Last night at midnight I was curled up in fetal position, crying. Overwhelming sadness and a sense of hopelessness consumed me. I was talking wildly, meanly to my husband. For hours before hand I couldn’t stop nibbling and snacking. Yesterday, I barely had the energy to get out of bed. I couldn’t get myself out of the house and to the gym. I couldn’t even blog more than a few lines, bemoaning my inability to write. I was only able to finish 16 minutes on the treadmill.
I stuck to my routines but nothing seemed to work. I tried getting my hair done – shopping – lunch with a friend. Everything I did felt as if it was experienced through a sheet of thick, tinted glass. All the color had gone out of the universe. I made it to work at 1pm and was only able to do the most menial of tasks. I lost my ability to converse and it was only by the skin of my teeth that I avoided an episode with a co-worker, brought on by my inability to respond, handle stress or even think.
By the time I made it home, I was exhausted from the effort of trying to pretend that I wasn’t a hopeless case. I made dinner, ate too much bread. Settled in with a book and the tv to distract me, but all the time it got worse, until by 10 I was curled up in the chair, barely moving.
My husband knew what was wrong. He reminded me that my endocrinologist, worried about my high B12 levels, asked me to go for 4 weeks without my shot. I was supposed to take the shot last Saturday, which means that by yesterday, I was almost a week behind schedule. After a couple of hours of watching me slide down into the pits of hell, he said he’d had enough, and if I didn’t take the shot, he’d stab me with it. By that time I could barely force myself to move.
Seriously. It took another 15 or 20 minutes of his kneeling by me, holding me, hugging me, trying to get through the wall before I could get up, get the medicine and take it.
The effect was astonishing. He said it was like watching me get younger. The wrinkles on my face smoothed out, my color came back, I stood straighter and was able to smile. Within a half hour my mood had changed and the crazy insomnia that has plagued me for the last week was gone and I could curl up and finally go to sleep. I woke up this morning, my mind racing with thoughts that had to be committed to paper, um, computer.
Is it a placebo effect? Is it all in my head? Am I addicted to b12? Or have I suffered from vitamin deficiencies my whole life that have led me time and again deep into the pits of Hell? Vitamin D deficiency and the resulting problems with depression. Vitamin B12 and the fuzzy thinking and mindless eating, and feelings of hopelessness.
Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.
Such characters in colour dim I mark’d
Over a portal’s lofty arch inscrib’d:
Whereat I thus: Master, these words import.
Hopelessness isn’t just the absence of hope. It’s the absence of life. That spark that makes us human. That allows us to interact and feel connected. I have lost that so many times in my life. Last night I felt as if I was back in those times when I was felt so disconnected and apart, overwhelmed by the universe and unable to function, though I was adept at hiding it for years.
How did I get out if before, without the b12 shots? Was there something else that I was doing? Is it seasonal, like the seasonal affective disorder? Was I instinctively turning to foods that were high in B12? (I found a good list here).
Or was the effect not as drastic as it is now, post WLS? The articles I’m finding talk about B12 being released in the stomach and problems can result for “those with reduced levels of stomach acidity (achlorhydria) or intestinal disorders—have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food and, in some cases, oral supplements”. Well, my food doesn’t go into my stomach anymore. It goes into a pouch and then straight into my intestines.
So with all due respect, Dr R, I’m taking the shot every two weeks. This is my life, and I don’t intend to live it curled in a ball, fat and hopeless.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.