Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Burlington, VT
Lyme, Depressive Relapse, Both, or Hypochondria in No.VT
Hi! I've been stalking the threads for a couple days now, and you all seem so lovely and helpful. I will do my damnedest to not try your patience.
Here's the rundown:
I am 25. I was diagnosed with dysthymia (chronic low-level depression) at 19, which fits with my maternal family history of mental illness. I have had two episodes of major depression, one which was chalked up to my shingles outbreak 20, and the latter of which I treated with Zoloft, then tapered off. I have spent the 2.5 years since my last serious depression managing the dysthymia myself, getting into a position where I could go to school in a new field. I saved a bunch of money, got much better at managing stress, and am currently putting myself through full-time classes while continuing to work 30 hours a week. When I made my new GP aware of my mental health history before school, she recommended returning to Zoloft to establish a baseline, which I declined mostly because a) I felt my very healthy diet, habit of walking at least five miles a day and drive to excel academically would keep me on track, b) learning and implementing coping strategies is a better long-term fix than a pill, and c) money is pretty tight between school and having to work less.
In the last ~nine months, however, I have:
-developed new and extraordinarily regular anxiety issues, seemingly unrelated to the situations at hand... you know... like "walking down the street" (which I associated with the dysthymia)
-had a debilitating sinus infection at the change of each (so far 3) season, never having had a sinus infection before
-gone from having a reliable 28-29-day menstrual cycle to a 21-day cycle that persisted regardless of birth control to, in the last four months a roughly 40-day cycle, at least 15 days of which are filled with crying and exhaustion
-fainted without warning (also for the first time) at work, which my boss said was followed by a tiny seizure. One very expensive hospital visit later, we concluded that my heart was fine and that I was not anemic, and was likely just dehydrated (though nothing about my routine in the prior 24-hours differed from normal)
In the last two weeks, well... I don't really remember the last two weeks very well. My life is obviously not without stress, but I can't accept that as the sole (medically-proffered) explanation for why the work/school situation that I was handling with relative grace suddenly spiraled out of control. I'm dropping everything. I'm off-balance. I walked home the wrong way. Twice. I tried to drive to work (bad idea,) and couldn't figure out how to get there, and wound up late and in tears. I wake up not knowing where I am, and have no short-term memory. I keep losing words and stammering, and when I do feel like I'm speaking clearly, everyone looks at me like they can't understand. My heart keeps racing, panic attack-style, whenever I'm "alive." But mostly, I am overcome with the most serious fatigue of my entire life. I tried to walk my dog, made it downstairs, and then just let her off-leash in the backyard because I *needed* to sit down.
In the context of what I've experienced so far in terms of depression-related fatigue and what is looking increasingly like PMDD, this is pretty unique. With my major depressive episodes, I guess you could say that I "couldn't" get up, but mostly it was that I lacked the will. In this case... I don't feel like I can move my body. I tried to wake up early to do homework early last week, couldn't shake especially vivid suicide ideation (In the past, I have wanted to die. In this case, I wanted to get my homework done) resolved to call my doctor, and then I guess went to sleep for, you know, 20 hours. Totally normal. At one point, I woke up next to an empty can of the one Red Bull I'd bought for emergencies. My menstrual cycle was a record 41 days this month (got it yesterday,) so it was the two weeks preceding, but I don't feel any better: unusual. (I also freaked out at one point that I MUST be pregnant, despite incredible odds against, and took two tests, both negative.)
I made a doctor's appointment, and then slept through it. Attendance counts in all my classes, so in one week of whatever this is, I went from pulling straight A's to failing unless I can talk my way out of it. So if it wasn't just depression and stress before, it sure as heck is now. I was raised next to a wooded naval base in NJ, so everyone in my family has been treated for Lyme in the early stages at least once. When I called my dad to ask basically if I was allowed to call the doctor for being tired, he suggested looking into this (I've already had mono.)
-I can (and will) make another doctor's appointment, but in lieu of things like fever, joint pain (only weakness!), and with a relatively recent healthy EKG and the suicide ideation, I'm pretty sure my GP is going to call it depression.
-If I can get the good doc to test for Lyme, is there a necessary caveat that I've had it before?
-Even if I somehow manage to wake up, physically locate, and then convey myself to all future classes and find the words to talk myself back into my professor's good graces, if I don't muddle my way out of this brain fog, the semester's pretty much a wash.
So I need a solution, and don't have a ton of money to throw at the problem. Given alllllll the details, are the odds of Lyme decent? Enough so to seek out an LLMD? Does anyone know of one in the Burlington, VT area? Or try to present this to my regular doctor? And if not Lyme, any other leads? I feel like I'm perpetuating the problem at this point, verging on hypochondria, and/or trying to find one neatly-labelled box into which to throw a million possibly unrelated symptoms and "symptoms."
Thanks so much. Apologies for verbosity.