First off, the thank-you, because I feel I have FINALLY found a place where I can talk about what's going on in my life without people looking at me like I'm either crazy or trying to get attention, and now I realize that its not "all in my head", and that there ARE others out there who both understand, and are experiencing the same thing!! So THANK YOU...bless you....the peace of mind THIS brings is so important to me.
Now my introduction... An apology in advance if its a bit long, but I just have a lot to get "off my chest."
I'm Dy, 35 years old, single, living in British Columbia.
A bit of background - I'm deaf, having lost my hearing from a bout of meningitis when I was 9 years old. I was in a coma for 3 1/2 weeks, and after recovering, I was told by my doctor that things could happen "down the road" as a result of complications stemming from the meningitis. Other than mild dyslexia, and hyperactive hormones (resulting in finally having a hysterectomy 2 years ago because of complications) I've been fine.
I received a Cochlear Implant in 2005 and in all honesty, I'm happier than I've ever been in my life! I can HEAR again!! I can listen to music, talk on the phone, have conversations with complete strangers, and its like my life was given back to me. I'm head over heels in love (albeit its long distance until finances make it possible for me to move), and if you were to ask me how I feel emotionally/physicall I'd say "on top of the world!"
March of 2006 I was diagnosed with type II diabetes, a peptic ulcer, and my migraines (which I'd suffered from since my bout of meningitis) started getting worse and worse - all the usual migraine medications (axert, amerge, imitrex) simply stopped working - they said I'd developed an immunity to them. So I was switched to injectable Toradol if my migraines got really out of control, as well as the pill form, and Reglan for the associated nausea). Metformin 500mg 2x a day for the diabetes, and Nexium for my ulcer.
I started having panic attacks in May 2006, out of the blue. Never had them before, and my first reaction was that I was having a heart attack - so my Mother took me to the hospital (I rent a suite from them, built in their basement - gotta love big houses!!)
The Dr's at the hospital said I was stressed out (from WHAT, I had no clue!) and to take it easy, and in the meantime talk to my family doctor - which wasn't a possibility as he had just retired and his clinic had yet to find a replacement. In the meantime, the "temporary" doctor whom was working there, took all of 5 minutes to look at me, listen to what I told him and simply said "here take these pills and come back in 4 months," and wrote me a prescription for Effexor. That was IT. No tests to see WHY I was having the attacks, or if there was any underlying condition or anything. Needless to say, I left the Doctor's office feeling like I was a fool.
The Effexor seemed to help for the first month and a half, then my attacks started coming in what I call 'roller coaster form" - one after another, each lasting longer, making me an utter basket case. When this happened I'd lose control (I'm normally a VERY level headed person which is why this bothers me so much) I'd start bawling my eyes out, feeling like it was the end of the world, and at the same time terrified of *something*... and they'd just keep coming and coming.... Then there'd be the residual effects. Irritiability, sleepiness, mood swings, and cognitive problems. I was in college at the time - retaking my high school physics/calculus classes, and I found that after the attacks, I'd lose the ability to concenrate.
Normally, I can hold my own with mathematics, while I'm no great scholar, I manage. I can memorize and rattle off formulas and how to use them with no problem. Yet after an attack, I couldn't even add 1 and 1, let alone try to figure out quadratic equations, or physics experiments. I couldn't even use my calculator! I simply "couldn't remember" how to make it work.
I went back to the clinic and they had finally found a replacement for my previous Doctor. He listened to me, and when he heard that I'd been just slapped on Effexor he hit the roof, ranting and raving "For heavens sakes you don't just throw PILLS at people without finding out what's wrong!!!". He made me an immediate appointment with a psychologist in order to have a bunch of tests done, and somebody who knows how to deal with this kind of condition. At least finally somebody was listening.
My psychologist (shrink?) first off scheduled a 24 hour urine collection test to check my neurotransmitter levels, saying he thought my attacks sounded more like seizures, especially the cognitive effects I had (being unable to add, or re-reading the same passage in a book 10 times and not remembering it)
He upped my Effexor to 225 mg/day, along with .5mg Xanax to take when the panic attacks wouldn't stop, and .5mg Klonopin to help me sleep at night (I'd wake up in mid-attack quite often, and my sleep patterns were shot to heck.)
I don't know if its the Effexor, but there have been a lot of "side effects" that I (and my family) have noticed. Most prominent a "I dont' give a darn" attitude about everything in life, I'm tired all the time, I could easily sleep 20 hours a day if I could. I have no appetite, which makes dealing with my diabetes very difficult, my sex drive disappeared, and while I'm usually neat and tidy, my living area is a mess, and again "I don't really care." - this is NOT like me!
The urine test came in clear - as well as my blood test - he said I simply had 'run of the mill anxiety disorder.' He really didn't have any clear answers as to WHY it started at age 34 when I was in all intents and purposes, feeling the best I ever have (he said it just sometimes happens like that), and that the best thing to do was to keep taking the Effexor and then he'd begin weaning me off it.
From Dec 23 until this last Friday I was attack-free. It was WONDERFUL, then Friday afternoon the roller-coaster started and hasn't stopped. Usually when I start getting repeat attacks, the Xanax stops it. It hasn't. I sit here crying my head off, waiting for another to hit, wondering if I'm going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life. I feel like a prisoner - I depend on my Mom to take me anywhere I need to go because I'm too afraid to drive (2 months ago while driving to college, an attack hit and I ended up in the ditch, no damage to me or the car thankfully but I hung my keys up and I've been too scared to drive since.)
I just want my normal life back. I don't think that's too much to ask, but nobody seems to have *answers* I just get "well this sometimes happens."
Anyway..thanks for the patience, thank you for being here. I'll definitely be a regular on this board, and look forward to getting to know all of you.