I’ve lost all of my interests at the moment. But I’m ok with it. We had a bit of a crap weekend here. Nothing major went wrong per se, just some bleh feelings and maintenance stuff that needed to happen. At one point we were out for a little while, walking, talking and driving and I said that I had lost interest in everything. I borrowed a bunch of books from the library to read over the holidays but even when the subject matter was logically interesting to me, I just couldn’t get through the book. It’s one example of many. We were talking about if that’s a sign of depression and while technically I think it is, I actually don’t mind having lost my interests.
At the moment I’m finding it interesting to observe myself. What do I actually like doing? What do I do out of habit vs actual enjoyment? And even more interestingly, while I’m observing myself that’s literally all it is. I think in the past I used to judge myself, and I don’t feel that at all right now.
After our talk, we were looking up connections between low iron and things like chronic fatigue and depression. Apparently low iron has a very similar symptomatic presentation to depression. (Also, it seems that in the USA, people don’t test for my type of low iron – ferritin stores – so it goes undiagnosed a lot there. I’m not entirely sure but it seems to be because the serum ferritin test is more expensive. So if you’re reading this from the USA it’s worth finding out more about this in your healthcare market.)
I found two interesting things while hanging out on Google.
Firstly though, I posted this rant on my Facebook Page a while ago:
Then, while looking up info on low iron I came across this, which puts low iron into perspective in a medical sense:
We often see women with severe iron deficiency anaemia, developed over many years through low dietary iron and heavy periods, cope well until stressed with other illness. The same degree of anaemia arising from injury and acute blood loss would have resulted in hospitalization and blood transfusion.
That is severe! I did/do not think of myself in those terms at all.
It goes to the Facebook post above that people need to take iron issues seriously. And I’ve totally been guilty of not taking the suggestion to get my iron checked seriously before. But the more I’ve learned about it, the more I understand the impact it has on many bodily functions.
BUT the extra caveat here is that you need a doctor who ALSO understands low iron. I sit around the borderline low levels, and hugely struggle to function on them. But most GPs have told me that a level of 31 is above the minimum of 30 (note: the ‘acceptable’ can vary a lot on the internet and by country, so I’m only referring here to the levels on my blood test from the lab they went to) so the GP would tell me I’m no longer low. This is not incorrect, but it’s also not a sustainable level of iron. My current GP is much better in this area and wants my minimum level to be 100, and ideally wants me at 150. You can see how the treatment will vary a lot here based on a technically correct minimum vs a realistic and sustainable good level of iron.
(Side note, that is all obviously just based on me and my needs, so talking to your GP would identify what your needs are in ideal iron levels. And side note two: I wonder if my GP is so good at iron levels because his ‘thing’ is mental health – supporting people to get onto the right medication that suits them?)
This post on the Beyond Blue forums was also interesting – moreso the last comment than anything else. I do feel quite odd like this right now. It’s not bad, it’s not tired in the way I was all of 2016, it’s a different feeling. I had acknowledged the transition I’m going through from the various types of hectic study/work to just work and few other obligations. But I didn’t know, or didn’t realise, that coming out of a long term health condition is also a transition.
Don’t get me wrong, if I thought any of this was actually depression, I’d be talking to my GP. In fact, I’m due to see him within a week to get an update on my iron levels. I’m really curious to know how high I’ve managed to get them. I know they’re higher than they were because the deep, bone aching fatigue is not present all of the time anymore. But, I did have some time off of iron tablets over Christmas (I tolerate them relatively well, but I felt like my stomach needed a break after so many months on them) and that small break of a day or two on no tablets made the aches come back. For now I’ve found a slightly reduced dose that seems balanced on reducing fatigue and maintaining my stomach feeling ok.
Anyway, all of this (and yesterday’s post, which I wrote when I was on holiday) have got me thinking about what I want 2017 to be.
I have some feelings of intellectual under-use, from not currently working in my field, but I also don’t want to disregard that I have some very positive and good conditions in my current job. I think I’ll have to work on patience in this area and do what I always do – keep an eye out for jobs that meet my very specific criteria. I’m only leaving my current job if a lot of criteria are met for a new job. And in my area, that would be quite rare to get.
But back to my interests. I posted this on Facebook yesterday morning.
Maybe this year needs to be self indulgent? Maybe I need to develop hobbies. I can actually have hobbies again. I don’t know the last time I had a hobby. I have long appreciated how well actors can scream, and wanted to learn that. I might look into a hobby acting class.
13 Replies to “I’ve Lost All Of My Interests”
Iron deficiency must be exhausting! I can really understand how it would create a situation in which you could lose interest in everything. Just living through each day is exhausting enough. A hobby sounds like a great idea, something to look forward to each week. Acting classes are fun. I grew up taking acting classes and performing in stage productions. I think you would love them!
I do remember enjoying bits of performing and singing as a kid, so I think it would be a fun thing to try.
I think you’re doing great just working through all this stuff Vanessa. And I think a hobby of some kind would be great.
It is so important to have a good doctor. Your issue with just being inside the right range is typical. Everyone is different. With my thyroid I am super sensitive and have gone to my doctor because I can tell something is wrong. We do blood tests and find I have had the SLIGHTEST change in levels, but because of my symptoms she works to tweak my dosage. She has told me she has patients at the other end as well who say they feel fine and their latest blood work shows they are out of range. Patient input is critical- not just about numbers!!
It is so good – my GP is a very outgoing loud guy so he’s sometimes exhausting for me to see but he takes good care and will explain anything I ask about, so that is very valuable.
Low iron sounds like it’s exhausting but I’m pleased you’ve got a good GP on side and that you’re listening to your body and your GP is listening to you. I think hobbies are always a good idea. I think an acting class would be so much fun!
It does sound like you need some enjoyment / happiness in your life Vanessa. You’ve got so much horrible stuff going on I think a little self-indulgence would be a good thing!
Iron is important and when I’ve been tired or down it’s the first thing my doctor has suggested checking. I think it’s exciting to find new hobbies. I don’t think enough of us try different things to see what we do and don’t like.
My take on this…is that you had to keep yourself going for soooo long and were unwell that it takes a toll. The toll right now is that you are depleted (not of anything medicine wise) but of the get up and go you had to force yourself to have JUST to get to work, do Uni etc. I am feeling a bit like this too at the moment for different reasons, and whilst I have feelings of sadness it is more of a reactive thing based on ALL I have gone through in past 2 years. A Good GP is worth his/her weight in gold, and I have one i am seeing tomorrow!
I’ve had low iron before and it was horrible; I can empathise. I hope this is a better year for you!
I think it’s a great thing that you are so self aware Vanessa and are ok with just ‘being’ where you are at the moment and seeing where that takes you
It’s fabulous you are writing through it still – I think there always those phases in life when things shift around. Fingers crossed your iron levels are still up.
I think it’s so good that you’re writing about these things, making more sense of them and getting them off your chest too. It’s great that you’re reaching out to others who suffer from the same problems too. I hope your iron levels are okay at the moment.