Friday, August 2, 2019

Ignoring symptoms.

I have a habit of waiting way too long for solutions to physical ailments.

I think it was drilled into me by my mother to never complain, to suck it up. She'd get visibly annoyed by sickness, though when it was serious, she was all over it. But picky little things, stuff that wasn't very noticeable, those were manifestations of hypochondria to her.

Whenever I'd try to bring up problems that might be genetic to our family at the dinner table, I'd be shut down. Depression obviously runs in the family. My father was hospitalized for it, and I had a severe ten-year bout, and I think some other close relatives have suffered from it too. But it took a good two years before I finally saw a psychiatrist and was given medications that at least made me functional.

So, for example, I had a terrible problem with dry sky on my forehead and face--just slabs of skin coming off, no matter how much I caked lotion over it. Then one day, my sister Betsy happened to mention that she was using cortisone on her condition. I immediately went and bought some over the counter lotion, and...problem solved! (As long as I put a thin layer on my forehead every morning.)

My mother especially hated psychotropic drugs. She'd tell the story of a zombie neighbor who was a little too fond of Mother's Little Helpers. (One of the reasons it took two years to seek help for my depression.)

Well, for about 20 years, the only leftover symptom of my depression was a pretty strong agoraphobia. I stayed away from restaurants and malls and most other gatherings. As you can imagine, this was somewhat crippling, especially since I didn't know what it was. Finally, I diagnosed myself from a magazine article, and started to slowly cure myself. But what finally did the job was going to my regular doctor and asking for tranquilizers to use on a situational basis.

It was magic. The damn pills worked! I only need a small dose pill on an average of one every three days or so, but it's always there in case it's needed. It literally solved the problem. What had I waited so long for?

Mother's little voice in my head.

I'm not blaming her--I think that being a stoic is generally a good thing. Not quitting is usually the right way to go about things. But I wish I'd been a little more conscious of when to ignore that voice.

I had my doctor recommend that I take a antihistamine every day. I ignored the advice for years, afraid of the side-effects. But I finally started taking one every night and BAMM! My sinuses cleared up.

Clear sinuses for the first time in--well, just about forever.

What brought up this little essay is that my optometrist recommended that I get eye drops. I was told many years ago that I'm a non-blinker, that is, I blink less than most people. Well, add that to my constant internet, and my eyes have gotten pretty gritchy.

I didn't do anything for a good four months, but finally got some eye drops a few days ago, and
VOILA! My eyes feel so much better.

And so on.

I'm getting too old to be ignoring this shit.

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