Updated: Mar 17
In the past, when anxiety was rife, I would be trotting off to my GP/doctor at least once a week. I was forever hoping that there was an underlying physical reason for suffering with anxiety and low mood and that a miracle pill that would rid me of all the horrid symptoms I experienced, hour to hour, day to day and month to month.
Thankfully, after several years of niggling infections and stomach issues, I sought the help of a nutritionist who promptly introduced me to probiotics. These little beauties made a huge difference to my overall health. I stopped taking antibiotics and began repairing my gut flora. Because I am a fussy eater a lot of the foods that would naturally help my gut to repair were not things I ate so taking a probiotic in capsule form was better.
The recurring infections disappeared very quickly. I cut out caffeine and sugar(stimulants) for several months which also helped to ease my anxiety.
That was several years ago and I now look to natural ways to ease health problems where possible.This is my choice and I am not a doctor or health practitioner so if you are worried about your health be sure to seek medical support from your doctor.
So where am I health wise today?
Last year I struggled with chronic fatigue and after a blood test was found to be deficient in Vit D and low in Calcium so started taking a vit D supplement and looked for ways to increase calcium without dairy. I had a brief period of feeling well and then was struck hard by what I first thought was a virus. My energy levels were totally depleted and my limbs ached constantly. I was also dealing with mood swings, nothing terrible but I felt a little out of control sometimes. Tears were never far away and would surface for no apparent reason.
Off to the GP I went having googled my symptoms. I was convinced these changes were due to reducing my antidepressants again. The symptoms seemed identical. Having discussed this with the doctor we agreed that increasing the dosage of the antidepressants should get me back to my happy and healthy self in no time. Had I not felt so terrible I may have been disappointed at having to do this but I just wanted to feel better and to function properly.
It has been a few months since the medication increase and I was sure I was on the right track. That was until I started to feel nauseous in the evenings and so edgy everything made me jump out of my skin. The rage I experienced made the Hulk look like Tweety Pie and the exhaustion had me feeling so vulnerable and pathetic I wanted to curl up and hide from the world. I noticed my body temperature was unpredicatable and then it happened........anxiety!!!
I'm baaaaaaack! Is your your heart going ten to the dozen? Are your palms clammy as you struggle to catch your breath? Ooh it's great isn't it? What's that.... why am I here? Well I couldn't possibly let you get through the rest of your life without a wee 'hello' from me every now and again. Yes I know you are looking after yourself and have created a fabulous well-being toolkit that keeps me at bay and allows you to thrive but you didn't factor in one thing...........hormones! These little lovelies go a bit squiffy for some women around your age and they open the door for me to jump back in and make life just a little bit harder. Fabulous isn't it?! Yes I know it seems unfair my lovely but who said life was fair. Now just as you start to deal with the shock of my visit I must away and leave you with the gift of wondering when I will return and if it will be permanent. Ciao for now
Anxiety decided to pay me a visit and left me feeling totally out of control and fearful of it's next appearance. This was when I knew something wasn't right. Although times have been stressful recently I felt able to deal with it. In fact during some very difficult times I had overcome any niggles of panic that, in the past, would have had me running away as fast as my little legs could carry me.
So why was this beasty back and more importantly what was I going to do about it?
Thankfully I already had an appointment booked with my GP to discuss an antidepressant tapering programme but I felt these new symptoms needed immediate attention.
It was as I sat in the waiting room that I noticed how incredibly hot I was feeling. It was unlike the heat you feel in a hot room because it seemed to be coming from me. I was also aware that I my self talk was not helping the situation.
What if I get so hot I faint? What if the doc can't help me? What if like other doctors he sends me on my way and tells me to 'get on with it'? What if it last for years and years? What if the anxiety is back and I can't stop it this time? What if? What if?
Anxious talk is very easy to spot due to it nearly always beginning with the words 'what if'.
It wasn't long before I was sat in the doctors room trying to explain what was going on. I was so desperate to explain what I felt like that it seemed I was incoherently spewing my words out. I babbled away conscious of the fact that I was breathless and getting hotter and hotter. Maybe I didn't want to stop talking in case the response I got was one I feared.
I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing doctor who, once given the chance to talk, explained what these symptoms may mean and what can be done about it. To say I was relieved is an understatement.
I wasn't sent away with my tail between my legs and a heap of horrible hormones to do battle with. Instead I was listened to and reassured and given an appointment with a lady from the Well Woman Clinic. Phew!
Looks like it's 'hello Perimenopause.' As if us women haven't already had enough to deal with!
This blog is dedicated to Dr Iain Gartshore who will be sorely missed at Mallaig Health Centre. Thank you so much for all your time and care. All the best at your new practice.