My Life Journey

The Body Is a Strange Creature

Yesterday afternoon I was trying out one of the single-use thermometer strips I have for work, just to remind myself how to use them.  It told me that I had a mild fever. I confirmed it on my regular thermometer.  That got me thinking about how strange my body has been acting over the last few years.

In 2015, after weeks of having an intermittent mild fever, I developed a severe bacterial pneumonia that required several days of IV antibiotics.  It seemed to be out of the blue; there was no cold or other mild respiratory infection that preceded it.  That is very odd for a physically healthy person my age.  Since then, I’ve had a couple of bouts of what seemed to be viral pneumonia (less severe symptoms, no significant fever).  Any time I have a cold now (like I did a few weeks ago), I get a lot of chest congestion that makes breathing difficult.

Around the same time, I started getting migraines that involved a lot of nausea and sometimes vomiting.  I don’t get them often, and they don’t seem to be triggered by anything that I can identify, but they’re not something I’d ever had before that.  I ended up getting a migraine yesterday evening, just before I was supposed to see a client for work.  Luckily she ended up needing to reschedule, because I felt like I was in the process of dying.

In the last year or so, I’ve had vertigo, including rocking vertigo (a sense of the ground rocking); again, this is something I’d never had before.  Often vertigo is linked to inner ear issues, but with the pattern it’s taken for me it seems more likely to be psychiatric in origin. I’ve also had some odd perceptual disturbances, and even more so than the vertigo there seems to be a pattern consistent with psychiatric causation.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong in a physical sense.  It’s not health anxiety; if anything, my health professional training makes me more inclined to brush these things off as vague and non-specific.  The thought sometimes wanders into my head that maybe I have a brain tumour.  That thought doesn’t make me worry; if anything, it gives me a sense of relief to think that there could be something that would naturally cut short my life.  It’s not that I’m suicidal, I just don’t have a desire to live a long life.  I also don’t care sufficiently to push my doctor to order imaging tests that really don’t seem warranted.

Does your body do strange things sometimes?  Does it seem linked to your mental illness?

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18 thoughts on “The Body Is a Strange Creature”

  1. My goodness, I would be a nervous wreck if my body was experiencing all of what you are going through.
    The only thing I have had are migraines and mild fevers, heck I have one now. I’ve been fighting to keep a cold at bay for a couple of days now, but it seems the cold is going to out way my attempts.
    Cograts on the book! I am so very proud of you!!!!!

  2. Is there any chance these are side effects of your meds? I had the same issue several years ago, and it turned out to be Prozac. It apparently causes neurological issues in 1% of people who take it. In my case, it makes me teeter off the sidewalk, and it causes ataxia in my hands and stiffness in one leg.

    Also, maybe the vertigo ties into the migraines…? I’m not sure, so I googled it, and there’s a link between the two issues. There’s something called migraine associated vertigo.

    I have no theories about the pneumonia, except that you live in Canada, and there’s probably a lot of it going around! The one time I got it, over two years ago, I traced it back to a Kleenex my dog picked up on our walk, which I never should’ve touched.

    1. I have some ataxia related to lithium, but none of the stuff I mentioned in my posts makes sense timing-wise to be med-related. And the migraines and vertigo also don’t seem to be correlated in time. It’s the apparent randomness of it that makes it seem so strange.

      1. I’m wondering the same thing – about whether it’s possibly medication related, because sometimes you can get delayed or cumulative ototoxicity which can cause either or both of hearing loss and vertigo. A friend of mine who has bipolar has developed permanent sensorineural deafness as a result of toxicity from a combo of lithium plus atypical antipsychotic.

        Even if you rule that out, I’d still say these are all more likely to be physical than psychiatric, even if life stresses or dips in mood might be the initial trigger. I reckon that chronic illness plus medications just reduces your reserve to deal with any sort of physical dysregulation in your body, and symptoms which would be trivial or your body/brain could compensate for when you’re well kind of escalate when you’re not. Harking back to that book you just read on the inflammatory component of depression, it makes sense that the same type of inflammation could also have subtle effects on other aspects of nerve and brain function, which would explain both vertigo (which could be in the ear itself or central) and migraine (effects on the nerves controlling vasoconstriction/vasodilation).

  3. I have several ‘odd’ symptoms and have had them for years. Nobody can find out why they occur. This winter I’ve begun to be cold all the time, even though prior to this I was usually overly warm. Some have suggested this might be due to thyroid issues. The thyroid is a complex little thing, regulates a LOT of stuff in the body and if it’s going south? Odd symptoms crop up. I’m not eager to find out either way, because if I hear “well it’s not this and it’s not that; we’re not sure what it is” one more time. And ‘in the day’ (when I was employed and mixed with people more often than I do now) , stress would bring on a host of physical symptoms. Sometimes the mind knows better what one can tolerate than one might think. Good luck with getting some answers!

  4. Any medicine that interferes with the body and psyche’s processing of life will have toxic side affects. Add to this a lot of strange symptoms associated with the heating up of our planet and its not strange to know your body is reacting the way it does. I listened to a programme on body humours today which were acknowledged upto medieval times the academic from University College London explained that our body responds to everything around us, including pressures, light, heat, sound and planetary placements as well as the geophysical elements. Then there are our emotions, the body is far more complex and interconnected than modern medicine helps us to understand with its compartmentalisation.

  5. In my case the physical symptoms start manifesting before anything stressful is to happen…like a signal.
    You are a tough cookie…and I wish you laughter n smiles.
    I need this book of yours…thanks for reading my mind and writing this…

  6. For me, I feel like stress accentuates mild symptoms. I do have health anxiety so that is never a good time. It’s a vicious cycle of stress leads to illness which leads to stress. Luckily, I am breaking free of a lot of my spiraling as of late. Best wishes for you and your health

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