I’ve been rather quiet on the theme of my personal life for quite a while. At my lowest and most difficult point, it was important for me to talk openly about my problems because, at the time, I felt that it allowed me to retain an element of myself, when all the pieces of myself I thought I knew were losing clarity. Despite how tightly I held on to who I thought I was. I wanted to talk about it so that other people could talk about it and feel less alone with their experiences. Less vulnerable.
I was lost in a deep and complicated depression for nigh on a year of my life. I tried hard all of the time to be better again, to be myself, to go to work and do normal things. I took the tablets, I went to see the psychiatrist, I went to counselling and nothing I did seemed to make things any easier. I was still hurting, still painfully debilitated by my own mind, my exhaustion and confusion.
I talked about it so often that I hated talking about it. I found that it was becoming such a definitive aspect of the current me, that there was no way to avoid it, not for me, not for anyone else. I was morbidly afraid.
That was, surprisingly, only coming to it’s conclusion 3 months ago. It was the first week of July when I came to recognise that everything that I thought was wrong with me, might be a symptom of something bigger, something that perhaps I could control.
So I investigated my wealth of worsening symptoms and pulled one constant underlying thread. Celiac disease. An auto immune disorder that causes antibodies to attack the protein gluten when it is ingested. This disorder causes damage to the digestive system and can carry with it a wealth of side effect symptoms (over 200) including chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, bloating and diarrhea, constipation, skin inflammation, swelling of the mouth in the form of ulcers etc. All symptoms I had and had attributed to mental stress. I was a mess but I’d lived with such a constant state of illness for so many months that it had become my normality and I hadn’t thought to look beyond the inside of my mind.
That was the first week of July and despite a few hiccups, I have been well ever since. The only form of treatment is a gluten free diet, and I’ve taken that seriously and stuck with it devoutly. It’s a hard way to live in some aspects. My diet is now quite restricted but it is at least restricted to foods that are good for me, that are natural and reasonably cheap. The hard part is reading every label, eating out (which is infuriating,) and having to be careful with silly things like utensils, cooking in other people’s kitchens, and cross contamination. I’ve only really cried about it once, and I made it a good one and sobbed my face off because on a bad day or a week it’s like smashing your head into the brick wall everyone talks about. But, a bad day, or week is nothing to a bad year, or, had I not discovered it, how bad a life it could have been.
I am completely and utterly myself again. I can stay awake for a whole day ! I don’t think I’m worthless, I don’t get morose over small details, I don’t hallucinate or have vivid dreams anymore. I don’t get so anxious that I can’t leave the house, or so paranoid that I think everyone I pass hates me. I don’t get eczema under my eyes anymore, or blow up like a hot air balloon after a sandwich. I don’t even have to take my medication much anymore, I was on a high dose, every single day and now I take two halves of a tablet a week until the day I don’t need it at all.
I’m just Becca again. Life is technicolour once more. I’m happy and I’m healthy and to be honest, I’m glad that I lost a year of my life to being ill, that I lost my flat and my job and all of that shit because now I KNOW what I want. And I’m different now, improved somehow. GREAT.