Discussions that mention emsam

Lyme Disease board


I've been reading these boards for several years now in the hopes I might find a clue as to what might be wrong with me. The medical system has not provided me with anything beneficial as of yet. the doctors apparently can't find a solution to my problems, but I am running out of options, and I am getting slightly worse every year, so I am getting increasingly frustrated.

My main problem is that I sleep 12 hours a night typically, and when I wake up I feel awful, like I haven't slept at all. This has been a problem for about 13 years now. I have many other symptoms too, which may or may not be related to what is making me feel so fatigued, including:

Frequent headaches
Unexplained nausea
Muscle twitching
Hair loss
Increased appetite
Weight gain
Chronic cough
Poor short-term memory
Slowed thinking
Difficulty finding words when speaking
General feeling of being slowed down
Generalized Anxiety
Occasional joint pain (hip)
Occasional body aches (seemingly random location)
Alternating diarrhea/constipation

I have been to many doctors trying to find out what the problem may be. I had my GP check my blood for any typical problems like anemia, thyroid problems, etc, none were found. We both agreed that I could have depression or an anxiety disorder, so I started out on some different psychiatric drugs, including Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Adderall XR, trying each for about 6 weeks. None of these drugs helped my situation in the slightest. It was as though I wasn't even taking the drugs as far as results.

I have been to the sleep doctors, who, after performing a sleep study, diagnosed me as having "moderate" sleep apnea (21 apneic episodes/hour), but even using a CPAP for about 4 months every night produced no reduction in any of my symptoms, even though data downloaded from the unit reported that the machine was correcting the apneas.

I have been to an endocrinologist, who did some additional bloodwork beyond what my GP did, ordered a Thyroid Ultrasound, and found 3 small nodules as well as a slight goiter, but he wasn't too concerned about these things, and said that he was 100% sure that my problems weren't related to my thyroid. Nevertheless, he did offer me a small dose of Levothyroxine for awhile to see if I improved, which I did not.

After all this it was decided to take another look at the possibility of a psychiatric disorder, and so I then proceeded to try even more psychiatric drugs. I was on each for at least 4 weeks. With some of the drugs the dosage was increased to the maximum dosage over a period of weeks to see if there was any change, which there was not. Off the top of my head these are the drugs I had tried: Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Adderal XR, Provigil, Prozac, Luvox, Neurontin, Celexa, Clonazepam, Alprazolam, Effexor, Paxil, Topamax, and I even tried a new type of antidepressant, which comes in the form of a skin patch called Emsam. To my disappointment, none of these drugs did anything positive for me. A couple of them did make me even more drowsy, though.

One of the last things I tried was something called cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), which is an electronic device you use at home which sends a mild electrical current into the brain which is supposed to be helpful for some psychiatric disorders. The device I used was the Alpha Stim SCS. For me it did not help in the ways I hoped it would. It actually gave me insomnia, which is quite a different thing for me, but I couldn't go to sleep when I felt sleepy and it was very frustrating. I used it daily for 3 weeks. I think it may have helped my cognitive performance very slightly, and it definitely helps to eliminate my headaches, although popping a few ibuprofen provides basically the same effect. I'm not sure why but after a few weeks of using this device I started to develop pain behind my eyes, so that was one of the main reasons I stopped using it, although the insomnia gave me good reason to stop as well.

So right now I'm seeing a counselor, actually he is a CBT practitioner, but he says that until my sleep problems are addressed CBT won't be of much use to me. Does that sound right? He also says that he thinks I have ADD based on some tests he ran, but I tried Adderall XR (up to 30mg) and Provigil, and neither one did anything at all for me.

My GP did some more advanced bloodwork a month or so ago as well, looking for things like Mono, Epstein-Barr, Rheumatoid arthritis, etc. But of course it all came back negative.

I have been told so many times that this is all in my head and even my own father doesn't believe that I have a real problem. He just thinks that I am someone who is exactly like everyone else in the world, but just that I can't man up to the things that everyone else has to deal with. But I know this cannot be true. It cannot be "normal" to live a life of misery day-in and day-out. It cannot be normal to struggle to do the things that were no problem at all 15+ years ago. I am lucky to get showered and dressed each day. I was extremely active in my younger years, I played baseball on a team, I was outside every single day, etc, now what I am living can barely be called an existence.

I have lost a job that I enjoyed very much to this problem and have not worked for 8 months because I know that I cannot hold down a job when I can't wake up reliably and without feeling like I haven't slept hardly at all. My parents are helping me out with doctor bills and such, but their patience is wearing thin, since they are seeing no results.

If anyone has any suggestions as to what I should do next I would very much appreciate it. :)

Thanks in advance for any replies.

(sorry for the long post)