Besides the Chronic migraine…..
- General & Social Anxiety Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Serotonin Deficiency
- Chronic Fatigue
- Sensory Overload (Sensitivity to Light, Sound, Pain, Smell)
- Brain Fogs (Confusion, Lost of Thought, Trouble Focusing, & Trouble with Coordination)
- Mood Changes (Highs & Lows)
- GI Problems (Irritable bowels)
- Sleep Problems (Staying & Falling asleep despite exhaustion)
- Lack of Motivation (Moderate to Severe)
- Strange Appetites (No appetite to Serious Cravings & Binge-Snacking)
Yea.. It sucks. All this due to the imbalance and the lack of Serotonin, a compound present in blood platelets and serum that constricts the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter.
Here are some key points about serotonin. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
- Serotonin is an important chemical neurotransmitter in the human body.
- It is commonly regarded as a chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance.
- Serotonin is created by a biochemical conversion process.
- Serotonin is manufactured in the brain and the intestines. The majority of the body’s serotonin, between 80-90%, can be found in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Serotonin that is used inside the brain must be produced within it.
- It is thought that serotonin can affect mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function.
- An association has been made between depression and serotonin. Scientists remain unsure whether decreased levels of serotonin contribute to depression or depression causes a decrease in serotonin levels.
- Drugs that alter serotonin levels have important clinical uses such as in the treatment of depression, nausea and migraine.
The causes are of the deficiency are not limited to Abnormal Serotonin Reactors, Stress, and Lack of Vitamin D, Human Hormone, and Progesterone; however, it could be due to diabetes, exposure to toxic chemicals, candida overgrowth, and drug overdose.
I cannot pinpoint what started all this and what causes what. But I know it’s the cycle effect, for instance: Stress-> Anxiety->Migraine->Depression->Migraine.. etc. I am treating it by mindfulness group and seeing a psychiatrist to help reduce the stress and help me manage it. However, it doesn’t help Serotonin imbalance and deficiency; and most of all the MIGRAINES! Change of lifestyle and mindset, really is a start but there is still a small but huge factor in making it go away..
It is Sertaline aka Zoloft. There is a huge stigma for antidepressants aka crazy pills. But it’ not like we take it, and like Advil/Tylenol.. BOOp I AM HEEALED~~. It actually takes 2 weeks for it to kick it and imagine.. stopping it all of a sudden can do some serious withdrawal symptom. Keep in mind, the use of Sertaline works.. only when done correctly. And all in all, for those who has heavy and aggressive stigmas towards the use of it… what it does is temporarily replaces the missing serotonin, acts as a little pusher to do the little shit we weren’t able to do before from the deficiency/imbalance, and it naturally pushes/forces our sexy bodies to NATURALLY produce the serotonin WHILE we change our lifestyle like getting vitamin D, exercise, eating omega 3 fatty acid, beef, whatever that is healthy and contributes in producing more sexiness in our bodies.
“wait…How do you know all this? How can you be sure?”
I can’t… Not really. I am still learning and.. mind you… I have this for years…. I’ve learnt that although people suffering with chronic illnesses, pain, and mental illnesses… we can’t really ever pinpoint anything of cause or what we feel because of how overwhelming the pain and list of random symptoms can be and it is always growing. For the list of what I have above, it is general.. it’s not that descriptive, for there ARE symptoms of those listed. Like I said, it is also the cycle affect… Fatigue could be caused by missing meals, not sleeping well, over exertion and all those causes are symptoms of or caused by anxiety, depression, migraines.. and migraines are caused by missing meals and stress and anxiety and depression… yea it’s messed. I feel like Einstein if I was able to draw on a white board about this cycle because I’m sure i will cover the whole thing.
I’m telling you… DO NOT TRUST & RELY on WebMD or MayoClinic websites because you will just freak yourself out and it DOES NOT tell you everything. Until one has the illness, that you would understand the conversations of new symptoms, strange symptoms, and when you can understand the frustration of when people suggest remedies, your diagnosis, and other dumb comments/recommendations because they know of someone or that they had the illness and that they were cured by so&so.
I will tell you though about my first trip to the many trips and trials around the GTA and not knowing where to start on my list of symptoms. I had migraines and fatigue since I was in middle school. I had a mild case of anxiety but I had always been an anxious child. But yea… I grew up in an asian household and mindset of “Don’t be a pussy” motivation quote and “if you can stand, you good.. don’t complain. People have worse.” And also… the bonus “Keep your problems to yo self”. I mentioned it to my mom a couple of times when it was horrible. Like it was so bad, I kept blacking out. I never saw the doctor or even on my own because I never been to a walk in and was scared to. But yea.. back on topic.. My mom or other adult would only recommend sleeping it off or taking tylenols & advils. All of it, did nothing. I took adult dosage soon after and no effect so I don’t bother taking it unless I was sick with a flu or cold. It got to the point of in high school, I began to have vertigo from the migraines or serious exhaustion. I missed so much school days, productivity, opportunities, and social days. I would be busy sleeping off the migraine, vomiting from nausea caused by it or vertigo.
All my life.. I was and AM FIGHTING A BATTLE.
I HAD ALWAYS IN WAR WITH MYSELF… AND EVERYONE.
It got to the breaking point. I very well knew, my life was wasted because of it. No one understood. I was seen as lazy. I was a shut in. I had a temper too. I was tired of bull. Tired of accusations and the words of “lazy” and that I “don’t try”. All my life… I tried. I had dreams.
Until after high school, being of legal age, lost of home and people I trusted- I introduced myself to adulthood. I went to walk-ins, searched for a new family doctor. None helped, of course… and couldn’t find a family doctor and the lack of funds restricted a lot as I fought for a sense of wholeness again around ignorance. Despite I fought against it and knew best of what was hurting… I lost myself to depression. I was broken for so long. I fought by myself, along side, a friend who was diagnosed with depression in making me whole again. I did mindfulness exercises myself, I looked for hobbies, I looked for love elsewhere. I did bad with that. I relied on bad exes to make me feel whole and important. The only good thing of it, was that each fight and breakup, I knew how much I am worth and that I could do better. I deserve better. I learnt that even if you are extremely close because you are intimate with them, it doesn’t mean that understanding will be there.
In that stress of love, depression, and finding trust again; I had many flare-ups so horrible that I’ve found a great walk-in that referred me to my beloved and amazing headache and migraine specialist.. after the clinical drug trials.
I am seeing the specialist of one of the famous hospitals in Toronto. I honestly didn’t know the department of such ever existing. But it does and it’s amazing and great. Although it has been… 10 months of seeing a specialist and psychiatrist, it actually took 3 months for that referral. You had no idea how thrilled I was. I was expecting the worse though because after trying different medicines for onset migraines or for prevention, it didn’t help or all it did was alleviated the pain to the worse case of vertigo which awed the doctor into that referral.
Seeing a specialist when nothing works is the way to go~~
In these visits, I’ve learned that there were many factors to the migraine. I accepted the depression and anxiety that IS there and I am all for trying new ways to be whole again. In this first visit, it was recommended that I see the department psychiatrist as talking through everything from when the pain began and what situations when I get a flare-up… was also happening during stressful times. The specialist was great because she started outside the box to be sure like getting me through a MRI, Blood test, different drug trials for onset migraines- all this to rule out, anything malignant in my brain and body. Luckily it wasn’t. However in this, we wanted to treat the arising anxiety that was starting to cripple me from life outside as if I was out too long and amongst the crowd, I would go in, what I learned from a sad but uplifting hospital stay(will write about it another day), is a Flight or Fight mode/response (also called hyperarousal, or acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. In my flight or fight response, I’d get dizzy, nauseous and I’d shake. I may look fine as I fought to calm down, the feeling was there even though I may be joyed in being out or being with someone.
But anywayss…tada… SERTRALINE~! After drug trials, I was introduced to this. It not only cured me from night frights, late night anxiety attacks, but migraines was less often. As my migraines are daily since middle school, the pain level compared to people has changed; for example, my daily migraine and pain level is always a 5 and my pain level 5 is everyone’s level 10. Before sertraline, I had migraines that were a pain level 7-10 about 1-2 times a day, weekly; and 2 times a day is crippling as it does means that’s my whole day. In that time, I manage to fight through work sometimes but most times, I’m struggling to breathe, in bed, and in the washroom vomiting. But after Sertraline along with avoiding skipping meals, my migraines decreased to 1 a day or to only a tension or cluster headache and my migraines in a week decreased to at least 5 in 7 days. And most of all, NO VERTIGO. I only have it, at least, 4 in 6 months.
It’s still a start and only a beginning where I am trying to get rid of it completely or bring back my motivation/productivity. So we are looking into it still. I am open to new treatments. It still sucks. I’m actually looking into botox shots for migraines and if it does work. Even though the migraine is helped and almost taken care of… I still have the problem of lack of satisfaction, motivation, and the anxiety and depression. I still fight of thoughts of giving up and getting out of that flight or fight mode at harmless situations. And that is why I need and am seeing my psychiatrist monthly or every 2 months.
To be honest I’m not sure how I’m managing…
All this, is a lot to handle by myself and with a small support circle as majority of my family still have that strong hold against chronic pain, chronic illnesses, and especially mental illnesses. I am still learning and finding treatments suited for me. It is frustrating and takes a huge strain on me as I fight to find myself again, to treat it, to be surrounded by ignorance, and to live..or really…survive in this world.
It is a hassle when people ask me why am I not the person they know, well this is the reason, and I don’t know if they know me at all. I am a jokester, I like being silly, I like making people smile, I care about people, I love with all my heart, I’m easily intrigued and inspired, I can be..out there. But I am an introvert. I get tired from crowds, from entertaining, from chaos, and with all that crowd and chaos… I am fighting my anxiety from going into the flight or fight response.
Believe me when I’m saying like all victims of chronic illness, pain, and mental illnesses…. We are fighting always. Even though we may seem strong, but putting it out there is hard because of the stigmas. And it hurts so much when no one listens or understand. We may seem confused as well but we know our symptoms and we are forever learning about causes and dealing with new symptoms… But.. DO NOT EVER INVALIDATE WHAT WE FEEL. DO NOT INVALIDATE WHAT WE HAVE. DO NOT COMPARE PAIN. DO NOT ASSUME.
As what I had learnt, whether we have or had the same illnesses or disorder… our symptoms varies. Our causes varies…as I had mentioned that cycle effect.
(sorry I reposted. I accidentally deleted when I added that read more tag)