What a strange and bipolar health fortnight.
This is the good side:
The Friday afternoon before last, I was sitting in bed in a last-ditch effort to try to study. I'd failed dismally so far, sitting in front of the computer and trying to make sense of the assigned readings while being distracted every three and a half seconds by something other than the assigned readings. Earlier in the day I had given in to tears in pure abject frustration. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't seem to focus on the words in front of me long enough for them to sink in. I was already getting behind in my studies, and it was only week 2 of the trimester.
Then my partner came home with the envelope which contained the test results that said that I have a condition called pyroluria. Even though I had strongly suspected it, it was still a surprise. Pyroluria is a condition where the haemoglobin in the blood produces too much of a particular substance called kryptopyrroles. This substance binds to vitamin B6 and the mineral zinc, and so when the body excretes the excess, it rather unfortunately takes those substances with it. And so I find out that I am uber-deficient in those two things. Unsurprisingly, both are used to treat ADHD. Unsurprisingly, people with pyroluria can't handle stress. That'll be me, sequestered away from the world for years on end while I try and deal with why my body is so fatigued, so depressed, so anxious, why I just can't bloody cope. I think I have the answer.
And so slowly over the past two weeks I have built up my levels of B6 and zinc. I am taking five times the daily recommended amount of B6, and I know it's still not enough (apparently the way to measure when you are having enough is regular dream recall. Not even close to that yet). And I am starting to notice a difference. The B6 in the morning and the afternoon is giving me this lovely energy. Oh, it's nothing normal people would be able to notice. But for me, there is this new stability I am feeling in my body, an understanding that a piece that has been missing for a couple of decades has now been put in place. I can only imagine this energy will continue increasing. The zinc at night (three times the recommended daily dosage) is helping me sleep. I am getting so tired at night some nights that I could go to sleep at 10 pm if I needed to. I can count on one hand the success I have had in managing to get to sleep at 10 pm over the years. It would be amazing if I could.
~ * ~
This is the bad side:
I have high levels of copper. I first suspected it over seven months ago when I did a home heavy metals test. The resulting symptoms when I tried treating the high copper were enough to convince me that (a) this is something of what schizophrenia feels like, and it's hell; and (b) though I was only a quarter of the way through the bottle that would help get rid of this excess metal from my body, this was as far as I was able to go with it. There was something else that needed to give. There was something missing which was making this attempt impossible.
Hence trying the test for pyroluria. Hooray for intuition - I stand in awe at the powers of intuition I have developed about my own body, because I was right, and a handful of jigsaw puzzle pieces are starting to fit. B6 and zinc both displace high copper levels in the body. These levels have become high in the first place because of the lack of those two substances in circulation. And so the blood, in its wisdom, noticing these high levels of copper circulating within it, began the task of secretion. If it can't get rid of the copper in any other way, it will hide it away. And so it does - in the liver, in the brain, in the lungs, in the kidneys.
And so now I have begun reinstalling B6 and zinc, my body is taking the opportunity to get rid of the copper, now that it finally has the chance. And so out it comes, from where it's been hiding all these years, back into my bloodstream, and if I don't have a sauna, or shoot coffee up my arse (I never did make any pretensions to this blog post being romantic), then I begin to feel those hellish symptoms again. Like yesterday, when I didn't have time for a sauna or to shoot coffee up me bum. I am still trying to find workarounds for the emotional symptoms. There are certain supplements which help in the detoxing process (and certain other ones I am taking, such as chlorella), but it's a process of working out what works best.
When I feel like this, I feel in hell. Last night, my partner quietly but forcefully said to me, "I need you to stop talking now." I hadn't realised that I was raving, but apparently I was. But his comment came out of the blue, and I'm a fragile soul, and so it wouldn't have mattered how he said it, I still would have broken into 1037 pieces of glass.
Because it's such a weird dreamscape from here, when I am feeling like this. The only way I can identify that what I am feeling is spilling over into the outside world is when feedback like this happens. And then I think of other people I know who I suspect have high copper levels, and how they sometimes have a tendency to go on and on about certain topics until I'm exhausted. And so suddenly I realised last night that that was me, and that was how I was being.
It makes me want to run away as if my hair is on fire and live in a hole at the bottom of a bridge until I get all this stuff sorted out. It makes me never want to have to deal with another human being again. That's how I feel when this stuff is running through my veins. Until I stop feeling like this - which could be any time now - and then I'm back to normal again. Normal, hell, heaven - who the fuck knows what world Susie is going to experience next hour in the rollercoaster that is copper displacement? Which nobody else in my world knows much about. I'm really tired of having conditions that nobody else knows much about. It's an extra slap in the face having to explain yourself to disbelieving people. They should be comforting me, not me having to educate them.
But then "should" is a pointless weight to place on your shoulders in these times.
But it's just one more vulnerability to pile on top of the hell that already is dealing with this stuff. But hey, at least I'm not like this full-time. Not like all of those poor bastards getting around out there with full-blown schizophrenia. Not like the guy I used to see when I worked in the city. He was the gentlest soul imaginable, a beautiful man, with no home and a dose of dealing with worse than this full-time. God bless him.
The World Bank and the IMF are probably not particularly great choices of subject matter to be obsessing about
lately. But that's where my Medical
Anthropology studies have been taking me the last couple of weeks. Is there anything more
frustrating and hellish than being able to clearly see the machinations of these
psychos? And to see how long we have put up with it when we don't need to?
And how many people are still asleep to it? And how their policies affect the poorest of the poor? And how awesome
the world would be without their evil influence?
But like I said, probably not a great choice of subject matter
when you're dealing with fluctuating levels of a substance that inclines
you towards paranoia in the first place. No. Better to lay that one
down for another week. Even though it's so hard to when I feel like this. That's another gruesome fact - whenever I feel like this, the very things I should let lay low, I can't seem to let go of, and I gnaw at them like a dog at a thorny foot.
And so this is how things are for me lately. Depending on what day you talk to me. And on the bad days, it depends on what hour of the day you talk to me. On the good days, everything is coming along beautifully and I can see this lovely vista on the horizon where life gets a whole lot easier, and I get more of it back. These good and bad days are both the opposite sides of the same coin. This is the hell side. And while I say reminders to myself like "This too shall pass," it won't be a moment too soon when it all does.