Tuesday, October 31, 2017

inside of me

an insane amount of days have passed since I've donned a seat at the table in front of my laptop to share my heart.  I've been busy.  Busy getting well, busy being sick, busy being a teacher, busy figuring out how to be an aunt, busy being me.  It almost feels overwhelming when i think about how much i really do have to share.  but this is something that hasn't left me alone for over a week.  One of my main focuses when i blog is sharing real stuff so that others know two things; they're not alone, there is hope.  with those two things in mind, I'm slipping on my transparent hat, dropping every title i have over me and I'm just Erica.  Not even Miss Erica ... Im just Erica right now.

Over a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed as having depression and anxiety and i began a medication regimen to help regulate what was going cooky in my brain.  It was pure hell.  It was the hardest, most vulnerable fight I've ever had to endure ... until the one I'm in now.  I started a new job as a teacher, a teacher in our KidZone ministry at church, joined the worship team, some graphic design dabbling.  And a whole host of other things happening before I turned 30.  

I went from completely isolating myself in my room, desperately trying to chase sleep, to finding hope and help in new relationships and opportunities for growth and wholeness.  Jesus with me every step of the way.  For 6 months, my medication was working WONDERS!  It was completely miraculous.  I had NEVER felt better.  Incredible.  Amazing.  Mind-blowing (literally, hahaha, get it, bc my brain ... never mind).  I finished my coursework for my CDA, was about to become an Aunt for the very first time ... it was awesome.

But then ...

a deeper kind of hell came.  It came quietly and sudden.  it came disguised.  it came and i didn't even know it.  I began getting sick ... nothing incredibly shocking, the weather and seasons were changing, everyone was sick.  But I stayed sick.  The moment I felt better, I began experiencing new and worsening symptoms.  Wheezing, coughing, sinus issues, shortness of breath, insomnia.  All of that at the same time.  No one could find out what was happening.  It was all just a "virus" that needed to run its course.  Fevers, weight gain, chills, throwing up, headaches.  And then other "random" things followed.

One morning I woke up for work and my ankles were swollen huge.  It hurt to stand on them.  I hadn't done anything the day before that would warrant something like that to happen.  I couldn't walk normal unless I wore tall socks and my high top sneakers.  That's how i got thru my days at work.  The moment i got home and took off my shoes and socks, that pain ensued.  Nothing i did helped.  Because i was having to walk funny, my back was thrown out of whack.  Going a little more personal, I even missed a menstrual cycle.  When it came back, it came back for a short amount of time and then came 10 days early the next time around.  Since it came 10 days early, i have been on it for the last 3 weeks.  I have never had issues with my menstrual cycle.  

One of my very dear friends pulled me aside and let me know she was concerned about me.  I was not me anymore -- and I couldn't even tell.  scary.  I had retreated into my own self again, hadn't talked to any of my friends in months, hadn't spent time with any of them, stopped doing the things i loved, gone completely numb having no emotions, staying home from church, ducking out of social interactions and experiencing high levels of anxiety, not sleeping, fidgeting.  

I'm so incredibly grateful for her.  She was doing research for me without me even knowing.  She was looking up things to help with my depression and anxiety from a naturalist's perspective.  I began looking up side effects to my medications that I had been taking and found that every issue I was experiencing was listed on the rare and major side effects list of this certain medication.  

Since that day, I have been weaning off of my medication with the help of my psychiatrist and adding the supplements that my friend researched.  I have noticed a huge difference.  I take my medication along with these supplements and am beginning to feel again, my body doesn't ache like it used to while on the medication, I'm sleeping, I go out with my friends, I can feel joy again.  The medication was also weakening my immune system, which was why I was sick all the time.  Since last December, I had something going on with my health.  It has taken almost an entire year, but I'm glad someone helped me figure out what was happening.  The last time I was sick was back in July and I was scared that I wouldn't be able to hold my nephew because I was so sick all the time.  I got to hold him for the first time in August and haven't been sick since.  

I'm not knocking medication.  I know that people legit need it for anxiety and depression.  For me, I know what I need.  I have a battle plan in place and fighters in my corner.  I can't wait to be completely off the medication and continue in a natural way to fight my depression and anxiety.  But until then, I continue to wean off and take my supplements and implement new practices into my life.  

Thank you to my friends who have walked alongside me, seen the worst side and are seeing the best side.  I love you infinitely.  thank you for agreeing to fight with me, for me and drag me sometimes thru this hell.