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    Old 10-01-2003, 06:06 PM   #1
    Lectus
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    Post Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    Hi,

    For the past year or so, I've noticed a very drastic change in my mental capacity. I have a very short attention span, so I'll at least try to keep this coherent, though the way I thread sentences and paragraphs together might seem confusing. Also, my memory is a little fragmented, so I may list things as happening in the incorrect chronological order. ALso, my mental fatigue makes it hard to write for any length of time, so bear with me... It's bound to get ugly toward the end. If you want any clarification or for me to fill in blanks, just ask. I'll prolly update this later when I'm at full capacity.

    First some personal info: I'm 22 and haven't yet gone to college full time. I've been in and out of jobs for the three and a half years that I've been out of high school (the longest I've held onto a single job was from the fall of 2000 to february of 2001). DUring that time I got into creative writing, and found that I was pretty good at it. My skill improved over time, but after I lost my first job, My interest deteriorated (which, I guess, is understandable, since an unbalanced lifestyle can lead to burnout). Gradually, I became less and less involved in writing, to the point where it was difficult to start sentences and paragraphs, or to thread written thoughts together. I even had some trouble reading other peoples' writing.

    But, as I mentioned, the real drop in my mental capacity didn't come until this past year, last fall to be exact. It started with what I think were a series of panic attacks. At first I thought it was something with my heart or lungs, where I would get palpatations just from lying down and trying to go to sleep. Eventually they got so bad that when I would feel myself sinking into sleep, I would force myself awake, thinking I was going to die. So I went crazy researching on the internet and looking for my symptoms, thinking I had everything from west nile virus, and testicular cancer, to a thyroid disorder.

    I went to the doctor to rule all of these out, and find out a possible cause, but after a few tests to rule out certain causes, they passed me off as psychosomatic. For a few weeks after that, things were fine.

    One night, when I was sitting at the computer, I had an electric flash dart across my field of vision, which almost felt like a light bulb exploding next to my face. For some reason I felt very sick, and mentally fatigued. The next few weeks my senses were dominated by terrible headaches. Not the kind where you get a sharp pain or a dull throbbing, but feeling as though my brain was simmering in certain parts. I would get nausious and dizzy during these headaches (and sometimes when the headaches weren't there) My coordination began to decline, as well as my focus and ability for abstract thinking.

    I started researching my symptoms on the internet again, and new conditions popped up: Lyme disease, CSF leak (I had a drainage at the back of my throat), colloidal cyst, etc....

    I went to the doctor again but, short of giving me an mri or other scan, she couldn't really tell me anything difinitive (I didn't have insurance, so going to a nuerologist wasn't an option). All she did was give me a perscription for medication that is made to suppress cluster headaches (which is the type that she said I had).

    After a month or two and no improvement, I began having serious trouble reading and comprehending things that were once intuitive for me. It's like I couldn't activate my internal movie projector... I dunno, that's the best way I can describe it. So I went back, and she did another half-baked checkup, taking my blood pressure and other things. When I asked if it might be anxiety she just shrugged, and offered to give me some free samples of zoloft to see if it helped.

    I had been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder back when I was in my senior year of High school, and took prozac following my graduation. It (the prozac) actually helped in preventing destructive and distracting thoughts from entering my mind. It's residual effects (Since I came off it after a few weeks of getting my first job) probably helped me keep the first job longer than I had any other since. But I don't want to tangenize too much... I'll let you know about my experiences with the job, prozac and late high school some other time.

    The zoloft helped a bit with my confidence problems, but not with the things that were bothering me (mental fog, loss of attention span, lost ability to recover memories/words and poor reaction time). I came off the zoloft after a few weeks (cold turkey, but I hadn't been on too long, thought I realise now that it was a mistake.) By christmas I felt my mind had truly croaked, and I would never be as sharp, observant, and witty as I was before. I could barely read without hitting a mental block.

    And that's where I pretty much am right now (maybe a little worse, a little less expressive in my thoughts), and still not sure what to do. This condition has brought my life to a standstill, though I know I should look for another job. I just don't feel like humiliating myself with my own stupidity and sort of 'misrepresenting' myself. When I talk to some people, they seem to think I'm on drugs or something; that's embarrasing enough.
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    Old 10-01-2003, 06:33 PM   #2
    Moxie67
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    This sounds like it might be depression. It's common to lose mental acuity when depressed. However, I would rule out anything else. It does sound like you might need an MRI. I'm not a doctor, but your experiences sound a bit atypical for anxiety.

    My uncle had a similar thing happen, and he went in for all the tests. At one point they were afraid he might have a brain tumor. It turned out that he had an infection in his brain that began as a sinus infection. They operated, and the operation only took an hour or so, but his recovery was much longer. However, he's 50-something, so I'm sure that was part of the reason.

    He was getting headaches too, and I think he also wasn't "thinking straight."

    Your post was quite articulate, so you may be thinking that you're worse off than you really are. Another symptom of depression.

    But go ahead and get the MRI. Find a Catholic charity hospital. They'll help with the money. You really need to rule out anything purely physical.

    Let me know what happens.

    Moxie

     
    Old 12-28-2003, 10:00 PM   #3
    Lectus
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    Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    (Late reply) Any idea where I can find a catholic charity hospital in my area? I did a search on google and found nothing useful, nothing that'll help me find a chapter anywhere.
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    Old 12-28-2003, 11:42 PM   #4
    Some12
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    Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    Dear Lectus,
    Most cities and Counties have Behaviour Health Services where you can get Therapy and Psychratrist help. Check it out. It sound like to me that you have depression causing anxiety, not really panic attacks at this point. It will develope into that if you do not take care of this in some way. I think that therapy would be your first order and see a Psychratrist for mental medications, not a regular Doctor. You only see them for tests and physical illness. You have developed a lack of confidence and it shows. Your writing seems fine and your depression and feelings of failure are causing the memory problems because you are constantly dwelling on your situiation. The longer you stay off of work the harder it will be to re-adjust to it. I went though spells of being sick for weeks and each time I went back to work, even with years in my field, it was like starting over again. Each time you confidence level is just a little lower then before. I really think you should seek out therapy for this. This can guide you toward goals that will be successful in the shortest time not failures. An yes, I have had your symptoms and many others. Seek out the help you need as soon as possible. Good luck

    Sincerely,

    Sickman

     
    Old 12-29-2003, 04:54 AM   #5
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    Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    my doctor said that i have anxiety probs too. n depressed. i think i m very similar to u. i cannot focus at anything for long. even when toking to pple, after a while, they would ask me if i m ok because i look as if i m dreaming, or i dun know......when reading, i am very anxious too. the words enters my brain but it won't make sense at all. knowing that i have read thru a passage but not understanding or remembering what i have JUST read, makes me even more panicky. i have poor memory too. i think i have some social probs too. cant really hit off wif pple cos of the way i tok i think. i think alot too. like what will happen if i go there, will i feel sick, will i faint, will i ..........

     
    Old 12-29-2003, 08:29 AM   #6
    Some12
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    Smile Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxy
    my doctor said that i have anxiety probs too. n depressed. i think i m very similar to u. i cannot focus at anything for long. even when toking to pple, after a while, they would ask me if i m ok because i look as if i m dreaming, or i dun know......when reading, i am very anxious too. the words enters my brain but it won't make sense at all. knowing that i have read thru a passage but not understanding or remembering what i have JUST read, makes me even more panicky. i have poor memory too. i think i have some social probs too. cant really hit off wif pple cos of the way i tok i think. i think alot too. like what will happen if i go there, will i feel sick, will i faint, will i ..........
    Dear paxy,
    You know sometimes you have to take a look at what you are reading to come to a conclusion of poor memory also. If you give me a book on computers or specific technology, I can read though it like wild fire. I read the 1200 page Windows 95 bible when it came out in about 6 hours. If you give me a novel of any kind, an hour later I won't be past page 10 and won't remember anything and I mean anything that I have read. You need to cut yourself some slack because you are obsessing on your condition so much that you can't concentrate on anything else. With these kind of disorders, the mind races and thinks so fast it is unbelievable but for the wrong reasons about negative thoughts. What kind of medication are you taking and are you seeing a Therapist? Is your Doctor a Medical Doctor or a Psychratrist? Post back when you have time. Try to slow down the thought process as best you can. Good luck paxy.

    Sincerely,

    Sickman

     
    Old 12-29-2003, 10:57 AM   #7
    Lectus
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    Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    Thanks for the replies. Have either of you considered the possibility that you might have lyme disease? I know the hallmark symptoms may not be there, such as arthritis and inflammation of joints and the rash, but that doesn't neccesarily mean that lyme disease is an impossibility. In fact, some lyme sufferers could have only one or two symptoms at a time with varying degrees of severity. There are so many different manifestations of it. I've been dwelling on the possibility of Lyme disease for a while now, and am almost convinced that, if I was proved to have it, it'd be responsible for all of my problems (fatigue, depression and maybe even body odor. Also the brain fog of recent times.) for the past five or six years.

    That's why, as soon as I get a job, I'm going to make an appointment with a lyme literate MD to find out once and for all... Anxiety just seems like too much of a cop out or last resort diagnosis. I just feel like my symptoms are way to atypical for it to be just that... the steady degeneration of my mind and coordination are just too severe and drastic to be psychosomatic. The reason I want to rule out physical, non-genetic causes is because I'd really rather die than live my life as stupid as I feel. Whats the point of living if you can't make a positive impression on the world? This is not a suicide threat, by the way. I have no intention of killing myself anytime soon.
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    Old 12-29-2003, 04:23 PM   #8
    Some12
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    Wink Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lectus
    Thanks for the replies. Have either of you considered the possibility that you might have lyme disease? I know the hallmark symptoms may not be there, such as arthritis and inflammation of joints and the rash, but that doesn't neccesarily mean that lyme disease is an impossibility. In fact, some lyme sufferers could have only one or two symptoms at a time with varying degrees of severity. There are so many different manifestations of it. I've been dwelling on the possibility of Lyme disease for a while now, and am almost convinced that, if I was proved to have it, it'd be responsible for all of my problems (fatigue, depression and maybe even body odor. Also the brain fog of recent times.) for the past five or six years.

    That's why, as soon as I get a job, I'm going to make an appointment with a lyme literate MD to find out once and for all... Anxiety just seems like too much of a cop out or last resort diagnosis. I just feel like my symptoms are way to atypical for it to be just that... the steady degeneration of my mind and coordination are just too severe and drastic to be psychosomatic. The reason I want to rule out physical, non-genetic causes is because I'd really rather die than live my life as stupid as I feel. Whats the point of living if you can't make a positive impression on the world? This is not a suicide threat, by the way. I have no intention of killing myself anytime soon.

    Dear Lectus,
    You should rule out all illnesses before you come to the realization that you only have a psychosomatic disorder and are in denial. Everyone is so afraid of dying and then make statements like, "I'd rather die than live my life as stupid as I feel". Which is it? Afraid of dying or afraid to live? From the way you express yourself, I sure can't see that you are becoming stupid. No, I don't have lime desease but I do have more then severe panic disorder and I have been living with it for many years and the on set of the other for over thirty. I truly hope that you do not have a panic disorder or any other mental anxiety or depression problems because you look at it like most people that don't understand anything about it, thinking that it is a cop out. I understand that you are upset and are looking very hard to find anything that will give you a concrete answer to your problem, but if you find nothig, I am sure your symptoms that you exhibit, don't feel like a cop out to you. The Doctors may seem that they are using a cop out with the word anxiety, and I agree that they use it frequently, but it is because they just don't know enough about the workings of the brain to tell you anything. The cop out is that they just don't tell you they don't know what is wrong with you. This kind of answer though would not give you a clue at all that you may have some kind of mental disorder, so at least they have given you an avenue toward looking for an answer yourself. I hope that you find something that you want to hear. As far as stupid, you could give anyone a run for their money in a match of wits.
    Becoming Stupid, No. Still in the stage of looking for a physical answer that will satisfy all of the questions that may never be answered, yes. I hope that you find your way, you certainly are smart enough to prove me wrong. Good luck my Friend.

    Sincerely,

    Sickman

     
    Old 12-29-2003, 05:06 PM   #9
    Lectus
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    Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply that your or anyone else's diagnosis was a cop-out. I was just refering to myself. Because of my difficulties getting a job and thus the money to get tested, doctors don't know what to tell me, so they just write it off as anxiety or depression, which is understandable. When I wrote this I was still looking for an easy answer online, hoping there might be some super genius who could give me all the answers I need, or just looking for someone who's gone through the same exact thing and is a little further along in their search for the cause. I really sort of alternate between wanting it to be a mental problem and a physical problem. A physical problem because it can be fixed permanently maybe even with the hope of a full recovery (although lyme disease has a way of hiding during treatment and then coming out later.), a mental problem because it can be helped with steady medication/therapy and not deteriorate too terribly (but it has... it may not show in my writing, since that's the form of communication I've used the most over the past few years, and I try to be meticulous in the way I put my ideas across... it's just my personality and the way I learned to be, because it was hard to get other people to understand me all through the growing-up years.)

    You brought up a very interesting point that I've thought about in the past but could never put so simply. I'm either afraid to live or die. I think maybe a little of both (hehe, what a cliche). I actually almost hoped what I had was brain cancer, but intuitively knew that it probably wasn't. The first clue I think I would've had would be a siezure and I haven't had one of those yet. Nevertheless, right now I'm kind of seeing recent events as an ending; at least in that I can never go back to the things and people I used to love and, if I could, I wouldn't be able to appreciate them as well. Maybe it's because I'm more mature and have outgrown them. If so then I don't like what it feels like to be mature.

    Throughout my life, I used to have this huge dreamworld where I'd spend almost all of my time (although at one point I lost the ability to focus on reality and fantasy at the same time, but that's not totally relevant here.). It's not as unhealthy as it may sound and seem. Reality and fantasy actually complimented each other... I'd use my external experiences and observations to build on the fantasy world while applying the lessons learned there to the outside world. It made me seem very mature for my age. But now I feel like all of that is stripped from me, including the lessons... Maybe it's because I'm not interested enough and my brain just discarded the seemingly useless info. I just don't know. I can't get interested in anything anymore. It may be depression, it IS depression, but as we both admitted, I should rule out dangerous, life-threatening illnesses before coming to the conclusion that it's a disease in itself, rather than just a symptom.

    Heheh, and I don't need you to tell me that I'm smarter than you. I don't think that at all... If I was, I'd be employed and things wouldn't have degenerated to the extent that they have. I realise that it must take alot of brains to work in the computer/software field, so don't sell yourself short. I've tried to learn about software and programming and such and failed miserably (classes might help though.), so let's just say we have diff. talents. EDIT: err... you didn't say I was smarter than you, at least not in so many words. Somehow I got the implication. LOL, sorry. I make mistakes like that alot nowadays .

    Sincerely,
    Todd
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    Last edited by Lectus; 12-29-2003 at 05:13 PM.

     
    Old 12-29-2003, 06:30 PM   #10
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    Wink Re: Has anyone ever been through a similar experience? (kinda long)

    Dear lectus,
    I do not work in the computer field anymore. I have been disabled for over two years now. I was once on the top of the 3d computer, management, network managing, teaching and as many applications as I could learn. I started with log books, a calculator, programable calculators, unix, dos, windows, etc. Could not learn enough. Along the way I failed to learn about my condition and the medications that I was taking and did rely on the Doctors decisions. The Doctor made a really bad decision taking me off a medication to fast and there you have it. I have never stopped learning more and more about computers, software and such and can do much more then I ever did when I worked. The problems is that the original problems that actually brought on the panic disorder have restricted me now to the point that I don't have a social phobia, I just don't care to socialize at all. I have searched as you for answers to physical problems causing my disorder and finally realized that I need to learn the medications, safety and how to manage what I am left with. Your problem is nothing like mine except that you have a depression and sort of a social anxiety problem. You express yourself very well in your writings and in you I see a leader as I once was. You need to gain the confidence that is there. It is just being held back by your fears. Get a job and seek the Therapy and medication if you need it. If you work on this now, you can probably recover relatively fast and be the person that you want to be. You think that you see things different then others, that is a gift. When you gain the tools you need, people will follow your lead and you will reach your goals. Remember one thing. No matter how much you know or how many years you have been on top of something, listen to even the new person who has never done any of the work that you do. No idea is stupid and never hold anyone back. Teach them everything you know. You stay on top by learning more to stay ahead but respecting the others and helping them reach their goals is the most rewarding thing of all. It is all about Trust. Get that confidence you have and bring it to the surface. Good luck my Friend.

    Sincerely,

    Sickman

     
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