On Sunday, October 25th of this year (2015), I had an experience that I do not recall ever having before then.
I run the media computer at my home church, and it was during the message (sermon) that I suddenly felt a great desire to just lay down on the floor. Yes, I was overcome by the spirit, but it wasn’t the Holy Spirit.
I wanted to lay down because it felt like a ton-of-bricks (or whatever — ‘ton-of-bricks’ was an expression I heard frequently as a child)… because it felt like a ton-of-bricks had just landed on me all at once. I was overcome with fatigue and I couldn’t understand why. I had slept for eight hours, so I was completely baffled as to why I felt so overwhelmed with fatigue. I decided that I must be coming down with a virus and sloughed it off at that.
For the next few days the strong sensation of fatigue stayed with me, but I had yet to experience any other flu-like symptoms. I did notice, however, that I was also experiencing great difficultly concentrating and staying focused — especially when reading or at my computer.
On Tuesday, October 27th, I saw my Primary Care Physician (PCP) for my annual physical. I figured he could check me over and perhaps he might notice something, but he didn’t. So then I figured if it was something more serious, then perhaps the blood-workup results would reveal if there was anything serious going on. Since it had been only two days since I began experiencing these symptoms, I didn’t say anything about it to him.
The next day – Wednesday, the 28th — I began to wonder if my feeling tired and muddled (another word I heard frequently as a child) might be a form of mild depression. So I got on the Internet and researched depression in men. I discovered that men my age sometimes suffered from ‘Hypothyroidism’ which has several symptoms:
- difficulty swallowing
- dry cough
- sore muscles
- weight gain
- dry, itchy skin.
- tiring easily, even after a good night’s rest.
Still not fully convinced, I decided I would try to ride-out whatever was going on with me. Unfortunately, my ‘heavy-spirit-of-depression’ only became stronger and would last most of the day. It was becoming more and more difficult for me to function throughout the day. Even the simplest tasks seemed monumental and overwhelming. So by mid November I decided I better go back to my PCP to determine what was going on with me.
When I saw my doctor on November 19th, he asked me what was going on. I replied, “I wish I knew!” I then told him my suspicion that I might be suffering from hypothyroidism. He looked back over the results of my recent blood work and stated that my TSH and related thyroid levels were all good. His diagnoses was that I was “clinically depressed”. That scared me, because there was nothing going on in my life for me to be depressed about.
He then explained to me that it was simply a chemical imbalance in my brain that was causing the depression. Specifically, my serotonin levels had dropped significantly. He gave me a prescription of Citalopram 20mg with the instruction to take one pill daily in the morning. He said it could take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks to reach full effect. He also strongly warned me not to stop taking the drug when I was feeling better.
It has been 4 weeks now and the symptoms have abated, though they still remain. I can at least function throughout the day — *most* days. Some days are better than others, but I am experiencing more good days than bad.
I had to chuckle once I began explaining to folks why I had been so “out-of-it” and why. As I would always add the humorous comment, “Depression – Just in time for the Holidays!”