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2018 has felt like a long, slow, exhausting journey in an uphill, mountainous, uneven ground kind of region. With bugs.

You may recall this post, in which I waxed non-poetically about my depression making a vicious return, apparently not wanting to leave me this time without taking my soul with it.

As it turns out, my OBGYN and I, or her bitchy nurse, rather, did not see eye to eye on my lab results. Due to the fact that one of my thyroid numbers was “normal”, my OBGYN was not going to take further action based on my TSH numbers. Despite the fact that I had just listed a litany of symptoms to match a thyroid shutting down. Despite my family history.

And that’s when the fun began.

At this point, I was a woman on a mission: find a doctor to refer me to an endocrinologist. Pronto.

Nothing is pronto in the legal or medical system, unfortunately.

But I did make some progress when a nurse friend recommended a Psychiatrist with whom she works.

I could make a private appointment and we could discuss not only the new troublesome medicine I was being prescribed for depression, I could also speak to him about my thyroid concerns. Because a Psychiatrist is, among other things, a M.D. Able to dispense medication and provide necessary referrals to other physicians.

So I booked it. It was expensive, but worth it. Because what I got was an hour of his time in which we could discuss, in-depth, my family history, my personal level of severity with anxiety and depression, and, yes, I also got a referral to an endocrinologist to check out my thyroid concerns.

So, let me put this on a timeline for you:

January – not feeling so great. REALLY not feeling great. okay, I’m having some of the worst depression of my life. It’s time to do something.

February: week 1 – see OBGYN, express concerns, get labs drawn, thyroid is off – no action taken by doctor. Prescribed new antidepressant.

February: week 2 – fight with OBGYN’s nurse about necessary labs, referrals, and prescriptions that were recently prescribed, costing me $700 per month if I were to go through with having them dispensed. Got one down to $75. Made an appointment with Psychiatrist recommended to me by friend.

February: week 3 – sick. As a dog. Tried to vacation. Came back to entire family being sick, including child with flu.

February: week 4 – recovery from illness and continuing to feel like I am shrouded in darkness despite 3 weeks on new meds.

March: week 1 – appointment with Psychiatrist goes well, but insurance will not pay for it. Have better understanding of what medication options I have and what next steps are for treating my depression. He also recommends boundaries.

March: week 2 – spring break. Kid is gone to visit Dad, out of state. I feel continually depressed and physically bad. No energy. No drive. Aching joints. Constant hunger but also nausea from increase in antidepressants. I plan a private road trip, which is exhausting but pleasant. Child is sick when I pick her up. Long drive home. No rest for the weary, it’s back to school and back to work.

March: week 3 – a blur of activity, pain, depression, and allergic reactions to the onslaught of pollen from the trees that surround me. Stayed in bed most of the weekend, pretty sure I’m never, ever going to feel good again.

March 26 – my first Endocrinology appointment. Hardly any waiting in the waiting room. Blood is drawn. Nurse and I go over meds and family history. Short wait, and then a young, new Endocrinologist introduces himself.

We talk in detail about my symptoms and then he performs an exam, and recommends a thyroid ultrasound. If it is Hashimotos, the ultrasound will reveal certain signatures.

The nurse takes me to the ultrasound room to wait for the doctor. When he arrives, he has my TSH numbers. “You are definitely hypothyroid.”

And the ultrasound shows Hashimotos signatures.

This morning: I started medication.

Next week, I see my Psychiatrist to dial back my antidepressant, hopefully, and possibly switch back to what I was taking.

Now, if you’ve read this far, can you possibly see why I might be exhausted? Frustrated? Angry, even?

I had to go around the world and wait 2 solid months to get answers and a tiny little pill that could have helped me start feeling better long before I got to the point of not knowing how I was going to get out of bed each day for the rest of my life, feeling so horribly bad.

I’ve felt like I was absolutely losing my mind.

It has taken every. Thing. I. Have. To just put one foot in front of the other. To show up for work. To show up for friends (and that’s been sparingly). I’ve avoided people. Places. Church. Reading. My writing has been shit. I barely cook. I haven’t. Had. Any. Energy.

I cannot express the level of lethargy. The pain, both physical, mental, and emotional.

And the thyroid can be tricky to treat. And Hashimotos means I’m susceptible to other autoimmune diseases. But at least I know.

I know what is happening with me. And I can begin learning about how best to treat it myself along with what the doctor recommends and prescribed. And that’s not nothing. In fact, it’s everything.

Now that I know, I can breathe again. I can see a sliver of light at the end of what I feared was a never-ending tunnel. I can take steps toward recovery.

When I got home from my appointment yesterday, there was a package in my mailbox. It was the prayer beads I ordered.

Prayer beads are used by all different types if religions the world over, including Christianity.

I struggle with prayer. I always have. What it does. Why it’s necessary. And yet, I know it is because I distinctly feel it when it’s missing from my life.

I also struggle with staying focused during prayer, hence the beads. I got them to help me stay centered, focused.

And I think they got here just in time.

As I move forward with the prayer that I have gotten to the bottom of the worst I’ve felt in many years, I seek peace. Peace that all will be well. That I will be well.