On the Road: This Time, at Undiagnosed But OK

photo credit: pwkpwkpwk via photopin cc
photo credit: pwkpwkpwk via photopin cc

Last night, before my birthday dinner, I scooped up a handful of pills.

“Daddy,” Grace asked. “What are those for?”

I pushed them around on my hand, and, not for the first time ever, thought about all the different things that would be part of my bloodstream after I took them. There’s one for allergies. Two of one kind to help regulate my glucose levels. And another to help that one.

And there’s a new one. An anti-depressant.

That one was a bit of a surprise. And I’m still processing the whole thing. I walked into my doctor’s office to talk diabetes, and before I knew it, we were having a heart-to-heart about my life. My doctor knows my life pretty well. It’s struggles, and its strengths.

She recommended the antidepressant.

I left that out in my answer to Grace. “It’s for my diabetes,” I said, not even intentionally leaving out the allergy stuff.

The diabetes has been around a while. It’s my challenge. I’m lucky enough today to be part of Kerri Ames’ challenge series on her blog, Undiagnosed but OK. I’m calling myself out a bit on the diabetes. The rest?

Well, maybe that’ll be for another day, when I get a better handle on it.

Please join me, and tell me in your comments a little about your challenge, too.

kerri quote


  1. Yanic A. says:

    I’m so sorry for the surprising twist Eli. I hope the need for the meds is short lived. I find you very brave to put it out there. Talking about it can’t be easy, but I’m sure it will help a lot of people. Too many (especially men) hide it, don’t get the help they need. ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well, I didn’t intend for that, actually. I didn’t think myself brave to mention it, either, because so many people suffer far worse than I do.

      I felt bad that I couldn’t tell my daughter all about what I was taking – mainly because I’m not sure myself.

      I feel like I got on the wrong bus. I wonder if it was relevant? I never asked for help. I just took my doctor’s advice. I’m still trying to sort it all out.

      1. Yanic A. says:

        Still, you TOOK it… A lot of guys wouldn’t. You,ll figure out the right words. Sometimes, wisdom is about knowing when to say things at the right time. I don’t think you should feel bad. It,s better that she knows when you are better able to explain. She’ll surely have questions, it would worry her more that you don’t quite have answers. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I know she will. And she’ll understand, and have compassion. Thank you too, Yanic, for having the patience with me in these comments.

  2. Bless… that is a lot to process, Eli, and it is no wonder you’re feeling a little floored by the whole thing. But I am very glad you are getting whatever help you need. The need for an antidepressant is not a sign of weakness, but of strength: It takes a strong man to realize he sometimes needs a little help. 🙂 Keep up the good work with your diabetes… it is worth the fight. My mum is type 2, and I am trying my best to stave off the propensity. So I feel your pain somewhat. xx MH

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well, I really didn’t mean to put it out there, today, but the moment with Grace last night just seemed like a good way to start. I don’t know that I need help.

      I really don’t know more than that my doctor thinks I could benefit from this and I trust her. Trust me, though, the whole prospect has spurred a lot of thought.

      “Stave off the propensity” … I like that term. I will fight my best, too. Your mum and me will.

      1. Aww, well done, mate. Actually, the doc just put me on a low dose SSRI for hot flushes. I don’t have depression, but now I’m in the breaking in period of this tablet, nauseous, dizzy… etc. It will get better, hopefully. I’ll keep you posted… 🙂 They can be very helpful, and if they help me get through this sweaty nighmare that is my life at present, I’m all for it! Oh – just getting ready to link to your blog from my post tonight… just giving you a heads up. xx MH

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks Dorreen – it’s an honor, and I can’t wait to read it. I hope you feel better soon. As for me, I don’t know what I hope for. I feel the way I’ve always felt. Has this been wrong all along?

  3. tamaralikecamera says:

    I already joined you!
    Important pills right there. In a perfect world, yeah, you wouldn’t need any of them. This is an imperfect world, of course, and you are listening to the advice of people you trust.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks for joining me there, Tamara. I feel like I want them all to go away, even the allergy one, and I think about them all so little except for when the letter on the pill box matches the day and it still has something inside.

  4. Amanda K. says:

    It’s okay, E. Life has its way with us from time to time. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength to accept help when you need it. You’re a strong man, and your admission just confirms this.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      AK. Thanks. I felt like I was punching away just fine, but it’s like now that my corner man (woman, in this case, my doctor) tossed in the towel for me this round.

      It’s stranger to put it out here because I’m not even sure about any of it at all. I just trusted.

      1. Amanda K. says:

        Maybe you are punching away just fine, but your trainer thought you were taking a few too many hits and needed a break. She didn’t toss in the towel. She’s just breaking out the smelling salts, giving you time to clear your head, get your wits back about you, and maybe change your game plan a bit before you get back in that fight.

        I know what you mean about the uncertainty of the diagnosis, though. Back in March I was diagnosed with PTSD. I can’t even begin to explain how absurd that seemed to me (and still does). I thought life was going pretty good, yet now that I look back all the signs were there.

        Trust is good. Remember that anti-depressants take a couple months to have an effect. In my case, after two months of no change they upped the dosage and it was another month before I really started to feel any different. And then I started to feel better. I didn’t feel bad before, but better is definitely a good thing.

        Hit me up on email if you want to talk more. Miss you, E. XO

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I knew you’d get the boxing reference. And roll with it.

        I feel the same way, too. Like, “wait, what?” It definitely has me thinking. I see things and wonder, is this just how I see things? Is the world not like this for everyone?

        It’s like discovering what you thought was orange actually was red. Just a slight difference, but a shift.

        Yes, she said I wouldn’t really tell a difference for at least a month. So anything I feel, I guess it’s just in my head. It’s strange, I feel like whatever that was inside that might have felt depressed, it’s insulated. I feel it there, still, but it’s not coursing in my veins as much.

        I guess. I still don’t know.

  5. firebailey says:

    Eli, thank you so much for being willing to participate in the MY CHALLENGE series. You inspire us all!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well, you really made me put the challenge out there, so I have to thank you. I just hope it inspires me to better things!

  6. ProteanMom says:

    I don’t know why taking anti-depressants has become so taboo; the more we all talk about depression and its treatment options, the better understood it will be. My friend posted an interesting article on a new theory as to a cause of depression – I’ll go dig it up.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ll be glad to read it, Kim. I’m just trying to figure out how I got here … not how I feel, but how I wound up on a Wednesday having this discussion!

      I know, the obvious answer is, I posted it. But, it feels like something I can’t fully understand, so how in the world can I speak about it?

      1. ProteanMom says:

        I don’t necessarily think we have to explain everything… It’s different for everyone. Admitting that it is a common problem, and that seeking treatment is good, is a good spot to start. Maybe that’s all that needs saying, in some cases.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Maybe you’re right. But, honestly … I had no idea it would even come up at this appointment. I do now remember my dad telling me, years ago, that depression runs in the family.

        He told me to not be afraid to ask for help. The thing is, I didn’t. It was a conversation that became more revealing, I guess, and then … the prescription. I still don’t understand it.

  7. Kim says:

    Headed over to read but I’m glad that you take ALL the medicines you need!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Kim – I wish I didn’t take anything.

  8. Debbie @ Deb Runs says:

    Sounds like you have a good doctor that is concerned about your overall health, not just one that singles out only what you’re visiting for. Keep moving (exercising), and taking your medication to help regulate your glucose levels. And by all means if you need to take something to help with depression, do it. Nothing to be ashamed of there! Heading over to read Undiagnosed But OK now.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She’s a keeper. And never makes me feel guilty. I’ll do what I can for diabetes, because it’s a known quantity. I don’t know a thing about the other stuff. Seriously, like, how does this happen? This must all sound so ignorant. I am seriously on the wrong train, or am I?

  9. Lady Lilith says:

    Your little one sounds so adorable. Such a curious little fella.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She asks the million dollar questions. I love that about her.

  10. Lisa says:

    Oh no that sucks about having diabetes! Good luck on getting it managed!!! Sending Hugz your way! My problem is weight control! Was skinny my whole life then several years ago I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. It never went in remission so they killed my thyroid off with radiation. Now I have to exercise every day and eat like a bird for the rest of my life. I just need to get my butt in gear and do it but love food too much! We all have some kind of cross to bear in our lives huh!! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m trying my best, Lisa! Thanks for the hugs. My weight’s actually been good in recent years, and I feel like I’m in pretty decent shape. Just have to get that blood sugar more consistent.

      Food really is delicious, isn’t it?

  11. ksbeth says:

    i’m glad that you’re meeting your challenges head on. all of them. for some reason, people find it easier to deal with a physical health diagnosis rather than a mental health diagnosis, though both need balance in order to live your best life. absolutely no shame in that, and it’s damn well brave to do this – for you, as well as your daughters. the common good –

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      i guess i’m proving that today in the comments, huh? everything needs to be in harmony, i think. like your car’s transmission and power steer and brakes have to be all in good order for the car to run well.

      no bravery yet for the daughters. i sidestepped the first opportunity to talk about it. but as i said, i really don’t understand it all yet.

  12. byebyebeer says:

    I took an antidepressant for about two years. It helped a lot during that time. I know it’s hard to talk about, and being open about it made me feel vulnerable. I’m glad you wrote about it here. Self care can be just as hard but will pay off down the road. What a wonderful thing to model for your kids.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s good to hear something good came of it, Kristen. I hadn’t even thought of any need for help. I feel like I’m being too defensive, like I’m contagious.

      I thought it might have been a bad idea at first – comments like yours make me realize otherwise. I’ll just keep trying to take care of myself.

  13. jmgoyder says:

    Me too (the anti-depressants I mean) – have to say it has changed my life for the better.

  14. Lyn says:

    First up, Happy Birthday for yesterday! I hope your birthday dinner was incredibly yummy and you had cake despite the restrictions of diabetes 🙂
    So now you’ve got a new medication to take and this one’s for depression — it’s enough to make you…well, depressed. Sadly, some people when a friend or family member says, “I’ve been diagnosed with depression,” will back away because think they can catch it from you, or they look at you with distaste as if you haven’t showered for a month. Why is taking medication for depression any different to taking medication for diabetes, or osteoarthritis, or thyroid, or blood pressure? Me, I’m taking all of those. In the past, I took antidepressants before being diagnosed with a non-functioning thyroid. It was one of the most horrendous times in my life. I thought I was going mad. I felt cold all the time — even in summer. Another thing that goes haywire when your thyroid isn’t working is your memory. You tell people something repeatedly and they’d say, “”Yes, I know, you told me this morning.” I was prepared to swear that I hadn’t, and they were lying. One night I drove out of the driveway, turned two corners and despite having driven this way hundreds of times became lost. I pulled over to the side of the road shaking and in a cold sweat and sat and cried. I’d also gained 30kg in six months, and had no idea what was happening to me. I dumped my doctor because he said I was just a bored overweight housewife. Hello!! I have a job and I’m raising three kids on my own, I doubt that I’m bored, so I found a new doctor. When I told him all my symptoms, he didn’t make any diagnosis, but ordered blood tests and when the results came back, he was like the cat who’d swallowed the canary and said, “Your thyroid isn’t just underactive, it has ceased functioning.” At last I had a reason for everything that had been happening and getting worse over the previous year — actually for the past twenty years — but that last year was the killer. The depression at that time was bad. We tried 4-5 different antidepressants before we found one that didn’t have unwanted side effects. A year later, I no longer needed the antidepressants. I still take everything else, but by far, the worst is the osteoarthritis. I have no cartilage at all between my knee joints so it’s bone grinding on bone. I was on morphine patches for the pain, but they tended to make me so dopey (ok, more dopey than usual) that I could barely function, so I gradually weaned myself off them and now just take paracetamol four times a day. On some days the pain is worse than others, and on those days I don’t walk much or drive. But hey, I figure any day you wake up is a good day 😀

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Wow – what an ordeal. I’m most impressed with your attitude today. Yes, any day you wake up is a good day. I think this is a reason too that I have squirmed in comments on this.

      I don’t feel like I’m suffering.

      It has made me think about how I see the world, though. Are those dark portions i feel what everyone feels? I always assumed. I always assumed I’d feel a certain way about myself because that’s the way the world was.

      I know that still doesn’t make sense. I’m a long way from understanding. But comments like yours make me less squirmy about having mentioned anything.

  15. My mother has Type II diabetes. My maternal grandparents had it, and some of my mother’s siblings have it. This has become one of my big fears and that’s why I work like crazy to keep my weight in check. I don’t know when that Type II button will get activated…10 pounds or 50 too much. I can relate to chronic health issues, though. I have Crohn’s and last year I went through a huge ordeal. Thankfully by God’s good grace, I came through that mess with flying colors. Depression is something I empathize with, but totally do not understand except for the occasional moodiness that comes from hormone dips. This is an expected symptom of a 52 year old woman who had surgery induced menopause thrust upon her more than a decade ago. I’m finding relief with SottoPelle Therapy (HRT pellets that’s inserted below the skin). We all have our ups & downs, but choosing how we go on with each day makes all the difference. Although I do not know you, I think you’re on the right road to handling your medical crisis. It’s so good to meet you through this little community called Blogosphere, and to learn that we are practically neighbors. lol Have a good day!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I just don’t know what we can do to stave it off. I’ve known skinny people who’ve gotten it, and not-so-skinny ones whose pancreas works like a champ.

      I don’t understand depression either from a personal standpoint outside of what i believed were normal ‘blues’ or a wistful world view. I thought I was just a poet who couldn’t rhyme.

      I feel fine in the everyday. But am I firing on all cylinders? I don’t know. I know only what I’ve fired on for 43 years. This is what confuses me.

  16. Carrie Cannady says:

    Happy Birthday to you, dear Eli. I’m giving you a word for your birthday…COURAGE. Speaking our truth is a powerful first step into healing ourselves. I’ve been down the depression path – Major Depressive Disorder was the diagnosis with a prescription for anti-depressants for the rest of my life (to which I said to myself – NO WAY.) I did my time – up to three antidepressants at one point, therapy – lots of it. When we stop living the life that everyone is so quick to tell us that we SHOULD be living, and live the one we choose in each moment, then the sweetness of life unfolds and the sun shines from within. Do I still have days of sadness and melancholy? Yes. Now I welcome them in and have tea with those feelings…then they leave a bit sooner than if I tried to ignore them. Here’s another gift for you. A new filter for the lens with which you view your life. It is brighter and is intended to facilitate your seeing all that you have, before you see what you do not have. It’s a life changer, I promise.

    Blessings to you dear, creative 43 year old. You rock…and as soon as you can hold that, I’ll bet you will begin to feel better. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you for your kind and wise words, Carrie. I’m still not at the point I think where I can own this, because I don’t understand it, where I am, why I need this.

      I love the idea of a new filter. That’s where I see the need best. I’m ready for that.

      Is it supposed to be confusing like this?

  17. Jodi says:

    Eli I am so glad you stopped by to visit, I was meant to read this post. I have not blogged about it but I suffer from anxiety too. I have taken meds for…ummm…. about 15 years. Effexxor XR. So long story,short- you are not alone. Hopefully its temporary, but if it’s not, that’s okay too. If you ever need a non-professional “take” on the feelings (a virtual friend) to bounce something off of, consider me in! I absolutely understand.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m glad you made it this way too, Jodi. Thanks for sharing your story. There’s been that trepidation I feel when I scoop a palmful of pills into my mouth, and it remains.

      But, so many have stepped up this week. I didn’t think I needed or wanted anyone to. But when someone’s hand is on your shoulder, you appreciate it.

      I will take you up on the offer. Thank you.

  18. Rorybore says:

    I had diabetes during two of my pregnancies – so I KNOW. believe. I actually had to take insulin because the pill version had not been approved for pregnant women yet. fun times.
    You do what you gotta do though, right? And you march ever onward. there’s a little superhero in all of us just waiting for the chance to fight whatever bully life throws at us… and do something extraordinary.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Diabetes during pregnancy – I always felt that was a low by Mother Nature. Like you don’t have enough to occupy your attention, just add insulin.

      I have my Spider-man socks, Rore. And I’m ready to roll.

      1. Rorybore says:

        It truly sucks — especially if you are craving jelly beans and carbs.
        I think I should get my own super cape just for not hurting anyone during that time.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Which is kind of my every waking hour. Maybe it was *because* of your super cape that you didn’t hurt anyone during that time.

  19. Tamara says:

    E, I hear “wrong train / bus”. What makes you say that?

    Your doc seems to be a trustworthy, decent person, so if you need some sort of closure why don’t you go back and ask her what prompted her to suggest it?

    Aren’t your girls reading your blog? Maybe telling them you haven’t figured it out yourself may be a good start to talk about.

    I think there is a fine line between feeling blue and being mildly depressed. If the meds help preventing a turn to a more severe condition, great!

    Personally I am a bit suspicious about the whole medical system, especially drugs. Don’t get me wrong, my Grandma whom I never met, died at 42 from heart failure due to high cholestrol, and it runs in my family. I can see black on white that the pills I take reduce my level, so I am happy about that.

    I feel depression is just around the corner. I know insomnia can trigger it, and I haven’t been sleeping well for years, so I am actually surprised nobody has put me on that bus yet.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It just feels as if other people have had to go through so much worse than me. I feel like the kicker with a clean uniform during a muddy football game.

      I feel I don’t warrant anyone’s support or sympathy on this, because I’m just a blue kid with a bit of a storm cloud over his head. No worse than Charlie Brown.


      I have a lot to understand, that’s all.

      I wish they could give you something to make you sleep better. But not a pill. Maybe graham crackers and milk?

      Thank you for everything, Tamara.

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