I'm a 20 year old female (turning 21 in a little over a month!) that has now been sick for over two years. It all started when one day, I woke up feeling nauseous. The nausea progressed, along with a lightheaded type of feeling, and I suddenly developed severe vertigo. The vertigo was uncontrollable even with anti-vertigo meds. I responded slightly to Valium. The continuous vertigo and dizziness lasted NINE full months, and suddenly wound down to dizziness, then slight dizziness, then normalcy. Well, I still have some dizziness and my balance has never been the same, but it's nothing like what I experienced in those nine months.
Afterward, I started developing anxiety (I do have a history of panic attacks, but FULLY recovered using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). I also started developing severe mood swings, horrendous PMS, and low blood sugar episodes that started getting serious. I had low blood sugar episodes about 4 times a day that sometimes resulted in fainting, even though I was eating frequent, high-protein meals. I've had horrible year-round airborne allergies my entire life, and started noticing that I seemed to have reactive hypoglycemia, along with major irritable bowel symptoms that coincided with certain foods. I did allergy elimination diets, and found the main culprits to be milk (which I was told I was allergic to when I was thirteen but I continued drinking it), wheat (gluten-containing grains, specifically), and soy. I eliminated all three completely and my blood sugar problems disappeared. BUT, I was still dealing with horrible IBS, with constipation. NOTHING would make me "go": Not laxatives, stool softeners, or high fiber. I had terrible acid reflux, too, and this is when I believe I developed intestinal yeast problems: I was taking massive antacids and downing super-sugary drinks in low blood sugar emergencies. I should also mention that I was a pack-a-day smoker at this time, as well.
While all of this was occuring, I was also dealing with major stress in my life with my boyfriend, and it was flu season when I woke up very sick one day. I had a very high fever, and tremedous lung pain that made me almost pass out with pain everytime I took a breath. I was told that I had pleurisy and possibly pneumonia, and was sick for almost two weeks. I've never been that sick in my life, and at this time, I quit smoking, as it was impossible to smoke with the pain I was going through.
Since then, things have gone even further downhill, but in different ways. My food allergies are under control, for the most part, as long as I stay away from gluten and soy. I DO indulge in dairy sometimes, but pay a price for it. I believe that my Candida yeast problem is mostly under control thanks to a strict diet I was on for a long time, and I only somtimes experince low blood sugar. My digestive problems improved amazingly when I started taking plant enzymes about eight months ago and my constipation disappeared COMPLETELY. BUT, now, the fatigue has set in. Despite getting rid of some problems, I haven't been "right" for a long time, and there isn't a day that goes by where I feel well, but my symptoms keep changing. I have the typical CFS symptoms: I ALWAYS have severe fatigue, and I strongly believe I have adrenal problems, as did two naturopaths I once saw when I had health insurance since I have adrenal pain, typical insufficiency symptoms and dilated pupils. I have NO tolerance for stress, extreme post-exertional malaise and fatigue, and now I have muscle and joint pain and weakeness, which I never had before. I also have swollen, painful feet much of the time, headaches, heart arrhythmias, and low blood pressure. I am practically unable to gain weight, and the 5 pounds I do manage to gain I often quickly lose without trying, despite eating almost double the amount of calories a normal adult eats in a day.
I should also mention that I was on HEAVY dosages of antidepressants and tranquilizers from the ages of 13-17 for my panic attacks. I was being medicated with tranquilizers by a twisted psychiatrist beyond the legal limit, and when I got off of the meds, I realized I could conquer my problems on my own. I'm only mentioning this because I've heard that antidepressant use MAY be a causative factor in the development of CFS. I weighed 160lbs. on the meds, and dropped down to 110 or 115 lbs. since stopping them, which also could've been stressful for my body, although it wasn't in that short a period of time.
Anyway, I am totally and completely ineligible for ANY health insurance through the State or anywhere as my mom makes JUST over the allowed limit, and they cut me from State insurance when I was 19. I desperately need disability as my mom can't afford to pay for any doctor's visits for me, and it basically really stinks having NO INCOME at the age of almost 21 and being totally unable to work at this point. I am very much in debt from the few doctors I was able to afford at one point. I am stuck because I can't get disability because I can't see a doctor to prove I am disabled right now. So, here I am, not being treated at all, and young, and watching my whole life go by. I was told that when I 21 the State will decide on my eligibility based upon MY income ONLY, which is none, so I may be eligible for some kind of insurance very soon.
In the meantime, though, is there anything I can do for myself? I do take online college courses and am working toward a bachlor's degree, so I am doing SOMETHING with myself, but the depressing part of this illness is finally hitting me since I can't STAND sitting on the couch and not being able to do anything. I am the type of person that wants to be on the go, and it's incredibly frustrating that I am being held back by my own body. I barely have any friends at all since half of them think I'm crazy or exaggerating how bad I feel, but I do have my boyfriend and the support of my parents. When I feel better for a little while (which is strangely mostly VERY late at night), I am the happiest person you will ever meet. But I have to say, the frustration IS getting to me, and I'm becoming quite angry at the fact that I can't get help in this day and age in the United States, and because I'm limited at such a young age. Can anyone else relate?
Hi, I just read your post, I will get back to you as soon as I can, it's late and I've got to say 'good night' for now, may you know my heart is with you and that I hope you'll find encouragement here,
look for a post from me soon...uvm
I had the same onset of problems as you did with dizziness and fatigue. This lasted over a year before I began to feel better ( I think I was up to 90% recovered). I have also had acid reflux problems since then. I relapsed last year for no apparent reason with a weird balance/vestibular feeling in my head. I think it has helped taking T3. well it did, but now I am feeling the symptoms coming back although I am still on the T3. So, perhaps you could try T3 (cytomel I think it is there). It is the active thyroid hormone (not T4 which is synthyroid). If you find anything which helps you please let me know. I have just had another thyroid test today to check my levels and see maybe if I need to up the dose again.
Hi Solstice. I just read your post and can relate to your thoughts of life passing you by since I'm 26. You mentioned that you were on high doses of anti-depressants. Did your nine months of vertigo by any chance coincide with your going off the anti-depressants? I'm asking because after going through a 5-month withdrawal syndrome from Effexor CR did I develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have been sick ever since.
You just might still be in the initial phase of CFS which takes at least a year until you enter the chronic phase which is much easier to live with. If this is the case, then only time will heal the wounds.
That's interesting, because MY chronic fatigue started soon after I went through effexor withdrawls (I had symtoms of withdrawl for 4 months). Effexor is the worst AD EVER and it nearly killed me.
Just a quick note to say I know what you are going through. I am a 22 year old female, I have had to drop out of college (at this point, can't even do online classes because my memory is so bad...) and have very few friends/social life due to my CFS. I got mono about 16 months ago and finally got diagnosed as having CFS a while ago. I am just dead tired all the time, memory problems, concentration problems, insomnia, IBS, GERD, dizziness,depression, history of bulimia, ......
AND I also have zero income, no job. I have my mom's insurance until June and then I don't know what I am going to do (she is retiring).....have you looked into individual health insurance??
Keep in mind that I was only on 50-75mg of Effexor and suffered for 5 months through horrendous withdrawal symptons until I went all the all back up to 75mg again. After I stablized myself I was able to taper myself off of the drug over a period of like 6 months by counting the beads individually in the capsule. During the period I was weaning myself off I developed a flu-like illness that has never left me. I have no doubt in my mind that Effexor beat me up so much that I was succeptable to CFS. Effexor and CFS took my mind, emotions, health, and energy away from me and it still hasn't come back. Tell me more about your experiences, its so nice to hear I'm not alone. I've kept it quiet for so long.
Hello...and happy Thanksgiving....
Well, I was on Effexor for approx. 14 months, and it was sheer hell. The side effects weren't so bad at the beginnin; I was on a low dose. But then my depression started getting worse, so my dose was increased. Then I got MORE depressed,so my dose was increased.I can't remember the exact dose I was taking towards the end, but it was close to 300 mg. My psychiatrists never told me, warned me, or even alluded to the fact that Effexor can cause horrendous side effects in some people, including increasing depression/suicidal thoughts!! I was one of those people. I went from being a moderately (but functioning!) 19 year old to, at the end, a 21 year old debilitated woman. I was having panic attacks; I was having night sweats;I dreamt about my death; my sex drive my killed for a while; I had no interest in anything; AND, my bulimia, which I was mainly taking the AD's for, got 100% WORSE! It was the worst time of my life; I was in a bad relationship also and far away from my family. It first got very ill (I know it was mono, although I didn't go to a doctor as I was in new town) when I was on my hightest dose of Effexor about 2 years old. I could not get out of bed for 3 weeks I was so weak. Well I finally moved back home and I got the courage to take control of my own health and the drugs I was putting into my system and I started the torture of effexor "detox" (did you get the electric shocks?? those were fun...and panic attacks, vivid dreams..). Well not long after the long detoxification process ended I got mono; I have never recovered. I finally got diagnosed as having CFS not long ago. I am not the same person I was before the Effexor and the CFS; I was a passionate person, had interests in literature and writing and film, I was genuinely interested in things; Now I am a shell of the person I used to be. I have had to drop out of college and my social life is zilch. What's the blame?? The Effexor? Depression? Bulimia? CFS?? It's probably an accumulation of all these things, but I know that the Effexor was the proverbial string that broke the camel's back(it is string, right?? )
Fatigue, and depression, can actually lower your IQ up to 10 points. I can't think and rationalize like I used to. I don't know that it has anything to do with blood flow, however. When you're exhausted your brain just doesn't function like it does when you are healthy. Ginko hasn't been shown to help with CFS, therefore I don't think it would help...however, if you aren't on any meds which would interact with it, you could give it a try.
Hi, read this thread with interest, I got sick with symptoms of FMS and/or CFIDS first. Through my pcp doctor's attempt to help with the fatigue and pain anti D's were prescribed, several of the older ones didn't work at all, Effexor XR was the one that seemed to relieve me of the fatigue and visual problems at first. Except that I went back to work and the symptoms would start to flare, so the dose was uped, the highest amount was at 225mgs. Then my pcp added Lexapro, which didn't help at all. Cymbalta hit the market, a SSNRI that had been tested in FMS paitients with good results, so I started it, and was slowly weaned off both Lexapro and Effexor. Never felt any withdrawl symptoms.
(After I sought a specialist, see other posts of mine under CFS and FMS.)
What I've learned is there is no one magic pill to treat CFS or CFIDS; which affects the Immune System too. I have CFIDS, it causes multiple symptoms and a cascade effect of all the systems within the body to malfunction or become dysfunctional, so to say.
There are dysfunctions within the central nervous system, the hormonal system, the adrenal system, and the immune system which cause problems with the thyroid, cortisol, Dhea, adrenal gland hormones which cause the immune system to be compromised.
Tests will prove there are underlying infections at the cellular level due to the compromised immune system, (when treated symptoms like the flu-like, low grade fevers, or low blood pressure and low temp, muscle and joint aches, headaches, TMJ, and othe connective tissue pain, visual and optical problems will disappear.) Tests for overgrowth of yeast infections that are positive with treatment the brain fog and IBS issues stop, too.
I've been in treatment for a year, taking supplements, natural hormones, and some prescription meds as needed. I have 2 more weeks before I see my doctor again, I think that he's going to be very happy with the results, and will start stage 6 which is the maintenance Step.
If I told you all the things I've been doing this week without any delayed reaction like fatigue or sore throats you'd be amazed. I feel like my old very active self again, and I pray that this will continue, I even made it through a weather change this week, with out the usuall flare-up that would put me to bed!
Oh, how I wish you all could feel how I'm feeling today, may it rub off and may you be encouraged and blessed, 'Happy Thanksgiving' uvm