The Terrible 2’s?

Happy 2nd birthday to me!

This week, I celebrate my two-year blogiversary.

I started The Dreaming Panda when I was at my absolute worst—I couldn’t walk, I’d lost thirteen pounds, I could barely stay awake, and I was morbidly depressed. This means it’s been two years since that first trip to the ER when everything got so bad and precipitated a resolution to eight years of misdiagnoses.  So I’m now two years into my recovery journey.

For weeks, I’d been planning a post where I thank all of you for two years of support and tell you about how great life is now and how miraculous my recovery has been in those two years. I was going to talk about how I made all A’s and B’s last semester, which was the first time I’d been able to handle a full load of coursework since Freshman year. I was going to tell you about how I recently did my first solo road trip, while two years ago, I was unable to drive at all because of how sleepy and out-of-it I was. I was going to tell you that I’d been taking another twelve hours of classes this summer and enjoying it because it was finally possible to concentrate and think clearly. But then something happened….

I flared and started heading for a relapse.

Despite taking the antidepressant Wellbutrin, I am once again depressed and have been forced to take an “Incomplete” in two of my classes. I’ve lost all motivation and spend my days lying on the sofa now. And I’ve also lost at least eleven pounds, because my eating disorder is back. It looks like I’ve hit the terrible-two’s in my recovery journey.

Though this might all come as a shock when I’d recently been posting about how great everything is in terms of PANS symptoms, over the last few weeks, it’s become increasingly apparent that I’m physically unwell. I’ve gone from easily running seven-minute miles and half-marathons, to getting out of breath after waddling a quarter mile at a twelve-minute pace. Sometimes, I can barely climb the stairs. I have awful headaches at night, I’m often dizzy, and there are huge dark circles under my eyes despite eight or nine hours of sleep.

I have no idea what’s going on with me—we’re considering everything from Lyme and co-infections to POTS to anemia. All I know is that I’ll keep fighting until I get better again. My brain may make me feel panicked and terrified of everything right now, but I’m not afraid of what PANDAS is trying to do to me this time. I’ve beat it once, and I’m convinced I’ll do it again.

While this isn’t the celebratory two-year anniversary post I’d hoped to publish, I still wanted to thank all of you for your ongoing support. When I made the daring decision in 2014 to anonymously share my entire journey with the world, I never could’ve imagined all of the wonderful people I would meet as a result. I never imagined the love I would feel from strangers. I never imagined how much some of my writing would resonate with people, as was shown with the hundreds of shares my post for PANS Awareness Day received this year.

Your comments and emails have kept me going over the last couple of years, and for that, I’m forever grateful. Knowing that what I’m sharing through my writing has helped some of you has made me feel like my suffering might have a purpose.  Thank you for that.

Though this year feels like the terrible-two’s so far, here’s to a year that brings complete healing to me and to all of you!

9 thoughts on “The Terrible 2’s?

  1. So sorry you are dealing with a relapse. That’s the worst and I get it. I was totally celebrating on my blog last week and this week the tics have come back. Hang in there and keep writing 🙂

  2. Dear Iris,
    I am very sorry to hear that your are feeling worst lately. Your post made me so emotional because I know how hard it is to have ups and downs. You are in our thoughts.

    Congratulations for your college achievements. I am impressed! I am sure you will be able to solve the incomplete. As a teacher I encourage students to take an incomplete instead of pushing themselves into hard and unhealthy work.

    Late Spring and early Summers are hard for Leonardo too. I think it is related to pollen allergy; probably it makes him more prone to infections. He never suffered od allergies until 2 years ago when he had the first undiagnosed PANS flare. Last year again. This year we are crossing our fingers and we are going to Italy sooner to run away from the city with the highest pollen level in the US. I do not know if environmental triggers may be a component for your PANDAS; for Leonardo I am sure it is. I hope this flare resolve soon and you are able to find the trigger/s.

    A big hug!


    1. Thanks so much for keeping me in your thoughts. I think we all unfortunately know how frustrating and devastating the ups and downs of PANS can be. It’s exhausting, to say the least. Thankfully, my teachers have been quite understanding so far, and I’m hoping I’ll be well enough to finish my work by the end of the summer–and well enough to at least take a couple classes in the fall.

      I wonder if seasonal allergies play a role for me, too. That’s an interesting point. It seems like the fall and winter is always better, and things fall apart in late spring. I’m glad you will be able to get away from the pollen soon!

      Thanks again for thinking of me.

  3. I’m so sorry things have been so rough for you recently, but your spirit, strength, and perseverance shine through this post and you will get through this. I think you’re amazing and wish you a quick healing. Please keep us posted.

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