Me, Myself, and Mental Illness…

Good day! My name is Ashley (aka Censorfish) and this is, well, all about me! I am happily not single, have a diploma in General Management, have never been unemployed for more than a week, have an amazing set of skills and abilities gathered from 15 years in the working world. I love to write, draw, read all sorts of books, play video games such as Fallout 3 & 4, Resident Evil 5, Prey and Horizon Zero Dawn, I dream about working in the video game industry, and play with my 5 (6 technically) cats.

I suffer from Chronic Depression, Social Anxiety, and severe pain in my hands and arms.

I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 14, and from there it’s been an increasingly upward struggle to try and balance the demands of the illness versus the demands of life.  I sought counselling in 2010 after becoming severely depressed and suicidal, was put on stress leave for 6 weeks, moved back to my hometown in 2011, moved in with my current partner in 2012. All this time I continued to fight with the depression and anxiety that seemed to get worse as time went on.

In August 2015 I was at work, when pain shot up my right arm.  After a month it went away.  And then came back with a vengeance February 2016. I was put on Gabapentin, and told to gradually increase the dose until it helped my pain go away, I was referred to a neurologist as well. The drug reduced my short term memory and affected my ability to recall information that prior to the medication was almost ridiculously easy. Despite the drugs, the pain did not go away, and I had hit over the max dosage of 1200mg in a day without specialist approval.  The appointment with the neurologist came, and everything was clear. Good news, it’s not nerves. Bad news, it’s not nerves causing the extreme pain.

September 2016, depression and anxiety was quite severe but not suicidal, I hate drugs, but I knew I couldn’t do this alone.  Effexor landed me in the hospital after 4 days of the lowest dose. I had all the side effects.  Swapped to CipraLex, 10mg. After 2 weeks, extremely effective, but cognitive abilities that had been made fuzzy by the gabapentin, were now almost completely impossible, I couldn’t stay awake through an entire shift. I was put on part time at work.

I worked for 4 months at part time, assisting where I could, depression and anxiety under control for the most part, but the pain. The pain was always there. After Christmas holidays, I came back, was taken into the office and told I needed to go on medical leave. The office could no longer support keeping me there.  I agreed. They had tried to accommodate me as much as they could.  

I have been off work since December 30th, 2016. I have worked with a registered massage therapist, chiropractors, my doctor, a neurologist, a physiotherapist, and now a psychiatrist and counselling.

As of May 19th 2017 I have seen a Rheumatologist and have been diagnosed with Soft Tissue Rheumatism. Pain around the joints but not associated with any medical conditions causing joint pain.  There is very little information on this disease, and it is basically trial and error with drugs and exercises. There’s no guarantee of a timeline for when I could be better, or when I could be well enough to return to work.

This is my journey, a written account of my struggles, thoughts, and ideas.

Instagram is for those photographic moments, Facebook is for my art, WordPress is for my writing, and Twitter is for all the rest of the random shit that goes on in my life.

Enjoy the ride!

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