Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Story Time Tuesday - If Good Health was Easy Everybody Would Have it! - Part 1 - Giveaway

I'm making myself write this story.   Partly because my Naturopathic Doctor just published a very interesting book and I want to share it with you.   Partly because I'm pushing myself to write more.   And partly because I think this story might be YOUR story.  And sometimes reading makes pain hurt a tiny bit less.  This story will be pretty candid...I'm not attempting 'the glass half full' philosophy here.  I know it could be worse. 

I'm using the Story-Time Tuesday format for this and each week I will be doing a giveaway for "A Different Kind of Medical Care" but Dr. Tina Marcantel. 

You can read about this book by clicking here.

Giveaway Information:   Enter to win a copy on this post today or you can purchase at that link.   10% discount code is 'healthy1'.

I will have Mr. Jenny select a random number from all the comments on this post.   Feel free to enter any time before Monday.

Winner will be announced next Tuesday along with the continuing story.  Autographed book will be mailed out on Wednesday!

Jenny Matlock


Yesterday wasn’t a good day.  It was hard to raise my head off the pillow.  It was hard to walk with my cement encased feet.
Today is a little better.
Tomorrow may be better still.
I hope so.
I’ve been doing this a long time.    
I’ve been to at least fifty doctors in the past decade.
Only one has been able to help me.
That part of the story is important, but I want to begin with the doctors from long ago.
That’s when this story really began for me.
As a young mother in the early 1980’s, I could not believe that my level of exhaustion and chronic pain was ‘normal’, even with two very small children and two miscarriages behind me.
The constant diagnosis at all the physician’s offices I visited, though, was always the same. 
Depression, depression, depression.
I heard it from suave doctors wearing trim white coats, rushed physicians barely making eye contact, and surly doctors who seemed to begrudge the 9 ½ minutes of time allotted to me.   They all said the same thing, “It’s depression.”
In those years I was still a little in awe (and afraid of) doctors.
I would push hesitantly against their diagnosis.  “So depression is what makes me so exhausted I have to lay on the floor to watch my children?  Depression is what has caused me to miscarry so many times?   Depression is what causes me to feel like I’m walking around in cement tennis shoes?  Depression is what makes my bones and joints hurt so bad I want to scream or cry?”
“Depression,” they said.
I thought perhaps it was partly true…all those pregnancies in quick succession had worn me down.
So maybe it was depression causing all the health problems.
That’s what all the doctors said, so it must be true.  Right?
My ‘prescription’ in those years was, “Lose a little weight, stay busy, think happy thoughts.”
I’ll be honest.
I didn’t think happy thoughts about those doctors and their medical advice. And the rest of the advice involved things I was already trying do, with limited success.
In the following years I had another child and another series of miscarriages, but I continued to try to think happy thoughts even while I cried with pain and exhaustion.  
That same bumpy, unhappy path continued until late in the 1980’s when the current doctor came up with a new solution. “Obviously this is depression.   Let me prescribe medication.”
Having been an extreme ‘sensitive’ to medication since my teen years, I was reluctant. 
The doctor reassured me, “It will be fine.   There are no side effects of this medicine…it’s called Prozac.   Let’s think of it as a happy pill.”
For me, personally, it wasn’t a happy pill.
It made me anything but happy.
If my exhaustion, lethargy and constant pain were the side effects of depression up to that point, I’m not sure what level of personal hell the Prozac catapulted me to.
After just a few days of taking that medication, I became seriously, totally and completely unhinged.  I was taking care of three small children and thinking about suicide all day.   Every day.   Twenty-four seven. 
“Just keep taking the medication,”I was advised, “This is part of your body becoming accustomed to it.   Oh, and here is a referral to a psychiatrist.”
The doctors didn’t swirl their fingers around their ears indicating, “Oh boy, here’s another crazy one,” but I suspect they might have when I left the room.
The medication continued to put me in an even worse place.  A darker place.   Combined with the tension and ugliness of a pretty awful marriage, I began to suspect it was true.
Maybe I really was crazy.
Maybe I was at fault for being in an abusive marriage.
Maybe my craziness was causing all the physical health stuff.
Whatever was causing it, I truly felt I had no place to exist in a world filled with happy, energetic, smiling families.
Maybe if I just worked harder at being ‘normal’, I would become ‘normal’.
But the lonely extremes of the suicidal feeling scared me.   A lot.  I quit taking the Prozac.
I still felt lousy some of the time, but at least my days were no longer accompanied by the perpetual loop, “maybe-this-would-be-the-best-way-to-kill-myself!” soundtrack. 
The doctors failed to tell me that one of the side effects of anti-depressants can be INCREASED depression and suicidal tendencies.
Oopsie.  No big deal, apparently.
In those pre-google days, what the doctor told me was the truth…and I never thought to question it.
Instead of questioning, I finally just tried to accept that feeling lousy was just the norm for me.
Every so often one pain or another would accelerate to the point that the doctors would do ‘exploratory’ surgeries trying to find the culprit.
They took out a few unnecessary internal organs on several occasions, but it never really helped.
I continued to feel like I was missing the world because of pain and exhaustion.  Could all those other women truly be THAT peppy AND happy AND content?
I told myself I felt so awful because of all the pregnancies in such a short period of time.
I told myself if I kept pushing I would eventually come to the end of the tunnel of misery.  I pushed harder against the feelings…unwilling to become a victim to them.
I was tough.
I was a survivor.
I was going to get everything done that I wanted to get done, damn it, and I was going to be happy doing it.
I was focused on finding my way through feeling terrible.   But it was a long tunnel.
The oval of light at the end was a moving target.
Some days, weeks and months were good.   Some moderate.   Some were absolute hell.
But I trudged ahead…believing things would improve…believing my strength of will was all that was required for a happy ending.

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Ms. A said...

Except for exploratory surgeries, you KNOW I can totally relate!

Bossy Betty said...

I have a feeling you are going to be amazed at how many people can relate to this. Thanks for sharing your story.

Naperville Now said...

my heart aches for you, Jenny. I do hope your doc can help you to good health. prayers for healing.

Unknown said...

Wow, I sensed there was some history of medical issues but you've been through the ringer it sounds like. I look forward to reading more. I the past couple years I was dealing with some stuff similar symptoms but had no pregnancies. I've been diagnosed with a hypothyroid and while the drugs for that do seem to make a difference, there are some flare ups now lately that I'm nervous are going to bring me back to the days of the past. It's scarey, again.... look forward to reading more!

Bookie said...

This was gut-wrenching to read, Jenny. When I was young, I got the same run around. A heart doctor added new advice on depression, exercise more, lose weight thing...quit whining and go have sex! Tried it but that didn't work either! :)

Gail said...

And I am number six that relates to this. Although I have not had to endure the heartache and pain of miscarriage, the rest could be me.

Through the years I have been on evey depression med there is. I was almost relieved when a doctor suggested fibromyalgia...there was a reason! So the cure for that didn't work. Months and years of crazy pills and weird side affects.

My last ditch effort to a doc finally gave me some hope. I have a Vitamin D deficiency and just border line on needing Thyroid medicine. In the past B12 has helped. I want to find a way to deal with "depression" other than being medicated to the walls.

Deoression is not as simple as "get over it". That has been my mantra for so long.

I do hope I win this book.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

When I was younger I had a very unrealistic view of depression. I would think "Why can't they just get in control of their feelings?"

Then a few years back, insomnia and depression became my new companions and I learned a lesson about walking in someone else's shoes.

The book looks wonderful!



Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Jenny, so many women suffer needlessly this way! As a nurse I've seen the medical profression do an injustice to them in labeling every complaint a woman has as "deprerssion." Thankdully there are better meds roday that do treat anxiety and depression in a better esay and fibromyalgia is now a classified illness and other factors that cause chronic pain and fatigue such as thyroid disorders and Lyme disease are better diagnosed, but we as women have to be our own advocates and educate ourseves and seek answers to our symptoms. I'm sure this book is a help to many! I'm glad you are talking about this and I hope it will help many of your readers.

Viki said...

This really ticks me off. I would hope a doctor in the year 2012 wouldn't just chalk your symptoms up to depression. Whatever happened to Pearl?

Andrea said...

Hi Jenny, thanks for visiting my post. But that story is really depressing even if i am not prone to that condition. I think depression is more common in richer and advanced countries like yours, because we don't get it often here aside from the few postpartum depressions we here today. I can't imagine that it is you, it might just be someone you are talking about, just a story.

But I can relate it to my friend now who has 8 siblings. Her mother is paranoid all her life and the 2 youngest siblings were affected, one sister has psychiatric conditions and the brother is bipolar. Her mother has been seriously in bed for 2yrs now but still not able to move on to another level. I wonder what is happening to her mind and spirit that she still cannot accept death. My friend is a lawyer and because her other brother had stroke now, she realized the sick in the family has always been in two's, which make 3's because of her mother. This is really depressing, but I think we are just what we eat and what we lack in terms of nutrients. Pollution in processed foods and in meats affect us individually, clean living help us declog our metabolic sites. I don't know but this is my theory! hahaha! God bless Jenny.

Jo said...

dont worry, you are not alone ... and by the way, Prozac did the same thing to me ... it's a horrible drug.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I wish I could say that most Dr's are better now but I'm afraid a lot still gets put on depression! I look forward to the rest of your story. You are a very brave lady!
hugs, Linda

Janine Bollée said...

I so know where this story is going...you're HERE after all.
Thank goodness!!
And I so know this journey.
And I so hate white coats.
Thank goodness too for providing us with self knowledge and common sense [and a good dollop of luck] to see us through this tide of the medication-obsessed medical profession.

Anonymous said...

I didn't go to nearly so many doctors nor get put on medication for depression, but in the '70's and '80's when my health issues first began to surface, I did get the "you're just depressed" diagnosis--even though my blood pressure was 80 over 40. I even had one guy suggest that I should try dancing to get moving -- at the time I was a student and walked several miles a day from my apartment to school and from building to building on campus so even I could tell his diagnosis was bogus but that sure didn't help me get better... My story is getting a happy ending and I'm looking forward to what I hope is going to be the story of help from the naturopath.

Joanne Lendaro said...

BIG, HUGE tears in my eyes..I can so relate with so many of the things you have written about. Add in a unhealthy dose of disfunctional family, teens out of control and moving after living in the same house for 26 years from an area that I grew up in and I am right there with you. I don't want to wait...if you've got some ideas, there are days...

Thanks for your writting, I'm here all of the time, but don't comment like I should.

pasqueflower said...

My heart goes out to you for all you've been through. Anxiously waiting to read Part 2.

Jenny said...

This entry is for Pat W. who cannot publish her comment!

Debra at HOMESPUN: http://www.thehomespun.com said...

I don't want to wait for part two. AAAUGH !!! :)

You are right about pre-google days though. Hardly any way to find information, support, etc

Gosh I feel so sorry that you went through all of this!

H said...

I am so glad that I have never suffered from depression. I know friends who have, and would never want to go through their pain! It is a long and terrible journey.

Rita said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog. I have fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and a few other health issues--have been dealing with chronic pain and fatigue for around 13 years now. Got so bad that I ended up housebound on disability in 2005. I am now a new follower. Can't miss part two! :)

Joyful said...

It's always good to share one's story so others can be inspired by it. This isn't my story but I'm still interested in the book. There is always something we can learn from others.

Susan Anderson said...

I got lupus in 1986, but to be honest, I am far more well with it than I was when it first came on. I think I have learned to listen to my body and rest more. I also stay out of the sun more consistently.

It's interesting to read this account. I can't believe they chalked all of your symptoms up to depression. Sheesh.


Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh Jenny I could feel your pain oozing from this post, I have been there and do know how frustrating it is to go to a doctor and have him tell you to lose weight (I weighed 130) or you have depression here are some pills. Doctors huh
I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and started new medication the first time since being diagnosed in 2004 denial I guess.
It has been two weeks and that drug combined with the Chiro twice a week seems to be working.
Sorry about the long comment I just wanted to say that.
I hope you figured it out but I guess you did that is why the book. Take care I am happy you visited. B

LeadingMama said...

I had an hour and a half appointment with another new doctor on Monday and left feeling more trapped and frustrated than ever. I can totally relate to this story. And I'm sad that so many other people can relate to it, too. What's the answer? I need a way out.

Anonymous said...

I live with depression constantly ... with my husband who struggles through each and every day, sometimes better, sometimes less so. One of my daughters crashed at 16 and admitted herself to hospital and struggled through the next 7 years. Today she is happily married with two beautiful children but she still calls me sometimes in tears sayting that she thinks she is slipping. It's a real and dibilitating problem that needs more air time but those doctors who write off everything they don't have an answer for as 'depression' are not doing any service - to the condition or to their patients.

Anonymous said...

I live with depression constantly ... with my husband who struggles through each and every day, sometimes better, sometimes less so. One of my daughters crashed at 16 and admitted herself to hospital and struggled through the next 7 years. Today she is happily married with two beautiful children but she still calls me sometimes in tears sayting that she thinks she is slipping. It's a real and dibilitating problem that needs more air time but those doctors who write off everything they don't have an answer for as 'depression' are not doing any service - to the condition or to their patients.

Judie said...

If they can't figure it out, they blame it on depression! My first few attacks of thoracic outlet syndrome were chalked up to depression because no doctor wanted to be bothered with thinking outside the box. Thank goodness I found a doctor who struck paydirt with his diagnosis and then actually treated it!!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

You've alluded in the past that you had some special health issues that you were working on....I've often wondered what was going on with my sweet friend.
This is huge. I am so happy YOU are sharing this with us. I was telling a girlfriend Friday night that when we (as women) share stuff like this, it makes a world of difference. Thank you for that.
I had a similar (but not as severe/worrisome) issue after my first two were born with my legs/feet. So much pain all the time and when the Dr's could not figure it out, they said I was depressed because my Dad died. Seriously. I thought I was losing my mind. Turns out it was a much simpler issue and was found by a Dr. by accident. (fallen arches!!!)
I look forward to reading more about you and this wonderful Dr.

JJ said...

I have so much to say, but I will wait until part 2. I do agree with Judie's comment: "If they can't figure it out, they blame it on depression!"