On Tuesday, while many Louisianans were collecting beads at Mardi Gras festivities, I was at the doctor's office, collecting information, advice, and medication samples. A day earlier my younger daughter had gently and lovingly asked me what was going on and why I seemed to have "shut down" lately. Her sister had asked similar questions two days earlier.
The thing is, it had crept up so stealthily that I hadn't noticed it. I was well aware of an overwhelming physical fatigue but hadn't paid much attention to my emotional state until my daughters pointed it out. It was/is depression.
I should have recognized it. It runs through the DNA on my father's side of the family, so I've seen it before. I've experienced it before, too, but up to now, for me, depression has always been a response to one unfortunate situation or another. This time there was no obvious reason for it.
Then came the message from the doctor: the blood test I'd taken a couple of weeks earlier indicated that my thyroid gland isn't producing at the level it should be. To me this was good news: fatigue and depression are symptoms of hypothyroidism, so maybe that's my excuse for long naps and skipped showers. We'll see. It reportedly takes a few weeks for the thyroid meds to kick in.
As it happens, I'm already feeling somewhat perkier mentally. The credit for that may go to giving up diet soda, which I did about a week ago. Because I enjoy it so much, I've always been skeptical about the many articles linking diet soda to depression, but this is the second time in four years that I've broken a 4-5 cans per day habit with fast, positive results. Some of us apparently don't learn a lesson the first time.
Anyway, between the mood lift and the encouragement of a few faithful readers, I've decided to keep plugging away at this blog for now. With a little luck and some thyroid hormone replacement therapy, Velvet Sacks and I may have a fighting chance.