Monday, October 24, 2011

Chapter 7 - Rising Phoenix - September Through October 2011

Towards the end of August and beginning of September I began to feel the mental side of depression returning (oh crap!). So I had the brilliant idea of stopping SAM-e because I thought it might be building up in my system, and knowing from past experiences that too much of a mood enhancer has negative effects with me. With the agreement of Dr. Natural I switched from SAM-e to a product called Mood Sync. What a mistake! Although this stuff is all natural whatever component is in it did not agree with me at all. I tried it for a week and the downward spiral came on again. In addition to seeing Dr. Natural to see what the freak was going on I also went to see my family doctor to see what he thought was going on.

Dr. Natural actually referred me to a Dr. friend of his who uses a Vega test machine. This machine reportedly, through electromagnetic, is able to determine your vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If you look it up on the Internet it is 100% quackery. However, I decided why not. If this guy is a quack then he is a good one. He identified the exact same deficiencies (zinc and magnesium), and a glucose/insulin interaction problem as did the spectra-cell testing I had done. The Vega machine also identified that I actually needed more SAM-e.

I switched back to SAM-e, at a slightly higher dose and everything started to fall back in place again. However, at the same time I also began taking Alpha-Lipoic Acid and DHEA. Today, I am not sure which of the vitamin/mineral supplements I am taking are actually working - maybe all of them combined? However, I have put together a consecutive string of weeks where I have felt somewhat stable. That's a huge leap from the balance of the year where I couldn't put one day together feeling good.

My current cocktail is SAM-e, a small dose of lamictal, zinc, magnesium, CoQ10, flax seed oil, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, DHEA, Iodine, taurine and a high potency multi-vitamin. That's a lot of stuff, but right now it's working. I hope one day in my searching that I can figure out if all of this supplementation is really necessary or if there is one or two components that are making the difference.

Because I think whatever my problem is reaches beyond "depression" I convinced my family doctor to dig a little deeper and he decided to test my AM cortisol level. The result came back high enough (out of range) to warrant a visit to an Endocrinologist who looks just like Steven Segal except not fat. I had to give the Endo a 24 hour collection of urine and they took 12 vials of blood over the course of two days. I don't know the results yet, but am anticipating them whether they show anything or not. If they do then maybe root cause can be determined. If the results come back as nothing abnormal then at least I will know what it's not. I will post those results in my next chapter because my next appointment isn't until mid-November.

As I write this, on 24Oct11, as feel as good now as I remember. Actually, it's been so long ago (7 years +) that I actually don't remember. True feelings are returning - like happy and sad - in a normal sense, not like in a bipolar sense. I am no longer obsessing on why I felt so bad all the time. My mind is clearing and I am able to actually think like a normal person. I actually look forward to talking to people, and initiate conversations. Although I have always enjoyed spending time with my family it now has a different feeling about it. I feel like I am becoming more involved in their daily lives, and more a part of them. I hope that they understand that the distance I created previously was not at all my intention. It was just something that couldn't be overcome. I am getting back into my hobbies - motorcycles and running. For the first time in years I was actually singing along with a song on the radio. I don't feel like everything is a task that I don't really want to do. My sense of humor is returning as well. I look forward to doing things now instead of feeling reluctant and anxious about doing things. Earlier in October me, my wife and son went skydiving! I am pretty sure that anxiety is not root cause of my situation. Because before during and after, yes - I felt anxious, but the good kind!

I also am realizing that the slow degradation of my mental health over the last 7 years has created voids with my family and friends and those voids were being replaced by others. I think the timing of emerging from this mental mess was just in the nick of time to begin the repair process. I feel like I was just about to lose some people, or portions of them, who mean the most to me because they just couldn't deal or accept my situation any longer. Exposing this truth has hurt me deeply, and I am sure if this realization hit me a few months ago that it would have plunged me back into the abyss.

 It's hard, if not impossible, to understand depression if you haven't felt it for yourself, and trying to explain it to someone who hasn't felt it is just as nearly impossible. I am very happy for all of you out there that have not felt depression, because I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

The other situation I am dealing with now is having to stop seeing Dr. Natural. My insurance unfortunately does not cover one dime because he is not "in the network". It's such crap that insurance is happy to pay doctors who make things worse, but not ones who make things better. He has brought me so far in such a short time. I did find a psychologist, in the area, who practices holistic/natural remedies, and I have an appointment with him tomorrow. My hope is that he can pick-up where Dr. Natural left off.

My next chapter will include the test results from the endocrinologist (Steven Segal), and what if anything will happen with what the results reveal. In addition, I hope to bring good news about going to see the new psychologist. Perhaps, a psychologist has been the missing link in all of this. We shall see.