Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Brain and Body

Why's it so hard to get it all working together?

I've been spending the last month trying to get my Side-effexor dosage figured out.  First DOCTA-CHAN suggested upping it, but after weeks of feelin' queasy, we decided to go back to where it was.  Well, I wasn't feeling particularly wonderful on that either.  The good news is at least now I only feel like constant vomit threat until about 1pm after which it's just sporadic.  Yay.

And this is called an ANTI- depressant.  Hmm.  All I wanted was to banish the bizarre and extremely negative thoughts from my head... makes me wonder if life wasn't easier before, back when I somewhat successfully crammed it all down and managed to mostly ignore it all.

Meanwhile, I think about the brain-body connection. Other than my neck, haha.  Seriously, how much can I blame my downer mood on my uneasy guts, and can I blame my gut rot on my downer mood?

We always want to separate mind and body, like it doesn't all work together.  I used to bristle at the idea that my thoughts could make me sick.  I'd been a rather sickly kid for most of my life, especially as the teen years approached.  I didn't enjoy being the first one to drop from heat exhaustion, or the one with the tension headache.  That wasn't how I wanted to be special.  But as the belly aches and general feeling of being unwell persisted, answers were sought to why I was like this.  There were suggestions that it was "all in my head."

I hated that.  First of all, that I would purposely make myself sick was stupid; who would do that?  And furthermore, even at a young age, I hated the idea of "blaming the victim."

You know what?  We can make ourselves sick, and it's not our fault.  We don't want to, but in my opinion, we don't know how not to.  When you're constantly worried, something has to give.  Our bodies aren't meant to be living in a total state of anxiety.  We either run from the critter that wants to eat us, or we fight it, and when that shot of adrenalin is dissipated, we can relax.  Or, we're dead cuz the critter got us.  Either way.  The worry is over for the time being.

The stupid thing is, I live a pretty easy life.  I've spent the last few years making it that way just to survive it and find ways to enjoy it.  Keeping my brain and body in decent shape has become my full time occupation.  Avoiding a big ol' breakdown of any kind is the main goal of my life.  

Wow, I wasn't planning on going this way at all today.  I was going to write about how difficult it is to ride a horse!  How I think, in my head, word for word, what I need to do with my hands, seat and legs, what direction my shoulders should be going, and where my feet should be pointing, yet struggling to get all those body parts where they should be.  

Instead I got this.  Brains work in mysterious ways.  I feel like taking this whole post down but some of you say you appreciate my honesty, so here it is in all its messy glory.  And now folks, my brain is telling me to take my man and my dog for a walk.  


Heidi said...

You tell it, girl!!

I think in the past years we've come to realize that the brain (and thus the body) are so utterly dependent upon some very fragile balances... hormones, firing neurons, etc. And when something little gets out of whack, it has huge impact.

Depression used to be thought of as psychological. Mostly now it's understood to be medical. I like that. It's like the doctor saying, "It's not your fault."

Maybe it's the frailty of your health that makes you such a strong person.

RuckusButt said...

I hated the nausea of side-effexor. Well, that and I couldn't orgasm anymore, talk about depression!

Sometimes I wonder if the relative ease of our lives is why we have "time" for the depression, anxiety etc. I'm guessing I wouldn't spend my weekends on-edge and anxious if I had to gather food and, you know, survive. Now it's worry, worry. Unless I'm in the country :)

Oh, and riding a horse IS hard!

Heidi the Hick said...

Ruckus butt- Um YEAH. What you said!

Heidi, I am going to have to remember that last line there. Thank you!

Olly said...

RuckusButt that is a great point! Although I've always been an anxiety case, I used to be able to handle just about anything life threw at me. Now? Not so much. Maybe boredom, complacency or just undecidedness about how we should be spending our time factors in.

barrelracingmom said...

Hi! Are you on the extended release (XR)? I used to be extremely nauseous until I was prescribed the extended release.

pseudosu said...

Keepin' it real in your own endearing way as always. I'm sorry you have to deal with all these dumb side effects. I wish my cyber hug ((bb)) could fix it all. Thanks for letting us know you.

Shelli said...

thanks for sharing this. I can relate. Its hard...i think the walks help - getting outdoors and reathing fresh air helps. Im in the house too much sometimes and in my head.

Maddy said...

HI Heidi, aka "Hick chik",
Love your blog and wanted to share this with you.
I found two things that helped me deal with depression. Medication never worked for me.
The first is a simple quote that I found in an expedition narrative years ago. "Action is the antidote to sorrow." In fact, I have come to believe that "action" is the very best medicine.
The other is "Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere." It really is a useless emotion, but we have the capacitiy to feed it or let it go. Like so many things in life, the choice is ours.
I have found that if I keep myself busy, doing constructive things, I don't have a whole lot of time or energy to be depressed. It can be as simple as hiking 6 miles with my dogs or cleaning the house. If I start to worry I tell myself "deal with it."
I think Nike had it right when they posted their slogan "JUST DO IT!"
I found that waiting until I "feel" like doing something is a recipe for disaster. I will never "feel" like cleaning the cellar but it sure feels great once the job is done.
One of Tasha Tudor's favorite quotes was "The gloom of that world is but a shadow. Behind it yet within our reach is joy. TAKE JOY!"
Too soon we wake up in the winter of our lives and we look around wondering where did it all go, and knowing we will never get it back. I hope this helps in some small way.
Be well my friend.

Heidi the Hick said...

It's so true - and the most helpful thing is what you most don't want to do... but you really do gotta do it.

I like the rocking chair quote.

I was just talking to a neighbour friend and she said something about changing the focus as being as good as physical movement. Like, maybe you don't have the strength the walk away but you can turn your head and focus on those pretty tulips over there. Live in the moment.

I was on a horse for over an hour last night and I felt pretty good about it.

You know what everybody?

I'm glad we had this little talk!

mugwump said...

I learned an intersting tid-bit yesterday. I don't have anywhere to share this other than here (on the wild side) and in an off-the-wall way it connects.
My mother has a good friend who has Alzheimers. His wife was telling her about a terrible fall he had. He didn't trip, he wasn't knocked or pushed, he just fell.
The doctors explained that this is a problem Alzheimers patients cope with all the time.
It turns out the brain and the body connection is one of the things that fails. Instinctively the Alzheimers patient tries to keep moving as a way to fight the loss of connection.
Periodically it simply becomes too exhausting a fight to keep the connection and the patient falls.
But, the instinct is right. The desire to move keeps the brain snapping and popping along.
It motivates me HUGELY to keep moving when my thoughts are dark.
So I guess if anything it's a good argument for pug walking.

Heidi the Hick said...

Wow! That is interesting!

I must go walk a pug, on that note...

Biddie said...

I have to agree with RuckusButt. The sex - or lack there of - was a side effect that I was just not willing to live with.
I often feel as though I don't have the time to be depressed, and I don't even have a job! I feel guilty at the thought of spending time away at the puzzle palace whe there are so many things that I could be - should be - doing at home.
Shawn and I are trying to walk more, but with his bad knee..It is becoming more and more difficult. I guess that we have other ways of keeping ourselves occupied and happy..Maybe just sitting out on the porch with the dogs is something.
Do you know that I only JUST told one of Shawns sisters that I am bi polar? I am not ashamed, but I got so tired of being told to walk it off or deal with it.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

marsh to the fore said...

The brain is such an amazingly crafty organ. It can get us into such trouble. Good for you for working so hard keeping that mind body thing working.

Maybe the timed release version someone suggested might help?

This was a very good post, Heidi. Don't ever worry about being honest. That is what we all love about you!

Paul Tee said...

I'm prone to mood swings, ups and downs that I have learned to moderate over the years. But if I really get down, sapped of strength and motivation, the one thing I found that really helps me is music and lots of it. Something upbeat, with aim, purpose and energy. It feels like a transfusion, giving me a fresh burst of vitality. Sometimes though I overcorrect and can become quite manic.

RuckusButt said...

Moving, in whatever way one chooses, definitely helps. It's the getting to the moving that seems to be the sticking point!