Saturday, November 12, 2011

Depression Smack Down!

When I last posted to you, I had just felt like I had really made some headway tackling my depression.  I had taken myself to a point where things actually started to feel possible.  I had issues that needed addressing, and now I was in a space where that was possible.  If I had tried to skip straight to this point I would have failed and probably ended up in a worse spot.

Every step I made I did in consultation with my psychologist.  We discussed each step, what I needed to do, how I was going to do it, when I was going to do it by, what my expectations were, and most importantly, what I would do and feel if it didn't go as planned.

The first things I needed to address were my medical issues.  Be proactive not reactive.  I had three major issues that I needed to counter. Kidney stones, CIDP and tremor.  In terms of my battle with cystinuria and kidney stones I had been losing the battle for a long time.  Throughout my 20's I hadn't really been very good at looking for a medical solution.  If I wasn't symptomatic, I would pretend I didn't have a problem and carry on living my life normally.  If I was symptomatic I would get my stones dealt with surgically.

Truth be know, in my late teens and early 20's this actually worked quite well.  When I was not symptomatic I could go about my business as a regular uni student, and when I was symptomatic I had the time to go and have surgery and my young fit and healthy body would recover well and quickly.

However, when I got older, time was more precious and the surgery took more of a toll on me until I finally had my mega hospital stay in 2006.  Something had to change.  I organised to see a different nephrologist, who I liked and respected a whole lot more, and instructions I was much more likely to follow.  I also went and got hypnotised to help me drink more water.

With a metabolic disorder like cystinuria, you are never going to get rid of the stones completely, but I went 3 years after then without one stone!  Something I hadn't done since my first stone in 1994.  Next, I set my sights on CIDP.

I was extremely focused on getting better, but I had tried nearly every known treatment there was already, so where to from here?  My answer was to hit the disease with multiple treatments all at the same time.  I had in the past been treated by IVIG, plasmapherisis and mycophenalate, but never all at the same time.  So that is where we headed.  

Unfortunately, that didn't work, and in the past it would have wrecked me, but with my counselling I had prepared myself for that eventuality.  I was disappointed, but I could carry on.  But there is hope, as I have been researching the possibility of an autologous stem cell transplant.  But that is another story for another time.

Lastly, I had to combat my tremor, and since I was hitting it hard, it was time for the deep brain stimulation surgery.  There was an element of fear, but I realised that it was something I had to do.  I was done with my diseases dictating my life, I was in charge and I was going to have the surgery.  I have blogged about this surgery extensively, but if you haven't read it before, it went great.  In contrast to the CIDP, where I didn't let the bad news set me back, I certainly let the good news from this surgery carry me forward.  For the first time in a long time I had experienced the joy that came with success and triumph.  Positive emotions rock!

If you think you may be suffering from depression, go and see your GP.  They will be able to assess you and point you in the right direction to get help.  If you don't feel ready to see someone yet, type "depression help" into google and that will give you a list of resources you can use for help.  In Australia, Beyond Blue is a great place to start.  There website is:-

Next time, I will talk about all the other issue that I had to confront and face as part of my depression recovery.  Until then, stay well:)

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