“I feel really strange,” I said to my sister over the phone.
“I’m freaking out. I feel as though I’m 20 seconds behind… like I can’t have a proper conversation with anyone because I can’t digest what they’re saying.
“I feel as though I’m stuck in a dream,” I continued, my voice quivering. “Or underwater. And I have no control over it.”
Three weeks ago, I was panicking.
I was fatigued and moody. I found myself struggling to tell a story; I’d start speaking and get confused and tired half way through, as though I couldn’t maintain a coherent train of thought.
At times, I felt drunk without having had a drink.
I wondered if it was vertigo. Or perhaps a middle ear infection that was putting my balance off. I’d been anaemic in the past, so the fatigue was somewhat familiar, but the other symptoms were not.
“Am I going crazy?” I wondered.
I went to the doctor about a very persistent cold that I’d had for weeks, and she suggested a blood test.
Before she told me the results a few days later, she asked me; “So how do you feel at the moment?” and I almost broke down in tears.
As expected, it found I was anaemic, which explained why I was struggling to get to sleep and felt so tired all the time.
But that wasn’t all.
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“Your brain isn’t working at full capacity at the moment,” she explained. “There’s a very good reason why you feel so awful.”
I was seriously deficient in vitamin B12 – something I’d never heard of.
Symptoms include balance issues, mental confusion, pins and needles in extremities, fatigue, mental impairment, depression, irritability, personality changes, feeling faint, ringing in the ears, sore red tongue, mouth ulcers, vision problems and even signs of dementia.
Known as the “energy vitamin”, vitamin B12 helps regulate the nervous system, and helps with the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.