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2020 & Mental Health

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  • #366527
    Sarah
    Participant

    I know 2020 has been a tough year on everyone, which is why I always have a difficult time complaining about anything that has been negative or hard in my life.  That’s why I chose to come here; to a safe place, with no judgement.

    Things have been difficult. 2020 came and hit everyone hard – I, like so many other, (incident #1) was laid off, unsure how to make mortgage payments, or any payments at all. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to defer those, and was getting CERB payments from the Canadian government. I tried to wrap my head around the fact that I was now at home, with millions of other Canadians. My anxiety thrives on instability and not having any sort of routine. I tried to get my groove back, being productive in my house; purging, reorganising, deep cleaning. I started a daily yoga practice, my partner and I learned to play chess. I was baking, and cooking. I started to really enjoy being at home, knowing I was eventually going to go back to work.

    Three days before I was to go back to work, incident number 2 occurred – my ten year old fur baby had some complications that ended up with us having to decide to put her down. While money doesn’t matter, because I would’ve spent my life savings on her, it still was a financial hardship having her at the emergency vet for four days (they were so wonderful and kind to us). Losing her was like losing a part of myself. I am so thankful I had two months everyday to spend with her and love her.

    I went back to work, not allowing myself to grieve the loss of my soul mate and my best friend. I am famous for this, I recognize now.  We welcomed a new little pup into our life, and have poured our love into her. Then, we get a significant pay decrease at work (keep in mind, I am still thankful I had a job none the less, so please if you are reading this, please know I am not trying to sound ungrateful), I go into a full blown 6 week UC flare up, my good good friend passes away from a year long fight from cancer. All these things are piling up. All these things are piling up and I am trying to find a spot in my “mental filing cabinet” for all of them. My filing cabinet was bursting at the seams.

    Something has not been right with me, I have not been happy. I’m exercising, eating well (the occasional indulgence), sleeping well, but something is not ME. I am a happy person, always laughing, smiling. I enjoy people, I enjoy going to work. I enjoy life! Not lately though. There is a little black rain cloud following me everywhere I go.  I’ve always suffered from depression, and anxiety. I’ve always been able to “get myself out of it” or just change my lifestyle a little bit.  I never wanted to be on medication because I was scared. Scared of pills, scared of the stigma, scared of admitting there is something wrong.  Today, I went to see my doctor and after having a very in depth conversation with him, we came to a few agreements –

    1) Continue taking care of myself – eat well, sleep well, move my body and meditate

    2) Continue journalling/writing/reaching out to those I feel I can open up to

    3) Be kind to yourself and your mind – you are what you eat, and you are what you read

    4) The GI tract is your second brain, so when my UC was in quite the flare up its not a surprise that my mental health was deteriorating

    5) DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GET SOME HELP WITH MEDICATION, WHETHER IT’S LONG TERM OR SHORT TERM.

    I guess I just wanted some advice.. Advice on how to cope with the idea of starting a new medication.
    I am excited to start feeling happier, like my old self. Thank you to those who have read this far. I really needed a safe place for my thoughts tonight.

     

    <3 S

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Sarah.
    #366529
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sarah:

    I am sorry for you losing your fur baby.

    “I just wanted some advice .. on how to cope with the idea of starting a new medication”-

    Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a long term condition, an inflammatory bowel disease- and no surprise that it causes anxiety and depression. Any medication to treat the condition, and the anxiety that results from the condition, and/ or the anxiety that causes flareups- is a good idea. Take the medication/s as prescribed, be in regular contact with your doctor regarding the dosage, effectiveness and side effects.

    I like the list you and your doctor came up with. If you would like more of my input, let me know, and feel free to add to your thread at any time, as a way to express yourself, to vent and to receive feedback and replies from members.

    anita

    #366589
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Sarah, thank you for writing this post. I bet a lot of people can relate to your situation and will find they are not so alone in reading it. The things you and doctor listed out and agreed upon are so very helpful and wise. I do agree that if our UC and digestive system is unhappy or under distress then we will also be not having a good life at that time. I am sorry about the stress you have had this year. It’s been a hard year. Anita wrote wise advice about taking care of your health. You wrote about being afraid of new medication and I wanted to reassure you. If you never take it, you will never know if it helps. If you do take it, you can see how it goes and if there are side effects that you can’t stand, then you stop taking it. Your intestines need help also, and love. Think of this medication as self love and also using human wisdom. Stress totally screws up my GI tract, I don’t have UC though. My husband has something similar to UC and he ignored it for years. Was not good for him, so I encourage you to try whatever you need to try medication or diet wise and see how it goes. I used to be a person who was never going to take pharmaceutical drugs but here I am with several health issues and I find that not taking care of my health (including meds) is not self love. Quality of life is important. I wish you well.

    #366606
    Sarah
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for your reply. I would love your input.

    I took my first dose of my antidepressant last night, and things were okay. I psyched myself up and didn’t sleep, worried about insomnia. I know it’s the right step for myself, it’s just getting my head around it, you know?  I am looking forward to feeling happier, and letting go of this little dark gloomy cloud hanging around me.

    Sarah

    #366607
    Sarah
    Participant

    Thank you so much Rose of Yellow.  I love this community for all the kind hearted people, who genuinely care.

    2020 has been so hard for so many people that I feel guilty even coming on here and complaining. I did take my first dose last night, and I am hoping that the terrible sadness I’ve been feeling subsides. I didn’t even realize how much stress can take a toll on our bodies. The sleeplessness, the anxiety, the colitis flare up, the sadness. I just didn’t even realize that it is all connected. I was so caught up in feeling sad that, I admit, I wasn’t taking the best care of myself at first.  I am looking at the bright light ahead – I’m hoping for more energy to enjoy the things that I once enjoyed, to feel happy and content in the whirlwind of life.

    Thank you for your advice – that these medications are a form of self love. I never ever thought of it that way. Self love sometimes get thrown out the window when you’re trying to manage so many things at once. Putting myself first and my health needs to be number one right now.

    xo Sarah

    #366608
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sarah:

    You are welcome. I took one of the SSRI antidepressants, Zoloft (Sertraline) for a long time and it did help me feel better, it cut short my obsessive thinking and with less of that, my anxiety lessened significantly. Getting off Zoloft was not difficult, way less difficult that getting off some other psychiatric medications, such as benzodiazepines.

    I assume that you are in regular contact with the doctor who prescribed the medication for you, checking on how it effective the current dosage  and what are the side effects, if any. I hope to read further from you.

    anita

    #366619
    Sarah
    Participant

    Anita;

    That’s the medication my doctor has recommended, as well. I have a few friends who have been on the same medication who have had very pleasant experiences. My one concern was if/when I was to go off it, what that would look like. When I was first diagnosed with UC, I had been undiagnosed and very sick for a year, so my specialist quickly put me on prednisone to help with the inflammation, and when it was time to come off it (very slowly) it was one of the worst times in my life, so naturally I was concerned. I’m happy to hear that you had a good experience with Zoloft, that makes me feel better.

    My doctor and I have a follow up in a few weeks once I’ve had time to take the medication and see how I feel on it. I have hope, that’s the biggest thing. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and hope to be back to my regular self soon.

    #366620
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Sarah, everyone’s body is different. Some people need to taper slowly off antidepressants and I think this is the recommendation. But maybe it depends on how long one has been on the meds, how high a dose, etc. I tried one for 6 weeks when my mom was dying as per my doctor really pushing me to take it. And it helped me calm down and allowed my body to quit going into hives so I feel it was helpful at that time. Not sleeping and not taking care of our bodies is not good for us. But yes, sometimes we get so wrapped up in our sorrow or how we are thinking or whatever it is that we need a little guidance or even intervention in the form of medical help. Hope you can rest up this weekend.

    #366651
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sarah:

    SSRI antidepressants became a hit, so to speak, because they have fewer side effects and are easier to get off than the antidepressants before the SSRIs came about. Tapering off gradually is key, with the guidance of your doctor, every step of the way. I did so successfully without much difficulty.

    On the other hand I had great difficulty coming off clonazepam, a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are known to be notoriously addictive and terribly difficult to stop taking, that’s why they are supposed to be prescribed short term only.

    anita

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