I’ve been feeling a bit off lately, and at some point it suddenly occurred to me that I am probably getting anaemic again. I used to have problems with anaemia a few years ago. I started feeling very tired and a bit spaced out sometimes. Early anaemia symptoms are a bit vague. But I’ve sometimes been feeling a bit woozy after running, which is what really made me think “hmm”.

So I phoned up my doctor… I had to phone because they’ve disabled online booking “due to COVID”. Which makes no sense. And then I had to phone four times. The first three I was told that the queue was full, and on the fourth I apparently got put into the queue. It took 35 minutes in total to speak to someone. The earliest appointment they could give me was a telephone appointment, in four weeks time. What has gone wrong with my GP surgery?!

So anyway… That’s ridiculous and I’ve started self medicating iron tablets. Fortunately you can buy them over the counter. Iron overdose is a thing but from seeing my iron levels in the past I think I’m more likely to develop diabetes from the sugar coating on the tablet than convince my body to absorb enough iron for it to be a problem.

I watched episode four of The Man In The High Castle this evening. I am really enjoying it so far. I really like the intro and theme too. The style reminds me of The Expanse’s intro sequence. In this case it’s very arty and surreal against the grim reality of the story.


I’m back on the iron tablets because I haven’t been on them for a while. What happens with my iron levels is that I’m on iron tablets for a few months and my iron levels go up. Then I stop taking them and my iron levels go down. I’m self medicating this time around because I haven’t been tested since December so I don’t actually know what my iron levels are. I feel a bit guilty about that, because they’re not the weedy little vitamin tablets you find on the shelf at Boots, they’re proper 200mg turn-your-poo-black ferrous sulfate iron tablets. But you don’t actually need a prescription for them (and it’s cheaper to buy them over the counter than pay for the prescription!) and the leaflet says you can take one per day for prevention of iron deficiency anaemia, so it’s fine really.

I had forgotten how unpleasant the first few days of iron are. I took it at about 6PM yesterday and woke up with painful indigestion at 3 AM.

3AM is a strange time. I received a rather immature and maybe sightly spiteful message on LinkedIn a few days ago from someone from the past I didn’t want to hear from. (Actually it was a few weeks ago, but I didn’t see it until a few days ago). It didn’t upset me. I just deleted my LinkedIn account because it’s not like it’s useful. I don’t generally ‘do’ social media under my own name so it was a bit of an odd thing for me to have anyway. I didn’t find it at all useful when looking for jobs, and now I’m not looking, it makes no real sense to have an account. So, I got a message which I won’t dignify with further details, I shrugged and closed the account. Problem solved. Fine.

Not fine at 3AM. Very upsetting at 3AM. I felt very upset and anxious about the whole thing.

Also upsetting was that I need to cancel my Amazon Prime trial before they charge me. It was urgently important at 3 AM, so I got my phone out and saw to it.

Anyway. I took the iron tablet with lunch today, so hopefully I’ll sleep better. I’ve had a somewhat uncomfortable gastrointestinal tract since then. Urrrrgh.

From memory this only lasts a few days, so hopefully it’ll be settling tomorrow.

Medical updates

Blood test results: It turns out my iron and haemoglobin levels are pretty good – the highest they’ve ever been on blood tests. Even so, the iron levels are a long way off the maximum healthy level, and, with how quickly they’ve dropped in the past, I am going to self-medicate another course of iron tablets. The last course took my ferritin from 20 to 62, and the healthy range is 20 to 300. It turns out you can buy the tablets I was taking – ferrous sulfate 200mg – over the counter without a prescription (though you need to ask), and it’s actually cheaper than a prescription.

Injury: I mentioned my ongoing running injury woes to the doctor. She had a good feel around and told me that the area of pain is a busy area full of soft tissue, tendons, fascia, etc. She recommended a week’s course of ibuprofen to reduce inflammation, then re-asses. I was completely hyped for this until I read the side effects list of ibuprofen, then got cold feet. I have had problems with stomach bleeding in the past (hence the iron tablets), so I get nervous when I read it on side effects. So I haven’t taken any.

Instead, I’m trying to get some anti-inflammatory effects through my diet and I’m coming around to the idea that I just need to rest it. It is improving, but it’s not there yet.

Interestingly, although she didn’t say it to me, she recorded it on my record as a strain of the tendon of the medial thigh muscle – so not my abs at all. It makes sense – I have found that stretching my inner thigh can give an unpleasant pulling sensation in the area it’s been hurting.

Sleep is important

I slept about 3 hours last night because of the heat/thunderstorms/work stress, but I felt today OK until I left work. I didn’t have any anxiety incidents. I crashed when I got home and felt really, really hungry, which probably isn’t good (hello, anaemia).

Work was OK. Becky was ignore-able. She sent me an email this afternoon following up some kind of review she’s supposed to be doing. She had asked everyone to reply and answer a few questions about the software installed on their computer. She sent it when I was off sick and I ignored it. She sent it again to me but also asked me to do it for another computer, which is… uh, how about do that one yourself?

I didn’t even consider replying and I wondered later why that was. I think I find it irritating that she expects a frictionless professional relationship to exist between us when she wants something from me, without her having to invest any effort in rebuilding it. But if I don’t reply will she complain… or will she send it again and CC my boss…

I’ve booked off some holiday for the start of September and I’ve set a soft date of 7th August for giving my one month notice, if I’ve seen no reason to think things will improve by then.

Citalopram day zero

Trigger warning: suicide, down at the bottom.

LIFE updates!

Phone call with IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapy) was fine and I’m on the CBT waiting list, which is going to be a few months.

Gastroenterology appointment was OK. He was concerned my haemoglobin levels had dipped at my last blood test (March) and had me do another one today. He mentioned the possibility of long term iron supplementation, dependent upon the results. I think they’ll be OK. In the words of David Lee Roth, I don’t feel anaemic.

He (the doctor, not David Lee Roth) is drawing a blank on the cause of the bleeding but suggested that if/when I next have active bleeding I could go to A+E and they might be able to do some kind of immediate test. He called it a ‘scan’, which sounds a lot less mechanically intrusive than jamming a camera down my throat.

I asked him about the SSRIs and he said it would likely be fine.

So I’ve decided to start taking them… tonight. On the way back from the appointment I was coming up with excuses why I shouldn’t, but the fact is that I’m not OK and I need to admit this. For the past couple of weeks I’ve felt dreadful. At the moment I feel light headed, spaced out, my stomach is very unhappy and I had so much nausea this morning when minor things at work stressed me. I feel like I’m actually physically ill when at work, and magically better over the weekends. I’m still worried about side effects, but let’s just rephrase that a moment – I am anxious about side effects. That comes with the territory, doesn’t it?

The hospital itself was a strange experience. Firstly, my mum met me from work and we went over there on the bus, but before getting on the bus I took her on a tour of the graffiti near my workplace. The graffiti is of the extremely talented street-art variety, not just random tags. That was fine. What wasn’t fine was running into Becky. I felt like… I’d left work for the day, I was with my mother, it was personal time. Why you are here, Becky? Your presence is intrusive to my personal life. That’s how I felt when I saw her face on my phone when it notified me she was looking at my social media. Why does it always have to be you? Why is it never James or any other random colleague? It’s always you.

So that was uncomfortable. We just ignored each other, because why would you say hello to someone when you can just stalk their LinkedIn profile instead.

And the hospital itself…

The last time I was at that particular hospital was December. I felt dreadful at the time. I was anaemic, work seemed to be imploding around me, and I had the other issue in the background. I felt absolutely awful that day, everything was getting too much, and the day after, I decided to kill myself (and suddenly felt a lot happier). Obviously, I didn’t do that, but this was how I felt during that period of my life. I remember after the appointment going through the car park feeling that life as I knew it just seemed to be drifting away from me. Wandering through the car park today was a bit of a surreal experience. I didn’t remember it until I was there.


I’m feeling really down because I have internal bleeding again. It’s such a bizarre thing to experience. If you Google variants on “why is my poop black” (TMI, sorry not sorry), you’ll be told in no uncertain terms that you should go to a hospital urgently because it’s probably blood, and gastrointestinal bleeding can get really serious really quickly. It never has for me; it’s never become a continual bleed, but I’m sat here thinking “well, how do I know it’s actually stopped now?”.

I don’t know if it’s the emotional hit to my sense of safety or whether it’s just the physiological effect of suddenly having less blood, but it upset me a lot. I ended up crying in the toilets at work, which hasn’t happened for a long time. I didn’t even know what I was crying about. I felt angry and angsty and frustrated about work in general. Today wasn’t a good day.

I will be seeing my GP next week, but I’ve been anaemic before due to this and I’ve had a lot of cameras inside me, which didn’t show anything.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m aware of the bleeding, but I also feel a bit… unwell. It’s probably my imagination. It always took a few incidents before I started to feel unwell before.