I’m starting to come back little by little. And the greatest thing Emily did for me was just keep telling me that I would.
When I couldn’t rely on my brain for the truth, I knew she wouldn’t lie to me or placate me. That’s not how our friendship works.
I’ve seen so many doctors in the past month and had probably eight mental health screenings (as part of intake). Questions like: in the past seven days have you felt
one day/a few days/most days/everyday
Lots of questions like that. I was honest in answering but I kept telling the clinical staff it was because of the anemia. Secretly, I was pretty sure I was descending into insanity and it was my job to stay out of a mental hospital. Trying to keep that to yourself is not fun. Explosive anger is not fun. A brain that won’t shut down but just keeps malfunctioning is exhausting in itself.
But it wasn’t true. If I’d been in the wrong hands I might have ended up being sent to a psychiatrist instead of a hematologist. I’d be on some new psych drug instead of returning to stasis.
It begs the question: how many times in the past did I think I was dealing with mental health issues when I was really dealing with physical depletion? And how long was it exacerbated because the mental fatigue looked like depression and mania?
Depression and mania don’t just go away because you get a single iron IV.
Maybe, and this is just a maybe, we need to be screening female mental health patients for iron deficiency anemia a whole lot more and making sure their prolactin levels are in the safe range.
Now to heal this body that is hurting and leaky. Step by step. I don’t know if I should resign myself to middle age and the gradual decay of a post-peak fertile body. I don’t think so. And not because I’m afraid of getting old. I just don’t think this much pain is necessary.