by - December 14, 2017

Since I first got ill in February 2016, I've been in a constant Crohn's flare-up, sometimes it's more manageable than others. I basically got some huge gross lump on my bum, near my coccyx and couldn't stand or sit, so I had no choice but to lay on the sofa for a month...until it randomly burst whilst I was waiting for an MRI and ultrasound (still waiting). My flare-ups also mean I have an urgency to go to the toilet (to poop), my joints ache and my energy levels are that of a sloth in a coma. With not being at work, came not socialising, and with that came a really gross depression.

After doing some research (at like dick o'clock because of insomnia) I came across some information/a study (I can't find it rn) about a link between sertraline (my anti-depressant) and Crohn's. Now, I've been ill since BEFORE I started my sertraline, so it hasn't caused my bowel disease, but I did begin to wonder if it's why I'm still flaring almost a year after being diagnosed. This lead me to start looking into other types of antidepressant, and I started looking up amitryptiline. It's not often used for depression or anxiety anymore, but to help with sleep and pain relief. As most of you probably know, I have insomnia, and I'm often in pain.

Normally, I wouldn't dream of expressing this to a medical professional, because they normally just think "ugh, people googling things and not researching it properly" etc, etc, however, the GP I've been seeing recently is amazing so I mentioned all of this to him. He gave me three options: up my sertraline and see what happens as it has helped with my anxiety and depression massively, switch to amitryptiline or take both together. After discussing the pros and cons of each option, we decided to go with taking both. My sertraline stayed at 50mg which I take in the morning, and I started taking 10mg amitriptyline before bed.

This was fine, but after a month, I didn't really feel much different and my pain had actually got worse.

I'm very fortunate that I have now found a GP that I trust and can be honest with - it got to a point where I really didn't want to be alive. I wasn't - and I am not - going to harm or kill myself, my family is too important to me, and I'm scared I'd mess it up and end up in like a coma or something. After explaining this to him, and him showing genuine concern we decided to up my sertraline to 100mg, and my amitriptyline to 20mg. He also changed me from tramadol to oramorph - fantastic decision as I don't have to take it all of the time, I can just take it as and when necessary as I'm very aware of how easy it is to become addicted to pain medication.

Very rarely do I worry about what other people might think and I'm always open and honest about my physical and mental health - after years of not opening up, I realised how damaging that could be.

I just found myself thinking/questioning what the point of being alive was when I wasn't living. I was really scared about what people might think if I said this - scared they wouldn't understand and would constantly worry. It turns out, the few people I've expressed this to have felt the same way, and it's quite normal. (So if you ever find yourself feeling this way, I'm here and I get it, come to me.)

After two weeks I felt normal again - a massive relief. I had completely forgotten about the not wanting to be alive, my GP was so happy to hear this. My body was still being a hot mess, but I felt better in myself and thought I'd put on weight (I was 7 stone when I got weighed a few months ago, and I thought maybe I'd put on up to another 7lbs), sadly, this was not the case and I'd dropped back down to 6 stone 6 lbs. This was so disheartening and made me feel quite crappy, but it's something I have to get used to I think.

I actually felt so good about my mental health that I felt brave enough to go to...the dentist (actually, that's another post)!

I'm still on 15mg of prednisolone, which is fine but I don't think it's doing much and isn't a long-term solution. I'm having a colonoscopy on 13th December to see what's going on in there, hopefully, we can then work on a new treatment plan.

Well, that's where I'm at really. As always, I'm open about everything so come talk to me - any time. I've recently been speaking to a few people who haven't really had anyone to speak to that understands what they're going through with bowel disease/chronic illness and you don't need to be alone. There is a whole huge spoonie/chronic ill gang community. We can wallow together, or cheer each other up - whatever you need.

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