Under the Weather

I am so tired today. I mean, like really, really tired. Bone weary.

There is no apparent reason. I’ve been off work this past week, so that can’t be held to blame. I didn’t do much yesterday, apart from shop in Ikea and then watch TV for the rest of the day.

Okay, so the Ikea trip could have done it, as it has a tendency to become very stressful if you aren’t in the right frame of mind. But I had plenty of time to get over that, and then I got a reasonably early night. I woke at my usual day off time of 6.20am. Yes I know, an awful time to wake on your day off, but I like early mornings, especially when I don’t have to go anywhere and can relax with a cup of tea and a book.

Anyway, so I woke at the usual time, and instantly felt exhausted and just generally under the weather. I naturally assumed it was a result of the two glasses of white wine I drank last night, as I’m generally a red girl. But it is quite unusual to feel hungover after just two glasses.

There may actually be a genuine reason why I am so tired. I had a blood test done earlier this week and have received a letter asking me to make an appointment with my GP to discuss the results. I’m pretty sure I know what they will be already. I myself requested the aforementioned tests to be carried out, to find out if there had been any changes since my last blood tests.

For the past eight years, I have been attending my local health centre every 3 months to have a vitamin B12 injection, after a blood test in 2009 showed that levels were extremely low. For those of you who aren’t familiar with vitamin B12 and it’s benefits, as I wasn’t in 2009, a deficiency is actually worse than you would imagine.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, helps to keep red blood cells healthy and aids in the creation of DNA. It also helps to prevent megaloblastic anaemia, which makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is not naturally created by the body, and must be absorbed from the food we eat, or supplements we take. It is found in a wide variety of animal foods, such as dairy, meat, and poultry, which means vegans probably rate highly on the list of people most likely to be B12 deficient! 

Most people in this day and age do get the recommended dosage of B12 from the foods they eat, and supplements they take. However, some people have trouble absorbing it from food. Like me, for example.

So what happens when you don’t get enough vitamin B12? Now this is the scary bit. When I first discovered I had a vitamin B12 deficiency, I went home and googled it to find out exactly what I was dealing with. My GP had told me I should wear a tag to inform other people of the condition, like diabetics do, so I assumed it was going to be bad. The first thing that struck me was so many ailments I have suffered from throughout my life were neatly explained to me within one Wikipedia page. Fatigue, lethargy, listlessness, constipation, headaches, loss of appetite. Tingling in the hands and feet, a pale complexion, depression, confusion, poor memory, dementia. 

Yep, I have suffered from the majority of these at some point in my life. In fact, when I was diagnosed, I was going through a bad period with my depression. I was deeply unhappy, my brain was a muddle; I thought I was going mad. My GP requested a blood test, and when the results came back.. well, it explained everything. I immediately undertook a crash course in vitamin B12 injections to boost my levels, one injection a day for a week, then one a week for a month, and from then on one every 3 months for the rest of my life. 

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms and you are struggling to find a reason or a cure, get down to your local health centre and request a blood test. B12 is vital to the correct functioning of the body, and a suspected deficiency should be taken seriously. 

Although I’ve come to detest those injections, they are crucial to my life nowadays. Since I discovered a potential reason for my depression, things have improved so much, and I feel like I have control of myself these days. And all thanks to a prick in my arm every three months. 😉


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