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What's Going On With Me? Need Objective Opinions...


ontheroad

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I stumbled on this forum after hours of reading/researching to find out what's going on with me lately. I'm not even sure if this forum is very active, but I felt as if I had to post no matter what just in case there's some hope of getting some help figuring all this out.

I'm a new member, so please excuse me if I'm not posting in the right place or make other mistakes. I'm a 29 year old male, and recently I seem to be experiencing several symptoms of many disorders, so it's overwhelming to try to figure this out on my own. Most of my life I've been a very upbeat and happy person. There have been major traumatic events in my life, during which I was very depressed, but for the most part and certainly when there's nothing devastating going on I am a happy person. I'm not sure if I actually was clinically depressed through some of those events or if I was just responding naturally to those life events. In any case, I feel it necessary to let that little bit of background be known to hopefully help identify what's going on now.

After being laid off for six months about two years ago, I found a very good job that I've been at since then. The job requires extensive travel away from home, but my first few assignments made it possible for me to be close to home and also have my wife with me while on the road. I was home for about three weeks during this past Christmas, and for the past month and the last two or three months in 2011 things have been much different. My monthly schedule is to be on the road working wherever (we don't get much notice of assignment changes) with two weekends home per month. That includes a travel day on either side of the weekend, which is usually spent flying and recovering from the travel and adjustment to being back home or back at work. I used to love the travel part of the job, but after returning to work from Christmas, things have been really tough. As soon as I walked into the hotel room the first night I was overwhelmed with a sudden depressed feeling. Things have gone down steadily from there.

While I was at home during the last week of December, I was prescribed Adipex (phentermine) to help with weight loss. While I was at home this past weekend my doctor took me off this medication, because he says he needs to do a month on and month off rotation because of the potential for serious side effects. He took me off this past Friday, so that morning was my last dose, and that night and Saturday night were terrible. I was very depressed, anxious, terrified, etc. On Sunday afternoon, my mood changed and I felt like things were getting better. After thinking about how I'd been feeling this past month and reading about the side effects of this medication and talking with my wife and how I felt, we chalked it up to it was all caused by the medication. That was until tonight anyway. I got back on the road yesterday and things were fine last night except I couldn't sleep well at all. Today, I felt just like I did the weeks before, even though all of the medication had passed from my system completely. I'll try to be specific here so you can get a feel for what I'm thinking and feeling in hopes you can help me understand what's going on.

I lack motivation to do anything. I used to jump up in the mornings and look forward to doing my job with energy despite lack of sleep. Now it takes giving myself a pep talk to get up and go outside to go to a meeting. I feel very, very depressed. I have lost interest in things that I would normally enjoy and don't get satisfaction out of doing them anymore. I am close to tears almost all day long, which is definitely not normal for me. That's not a macho guy thing either, I'm comfortable with crying if there's a good reason, but this is when I'm just sitting in the hotel or driving or laying in bed watching tv or something. I'm very scared/anxious/nervous/panicked all the time. I've had several panic attacks in the last month, and they seem to be getting worse. I feel trapped. I feel hopeless, like this will never get better. I feel guilty. My job is a great one, and it's one I enjoy. I earn a very good living and can provide for my wife and I like I never thought possible before. However, now I'm stuck. The economy sucks, I was laid off for a long time before finding this job in the middle of the recession, and there's nothing else that could come close to what I have now... so trying to find something else in my mind isn't even realistic. I'm going to be saving a bit this year to start putting my wife through nursing school starting next year, but I'm especially trapped with her not working. I feel like the walls are slowly closing in all around me and I can't breathe.

I've worded things and arranged this information in a way that may affect the objectiveness of another person reading it. I've tried very hard to not assume or even think I know what's going on or what could be causing all this, but I know I'm biased. The truth is, I have no freaking clue what the hell is going on, and I'm even less qualified to be the judge of its cause. Was it the medication? Not sure, but the symptoms were present slightly before starting it and are still present now. Is it being away from home? I have no idea, but it seems to be contributing to the symptoms. Is it the weather change? No clue. Is it a true biological cause (serotonin, dopamine, etc. deficiency)? Who knows... During the big life events I talked about before, I had doctors diagnose me with everything underneath the sun and subject me to dozens of medications to the point I felt like a lab rat. Because of that, I'm not too keen on the idea of visiting a doc just to have him treat me with his script pad, but at this point something HAS TO GIVE!!! I'm completely, I don't know what I was going to say. To say I'm sad is an understatement, but I'm sure most people around here are familiar with these feelings I'm trying to describe. I can't focus, on anything, can't remember much, have many symptoms of ADHD, major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, some of bipolar (not so much), hypothyroidism, and the list goes on and on. I would never try to diagnose myself, but those are just the symptoms I have. It's terribly frustrating to not know what's going on and to have it just get worse and worse.

During the past weekend while I was at home, my wife and I decided it would be a good idea for me to make an appointment with a psychiatrist on my next weekend home. However, after my mood improved greatly on Sunday, we dismissed everything as being caused by the medication I was on for weight control and thought everything was over. I haven't yet told her that things are back to terrible, because I don't want her to worry like she did before. So now, things are back to the way they were, except now I'm also without a person to talk to about it because I don't want her to worry. This is quickly becoming way more than I can handle alone, and I'm not sure I have any other option besides seeking professional help... I'm just worried to death about the possible consequences of doing that. I really can't afford to have a doctor admit me in-patient for observation or anything like that. I know my job would "understand" my needing to take a week or so off, but I can't go through that, and maybe they wouldn't understand. I can't afford to lose my job, and I can't afford to look for another one closer to home or without travel, and I really can't afford to keep feeling this way because I just feel like I'm going to double over in a heart attack any second from the anxiety, but I know it's just a panic attack. I just feel like I can't do this s*** anymore... and as my ability to hold back the tears until this point has been lost, I need to end my rambling.

Please, if you think you may have any clue whatsoever as to what the hell is going on or what I should do, please share. I know there are likely no professionals here, but that's not what I want right now. I just need someone who can be objective and is removed from the situation to tell me their opinion. Thanks in advance.

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Hello ontheroad,

I read your post, but I am sorry to say I can't say which is causing the panic attacks and anxiety. There could be a number of things of which some you have mentioned. I would definitely advise you to see a psychiatrist asap for an evaluation and treatment for the anxiety.

I suffer with anxiety so I understand how scary it can be when the attacks occur. I take clonazepam on an as needed basis to help manage it which makes a world of difference. I wish you the best in getting help.

Lindahurt

Edited by lindahurt
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Thanks, Lindahurt.

I think I'm leaning toward setting up an appointment, the situation just makes it really difficult. I could schedule to see someone where I work now, but I would likely only be able to see that person for the next two months before I'm off to the next place. Then I'd have to start with someone new. Or, I could schedule with someone near my home, but I'd only be able to see that person twice a month at maximum, and possibly once a month if my weekends home are ever denied because of work needs. I know those are excuses... I've got to make a decision, and I guess seeing someone near my home would be worth it no matter how often I can get in.

The anxiety is scary and overwhelming, but that's not my main problem. This depression, I guess it is, is kicking my but right now. I recently quit smoking ( a month ago), so that just adds to the already long list of possibly causes. The feeling is weird... it's like sudden very severe sadness with hopelessness, again it comes on very quickly out of nowhere, then that combined with the panic attacks, and irritability and anger that are present all day long. The depression and anxiety seem to be much more severe when I'm in my hotel room alone, but others have noticed a big change in me when I'm around them as well.

When I was younger, I went through the therapy/medication routine several times, so I'm just really hesitant this go around. At this point I agree with you that I need to do something asap, but I just don't have high hopes. For some reason I'm not really good at accurately expressing my feelings in words right now... I just feel like I'm not able to describe stuff right. With time being so limited for therapy and evaluations and such, I just need a doctor who will take the time to really get a feel for what's going on and not quickly write a script without getting the whole picture. It's weird though... this feeling has become so "normal" that it's actually scarier to imagine what it would be like if medication made it where I wasn't depressed or panicked all the time, that thought makes me panic even more if that even makes sense.

Anyway, thanks for the reply, and I'll call tomorrow to try to schedule an appointment.

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I think it would be good to see someone near your home so you can be monitored more closely. One thing you can consider doing is printing out your post and sharing it with your doctor.

I do understand your reservations but hopefully you will be give the time needed to explain your symptoms. Hope all goes well with making an appointment.

Lindahurt

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Hi ontheroad,

Welcome to Depression Forums. I hope you enjoy your time on the forums =).

Your situation sounds challenging. I wish you all the best in your recovery.

After reading both your posts, it seems like you have many problems all occuring simultaneously.

The first thing you could do is to do a depression and anxiety self test. Self tests are also known as checklists or inventory. Doing a self test will give you a clearer picture of the problems you are having. I suggest you google 'Burns Depression Checklist' and 'Burns Anxiety Checklist' and complete the self test. There are other depression and anxiety self tests online, that you may wish to do instead. After, you have done the self test, you will have an idea of how severe your depression and anxiety is and the symptoms which are bothering you the most. Knowing clearly the problems you have will give a sense of relief, because you know what problems is.

When we are depressed, our lives seem like it is full of insurmountable problems and distressing experiences that cannot be resolved. There are so many problems and our problems are so complex, that we feel hopeless. One way to respond is to instead of trying to solve all problems at the one time, try solving one or two problems only and letting the other problems go for the time being. The advantage of doing this is that it simplifies your life, thereby, making you feel less overwhelmed and anxious and gives you a sense of control. What is interesting about this is that once you have solved one problem, other problems you may have automatically solve themselves or are easier to solve later. This is because the problems are linked. For example, you may have the problems of feeling down, inadequate sleep, inability to concentrate, loss of motivation etc. You focus on solving the problem of feeling down and one of your solutions is to do something pleasurable each day such as watching a funny video. After you watch the funny video, your mood improves, you can concentrate better and you have more motivation to do things.

Another thing I find useful when I feel down is laughter. Laughter is a wonderful, powerful and instanteously effective strategy for coping with depression. We we laugh, we remind ourselves not to take life so seriously and laughter and humour gives a sense of perspective on our problems. I have noticed from my own depression and from other people's experiences of depression, is that when we are depressed, we often become ultra serious about life. This is particularly true for adults.

Posting on depression forums can also work as a mood enhancer. Posting on forums like this one, makes us feel better because we take our minds off negative thoughts and problems.

I can relate to your pain, because I have been experienced major depression and generalized anxiety disorder at the same time. So, how you are feeling right now, I have felt too and so too have many of the posters on depression forums.

I hope this helps =).

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Hi ontheroad. Welcome to the forums!

I think you should see a psychiatrist. You shouldn't have to suffer like you are, and there is help out there.

I can relate to having anxiety, and panic attacks, and depression.

I know how awful it can be, but there is hope! Please see a doctor.

It's good that you joined this forum. There are a lot of people here who can relate to your struggles, and offer you emotional support.

Keep posting, and take care.

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I really appreciate the feedback and objective opinions!

I tried watching one of my old favorite movies and a favorite tv show last night before I went to sleep. It seemed to help me relax a bit before bed. I still felt really depressed, but the anxiety wasn't as strong as usual. I took a Lunesta (prescribed), and that helped me sleep but too much probably. I was used to taking them with the Adipex when I was on that, so the stimulant quickly woke me up in the mornings and got me going. This morning, well afternoon, slept till about noon...not good for work, but I felt rested finally. Very groggy, but I thought maybe things were going to be better today.

Started getting ready for the day, shave/shower etc, and the anxiety hit me almost immediately. All of a sudden I felt terribly guilty for sleeping too much. Felt guilty for not being a good employee to allow this crap to happen and interfere with my work. Not being a good husband for allowing this to happen and for my wife to worry about me and this to dominate our conversations when we get a chance to talk on the phone. Then the shortness of breath, pounding heart, so on and so forth. I'm really good at stuffing my feelings, so I gave them a quick stuff when I was done showering and I was ready to start my day. I came to the forum to see if anyone had replied with more advice, and then the tears started rolling. To see that this happens to other people means that I'm probably not at fault, so that means there is actually something wrong with me, and that means I actually have to deal with it instead of stuffing it and ignoring it. In my own mind, I seem to have such a logical view of my situation and struggles that I would think I could just figure out how to "fix" it...I've tried so many different things that it feels like I'm just slamming my head against a wall all day long just trying over and over to fix it myself.

Thanks for mentioning the online questionnaires and checklists. I forgot to mention those before. This past weekend I took every one of them that I could find. I failed them I guess you'd say. I scored in the top areas for the depression, anxiety, and adhd checklists with a caution to seek help immediately. That was just one day after I stopped taking that stimulant medication, so I thought it was all caused by that and I'd wait and see. When I was talking with my wife last night, she mentioned that she'd read a lot about people who have quit smoking and started to develop many of the symptoms I have. So again, I chalked it up to "that must be it" and decided it was no big deal and I could ignore it.

After reading your replies, I guess it really isn't as simple as "it must be that" and I probably do need to try to get a handle on this. Going to call a psychiatrist right now to schedule an appointment...

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Well... used my insurance find-a-doctor website, out of 8 psychiatrists in the area the only one who answered can't see me until March 9, the others were bad numbers or had moved their practice to another state. Can't deal with this crap right now, gotta go do some work, I guess I'll call my insurance later and talk with a nurse and ask for help finding someone.... not sure what else to do.

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Out of desperation I tried to find a psychiatrist close to where I'm working even though I wouldn't be able to see them for longer than a month probably. They're all booking into mid-March also. A suggestion was made by one of the receptionists I spoke with to see a regular doctor to be put on meds then make an appointment to talk to somebody in March. This seems really dumb to me... isn't the whole point of talking to a professional them being able to get a clear understanding of where the patient is? They can't do that if some family doctor with limited knowledge has put me on some crap that's going to impact how a psychiatrist is going to be able to see the situation later. So... nobody to talk to professionally for about six weeks, and no other option besides popping pills in the mean time... ***

Any suggestions? What does a person do who really needs some help right now? In-patient hospitalization is not an option... that would screw up things with my job beyond repair, which would only make depression worse. It's crazy how the "system" only responds one of two ways... either they don't react at all to needs by booking appointments two months away, or they freak out and react as if everything needs to be addressed by hospitalization. Where's the middle ground?

Edited by ontheroad
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