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Argh, so frustrated! (likely to be long)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'll try and bold major questions, so they don't get missed amongst my ranting.

I have been having continuing problems with my health this year. It started with a number of sinus infections - not that bad.

Then, around the beginning of June, I started experiencing tachycardia (fast heart rate) and palpitations. No particular timing to them, nor were there any other symptoms of panic, just the heart rate. I ignored it for awhile, thinking it might just go away, and after a month, I brought it up to one of my doctor's, just to get his opinion on it. He said it should probably be checked out, and I ended up with a cardiologist appointment and several tests. Other than having a very fast heart rate (up to 160 at some points), there was nothing else wrong. So she put me on another drug, and that seems to be keeping the worst at bay.

They tried me on an anti-depressant for a little while to see if that would help my stress levels, because that's what everyone is pointing to this as. Fair enough, there's a lot of stress in my life right now, but I think mentally I'm dealing with it okay. I'll elaborate on that later. But the anti-depressant made me miserable - very sick, noticeable tremors in my hands, and later I realized that they were actually making me very depressed, something I only noticed once I had gotten off it.

Now, over a month later, I still have very noticeable tremors in both hands, and sometimes in my legs. I mentioned this to my doctor again today, and he still thinks its stress related. I'm trying to get off of a drug (different than the one I was on when the tremors started) that I'm on whose side effects may include tremors, but I've been on this since February without this problem. I had very slight, fine tremors since my second sinus infection, but they were only noticeable under my microscope. Now you can see my hands shaking with the naked eye, and I sometimes have a little trouble eating because food shakes off my fork.

He off-handedly asked if I had considered seeing a psychiatrist....While I'm not necessarily opposed to it, I'm just not sure what kind of help a psychiatrist is going to be able to give me other than more pills, which I'm not really that eager about. I'm already on six a day, and I'm only 26!!

I admit, there's a lot of stuff going on. Last year, I in essence "failed" out of grad school when I failed my preliminary exams, now I'm going to be leaving with a Masters instead of a PhD. Overall, I'm okay with that, its going to make me happier in both the long and short term, but I will admit its kind of hard to let go of that dream (which is silly because I don't really want to be a PhD).

Being a grad student at a predominately undergrad university, I don't have a whole lot of friends that I can talk to - hang out with, sure, but most of them are 5-8 years younger than I am, and see me as "big sis/superwoman/mommy". Forget romantic interests around here. :-P If they're anywhere near my age and still in a college town...well, there's a reason they're still in a college town. I had started to make some really good friends online at another forum I visit, and a possible romantic interest. This guy is great, and was well on the way to being at least a best friend, maybe something more. And then he told me that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in March, and the news has gone downhill since then. I'm doing my best to be supportive, but its long distance, and there's only so much I can do.

So yeah, I'll admit, there are a lot of things going on. But mentally, I don't feel the least bit stressed most of the time. I have bad days, sure, but who wouldn't with stuff like that? Things are what they are, and I can't change any of it, and only time is going to make any of it go away. I have friends to talk to, and my faith to help me, and I'm not really sure what a psychiatrist is going to be able to help me with.

I'm willing to consider seeing a psychiatrist if someone really thinks one could help me, but if I'm not feeling stress, are there really coping strategies that can help me out? I work long hours, but I try to take breaks, and me time, and I talk things out with friends if its getting too much. I can't do less work if I want to get out of here in a year - there are just things that need doing. I'm working on eating better, and getting more sleep.

My hematologist is at least taking the tremors somewhat seriously, and says that maybe I should get a brain MRI to check for something like multiple sclerosis. It could explain the tremors and the tachycardia, but knowing me the test will come out clean.
And really, I think all these clean bills of health when something is still wrong are causing me more stress.

Argh, I'm just so frustrated with it all. I've been on the verge of tears all morning since my appointment just because I'm tired of feeling sick, but then feeling like a hypochondriac when nothing turns out abnormal in my tests!!!

Thanks for leting me vent...It drives the "want to fix things" part of me crazy to have to sit and wait for everything!
post #2 of 16
I have a friend who is a qualified counsellor, and she's explained how people like her and psychiatrists get to the bottom of a problem.

Years ago if you had to see a psychiatrist people used to think it was because you were mentally ill, but it's not the case now.

I would go and see one, because although you have friends to talk to, these people can get to underlying problems
post #3 of 16
I would defiantly think about seeing the psychatrist. Because while you don't feel stressed you never know what's going on deep down and the right doctor can really pinpoint things and help you out.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I dunno, I guess its just that I tend to be very introspective, and I have a feeling that I do know what the bottom of things is. I don't like to quit on things, and even though I know I'm not, that's how it feels with the graduate degree. Its one of those things that I just have to keep reminding myself about, and I will eventually convince myself of the fact.

Of course, the ultimate irony is that my friend who is now becoming very withdrawn with his medical issues is a great psychologist. Ordinarily, I would run things through him, but he has his own problems and his own burdens and I don't want to add mine to his.

I suppose the most frustrating thing is to be constantly told that its all stress, when I don't feel stressed. If I felt stressed or anxious, I would be okay with that, because then I'd know there was something that needed to be done. But how do you deal with supposed stress when you don't feel stressed? I've been told by so many people that I am extremely level-headed, but the way my doctors are treating me makes me feel like I should be a nervous wreck.

If its stress and not a medical problem, okay. But I'm having a hard time convincing anyone to at least look for a medical problem, instead of waving their hands around it. At the same time, when I can't find a problem, I'm starting to feel like maybe I'm going crazy, and just don't know it yet. My parents keep saying nothing is wrong with me, but you can't fake the trembling in my hands, or the rapid heart beat. Bleh!
post #5 of 16
Honestly, I've read your post. Your just 26....you've got so much ahead of you in life.

Couple of things....do you drink a lot of caffeine? (coffee, tea, soda, red-bull, etc) Caffeine can cause an elevated heart rate and shakes.

Do you suffer from anxiety? Not uncommon for people - even adults. I have periodically over the years, for various reasons. Deep breathing techniques help a lot.

You seem like a very level headed person, without any depression. You really do seem like you are just letting life get you a little confused. You are at such a pivotal time in your life....ending school, finding a job, maybe a mate...so much will happen in the next 5-7 years, it will change your life. Speaking to a psycologist is wise. There's no reason to be afraid. I would suggest you speak to someone you don't know....as opposed to the friend you mentioned. That way you can talk frankly. I went to one for a few sessions years ago when I was dealing with a situation. I went for about 4 sessions and afterwards felt so much better, I was able to move forward. You sound a lot like me....in keeping our internal thoughts/feelings inside. Sometimes, you just have to let them out and share. A little at a time...it does get easier.


My advice -
Talk to someone.
Write in a journal a little bit everyday.
Join a group in your community to meet people (recreational sports, take a class for fun-acting, music, drawing, pottery, etc, do volunteer work) - Find something you enjoy, and go out and do it. (I joined a running club)
Eat well, and eat healthy....a healthy body, makes for a healthy mind.

Of course, I'm not a doctor, and if you do continue with body symptoms like you spoke about....continue to see your doctor. Be careful with the depressants though....best of luck.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by petparent View Post
Couple of things....do you drink a lot of caffeine? (coffee, tea, soda, red-bull, etc) Caffeine can cause an elevated heart rate and shakes.
No, no caffeine, and no more than maybe a soda a week for years. I have low iron, so no caffeine, and with the racing heart, I've cut it out even more.

Quote:
Do you suffer from anxiety? Not uncommon for people - even adults. I have periodically over the years, for various reasons. Deep breathing techniques help a lot.
No anxiety either. Which is why I was getting annoyed with people who kept throwing anti-anxiolytics and anti-depressants at me.


Maybe I should just go and find someone to talk to. I've had several conversations with my spiritual director which are helpful to straighten things out, but in the end, nothing has helped the health problems. They are, instead, getting worse as the months go on, even as I'm working on relaxing more and not keeping things bottled up. I don't work near the hours or the levels that I used to, and yet things are getting worse, not better.

When it comes down to it, I'm too independent for my own good. I want to be able to fix things by myself! Even if I can't.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtigress View Post
No anxiety either. Which is why I was getting annoyed with people who kept throwing anti-anxiolytics and anti-depressants at me.
I would be too. Keep that in mind the next time someone wants to write a prescription. Good on you for knowing the difference.
post #8 of 16
I saw a counselor for several months for something that happened to me as a child that didn't really begin to affect me until I was in my 20s. Not only did she help me overcome THAT, she helped me with other issues, such as emotional eating, self esteem, etc. All of those things could have been related to childhood issues, but without having talked it all out with her, I wouldn't have known.

I, too, am fairly introspective. I knew I was an emotional eater...I knew that my childhood issues were causing problems when I sought help. The key is that even if you KNOW why you're feeling a certain way, you may not know how to overcome it.

Either way, I wish you luck with your health problems and I really hope you can find a solution soon. I can't imagine how difficult that has been. *hugs*
post #9 of 16
In my own experience, you can actually be stressed almost to the breaking point and still not recognize that you have an anxiety problem -- because your subconscious mind is trying so hard to cope that it denies and denies and denies. I was on antidepressants for two decades before I finally met a psychiatrist who recognized my problem as much more anxiety than depression. She switched me to a medication that was oriented toward anxiety, and suddenly a great many of my symptoms faded away.

So yes, please, go see a psychiatrist. You're absolutely right to want to be certain that there's not a physical issue that's causing this, but any decent psychiatrist will study your case history in search of exactly that kind of underlying possibility... and will likely have an especially clear idea of what the possibilities are, too.

And about your friend that you feel you can't burden with your troubles: sometimes when people are overwhelmed with their own problems, it's a great relief to be able to help a friend in need. It lets them think about someone other than themselves for awhile, and makes them feel useful and valuable, y'know? Maybe you should go ahead and talk to your friend about this... it might do you both good.

I'm so sorry you're suffering this way, sweetie. You're such a lovely person... you don't deserve all this!
post #10 of 16
How are things with your friend with the brain tumor? I've kept him in my thoughts.

Quite frankly, living with someone who has tried a lot of meds for a not-very-treatable disease, we have seen all kinds of side-effects of drugs, some not listed as side-effects - AND those side-effects developed months after taking the meds - and we ascribe it to the meds, because when he stopped taking them, they went away.

One example was lithium. It wasn't prescribed for depression, but at a not-very high dose it gave him tremors (a listed possible side-effect), it increased his blood pressure and heart rate (not a listed side-effect), and gave him panic attacks (also not listed as a side-effect).

So to me it sounds very much like you're experiencing something physical, not mental. Sure, stress isn't helping. But doctors DON'T know everything, meds DO create different side-effects in different people - and sometimes side-effects not previously recorded.

All of that said.... since (most) of the docs want to blame it on stress, perhaps the best thing to do is to rule that out! In the end, Gary went to a pschologist also trained as a neuroscientist - and ruled out that what was happening to him was in any way mental, not physical. I would not go to a counselor or a psychologist - I woud go to a psychiatrist because of their deeper, broader training in the human body, brain chemistry in particular. Let them know right up front that you're there because you're experiencing a number of physical things that some of your doctors want to write off as stress-related, and you don't think they're correct - but since they're not helping you figure out what the physical problem is, in order to move ahead, you need to confirm or rule out whether it is or is not stress induced. Sometimes you have to take steps you wouldn't otherwise take to get the help you need - because doctors do tend to be "know-it-all" kind of people.

We have learned that when you're experiencing problems that don't fall neatly into a category of a "familiar illness," you need to become your own advocate - and take steps that fall outside of the "medical box" - and do your own research.





Laurie
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Quite frankly, living with someone who has tried a lot of meds for a not-very-treatable disease, we have seen all kinds of side-effects of drugs, some not listed as side-effects - AND those side-effects developed months after taking the meds - and we ascribe it to the meds, because when he stopped taking them, they went away.

One example was lithium. It wasn't prescribed for depression, but at a not-very high dose it gave him tremors (a listed possible side-effect), it increased his blood pressure and heart rate (not a listed side-effect), and gave him panic attacks (also not listed as a side-effect).


I've been on my share of meds, and one example: Wellbutrin.... it gave me horrible tremors... I took it for a week, then quit taking it because of the tremors.... it was about a month before the tremors subsided.

I was on an antidepressent at a high dose for many yrs (once we found one that worked) and chose to go off of it a few yrs back because my live was stable and I felt I was getting no benefit out of the med.

We did a gradual taper down, and had to slow it down more so than the norm. due to withdrawl effects..... it took 3mos of taperring and 3mos of horrific withdrawl (I will elaborate via pm) and then it was at least a year before most of the symptoms were gone.

I'm curious if its one of the drugs (the antidepressent you went off of, or the one you are trying to go off of). I'd be happy to share more via pm.

I hope you can figure out what is going on, and I see no harm in seeing a psychiatrist. Something else I'd consider, for stress levels, is massage.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Laurie, that might be what I have to do - go to a psychiatrist just to rule out stress. I'm missing a lot of the things that I get when I am very stressed out - like the fact that I almost always skip periods when I'm under a lot of stress, and that hasn't happened this time around.

I've been feeling like crap all week, since last Friday. Friday was an all-over shaking like I was freezing cold but wasn't, and just a general "sick" feeling, and for the past few days its been nausea (enough to get a gag reflex but no actual throwing up), and something that's right on the verge of being dizzy - it takes nothing at all to make me motion sick, with very brief flashes of dizzy spells. I mentioned it to my doctor yesterday - he thinks its from a cold I had a few weeks ago. I dunno.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
And about your friend that you feel you can't burden with your troubles: sometimes when people are overwhelmed with their own problems, it's a great relief to be able to help a friend in need. It lets them think about someone other than themselves for awhile, and makes them feel useful and valuable, y'know? Maybe you should go ahead and talk to your friend about this... it might do you both good.
I've thought about it, Carol. The biggest problem is that he has headaches bad enough that he can't write long replies, and I think its likely that anything I asked him would require a long reply. I think in the end it would just frustrate him that he wouldn't be able to help. I've tried to engage him in small things though - getting addresses for people for me and the like. And I decided that it was better to share the things I'm going through than try to "spare him" that, so that he knows I'm not trying to coddle him.


Thanks for asking about him, Laurie. Its not looking so good right now - he sent me a package with some photos "to remember him by" and some things that I had lent him a few months ago. My gut feeling is that he's going to attempt the surgery to remove his tumor, knowing he probably won't survive it. If you guys could keep up the vibes for him, I would be very grateful. Still hoping for a miracle, though I know the reality is that we're probably going to lose him.
post #13 of 16
Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry.

Renewing the vibes for your friend.

**************

But yeah - doctors can be a real pain in the butt when something doesn't fit into their "symptom = this disease" world.

Laurie
post #14 of 16
I have several autoimmune diseases. Before I was diagnosed, I was tachy some of the day everyday, had severe shaky hands and muscle tremors. I also couldnt sleep and went "crazy". I was so crazy I didnt know I was nuts. Once I was treated I became sane and had less physical symptoms - and it wasn't mental.

I suggest you go do an endocronologist pronto. My regular physician sure didnt have a clue. ALso, if you see a psychologist - any one worth their salt will require a full workup before they treat or as they are.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDubbie View Post
I have several autoimmune diseases. Before I was diagnosed, I was tachy some of the day everyday, had severe shaky hands and muscle tremors. I also couldnt sleep and went "crazy". I was so crazy I didnt know I was nuts. Once I was treated I became sane and had less physical symptoms - and it wasn't mental.
I had one bout of real depression and what I think was suicidal thoughts from the anti-depressant they tried to put me on. That freaked me out for weeks before I realized that I wasn't feeling that way anymore - not even close, and I started really thinking about what had been going on then.

I've been kind of leery of asking for more medical tests to be done, since most of mine come out normal, so I'm really glad to hear that there are real medical problems that can cause my symptoms, and that its worth checking them out, even if this does turn out to be stress related.

And even if it is stress related, I think I am going to refuse any kind of antidepressant/anxiolytic unless they can absolutely convince me that its necessary and nothing else will work. I have had more problems from the medications than I did off them.

Thanks to everyone who has shared so far!
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I had a talk with my hematologist on Monday about all the symptoms I'm still having, and how sick I've felt over the last two or three weeks. He reminded me that he had wanted to get that brain MRI done, and I agreed that maybe we should just go ahead and have it checked.

Surprisingly, we got it all handled really fast. Had the MRI yesterday - wasn't too bad. I jinxed the radiologist though when I told him that no one ever had trouble with my veins.

I'm seeing a neurologist on Tuesday to hopefully go over my results and see if anything comes of it, and if not, I have someone to discuss whether to pursue any other types of testing, or take a wait and see approach for returning symptoms, or just let it go. I suppose I've spent so long with everyone telling me there's nothing really wrong with me that I'm having a hard time convincing myself that its really worth pursuing. But then no one should be feeling sick just about every month of the year, right?

I also have to do a 24-hour urine test. I think this is the only time I ever really wish I was a guy, its much easier for them!

Please keep the vibes and prayers coming, moreso for my friend than for me. I asked him for advice on getting through brain MRIs, since he's been through several now, and he told me that he was probably going to update everyone, including those people who don't know what's going on, soon - maybe this weekend. I have a feeling its going to end soon, one way or another. Still hoping for a miracle, but I've accepted the fact that I might lose him soon, I think.
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