is hard knowing that at any point I could become overwhelmed to the point of passing out.  My body also likes to use other ailments when I get anxious.  I missed seventeen days of school my freshman year of high school due to hives.  I went through a ton of testing and even saw a specialist at the University of Minnesota.  They could not figure out what was causing the hives.  The hives came less often as I went through high school but were replaced by an ulcer. 

Since I became diagnosed with depression and anxiety I am starting to understand myself and symptoms better.  Unfortunately this also has me questioning when I have a pain, if it is anxiety or something real.  I also have to try and keep my self as calm as possible when I do have an illness or injury because it intensifies the situation.  Not only did I pass out the last time I had my blood drawn but I got severe abdominal pains that then lead to my having convulsions.  I had to be given something to calm me as well as for pain and nausea. 

I don't know how many people realize the physical symptoms that come with depression and anxiety.  I am not asking for sympathy for myself but others that are going through the same struggles. I hope as things are changing and that people will become more open about these types of struggles. 

On a more positive note I went to the doctor today for a sinus infection (not the positive thing) and had to take my usual depression and anxiety test.  One of the things you find out once you are diagnosed with depression and anxiety is that you get to take a quiz every time you go to the doctor.  I currently am required to do it once a month but my score today was so good I might not have to take it for another six months!

So here are my recommendations if you are dealing with these issues or know someone who is:
  1. Talk to a doctor - there are amazing studies and tests available to determine what is the correct medication.  GeneSight
  2. Find a counselor you can be honest with.
  3. Be Patient! It took me over three years, two counselors and switching medications to get this low of a score.  But it can happen; you can get better.