the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

Uphill, both ways.

Bee ButlerComment

Small steps. Five-pound weights. Short sun salutations. Thirty minutes of simple, easy yoga.

I will fight my body every step of the way, not just to get fit, but to find the endorphins I'm missing because my serotonin production is failing me.

My thyroid is getting worse. Hashimoto's is a frustrating diagnosis. Every six weeks, I fill two vials with blood, and I get a phone call letting me know the "fate" of my medication levels. This week, the answer was "despite your increased dose, your T levels are too low, and we need to adjust". Too much levothyroxine makes me shaky, overheated; too little leaves me unable to get out of bed.

Monday, we check serotonin flow and decide if increasing medication will help, or if we need to move to something else. That "something else" might have terrible side effects, and an increase could cause 'serotonin syndrome', which has happened before. It causes grand mal seizures and a full-body shut down that could kill me.

The idea that my body hangs in the balance, stabilized by a handful of pills, is unnerving. Heart medication, something to lower the tachycardic-level beats per minute, blood pressure medication that raises the levels that fall to nothing when I stand up too fast; antidepressants, benzodiazepines (monitored carefully) to cull the panic attacks that cripple me from the inside out. A nerve pain reliever that helps with anxiety and steadies my day when Hashimoto's (and what may or may not be lupus) knocks me down, a mood stabilizer, a gastrointestinal medication that helps to keep my esophagus from deteriorating further, making it possible for me to eat without feeling like my insides are on fire... an anti-nausea med that would put any normal person to sleep, only taken in my worst moments, but still such a frequent dosage that it no longer makes me tired at all.

Vitamins that my doctors tell me will fill in the gaps. Natural remedies so that I'm not constantly popping NSAIDs for the pain... turmeric, ginger, coconut oil, bee pollen. Essential oils and a diffuser next to ten pill bottles... this is my every day.

It is so tiring. It is SO frustrating. I dread appointments, because no one has answers. I have become my own advocate, something that often infuriates my doctors, because I will no longer sit still and take pills when I know there are other options.

I fight this battle every second of every day. Sometimes it means I need to disappear. Sometimes I scroll through Facebook or Tumblr, posting and reading, but I don't have the emotional energy to reply to messages or texts. Sometimes my phone rings and I cannot summon the strength to answer it. I am too tired, too sad, too empty.

I love the people in my life. I appreciate the support and the help and the prayers and good vibes. I could not continue to fight without the help and the love.

Please, be patient with me as I struggle. I promise, I'm not ignoring you. I promise, I will call you back. I promise that I will not give up or give in if you promise to stick around, but I understand if you choose not to.

Depression and anxiety are no fun. Lupus, Hashimoto's, PTSD, OCD, GERD, and nausea are unbearable. I'm not dead, though, and I don't plan to be for another 60+ years. I just have to keep moving.