I Feel So Stupid

I have been feeling incredibly bad lately, much worse than usual.  I've felt the numbness of depression plus all of the physical aches and pains that can go with that (one of those things people who aren't dealing with this don't usually realize).  I've been nauseated a lot - I attributed that to meds or sinus drainage from being out of state with different allergens.  I've been dizzy and lightheaded more than normal, but since I have dysautonomia, I just thought it was worse for some reason - maybe the heat?  I've been itchy, which goes back to the possible allergies.  I've been saying, "Huh?" or "What?" a lot more lately, but I have mild hearing loss so it's not that unusual for me to do.   Maybe ear wax?  Overall, I've felt really, really BLAH.

But I had reasons for everything.  I'm in a low cycle with the bipolar, which accounts for a lot of it.  Because mental health can affect physical health, as well as causing brain fog, I just didn't see the obvious.

I went to the doc for a checkup about 2 weeks ago.  When I go to the doctor, it's not ever for one thing.  I always have a laundry list of things that need to be checked. I usually write them down in a note app I have in my phone so I don't forget them all.  But what happens when you are cocky and forget to check your app?  You do something that later makes you feel stupid.

I knew my ears were bothering me more than usual, but like I said, I explained it away.  I did tell the nurse who did my intake about my ears but apparently she didn't write it down.  It was part of the laundry list so I didn't notice.

The doctor and I talked about all of the other things I remembered (I forgot something else by the way), and I never looked at my app.  Usually a doctor will look at your ears as part of a check-up but there were so many other issues, either she forgot or figured it didn't matter.  

2 days later...

I had a slight pain in my ear and I realized I had forgotten to mention the ear issue to my doc.  At this point I still thought it was ear wax build-up.  So bright one that I am, I decided to wait and see if it got better.  I still felt awful, but still thought it was mostly from the depression.

Another week later... 

BAM!  I woke up with a headache and very nauseated again.  One ear was slightly hurting.  And out of the blue it hit me.  I had a dang ear infection!

The fact that I never put this together may not surprise you, but you need to know, I have had multitudes of ear infections during my lifetime.  I'm 51 - I'd say my guess is that I've had 100 ear infections during my life.  It was so bad that as an adult they recommended the tubes that they usually do for kids.  (Those helped, by the way, but didn't stop them from coming).

To my credit, probably because I have had so many ear infections, I don't usually feel pain when I get one.  Either I'm used to it or because the nerves are literally not working right anymore, but I might get a slight ache some of the times.  I may have shooting pains occasionally, but I have those when I don't have ear infections, so that's not a strong indicator.

However, I know the symptoms of ear infections.  I was showing almost all of them in full force.  Ear ache (even though it was mild and occasional), nausea, yucky feeling, dizziness, ear pressure, itchy ears, etc.  The only thing I didn't have was a fever, which I rarely ever run with ear infections.

That day I decided not to wait any more.  I called my doctor as soon as they opened and got an early appointment.  I rushed to get there but made it okay.  As soon as I saw the doctor, I told her I was stupid.  I mentioned all of my symptoms and said I thought I had an ear infection.  She laughed and told me that I did all of her work for her.  

She looked in my ears and said they both looked horrible (which is usually what they say when they look in my ears).  I had a major infection in both ears.  She recommended something to bring down the inflammation and an antibiotic - and getting started with both in a shot because it was so bad.

Here was the 2nd time I was dumb... I didn't connect what she meant by "something to bring down the inflammation."  That was a steroid.  My psychiatrist told me never to get steroids, that they will throw me instantly into a manic state.  I thought I had put it in my regular doctor's chart, but I guess I hadn't.

It took a full 24 hours (after not sleeping more than about 2 hours that night) to realize what had happened.  It took another 24 for my heart to stop racing and for me to be able to be even slightly calm.  It took another 24 to get back to where I was before I got the shot.

Needless to say, I'm not planning to take the steroids that were prescribed to me. It's been a few days and I'm still feeling horrible.  I might have to take them to get over it.  But I dread the mania if I do.  

It worries me that I walked around with an ear infection for almost a month (yes... looking back, it was that long that I was showing symptoms) before I connected it.  It worries me that I forgot about it during the first checkup.  It worries me that I didn't connect the steroid reference so that we could talk about other options during the office visit.  Usually I'm more on top of stuff than this. 

All I can do is hope that it was because of the ear infection that I did all that - and that I'm not going into a new level of mental issues.  This is always a fear.  I just have to keep hoping - and forgive myself for being so stupid.

#SpotlightOnStigma #SOS #WelcomedButNotAccepted #Stigma #MentalIllness #Bipolar #Addiction #SingleParenting #Alone #NotAlone #Depression #Anxiety #EatingDisorder #SuicidalThoughts #OCD


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