The Doctor Said… (My New Not-so-wanted Saga): Darkness Again?

By Nancy Virden (c)2023

The Doctor Said (My New Not-so-wanted Saga): Introduction Misdiagnosis

Years ago, a doctor told my dad he had Sjogren’s syndrome.

“Tell it to me straight. Is this going to kill me?” Dad said.

“To be honest, no. But you will wish it did” was the doctor’s version of a straight answer.

I don’t know about you, but I find that response to be rather cryptic if not frightening. My dad died about twenty years later in 2015 at the age of 84. It was not Sjogren’s that ended his natural lifespan.

Since I observed this disease in my dad I am more acutely aware of it than probably most people. In short, Sjogren’s is an autoimmune disease that dries up one’s bodily fluids. The first symptoms include dry mouth and painful eyes, both of which have come about rather suddenly for me in February and March. However, since using eye drops and limiting screen time, and drinking much more water, I feel generally better. Is this Sjogren’s? I will not know for a while yet.

The first indication of serious trouble was at the dentist’s office two and a half weeks ago. Due to taking precautions and visiting a dentist two to three times annually for thirty years, I don’t get cavities. That is, until now. In December I had to have a cavity filled, which I blamed on not seeing the dentist in 2020 during the pandemic. Yet a second visit in March revealed s-i-x, yes 6, new cavities. “Drastic change,” the dentist said, and blamed it on medication.

Remember what I said about Bipolar and a new med (see the last post)? Immediately I was alerted to the potential that necessary treatment for a mental disorder may be ruining my mouth. Now what?

My psychiatrist is weaning me off Wellbutrin, a known contributor to dry mouth which creates cavities. On her plan, in one month I will not be on antidepressants anymore after eighteen years. This is a bit scary because I do not want to go back there – to return to that place of dense darkness and the weighty hopelessness that major depression causes.

I also do not want to lose my teeth!

So you see, in a way, Sjogren’s would be a blessing. It would not (as far as I know) preclude me from taking mental health medications. I also heard from an internet, non-professional source, that Bipolar Disorder is best treated with mood stabilizers and not antidepressants. True or not, all this is helping to grow my confusion.

What does my future hold?

One thing is certain, with my eyes on Jesus, I can weather any storm. Folks, that is not religious talk. It is a fact that has proven true repeatedly in my life and in the lives of millions throughout history. I trust God that no matter what happens, it will be for my ultimate good, and raise his Light in spiritually dark places.


Today’s Helpful Word

Philippians 4: 12-13 niv

I know what it is to be in need…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do all things through [Jesus Christ] who gives me strength. -Paul

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.


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