Please consider this a cautionary tale for everyone, but especially women, and most especially non-Caucasian broads. In August of 2021, I decided to give my body a little break from the supplements which I’d regularly taken for years. My original intention was a short three month break, but before I could start things up again, I began bottoming out.
What does that mean? It means that beginning in late October, my brain started creating scenarios borne of nothing, and Worst Case Scenario-ing, and quick-sanding into these thoughts. Some examples include how I was going to get bedbugs; I was going to lose all of my teeth; I had melanoma; I was going to lose my job; my mother was going to have to rumble with someone; and the VIP of all thoughts – that I was going to end up old, and houseless on the streets of Ottawa. Toothless.
These thoughts would anchor for days and sleepless nights. At one point I asked two friends – Natasha and Poppy – if their male partners would help FIGHT ANY MAN WHO MIGHT TRY TO BEAT UP MY MOM. Are you laughing? The best part is – and this is a testament to female friendship – both of them, and their partners were like, YES, without batting an eye or even laughing at me, Sad Clown.
These thoughts translated onto my nervous system and fucked me up something serious. I had to enlist the active help of beloveds to walk me through ideas into a place of safe thoughts instead. I purchased a new journal (because of course I did. Any excuse to do so please and thank you) and wrote down the thought, then all of the points countering it’s irrational nature. I now also have a running list of all friends and their areas of expertise so that in future, when I need to call on them to, let’s say, help me NOT HAVE ALL OF MY TEETH PULLED, I’d know exactly who to call.
It was fucking WILD. I couldn’t catch a thought to stop it, no matter what. A part of this is because a main function of our brain is to protect us. It’s not to be our friend, but rather it is to make certain that we survive. So when my brain felt like it’s host was under threat, or had to ward off against the possibility of my becoming houseless and toothless, it did what a Type A brain naturally does, except in an extremely heightened state.
Honestly. My poor family and friends to whom I turned with every single irrational thought, seeking their help to undo my anxiety. Only by the Grace of God did they not throw my Sad Clown ass off a balcony.
At first, I chalked it up to pandemic isolation. So did my doctor. Then my doctor and I did all of the testing – hormonal / thyroid / you name it. All of which was clear and alhamduliLah healthier than the average woman in her late 40s.
Critical sidebar for those of you who ovulate: When you’re in your late 40s, many people might chalk things up to you being in perimenopause/menopause. Which becomes fertile ground for them to miss things because they use this one particular matter as a blanket cover for whatever the issue is which you’re experiencing. Please be extra careful to not simply accept this. Dig in, and ask for more testing, always.
I sent all of my results to my aunt, who has never once misdiagnosed anything. (She is a pediatrician.) She instructed me to get my Vitamin D levels checked, because a Vitamin D check is NOT A PART OF THE OHIP COVERED CHECKS. Meaning, if you get bloodwork completed with your annual check-up, you are not having your Vitamin D levels checked.
But please, tell me one more time how the Canadian Government has a Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund; just make sure to bring this up to me on Bell’s Let’s Talk! day, thanks.
I paid $39 including taxes, to confirm that I was not losing my mind, but rather only with an extreme Vitamin D deficiency. Forever one of the most important days in history is June 22nd, 2022, the day on which these results came in. My aunt’s suspicions were confirmed and my doctor immediately placed me on prescription Vitamin D pills for the coming eight weeks.
Within a few hours of taking my first Vitamin D pill of 50,000 IUs, my world shifted. The fog, and the anxiety, and the depression simply evaporated. And it has not returned. BismilLaah and alhamduliLaah because OH MY GOD. How was this not the first thing for which I was tested the moment I said I am suddenly anxious and depressed all. of. the. time. and suddenly?
I asked my girl D, a psychiatrist, if she tests for Vitamin D deficiency before she prescribes anti-anxiety pills or pills to treat depression. She does not. She, an extremely competent and brilliant psychiatrist, was shocked to learn about how my Vitamin D deficiency made me Sad Clown.
Here’s where things land, apparently – women are at greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Women of colour, and Black women even more so. (Though I look very Caucasian, I am in fact not. Just in case I haven’t yelled this enough in your general direction.) If you are prone to anxiety and depression, you should probably take Vitamin D supplements starting in your 20s (first, please always check with your doctor). And finally, things really do crumble as we age – because after you’re 45 (especially women), no matter how much time you spend in the sun, and no matter what you eat, your body doesn’t absorb vitamins and nutrients as naturally as it does when younger, so you will absolutely need a Vitamin D supplement. More so in a country such as Canada because sun exposure is far more limited.
Critical note! Vitamin D can build up in your system to toxic and dangerous levels, which is why you need to only take Vitamin D with the consultation of your doctor, please and thank you.
And that, Rat Bastards, is a part of the reason I have been MIA to many of you. Why I have been quiet in general. Why I have been crying at the drop of a pin and wondering under which bridge I will one day reside, without any of my original teeth.
May I never again see the inside of that side of my brain again, aameen.
Thanks for coming out. xx