This is all caused by anxiety?!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 156
   Posted 5/30/2007 11:27 PM (GMT -6)   
My DH and I are shopping for a new PCP. We decided to go with an internist, since they are more geared for caring for chronic illnesses. We had our first appointment with a doctor today who is only a mile from our home.

DH went first, and the doctor carefully reviewed his meds list, his past medical history, his current problems, etc. He did an exam, then recommended some changes to his meds, ordered a CT scan for a problem with DH's abdomen, and then set him up for a Doppler test because DH's feet have been swelling. He seemed very knowledgeable, had a good sense of humor, and seemed to know his stuff.

Then my turn came. I handed him my meds list, the list of doctors and surgeries I've had, and my updated symptom list that I keep of exacerbations of whatever the heck this problem is that I've had for the past year. Please note, that everyone here has recommended that I keep this list, as has my neurologist.

He took one look at my symptom list and told me that I needed to chill out and quit writing down every "little thing." I explained to him that my neurologist asked me to write down a list of new or worsening symptoms to keep track of how this condition was progressing. He said it was rather obsessive. He looked over my symptoms, asked me what had been done, and I told him that I'd been evaluated for MS. He asked me if I'd had any MRIs and what the results were and when I told him that they were normal, he said, "Well then, you don't have MS if your MRIs are normal, do you?."

He then asked why I was taking an antidepressant, one which my neuro had ordered. I told him that she had prescribed it for me for mild depression, and that it also helped with my fatigue (it's Wellbuterin.) He decided to change it and gave me a prescription for something else that will NOT help with my energy levels at all. (I'm not sure if my neuro will like that! I know I don't.)

He then went through my list of symptoms and dismissed them all as being caused by anxiety. Everything. The numbness, tingling, fatigue, nerve pains, weakness in my arms and legs, muscle spasms and stiffness, the tremors, the buzzing sensations (which he laughed at), balance problems, memory and cognitive problems, the bowel and bladder problems, the problems I have walking because my left leg is weak and gives out - all of it is caused by anxiety. (He was a bit more concerned about my enlarged liver and elevated liver enzymes and the tumor in my left kidney.)

Now, I am probably the least anxious person on the planet. I've been accused of being too laid back because I don't let stuff bother me, I don't get upset over things, I get along with everyone, and I love to laugh and have a wacky sense of humor. I'm not really even sure if I need the antidepressant I'm taking, because I don't feel depressed and never have. I do stay very busy, and I have a lot going on with my home and work life, and all these health problems have kind of ganged up on me over the past year, but I feel like I'm dealing with it all pretty well.

So now, I'm second guessing myself and trying to figure out if all this time, everything, every symptom has been caused by an anxiety that I don't feel. Did last May, I suddenly get overwhelmed by anxiety and start having all of these symptoms? Is that why my MRIs and LP are normal? Because none of this has a physical cause? It's all in my head? But does anxiety cause abnormal reflexes in my legs and feet and an abnormal SSER in my left leg?

I'm so confused! Should I just give up on trying to figure out what is wrong with me and just chalk it all up to anxiety?

Lisa ~
Living in Limboland!
I may not know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 5/31/2007 12:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lisa,

wow.....I don't believe that it's all in your head! I think that it's incredibly dismissive of the Dr to tell you it's anxiety without knowing you.......and totally inappropriate for him to laugh about your symptoms!!!

Remember that a lot of the medical profession work on science alone....if they don't have proof then they don't see anything. And because a lot of doctors are only willing to treat conditions...not patients....then you are in an awful position!!!

I have no idea what you should do next....but I do know that I understand your confusion and frustration.

Keep truckin'....we are here for you even if the "professionals" aren't!

Not diagnosed
Neuro says he'd "bet on me having MS"

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 299
   Posted 5/31/2007 1:43 AM (GMT -6)   


That must have been awful for you, I'm sorry!  I was so frustrated reading your post.

I agree with everything Kas just said.  I certainly wouldn't change your antidepressant based on his quick assessment alone.

Hang in there!  Maybe he is good for your DH but seems like a lousy choice for you unfortunately if he is going to be so dismissive.



Diagnosed with MS April 2006
Longstanding anxiety and depression
Currently on Betaseron

New Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 5/31/2007 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I Have to agree with your PCP in that keeping a daily log of your symptoms is obsessive.  Because if you're constantly writing these things down, you don't have the rest of your life to live and enjoy.  I don't agree with your PCP in blaming your symptoms on anxiety. 
I took anti-depressants for a while and they seemed to be giving me more anxiety so I quit taking them and I'm much better off for it.
I believe that diagnosing what type of MS one has is dependant on time, lots of time.  I believe that I might have started out with RR MS (although my neuro never told me yet what type I have) but now I have SP MS.  By drawing out my own chart of symptoms over time I have come to this conclusion.  I  was diagnosed in 2001.
My own unprofessional advice to you is don't be consumed with your MS by keeping a log every day of your symptoms.  Just try to live.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 896
   Posted 5/31/2007 11:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi lisa,
I'm very sorry that this new doc has such a lack of professionalism!  He could have handled that quite differently.  Did he give you an explanation for changing your anti-depressant?  Unless you specified it wasn't working for you it doesn't seem fitting he change it.
I know you haven't been diagnosed with anything yet really, hang in there.  Pursue the liver and kidney stuff just to be certain it isn't anything serious and hopefully down the road something will explain all your symptoms.
It may be that this doc is great with men but you may need a different doc to address your needs!
Hugs! :-)
Michelle ><>
Co-Moderator MS forum

Ever stop to think, and forget to start again???

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 156
   Posted 5/31/2007 1:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, everyone. I feel better today about everything, and I also told DH that I'm not going back to that doctor. Even if my symptoms ARE caused by anxiety (which I don't believe for a moment), I just didn't like his attitude or the fact that he changed a medication prescribed by a specialist.
Jim, I don't write down my symptoms every day (who has time for that?! Definitely NOT me!)  The only time I write anything down is if I have a new or severe symptom or exacerbation, which only occurs every two to three months.  I've actually stopped worrying about the whole MS thing and figure if I get diagnosed, I get diagnosed and if I don't, then I'll just deal with whatever happens as it happens.  Right now, most of my symptoms are controlled by meds anyway (except for the cognitive stuff, which seems to be getting worse.)  My next neuro appointment isn't even until September.
Thanks again and hugs to all,

Lisa ~
Living in Limboland!
I may not know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.

Post Edited (Shashi) : 5/31/2007 1:24:40 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 443
   Posted 6/9/2007 1:32 PM (GMT -6)   
that doctor sounds like a real jerk!! If any of my dr's had suggested to me that it was all in my head, (as it basically sounds like this one is suggesting), I would have done the same thing as you- just leave and never go back. My neuro gave me Elavil back in April, and that is an anti-depressant. However, it is also used for other things, such as nerve pain, etc.. It didn't help my nerve pain, but it did help me get some sleep at night. So yeah, i slept great, but I still felt like crap during the day. LOL

I have a symptom list- well, a time line of fairly major stuff that has happened to me medically. Tests, results, weird health problems, etc.. I brought it in to my neuro when I first saw her, and though she didn't go through the list right there, she didn't outright dismiss it, either. I'm not a huge fan of her's right now- I cancelled my last appointment- but I guess at least she wasn't rude about it. This one dr I'm seeing right now (a Lyme dr) was more than happy to look at my time line. I was surprised that he actually read it right there in front of me, and went through it making comments (nothing rude). And I'm currently on antibiotics for Lyme, so I'm supposed to be keeping track of new symptoms or worsening symptoms. I don't read it off to him when I go in, but try to sum it up with just the main stuff.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with making a note of the big(ger) issues in your medical history. My brain is practically mush, and I can barely remember anything as it is. So I think for future reference, it's a good idea to jot it down when you have a moment. I don't think it's a big deal in the least! Now writing every little teeny thing might be a tad much, but heck. If your dr told you to do it, you're just doing your job. LOL :)
Finally, a legit dx! Lyme! What else is wrong with me?! LOL

New Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/9/2007 3:54 PM (GMT -6)   

I am not suprised by your Dr. reply. My father presented with arm pain and fatigue. First they tried to give him a heart by-pass but when they opened him up he did not need it. They symptoms persisted they put him on Paxil. We wound up in the ER when he fell out of his truck. He was diagnosed with Cancer and died less than 9 months later. He was only 56 years old. His Dr. did not know what to do so he told my dad it was in his head. I tell you this so you know that you have to fight for yourself, this is your body and your life!



Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3571
   Posted 6/9/2007 11:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey Lisa,

I also do not think writing down your symptoms, or symptom changes is obsessive at all.  You can write things down and not be consumed by them.  You are just recording your body's changes in order to get some answers and as a way of dealing with your cognitive problems.  That is called compensation, not obsession.  You are compensting for your 'cognitive stuff'.  You are being responsible for your health.  Good job.  Who says you cannot live life to the fullest and take good care of your health issues.

You go girl.  Do what you need to do to take care or yourself.  If that means looking for a new doctor and recording your health records then more power to you. 

Love and prayers,

diagnosed: MS  July 2006
rx: copaxone

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