Health Update

Hello there.

It’s been so hectic. I knew doing a masters degree would be a step up, but at the minute I am swamped with work! I’ve also been having regular hospital appointments and so I haven’t been able to devote as much time to my little blog as I’d like. There’s lots of lovely posts in the pipeline; reviews, foodie posts and all that good stuff, and hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things soon.

I got a spine mri back and luckily my discs look okay! I do have significant lordosis (inward curve) in my neck and lower back due to the big kyphosis (outward curve) in the middle of my spine, but other stuff is okay. My sacrum is apparently tilted and often locks when it shouldn’t, so that explains the pain there. I’ll be getting facet joint injections between vertebrae to help with the pressure pain, and honestly I’m really excited to see if they work.

I also had a blood test recently because I sleep constantly. We don’t know whether this is med related or pain related (fyi chronic pain isn’t just painful, it’s thoroughly exhausting) but we thought we would double check stuff.
I also went to see the immunologist as I had a severe reaction a few months ago; I have the weirdest allergy I’ve ever heard of! I have exercise induced wheat allergy. So basically I can’t eat wheat then exercise. And that even includes walking! I have to really learn to carry my epi pen with me at all times.

Apart from that, I’m feeling good. I’m getting uni work done and I’m feeling quite positive about things. There’s a few fabulous posts in the pipeline, I promise!

Hope you have had a fantastic weekend 😊
Heather X

Ultradex Fresh Breath Oral Spray*

Hello there. Here’s a little bit of a different post for you today.

I was recently sent an Ultradex oral spray to review, and as I’m into health-related products I thought this would be great to have up on my blog.

I’m a huge fan of chewing gum and will often chew it about twice a day. I’m very picky when it comes to oral hygiene: I cannot bear to go without brushing my teeth at least twice a day, even if I’m so ill I can’t move!  I like having minty-fresh breath as – let’s face it – it’s just more pleasant for everyone.

The Ultradex mouth spray I received comes in a handy 9ml spray bottle which is perfect for throwing in a handbag or pocket when on the move. The product is developed by dental professionals and claims to ‘instantly eliminate odour-causing compounds, fight plaque and gum problems and be anti bacterial’. This is ideal to replace products such a chewing gum, and is much better for your dental health.

I have been using this spray when I feel my mouth could do with a freshen up, and I have to say I’m really impressed. Chewing gum – though enjoyable – can often lose it’s taste soon after chewing, and once disposed of the minty-freshness radically dissipates. Ultradex’s oral spray doesn’t do this; the quick burst of mint is enough to keep your breath smelling fresh for hours.

It doesn’t just mask odours, but actively eliminates them, making the product ideal for use before interviews and meetings to ensure fresh breath confidence.

It is also free from alcohol, but powerful enough so that one spray is all that’s needed to leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

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Ultradex actually has a complete oral care range, and I’d love to try it out. Why not check out their website?

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Many thanks to Ultradex; I’m sure this will become a handbag staple!

Hope you’re having a great Thursday whatever you are up to!
Heather x

Med Chat

Hi there. Hope your Sunday is going well wherever you are. Today Drew and I are having our own little Christmas, complete with Christmas sweaters , ginger bread houses, crackers and all the trimmings. You’ll just have to wait for all the details I’m afraid, but I have high hopes!

If you’ve been reading you might be aware that I’ve been using medication to keep the symptoms of my depression/anxiety under control. I started on fluoxetine which worked well to suppress symptoms, but unfortunately I had disturbing intrusive thoughts so my doctor and I decided to try something different called Sertraline. I’ve been taking it for about eight days now, and so far I feel okay; still having wobbles, but able to do the things I need to without panicking/crying all the time.

Medication for mental illness can be a controversial issue.

There are people who don’t believe in using medication, people who think of it as the ‘easy option’, people who couldn’t praise it highly enough, and there are people who don’t even think mental illness is necessarily a valid illness that CAN be treated with medication.

Like most young people, I’ve always been wary of medication.

From a young age I’ve been prescribed various medications to control pain in my spine, and some of these meds are strong and come with warnings and side effects. It has taken me a long time to accept having to use them. They are not the easy option: they aren’t necessarily good for you, they carry warnings of addiction, sleepiness, euphoria…the list goes on.

I didn’t want to ever become dependent on painkillers – and I still do my best to cope without them – but I don’t want to be made to feel bad for choosing to use them on bad days.

Pain, depression and anxiety can have a seriously negative impact on quality of life. Each of them usually accompany the other; the parts of the brain that deal with each are similar if not the same.

When I’m in pain, I’m depressed. When I’m depressed, I’m in pain.

Pain makes me sluggish, tired and lethargic. Pain makes me feel guilty because I can’t do ‘normal’ things. Pain makes me feel bad because I can’t pluck up the physical strength to tidy the house or cook or wash my clothes on bad days.

Depression, anxiety and chronic pain are a toxic mix.

Before I started medication for my mental illness I was an absolute mess. I could barely leave my room; the thought of having to see my housemates filled me with horror. It was nothing they had done; it’s just the anxiety/depression would convince me they hated me and that they didn’t want to see me, or hear me, or generally be around me.

You see, depression and anxiety can whisper nasty little lies in your ear. They make you feel worthless. Empty. Alone.

I’d do anything to avoid bumping into my housemates. I’d listen carefully to make sure I didn’t bump into them in the corridor. I showered when everyone had gone to bed. I couldn’t go shopping without Drew. I couldn’t cook, and didn’t always eat. When I made it into uni (with Drew walking me in) I panicked and wound up hysterically crying and having to leave, because the thought of being surrounded by people filled me with terror.

I was not the person I am now.

I didn’t want to stop to talk to people. I wanted to hide away from everything: so I did. The majority of my days were spent in floods of tears under the duvet.

It was a terrible time.

These episodes very rarely happen since I’ve been on medication. I have off days – of course – but I can definitely function. I CAN do the majority of things I need to do.

Shaming people who take medication to control their mental illnesses is not helping anyone.

I don’t believe any one has the authority to tell me when/why I shouldn’t take my medication. You might not agree with it, but it’s not your choice. It’s mine.

Medication has allowed me to feel (at the very least) a little bit like myself again.
I’m happy most days. I laugh. I smile. I tell rubbish jokes and I love doing my makeup and cooking and eating. I love watching documentaries and playing on my ds and reading books and discovering new things. 

Depression made me forget my love for these things.

I am no longer empty. I feel like a person; I have emotions – positive, happy ones – and at the height of my depression/anxiety I was a horrible mixture of sadness, emptiness, guilt and panic. Happiness was a distant memory, and I was unable to feel it.

You might not understand why I take medication to control my illnesses. You might not agree with it. You might even claim they’re just a placebo.

But if they help me, why question them?

You don’t necessarily know what goes on in my head, or what has happened in my life. It can be a dark, miserable place. And as long as medication keeps me feeling okay and allows me to live life, I’m going to take it.

All I’m asking is that people be a little bit more considerate. Don’t judge what you don’t understand.

I know this has been a little heavy, but it’s been weighing on my mind.

Have a great day wherever you are; chirpier posts will be up soon, I’m sure!
Heather x