Sunday, 19 June 2016

When Your World Turns Upside Down

So a fair few weeks ago I wrote this post about being large and loving fitness and this week, I have a rather opposite post to write. For the last two years, but most specifically within the last six months, I have been struggling with my health - and because of it my fitness has had to be pushed to the side and it has been incredibly difficult to deal with. So today I wanted to talk about what is happening to me, how I'm dealing with it, my hopes and my fears for the future.

I first noticed something wasn't quite right about a year and a half ago when I was training for a 10K run I was doing in June. Whereas once I would go out for a run and afterward I would feel refreshed and refuelled, I was suddenly feeling more deflated and exhausted after the run and for the next few days after it too. From there I started noticing other issues, all minor and nothing I really paid much attention to.

Until I did. Because I started getting hot flushes - and at twenty-five it was pretty alarming to wonder if you're suddenly going through early on-set menopause. So I hot-footed to the doctors and went for blood test after blood test, I was poked, prodded, had to do urine samples, ultra sounds, etc. But they couldn't find anything wrong with me. At first I left it at that. They'd done what they could and it was fine.

But then the pain started. Pain and incredible fatigue. Like my whole body was shutting down on me. I found it difficult some days to get out of bed. Other days I managed to get five minutes down the road before feeling like I needed to stop and give up. Other days were good. And I'd get to the end of the day and wonder whether I was just imagining all the pain from the days before. Those were the days I exercised and would ultimately regret it for the next three to four days afterwards.

So I went back to the doctors. And then I was put on the antidepressants - you can read about that here - because the doctor thought my physical symptoms might be linked to my mental health, which I had been suffering with for a while (though even I didn't realise how much until I started taking the antidepressants). As you know, the pills have been helping my anxiety and depression, but I still feel the same physically - if not worse, than I did when I started them. And now I'm in limbo land. The doctors have referred me to physio - which has finally come through - as I thought it could be Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. There has also been talk that it might potentially be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. But at the end of the day, I still don't know what is wrong with me.

It could be nothing.

But I doubt that. 

Because I hurt every single day. I never feel awake and I know it's a different tiredness than it used to be. I ache after doing the simplest tasks and I still have days where I am physically incapable of getting out of bed. Even having to wait until my bladder is screaming at me before I can force my limbs to move. That, to me, is not the sign of someone who has nothing wrong with them.

So even if the physio comes back and says there is nothing wrong with me, I won't stop going to the doctor. I will go and get another referral. Another opinion. I will keep trying until I know what is wrong with me. Even if it turns out to be incurable. Because I need to know. Living in limbo is difficult.

Especially as I love being active. I feel lazy when I don't do things. I feel useless when I feel unable to do simple tasks like chores. I feel guilty when I have to spend all day in bed and don't even have the energy to read a book. Because I haven't been diagnosed with anything. So, to everyone else I'm not ill. And in my mind, it makes me feel like I'm making a fuss. I'm just overreacting. So when this happens, I try to remember the days when I've been at my worse - like when I was in so much pain my legs could barely keep me upright, and when I walked too much and my hip hurt for three days afterwards.

But I will re-train my mind. Because even if the doctors never do find anything diagnosable I know I don't feel right and may never feel right and I need to learn to live with that. As difficult as that may be.

I want to end this post to say that if you feel like you're ill but the doctor keeps sending you away, please go for another opinion. Keep going until you find a doctor who actually listens and understands. Because no one knows your own body better than you do, so no one knows better than you if something feels wrong. 


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.