In this post I want to give you a look into my diagnosis. I like to think of it as the beginning of this journey I’m on. The story of my health decline began about 2 years ago (wow time flies!). Here’s a timeline that follows the process of my diagnosis:
I started school at Brigham Young University! I was going to be a nurse; I had life completely figured out. However, I didn’t know that this year would be one of the most transitional and difficult of my life. My best friends lived 45 minutes away, so I spent all my time with them rather than experiencing college life.
I was doing really well in school – straight A’s! I thought life was great, but spending my weekends at home, only doing homework, and going to bed at 10:30 every night (which isn’t a bad thing, but abnormal for a college freshman!) was taking a toll on my mental health.
My best friend left for her full-time proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I decided that I wanted to serve a full-time mission for our church when I was a sophomore in high school, so it had just always been my plan.
So I filled out all the paperwork and waited for my letter in the mail. The day finally came! I opened the letter, surrounded by friends and family, to know where I would be serving for our church for the next year and a half.
BRAZIL! Everyone cheered for me while I stood there feeling… nothing. Not excited, not scared, not dreadful. Literally no emotion filled my heart.
That night was difficult, to say the least. I think I cried myself to sleep. This was the first time I felt really deep guilt for something that I probably didn’t need to feel guilty for.
A few months later I was still planning to serve my mission! But things were starting to get hard… really hard. Harder than they had ever been before. To give you an idea of my average day during this time, here’s what I did: I woke up, got dressed, laid on my bed, and fell in and out of a forced sleep. I was suicidal for a period of this time. I look back at it as my darkest time in life up to this point.
However, I had and still have amazing resources all around me. I confided in my boyfriend and he was adamant that I tell my dad. Almost everyone in my immediate family struggles with depression. I am so grateful that the people closest to me understand what I go through.
I went to the doctor. He talked with me about the suicidal thoughts, prescribed me Paxil, and sent me on my way. It worked a little bit, but I still didn’t feel great. The question finally came up: do I still want to go on my mission?
What?! Of course! I’ve been planning on this for so long! But the more and more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t get the alternatives out of my mind. I could go back to school, get a job, and start dating!
After much careful thought, I decided that going on a mission was the wrong choice for me at this point in my life. WOW. My life did a 180 from there. But things got a lot better! I thought I was good to go – no more worrying about depression and anxiety! I was still taking Paxil, so that was helping regulate my mood. Little did I know, I was nowhere near being done with mental illness.
At this point, things started to get really bad again. I had failed all my classes during Fall semester and things weren’t looking up for this semester. I was starting to have really bad panic attacks and had no motivation to do well at anything. But AGAIN, I had amazing support all around me! At this point I was dating my husband and he was an amazing support to me. I attempted to switch antidepressants, but that was a living hell for about a week. So I switched back! At least Paxil was stable, even if I wasn’t where I wanted to be yet.
Luckily, I was able to drop the number of classes I was taking in school so I could do better and work on my health a little bit. Things got pretty steady again and life was pretty darn good.
I got married, YAY! It was a beautiful day filled with love. We went off on our honeymoon which was like a dream. We went to Cancun and just laid in bed and relaxed by the pool every day… *sigh* It was great ha! Things couldn’t have been more perfect.
However, things started to get really hard. People tell you all the time that marriage is hard, but I didn’t really understand that until I experienced it. Kylan and I have a great relationship, but it’s just stressful! Life gets really crazy.
I started to have a lot of panic attacks and felt very depressed again. Luckily I didn’t get to being suicidal again, though.
I switched antidepressants again! This time with much more success. However, I still didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be. I was just going through life kind of floating along, not really taking control of my life. However, I decided to take a leave of absence from school this semester to focus on getting healthy.
This is when I started to feel a lot of pain all over my body. I didn’t think much of it at first, but it started to be all over my body, every single day.
My mom encouraged me to go to a new doctor; I had been seeing a resident in a teaching clinic and it had been great until now. It was difficult to get in soon to see her and my mom thought it would be best for me to see an internist.
I went to my new doctor and she is AMAZING. A good doctor seriously makes all the difference. It takes some “shopping” around, but once you find the one you’ll never look back!
I had done a lot of research into what may be wrong with me, but I didn’t mention fibromyalgia to the doctor. My mom has it as well and I didn’t want to put any ideas in the doctor’s head. However, she brought it up. We did some blood work to rule out lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and anemia. I waited for about a week to hear back from the doctor, which felt like an eternity.
However, deep down I knew that all the tests would be negative. I finally got the call which confirmed my feelings. It’s a really strange feeling; I felt relieved but slightly disappointed. There is no cure for lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, but at least they’re solid. Fibromyalgia is kind of a fuzzy disease… no cause, no cure. It is the waste basket of diseases! When you have these specific symptoms and don’t have any of the other diseases that have the same symptoms, that’s where you’re put.
So Here We Are
Here we are! My overview of my diagnosis has caught up with real time. I am just at the beginning of it at this point, but I feel very hopeful. It’s not a good thing to be dealing with, but I don’t think it’s bad either. I have power over my reactions to my situation. One thing that I always keep in my back pocket is that feelings are not bad, but what we do with them can be.
I have bad days, for sure; days that I don’t want to get out of bed, days that I have to stay in bed. However, I choose to be positive and take good care of myself.
Have you had a similar experience? I would love to hear about it. My goal is to make sure we know that we are not alone. So please share your experiences with the beginning of a trial you have and how you’re trying to find joy in it.