30 January 2012

Would whoever took my serotonin please give it back?

At the end of last week I got some information that confirmed my suspicions. Of course they were bad suspicions. Of course... because do we ever have suspicions that are good?

My bank statement confirmed my suspicions. I was indeed rolling in dough and able to live the life of my fantasies.

After reviewing the x-rays and lab tests, the doctor confirmed my suspicions that the pain in my leg was due to a gross lack of chocolate and ice cream in my diet. 

Nope. It never works out like that.

Instead it goes something like this...

The lab results confirmed my suspicions that, in fact, I really do feel like crap for an actual reason that is measurable and quantifiable.

I have not been feeling like myself for several months now...since mid-November. You may not have noticed, and that's good. We animals are masters at hiding illnesses and vulnerabilities. It helps keep us safe from predators.

I've been feeling like this without even doing a hard workout.
And I've been looking like this, too :(

I've felt similarly before... a couple of times. I remember sitting in my OB/GYN's office two years ago. My baby was one year old and I was 47. I was holding two handouts that seemed pertinent and useful (Menopause Facts and Coping with Postpartum Depression), and I was crying when she came into the exam room. I held the booklets out as I turned my tear-streaked face toward her and pleaded, "Which one is me? What do I do?" She looked at them, looked at me, and said, "Wow...Yeah... I guess you really did a number on yourself, eh?" I know that sounds awfully unprofessional, but we have that kind of conversational relationship...which I love. It was at this appointment that anti-depressants were discussed for a second time (we had talked about using them to help with my migraines about two years earlier). This time I took the prescription and filled it.

Following a nightmare break-in period and significant dosage changes, the medication seemed to help immensely, and life held sunshine again. I started running. I was playing with my kids and looking forward to spending time with them. I did the laundry. I got to be ME. Then I started getting the migraines again. My anti-depressant doctor started bitching at me about Imitrex. (I don't like this doctor...she is the opposite of my OB). So I decided to pursue other avenues regarding the migraines.

Enter Neurogistics.

Through all of this earlier stuff, I'd also been seeing an acupuncturist whom I trust implicitly and think the world of. She is my first round of defense when something goes awry. She gave me the information about Neurogistics. Through them, I had a set of neurotransmitter and cortisol level tests performed. Nothing was in the optimal range, and quite notably, serotonin and cortisol were very low. My clinician developed a protocol to boost things up and help my body start doing what it is supposed to when it's healthy and not massively stressed out.

A retest six months later showed that everything was getting to where it was supposed to be. I had a great summer and early fall. I liked being with my kids. I ran. I was feeling so good about my life.

Beginning in mid-November, I began a month-long course of treatment to help with some intestinal issues. Less than a week into it, I knew something was not right. But I also knew that sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Things didn't get better. By Christmas, I was concerned. I retested in early January. It is these results I just received. The results confirming my bad suspicions. Everything is worse than it was the first time I tested. My serotonin level is less than half of the low end of normal. I sent a copy of these numbers to my acupunturist who emailed this in response:

Holy moly ... it's amazing you're so high functioning with your kids and are maintaining a good marriage!! Not that I doubted the struggling you're going through, but this shows on paper the Herculean effort you put into living a normal life. 

I have an appointment with my Neurogistics clinician on Wednesday. I'm hoping she gives me the Magic Bullet that they've been keeping secret. And if those researchers who believe there is no correlation between low serotonin and depression could please let my body in on that news and then tell it what the heck IS happening and how to fix things, I would really appreciate it :)

I just want to live a normal life...without the Herculean effort. Please?


  1. Banana, whey protein and tofu all boost serotonin levels - maybe start with a shake a day?

  2. I hope you find some answers...it shouldn't be so much of a struggle. Feeling for you.

  3. Ugh...I hope you get it all back to normal soon. Life is tough enough...

  4. oh my goodness I am so sorry you are dealing with this, I cant imagine but to think you are getting treated but its making things worse. That is awful. Hope they do have a magic pill for you!

  5. I want you to live a normal and healthy life again too. Please let me know if there's anything I can do... maybe I have that Magic Bullet in my bag of goodies somewhere...

  6. I am so sorry!! However, I have to say I loved that picture of you because I can not tell you how many times I have looked just like that. I am sending tons of positive serotonin dust your way. As you know I know that little dark friend called depression all to well, not sure about my levels as that is something they never tested because they considered mine post trauma depression. I have not taken meds in years, but will admit there are days when I do hit a wall. I guess we all do.:( You are a strong women for still functioning as well as you have been. VERY STRONG!! I admire you even more now. Whenever I think of you I think of that one picture I love of you from Hood to Coast where you are looking all bada** over your shoulder. That picture spoke a million words about how AWESOME you are. Keep on trekking. I hope you find out some good news and solutions for this. I may talk to the docs I work with about this as well and do a little research for you. Big hugs sent your way!!

  7. I am glad you looked in to it more and listened to how you are feeling.

    I really hope you start feeling better soon now that you know why and what to do to alleviate it.

    And I like the bank account realization better! Wouldn't that be nice!!!

  8. Ah, sorry to hear it! I'm glad you were tuned into it and could start working on a solution. Speedy mood boosting to you!

  9. GIRL!!!! (hugs)

    Just, ugh. I know I'm new, but this downright sucks.

    However, looking on the bright side - you had the intuition to look into this, and I'm glad. You're no longer at step one, and sure, it will be a process, but a GOOD one.

    Can you just go back to the boost that your clinician had you on? Or was more of a trail?? Does it have anything to do with less sunlight in the winter?

    My mom has horrible food allergies, and will go through the migraine/zombie stage for days before she's feeling normal again - I get your pain, and I hope you get better uber quick. I'll be pulling for ya.

  10. Low serotonin levels are only an effect of the depression, anxiety or other conditions.

    But depression is far more then just serotonin levels.

    Try to change your diet, take some supplements.

    Also you should know that antidepressant, SSRIs for example have a lot of side effects that appear.

  11. Wow! I find it incredible how in tune with your body you are,and even moreso how you have found professionals you are comfortable with who are helping you manage in ways that are acceptable to you! Best of luck with your next phase!

  12. WOW! I'm so sorry you haven't been YOU lately and the numbers certainly prove it. Sending you virtual HUGS and DRUGS!!!!!! Kidding. Here for you!

  13. Marjorie my dear friend that I have not met ..YET...I feel your pain. I had post partum 2x. It is not the same as what you are dealing with but it is dark as you know. The light is there, you just need direction to find it again and I know it is not that simple but it is there...you WILL find it. I would trust the ones who helped you in the past. Like I wrote last night I would choose to fix THAT over digestion even if it means you would be stuck like me, eating the SAME food every day. I would not trade that for being in the dark again. I believe that the neurogistic clinician will help you. Believe my friend.

  14. Also I checked and Dr Kovas is correct! We have to check him these days...you know he tried to make us believe he ran a 5k at sub 5:00 per mile....I am watching him

  15. Step number one: get rid of your peri-menopause or menopause, if you only can. Right. When you find out how to do it, call me ASAP.
    Step number two: get together with another moody friend for a good bitchy session. That always helps even if only temporarily. How about it?

    But on a more serious note, I am sorry you are going though all this. Hope you will find some help out there. And I am actually quite serious about #2.

  16. I know we chatted about this the other night, but do know that you are not alone (as we also chatted) and are well loved (also chatted) :). You will get these things figured out and will tell me your magical secret so I can feel the same :).


  17. So sorry you have to deal with this. At least you know what it is and who can help get it straightened out.

    Hang in there!

  18. I too hope they have some magic to get you feeling fun and funky again soon! A good funky. :)
    But this does prove how seriously awesome you are-that you are still not only getting through life, but doing a fabulous job with it while you feel so awful!

  19. so sorry that you're going through this - but amazed how in tune with your body you are - way to follow through on your instincts! I so hope that you get a plan in place and get your levels back to normal. Wishing you some non-herculian days ahead!

  20. Sucks you are going through this AND have to keep such a close eye on things.
    Be well...

  21. A few things. Get a B complex supplement. It is helping me immensely. Second, I wonder if this isn't a seasonal thing for you? There are a ton of studies that talk about Vitamin D being connected to depression. If you are not getting enoughn(which happens when there is less sunshine because our bodies need sun to produce it)it could throw things off. And are you still on the anti-depressants? I have found that after a certain period, they start to wear off and need an adjustment. Finally, what about your hormone levels? Is it possible that you are experiencing PERI-menopause?

    You know that I completely relate to depression and it totally sucks. Keep fighting the good fight. You'll get through it.

  22. Hang in there! And take comfort that you have lots of friends in the blog community that love and care about you! :)

  23. I hope you start to feel back to normal soon! Hang in there, we are all here for you!

  24. I'm finding it hard to do what you asked me to do in the context of this particular post so I'll just say all the best in dealing with and fixing this sitch...

    But when you do your Freeze Your Thorns 5K RR I promise to have a field day with the pickle man.

  25. I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Depression is no joke. It is amazing that you have been functioning so well with everything. I hope that they find a way to help so that every day isn't so hard.

  26. I am so soory that you haven't been feeling well. I hope you find a solution. Depression sucks. I love me my Zoloft...

  27. Oh XL. :-( I'm so sorry. Hormones are such a bitch. I'm glad your acupuncturist is such a sturdy pillar to lean on. (I need to find one of those in NYC, btw.) I can't imagine how busy your life must be. You are so active. You've got a million kids (okay, maybe not a million), and you are such a committed and sweet friend. I wish you luck in finding a normal. Let me know if I can help in any way because you have certainly helped me with my baby makin' stuff. Lub you.

  28. Oh my goodness! I just barely saw this post. You are an amazing woman. Of course you already knew that but now you are even MORE amazing!!! I can't imagine how difficult life has been with all your "happy" hormones messed up. I hope the doctors have answers to help you. You're in my thoughts and prayers. You can handle this, you are an incredibly strong woman!!!

  29. whoa-that's not right. Sad to say that I've been there and might be there again too-I'm to chicken to actually find out right now. If you're ever on Survivor, I'm gonna bet on you and your herculean effort!! :)

  30. I hope you get to the end of it soon.

  31. You should check out Ray Peat's research on serotonin it's really good. You being burned out is your body telling you to slow down and take care of it. Your body is like a temple.


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