So yes, once again I fell off the radar. For the first time in many years I felt my clinical depression come back and just destroy me. Once I realized that this was what was happening, so much of what I have been complaining about recently started to make sense and what sucks is that I did this to myself. You see, when I was about 18 I was actually diagnosed with clinical depression. I have pretty much been on antidepressants ever since and I have tried so many until I found the one that worked for me which was/is Zoloft. So I feel really dumb because this is the stereotypical bi-polar disorder mentality; I feel bad so I need medication but after a while I feel good so I must not need the medication, not like I feel bad anymore right? I stop the medication and then I feel bad again. So a few months ago I was feeling good. I was no longer waking up feeling depressed for no reason so I decided to stop my Zoloft. I wanted to see how it felt to not be taking a handful of pills every morning that I might not even need. All I was taking was an anti-viral called Acyclovir which I have to take for so long after my last Lemtrada infusion to help make sure I do not get any sort of herpes-related virus.
Now it did feel good to not be taking all these pills. I was happy about it. But there were days that I felt depressed but I would tell myself I was depressed for a reason, it was situational, it was normal. So still, I never even thought to go back on my Zoloft. Now in the last few months I have been complaining about some weird symptoms that I could not explain. Well Because the last few weeks have been terrible, probably the worst my depression has ever been, I though that maybe I should look at the side effects of depression as I have it and am not treating it. It was so obvious that I never even thought about it! So a quick Google search and this is what turned up;
“People may experience:
Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
Whole body: excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Behavioral: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: poor appetite or repeatedly going over thoughts”
Hmmm… are you kidding me? I have been experiencing pretty much all of this and trying to blame it on other medications or health issues! So I saw my primary care and he agreed I should go back on Zoloft. It’s been just over 2 weeks and I suppose I am feeling a little better. One of the worst parts of depression (in my opinion) is this feeling of heaviness. All you want to do is lie down because moving requires so much effort especially when you have zero motivation to do anything but sleep. Now add the crippling MS fatigue and BAM; you don’t hear from me for weeks. That is what seems to be getting better, the heaviness. Now, antidepressants take a long time to kick in and generally people agree that the first 2 weeks are the absolute worst so I have just been trying to take it easy and pass the time. But hopefully the worst is behind me and it will only get better from here on out. I just need to instill it into my mind that I will always need to be on an antidepressant, probably for the rest of my life. That way this does not happen again. There is a chemical imbalance in my brain and this little pill will correct it. Simple.
But as I have slowly been able to get myself up and actually doing stuff I have been thinking a lot about my health, my MS. I am just under 7 years into this disease and already I feel like I have lost so much and find myself miserable more often than not. So what scares me is the thought of where I will be in another 10 years. 20? 30? It really scares me. So once again I want to change my diet and how I take care of my body because I have pretty much lost faith in how much conventional medicine can do for me but this time I am serious about it. The last few times I said this I would take a bite of a vegetable and say, “Oh my god, yeah… just… no…” (I never liked my greens). Then the family would order pizza and I would say, “ok, just one slice… maybe two… everything in moderation right?” and pretty soon the concept of eating well has disappeared. Not this time. This time I am fueled by both a fear of where I seem to be heading in life and a desire to try to get back some of what I have lost. Stuff that made me happy.
So I finally started actually reading about Terry Wahls, this video sums up her story pretty well, and trying to design a new diet plan I can realistically get myself into. I can’t go 100% paleo like her, not because I can’t see myself eating all those vegetables but because I simply can’t afford it. It’s so expensive to eat all fresh produce and grass-fed meat. So I figure if I can reduce the bad stuff by 75% and increase the good stuff by 50% that is a lot better than where I am now. So I am trying to get ahold of whatever fruits and vegetables I can and start juicing/making smoothies because I don’t mind the taste of vegetables but it’s the texture that gets me and whether I am chewing something or drinking it that doesn’t change the nutrients I am getting. I am also cutting a lot out of my diet (a lot of the things that the paleo diet prohibits) and of course no more eating out and I am cutting out as much processed food as possible. I am also avoiding dairy and sugar. So for example, no more coffee. I have been drinking coffee since I was about 17 but I take it with cream (dairy) and sugar. I know they have dairy free cream but I figured I may as well just get in the habit of drinking green tea instead because not only does it not have all that stuff I don’t want in it but it is an antioxidant. Plus any kind of dairy-free cream or artificial sweeteners are probably processed.
I actually like the green tea but the smoothies and juices I have started drinking are a little… rough. I am avoiding ever saying “gross”. So they are rough. I may not like them that much but I like them more than I like feeling like garbage and when you start to feel like your future hangs in the balance it really is not that difficult of a change to make. I want to feel good. I want to be able to do some of the things I could do just a few years ago. I am not saying I think I will actually be able to reverse the damage MS has done to me, I am saying I think that by changing my diet and fitness goals I will be able to get the most use out of this body as I can and make it last longer. That is all I really want. To actually be healthy. It’s a learning process for sure though. I don’t really know anything about eating healthy but I am reading books and lots of stuff online and I might go see a dietician for some advice. Either way I have been drinking this stuff for a little less than a week and even though the first time was a tad shocking to my taste buds it quickly became no big deal so I really do plan on sticking to it this time. Hopefully my depression issues will balance out soon and make doing all of this much easier.