Sorting out mental and physical health


As Shady once asked the audience at a concert in 2001: “How many people in London pop pills?”

Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long: this is a relatively quick post about the health issues I’m going through at the moment, and what I’m doing to ameliorate them; they’re tied in with my mental health as well, as I believe both are inextricably intertwined (yes, that’s easy for me to say!).

To begin with, I had one of the lowest days of my life last Tuesday, for reasons not entirely clear to me; it seems, however, to have resulted from taking ibuprofen that morning.  I’d started taking max strength ibuprofen at the weekend when I woke up with a bad back (which itself resulted from me sleeping awkwardly, as I’d tried to stay up to watch one of our rare thunderstorms), and carried on taking it to help with the headaches that were resulting from me wearing my old-old glasses (having broken my old glasses on a previous bad day).  It turns out this painkiller can damage your stomach lining, which is presumably why I felt lousy almost as soon as I took it.  Hey, remember when I linked bad stomach feelings with depression?  My friend at work (a wonderfully sarcastic fortysomething) said she thought the light had gone out of my eyes, and I found crying alone in the gents’ didn’t help me feel any better… and let’s just say I’m relieved the windows don’t open in our fifth-storey office!

My friend advised me to try St. John’s wort, an over-the-counter mood elevator, and so far it’s worked: I’ve been more cheerful at work (albeit not so much with the male members of the office!), though ironically it’s also been making me feel just a bit nauseous.  Indeed, on Friday I felt like I needed to barf, yet all that came out was a bit of bile — something which also happened to me the day after my evening of utter despair in January 2012, so at least I know it’s not a permanent condition.

I went to see my GP on Thursday to confirm that this would be an appropriate course of action; he, or rather the latest in a series of quacks filling in for him (I’m not sure I’ve ever actually met my doctor at all!), said it would be fine, but knew nothing of ibuprofen triggering depression.  He’s also trying to help me with IBS — something else I was diagnosed with in January 2012 — and on that basis I’m going to try to cut down on FODMAPs… though, sadly, this means I have to give up garlic and onion entirely!

(Damn, what am I gonna order at Ed’s Diner if not Atomic Onion Rings?)

On a related topic: recently I had a blood test, believing myself to be suffering from hypothyroidism (yes, very good, obviously I mean hypochondria, how whimsical), due to my tendency to feel the cold, amongst other symptoms; instead, the test came back “normal” in every category (as the rather bored nurse told me over the phone).  However, my stand-in quack told me on Thursday that I’m borderline on iron: I’d never been told this at any of my blood donor sessions, but apparently it’s so (unsurprising since I’m a vegetarian), but since iron supplements would probably exacerbate my IBS, I’m going to redress the balance via my diet.  Thus I’ll be eating kale instead of rocket in my sandwiches and burgers, having already substituted this for lettuce, which my personal trainer says is little more than water!

I’m also doing my best to cut down on fatty foods, especially chocolate and fizzy drinks (shall we say, special occasions such as visits to the cinema?), though I’m in two minds about caffeine: tea itself is apparently all right in FODMAP terms, but do I need the stimulant, especially given its effects on the stomach?  I’ve tried drinking caffeine-free tea in the mornings, but it always seems to leave me feeling more tired than usual at work, and thus I end up making a cuppa there anyway.

(But at least I don’t buy a chocolate bar to dunk in it any more!)

Anyway, I’ll keep you guys posted as to how my health, mental and physical, is affected by my changing diet and my pill-popping — hey, I’m just glad it’s not diazepam (as I almost took in January 2012), or something else whose possession would be illegal without a prescription!

Of course, as I’ve found so many times before, the best way to get over depression and anxiety is to remove the cause; unfortunately, at the moment the cause is my dying love life, so I’m gonna need to break out the defil– defirb– defibrit– oh, you know, CLEAR! <fzzzt>


6 thoughts on “Sorting out mental and physical health

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