This year I have been trying to take control of my health, specifically my clotting disorders. I wrote this about a month ago to some friends…
Since Caroline was born I have really been struggling. Mostly, lack of energy, both physically and mentally. I think it has manifested itself in depression – when life is so overwhelming that I can’t deal with it and just retreat into myself. I am so tired and I hate who I am right now. I feel like I am just surviving life – my goal each and every day has been to get myself through the day with my children’s basic needs met. If I eat that day, it’s only a bonus. This doesn’t seem like a way to live life. And not to compare myself to other moms, but I’ve been looking at my friends (both online and IRL) and I don’t think this is normal. Every mom has a bad day, but it doesn’t seem that it’s every single day. I have wondered if I was lazy, but I really truly felt it was more than that. I was in counseling for depression but while that seemed to answer a lot of questions, part of me didn’t think it was exactly it. I felt I was just floundering and so tired of trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
Over a year ago I was diagnosed with homozygous MTHFR C677T. At the time, I was only concerned about it affecting my ability to stay pregnant. Now that I’m not pregnant anymore, I somewhat forgot about it but have kept it in the back of my head, especially when I’d come across research about MTHFR and depression. Then a friend sent me this link:
It’s long but a good read if you want to learn more about MTHFR. The parts that spoke the most to me were these:
The MTHFR gene sits at a critical point. If you have a glitch that keeps this gene from doing its job, the cogs on both sides of the picture are going to get mucked up. Instead of the light switch being on or off, it’s stuck in some sort of dimmer switch mode, functioning, but not nearly as well as it should be. The proper interaction of methylfolate and Methyl-B12 is what drives your body’s ability to fuel every cell in your body with energy…
While exact numbers are hard to verify, one mutation on C677T means you’re probably methylating (converting) folate into methylfolate at 40-60% efficiency. If you have two mutations, that number drops to approximately 10% efficiency. In my personal experience, this is a pretty big deal when it comes to dealing with anxiety and depression.
Suddenly, everything made sense. I wanted to cry. With relief, with exhaustion… No wonder I have no energy, my body is running at 10%! Of course, while that might be the explanation, that doesn’t mean there is a miracle pill. MTHFR is largely dismissed by the medical community. I am not anti-Western medicine at all, and I’m not a person who has distrust of medical doctors… but I felt really discouraged when my hematologist brushed me off. So I sent the article to my midwife and asked her if she’d help me figure out how to supplement to make up for the methylfolate that my body is incapable of processing. She has agreed and has been doing a lot of research on her own to learn more. Can I just say I love her for that? She is truly doing what I wish my other doctor had… coming alongside me to help me figure out a treatment plan for a mutation that doesn’t have a lot of research behind yet.
The plan right now is to supplement with methylfolate. We aren’t sure what the appropriate amount should be, so we are going to start with one amount and reevaluate in 2 months. I am also going to be taking supplements of magnesium, calcium, and omega-3. I was tested for vitamin D deficiency, and my level was at 13 (compared to the 50 recommended minimum level). So I’ll be supplementing for that as well.
I am hopefully going to be ordering all these supplements soon and start them. I really hope they help with my overall energy level and depression. Actually, I really think the depression stems from not having the energy to emotionally handle challenges. I am really looking forward to being myself again. I want to be a good mom. I don’t want to be supermom, I just want to be able to do simple things like go grocery shopping AND put the groceries away when I get home.
I started the supplements around the beginning of April. I had to buy a huge pill organizer (4 compartments for each day) to keep them all straight. :-) I have noticed a difference already – not anything major, but just in my overall energy level. I went grocery shopping with both girls today – and put away all the groceries when we got home. I also made dinner. There is still so much more I need to be doing, but I really feel this is a step in the right direction. For the first time, I feel a sense of hope, which is a wonderful thing to feel.