I want to write about a couple of the things I experienced while I lived in Florida that affected me significantly. One of those things is anemia. Not many people understand how anemia effects someone physically and mentally. Initially, I was diagnosed with anemia in 2011, and I stopped being affected by it in November 2016 after a procedure called an ablation. The ablation was one of the best things to happen to my mental and physical health hands down! Before the surgery I was exhausted beyond comprehension, working and taking care of 4 children. I was also struggling with severe clinical depression. Anemia and depression together are a terrible combination.
I was called ‘lazy’ by my ex-husband when I didn’t want to do things for him on the days he had the children. I can’t even describe to you how tired I was. On my days off I would take my youngest to daycare, just so that I could sleep. I never went out on weekends. I was so excited to sleep. Sleep was all I wanted. I fantasized about sleep. To be degraded and looked down on as much as I was when I was in Florida certainly did not help my depressive state.
I want to list the symptoms of anemia that affected me. I am hoping that one day if my children ever are interested, that can be better informed about what happened with their mom instead of believing information from someone who does not have the best feelings about me.
Anemia is a blood disorder that varies widely depending on the root cause of the anemia and here are the symptoms I felt:
1. Fatigue and loss of energy
2. A significant increase in heartbeat, particularly with exercise (my children might remember seeing me wearing a heart monitor for a few days for testing in 2011.)
3. A headache and shortness of breath (my children know that I pretty much always have a headache, but I do medicate this.)
5. Pale skin
6. Insomnia (as exhausted as I was I did also struggle with insomnia.)
7. Difficulty concentrating (I remember driving at times thinking maybe I shouldn’t be driving, but I was a single mom with no friends or support and had things I had to do.)
Now I would like to share some symptoms of the severe depression I had experienced for years. I did a great job on most days masking this for the children, but I’m sure they will remember days that I didn’t do so well at that.
Depression is a mood disorder that can interfere with everyday life. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression, and PTSD was also considered after my extended stay in the hospital and after I birthed my youngest; I almost died, and it was an awful experience. My relationship with her father, a compulsive gambler, was also a contributor to the PTSD. I do not feel that I suffer from the PTSD at all anymore now that I have changed my entire life… which I had no choice but to do to care for myself and my youngest.
Following are the symptoms I suffered while in Florida related to severe clinical depression:
1. Feelings of sadness (my biggest heartbreak that reverberated through my mind was the loss of my relationship with my oldest son. There are endless reasons that contributed to this along with my own mistakes. Dealing with this along with struggling to co-parent efficiently with a disgruntled ex and also living alongside a compulsive gambler was more than I think most people could handle. I did it for 6 years.)
4. Focusing on small matters
5. Inability to have fun (I remember moments that watching TV was just too much. I would just lay on the bed staring at the ceiling.)
6. Loss of interest in daily activities (such as anything at all… not even wanting to wake up.)
8. Excessive sleeping (If there was time and I could, I would sleep. Anything to get the day over with. Also, being anemic, I desired sleep more than anything.)
9. Overeating (I would typically only eat when frustrated or mad.)
10. Loss of Appetite: (Within just a couple months of beginning my relationship with the gambler I lost about 20 lbs. due to stress and disbelief of what I had gotten myself into. I was immersed in sadness to be away from my children when they were with their dad and utterly alone because this man chose to gamble instead of spending time with me.)
11. Persistent sad, anxious, or ’empty’ mood. (For me, so much of this was because of my relationship with my oldest son and the relationship with the gambler. I had a terrible time trying to figure out how to separate myself from the gambler without any support, friends, or family.)
12. Feelings of hopelessness. (There was eventually a time that I learned to wake up without hope while living alongside the gambler. Every day was a catastrophe. Every day included all promises sure to be broken, being lied to, working in fear that he was going to want my next paycheck, having to follow all his ridiculous demands because he was helping to support my children and I.)
13. Decreased energy, fatigue, moving slowly… because life didn’t seem worth it most days. As terrible as that sounds, coming from a mother…. life is miserable when all you are doing is what everybody else wants you to, whether you like it or not.
14. Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts. I won’t write about these things….
15. Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, digestive problems… my bones would ache from the sadness alone.
These are just some things I endured. I am only mentioning them superficially. These symptoms ran deep and still try to creep into my heart and mind now that I have 4 of my children not speaking to me. I had to save myself. I had to save my youngest child. I had to save myself for all 5 of them. I was losing the battle in Florida.
I saved myself! Even though I have 4 and not just 1 child that is ignoring me currently, I am living life again. I am supported physically, financially, emotionally, and mentally. I am not alone anymore. Sometimes people can only do things so long on their own. I needed someone in my corner. I still have battles, but I am not alone. I am trusting that things will work out how they should. I only want my children to be happy. I do believe my survival is included in this, even though they are refusing anything to do with me.
Hopefully one day they will understand this.