I'm at wits end. Please help. (18/m)

I'm very unsure on which topic to post in. Please forgive me.

Hi everyone. I apologize for such a long wall of text. [B]Also, this is going to be in such a random order due to my terrible brain fog/concentration.[/B] Sorry :(


I truly don't know where to start. My entire life has been filled with health issues. As a kid, I was sickly. I was sick constantly. It began to really infuriate me as I got older, but then it all changed. I joined the Cross Country team my 7th grade year. I loved it. I was in shape, and healthy. Fast forwarding, it was my freshman year and I was feeling great and content with life... I ran the mile in under 5 minutes, and I could run a 5k in a little over 17 minutes. Life was great. I had great goals for my life. I was so ambitious. I loved to learn. I was truly high on life. I was an empathetic/loving kind of guy. (I'm stressing on this so much because of how different it is now.) But once again, it all changed.

After my freshman year of Cross Country, I had been training for the track season in the spring. I got my wisdom teeth out on January 1st. The next night I got super sick. For two weeks I couldn't even bare to stand up. I had a constant fever of 104. (Mind you, my body surprisingly handles fevers well. I had a 106 fever as a child once and I handled it.) After a series of strong antibiotics, advil, and more antibiotics, I started to feel better. As soon as I was well enough to start running again, I hit the pavement. During my first run I experienced excruciating pain in my legs. A very dull pain, and excessive tiredness. I shrugged it off, maybe I was just really knocked out from being so sick? I'm sure it will go away I told myself...

In the next week, I tried to run everyday, but the pain in my legs began to intensify, which I'm also starting to notice in my arms... I informed my parents and we both agreed that I should take a break. I was heart broken that I had to stop running for any period of time... As time went on, the pain didn't go away... I constantly had weak/painful legs... (The pain/weakness was in my arms as well, but obviously you don't walk on your legs, so I think it was more evident in my legs because they are always being used.) I felt so tired. Nothing help. Excessively resting myself, and trying many different remedies to ease the pain, (Epsom salts, herbs, etc...). Nothing helped, and now I'm seriously struggling to get out my bed in the morning. I started to miss a lot of school... 1.) Because I was just too tired/brain fogged to function. 2.) I was in pain.

My parents began to seriously worry. We scheduled an appointment with my family doctor. (I don't remember the order of these next months, as my memory is very dull now.) My family doctor sent me to a specialist, who sent me to another specialist, etc... I was eventually sent to the Cleveland Clinic. Many test ran, blood, EKG's, MRI's, probably some others that I don't remember. Everything came back normal. The doctor eventually diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue. Great, for many months now, I had come to terms with the idea that I'll most likely never be able to run again. I was just happy I finally had a name to apply to what I was experiencing. (Although, I was suspecting this diagnoses. I researched every night it seemed like for hours on end for an answer.)

My life took a dramatic turn. Serious brain fog began to set in, and an overall feeling of malaise. I no longer could gain enough energy to run, or to even try and perform a light set of exercises. I was sad of course, but overtime, I really began to manage it. That's when I picked up music... I decided one day that I'm tired of living everyday in my bed and I picked up the guitar. Within a week, I was obsessed. I was staying up late every night, ignoring my drowsiness and learning to songs to play. I was watching LOADS of Youtube videos of people covering songs, etc... I began to sing, which took off quick for me as I just loved it. This was the closest thing to running for me. I experienced so much joy when I sang and played guitar. I eventually got setup with a vocal coach, and things really started to look up from there. I started playing gigs locally and really made a name for myself. I was once again enjoying life. I was so positive and always tried to look on the bright side of things. I met a girl, and we started dating shortly after. For some months there, I was practically back to my old self. I met a new doctor, who thought prednisone might help with the pain and drowsiness... I was on prednisone for around 3-4 months on a VERY low dosage every other day. It seriously helped ease my pain and drowsiness... But some days were still worse than others... Life went great for the next couple of months, but, as you guessed it, it took a dramatic turn again.

I started to experience serious bouts of sadness.. I was crying. I was crying at everything. In public? Crying. At home? Crying. Watching a sad movie? Bawling. I assured myself these bouts were just my 'teenage hormones' going crazy. For 3 weeks, this went on... but GUESS WHAT? THAT'S RIGHT! ANOTHER DRAMATIC CHANGE!

The sadness quickly but surely morphed into a very deep state of apathy. My pleasure was lost. I was no longer 'high on life.' Once, hearing music made any 'crappy' day better. Now, it started to annoy me... I slowly lost any hobby that I use to love. My guitar started to sit in it's case for a long period of time, I stopped getting that 'singers high' that I loved. My emotions were mute. My girlfriend and I started to struggle at this time, as I started losing love. I didn't lose love FOR her.. I just love the ability to love/feel love in general. I started to invest LESS time into our relationship, and generally didn't care how things ended up. The apathy, and anhedonia intensified over the next year... I no longer enjoyed being around people as much, music was starting to become a job to me, I laughed less, going to school was a serious burden, my girlfriend meant less and less to me, etc...

During the beginning of this, I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor and explained the situation. He prescribed an SSRI. The SSRI only caused me to emotionally flatline more, so I weened off... Another SSRI was prescribed which caused the same. This probably was on for 6-7 different SSRI's. During this time, I was still managing to keep things afloat in my relationship, and do OKAY in school, but it was so difficult. (I developed anxiety shortly after my depression started, sorry I didn't include that before.) I started to smoke marijuana for a number of reasons... It helped my pain, it made me feel better, just like I use to.. Music brought me to another world while high, and I laughed, a lot... I loved it. I used marijuana very lightly and never let it control me, but man, there was always one thing in the back of my mind, "I can't until the next time I'm happy again." As time went on, things got worse... I was on no medicine... Since the depression was diagnosed, I was constantly brain fogged, tired, had poor memory, restless, etc... Things really continued downhill for me. As of last year, I ended things with my girlfriend of almost two years because I couldn't do it anymore. I no longer loved her. I no longer loved anything or anyone. I seperated myself from my family because I felt no sense in having them in my life.

(COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT: I started using nicotine. Vaping/chewing tobacco. I never would have started this nasty habit if I wasn't at such a low point in my life.)

All of sudden, I started to feel constantly 'unwell' emotionally and physically. I found a counselor (she's very supportive), and got recommended to a psychiatrist who's currently experimenting with me on what kind of medicines will work the best, etc... Waking up in the mornings became the hardest thing I had to do all day.. I started sleeping in till 11, skipping school every morning because it was just too much to be able to handle. I would wake up feeling VERY sick. Upon waking up, my eyes would be super puffy and seriously red, with an aching feeling coming from behind them. I was SO brain fogged I couldn't even tell left from right. I was nauseous. I generally felt like I had been 'hit by a truck' EVERY morning upon waking up. I would try and force myself up but I would often forget if I even washed my hair while I was in the shower... Because of this, I figured it probably wasn't safe for me to drive, so I'd go back to bed... I'd sleep for many many more hours, sometimes the entire day...

4-5 months ago I weight 158 lbs. (6'2). My appetite slowly began to dissipate. I wasn't hungry, and I had a constant 'full' feeling in my abdomen.. I started going full days without eating, because the thought of food made me feel sick.. I forced myself to and at least eat healthily, also taking vitamins so I was getting my recommended daily intake of everything. I quickly dropped down to 145 lbs., which I'm still currently at.

This is when things seriously start to inhibit me from even engaging in a normal conversation with people... I start feeling 'generally unwell' and 'sick' all day... Such a strong sense of being sick, that I was very close to rushing myself to the hospital multiple times... My eyes became more red, I became more tired, and less hungry... I just feel so restless and 'crappy' that it's hard for me to even function on a daily basis.

Which leads me to today.... I'm so tired of everything... I've been experiencing suicidal thoughts on and off for months now... I'm seriously concerned with how restless I am... I can't even muster up enough concentration to pray, or TRY and relax myself. I've become obsessed with things that require ABSOLUTELY no effort. Things like video games, which bring me no real pleasure, but they just pass the time of this awful life I'm living... I'm constantly depressed. I'm constantly in a haze that never lifts... I've no drive to do anything... I would like to think I use to be quick witted and my memory never failed me... But now, I have to think about the spelling of simple words (I use to be great in spelling). I am constantly forgetting things, especially short term. I don't want to live anymore. The benefits of not living SERIOUSLY outweighs being dead. (My psychiatrist knows this.. I'm too much of a 'baby' to do anything myself.) Music no longer interest me, as well as anything else. I've lost the ability to relax and be content with ANY situation... I'm constantly irritable and ready to snap. Being in the presence of someone else is hard for me, as I can only tolerate it for so long... There's so many more things that I'm forgetting, I know it... I just can't bring myself to think of them right now... (Who would of guessed?)

I have tried so many different natural treatments... So many it's surreal.. But to no avail... It seems as though I no longer to even try and better myself because I'm constantly so low on energy... College is coming up and I don't know what I'm going to do... I USE to have an aspiration to go to medical school, and become a psychiatrist, but the thought of having to wake up in the morning for classes makes me shiver in my boots... I'm tired of feeling so sick, mentally and physically... I'm tired of not being able to walk outside, take a huge breath of air, smile, and tell myself that 'life is good.' I'm tired of wasting my life because I don't care about anything or anyone... I'm just so tired of being SO restless.. It's so difficult for me to even type this because I'm so restless and my mind just goes blank...

I'm tired.. So tired of living like this... I feel as though I'm a COMPLETE different person than I was 2-3 years ago... I try and tell myself that change is good, but I know that this isn't the right type of change... I'm burnt out and I've no desire to better myself.

I know this entire text is in an awful order, and I seriously apologize if it's hard to follow... The brain fog/concentration is to blame.

Thought I might chime that I'm experiencing many other awful/debilitating side effects.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

28 Replies

  • I have to say I am sorry you are going through so much anguish.

    I am sure you are not permanently burnt out and good times will come again. It sounds as if you are certainly suffering from depression possibly bipolar 2 . I am no doctor but the periods of high activity such as learning guitar ,enthusiasm for running ,followed by crashes to earth sounds like mild hypomania followed by depression. Nicotine dependence also seems to suggest that to me , as I find great relief in smoking..

    This is not the end of the world . I'm 72 and have suffered similar spells for 40 years, but I must admit I never suffered from physical symptoms on the scale you have experienced, although when depressed all chores and activities become very difficult. I just can't be bothered or raise the enthusiasm. My mind or cognitive ability as they like to call it also works considerably less well , although when the depression quits it seems to recover fully.

    From the terminology you use it sounds as if you are American and I'm a bit surprised that you have don't seem to have been accurately diagnosed , although it may be the physical symptoms you have experienced are confusing the medics. There are also still a lot of incompetent doctors and psychiatrists in both the Uk and the USA .One of your targets must be to find a doctor you feel is competent and is a listener. Maybe you have a depressive illness and are unlucky enough to have another problem causing the physical symptoms. On this forum many young people write of experiencing physical symptoms and often these posts read a little like hypochondria ,although I'm sure that these sufferers are convinced they have a physical illness even though medical tests seem incapable of finding any illness .

    I would certainly cut out recreational drugs which we're told are a big no no for anyone suffering any sort of mental problem . You should also cultivate regular sleep habits and regular healthy eating habits. This won't give any instant cure but will give your body a better chance of fighting this and help you find the will power and courage to carry on fighting.

    At the end of the day you'll come through this but coming through will depend a lot on your own courage and effort. I think that it is absolutely necessary that you find a sympathetic medic to give you whatever medical help you need and you should write a shortened form of your post in order that you can give a coherent and lucid account of what you have experienced. This should give the medic the best chance of an accurate diagnosis and he /she should then be able to advise on help so that you are not entirely relying on your own courage and effort. If you have a close friend or family member whose confidence you can trust and who will give you some support that will also take some of the burden off you. At 18 there is plenty of time to sort this out but the quicker the better as it must be quite a drain.

    As encouragement I have had similar experiences, but slightly milder admittedly, and had a good career , and very many prolonged extremely happy spells. If you do have bipolar 2 ,the chances are the happy spells can be happier and more intense than for "normal" people . I have now reached the stage where given the choice I prefer to be bipolar for say 80% of the time and only when severely depressed would wish to lose it.

    Hoping you reach this almost contented state a lot quicker than it took me. There's still so many unknowns around mental states but the medics have made some progress and are still progressing so your chances are much better than 40 years ago when it occured with myself.


  • Hi! Thank you so much for your lengthy response. Your reply means a great deal to me. I will definitely try the things you suggested. I have tried them before - but heck, got nothing to lose! Once again, thank you.

  • I would also google PsychEducation, Jim Phelps MD 's site . Lots of advice on similar problems . Phelps, I think ,is highly regarded,not afraid to admit what he and others don't know and backs his opinions with research references. In such a difficult area some of the advice is contradictory but his site is full of good sense and very comprehensive IMO.


  • So sorry that you are going through so much at the moment. Your life can and will get better but you do need to treat your body as well as you can.

    Have you heard of Dr Sarah Myhill? Her specialty is with people like us. She has a free website with lots of good advice.

    Pain is important your body is letting you know it needs help we just need to learn the language, pain relief is only a short term answer we need to get to the root cause.

    Gentle hugs.

  • Hi - thank you for your advice. I will check it out!

  • Sorry you are having such a tough time. I havent got an answer for you but i would urge you to ask the doctor if there is an alternative to prednisone - steroids can seriously mess with your moods . Some drugs for depression can also affect your thoughts so maybe they need to look at that too. Good luck- I hope they get you some answers.

  • Hi - thank you for replying! I'm no longer on the prednisone as that was almost a year ago! But I understand my passage can be sort of hard to follow! I've always wondered myself if prednisone caused any of my problems.

  • Hello Skyla

    You seem to have been to the wars.

    Generally when running and in pain did you see an RA to discuss the pains you were suffering. As it would seem to have been something organic that initially. A virus can cause problems for a time where high temperature would cause problems for you.

    The lack of concentration and love of life of course can be from your depression. Sometimes depression may come from a different type of problem that you have had. I understand you have had various blood tests, I suffered them several weeks ago and that can show so much to your GP. Many problems can also be hidden

    If your are always tired and have lost interest in your life it may also be something organic. I do not know if you have still got that weakness in your legs and arms.

    or if you are on Painkillers or AD and of course Steroids they can cause many of the problems you seemed to suffer from.

    Personally I feel you need to talk to your GP again and as you are seeing a trick cyclist.

    You could ask Him what the situation is with your mental health is compared to an organic problem as the latter could be causing the problem

    Remember Skyler I am no Doctor or Specialist, your GP knows you and the pathway they have advised. Bow to their knowledge, they are in partnership with you to treat your health problems


  • Thank you for your speedy response. It means so much.

  • Sorry, I commented when I was half asleep this morning. Was just so excited I've gotten such good feedback! But yes, I did see an RA at the Cleveland Clinic!

  • Skyler

    I suffer fro PSA that affects my joints, I also suffer Chronic Pain from my condition. That opens me up to a Reactive Depression.

    What medications do you take ??

    How can I help you ??


  • I'm currently on Lamotrigine. I just started it and doses must be gradually increased because a rare rash can form if started at too high of a dose too fast. (You possibly already know this.)

    Your will to comment and want to help me, gives me a sense of relief. Thank you.

  • Hello Skyler

    You Bi Polar ??, They have you on a real dousey life must be hard, tell us how we can help and give some form of support. We may be able to smooth your mood if that helps


  • Hi - I have not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But, after researching a fair amount, I'm wondering if I have Bipolar II.

  • Try and explain how can we help


  • I guess I'm just looking to see if I have any 'telltale' signs of any certain kind of disorder. I know I'm depressed, and I know I have CFS, but I guess I am looking for treatment, anyone who has struggled with this same type of thing, etc..

  • Hello Skyler

    Sorry did not get back earlier.

    Do you still have the physical problems you had before or do. Sometimes like in my case my condition affects my mental problems.

    I suffer from memory loss, depression and other associated problems. I also sometimes suffer from mood changes.

    I am much older than you and have now retired and awaiting tests to confirm if I suffer from dementia or if in the past my drugs are affecting my thought patterns.

    Generally I take ADs and Opiates with other medications to control neural damage.

    That drug you take treats seizures and sometimes bi-Polar conditions. Have you been going through rapid mood changes and it is that that is causing the problems you have now.

    Do you think a Mental Health Physio could help ask your CPN or GP, they took me in and they helped getting me stronger over an extended period. I do not know what they have in your area


  • Hi - yes I still experience some physical symptoms from my CFS. My largest physical complaint is that when I wake up I feel like I was 'hit by a truck.' I cannot get out of bed unless I've laid there for hours and even then I'm still in such a daze it's hard to function... I do experience mood swings. I'm wondering if my story signifies I might be bipolar, do you have any input on that subject?

  • Hello Skylar

    For your your CFS how long have you been on the above medication. Are you going through CBT at this time ?

    Are they trying to get your energy to return, you could try B12 and a broad spectrum of vitamins that will boost your immune system and that may increase your Energy levels. If you try and do lower levels of exercise that may tone you and help you recover, although it will take time to get back to what you were before.


  • I'm not going through CBT. I have only been on Lamotrigine for a little over two weeks. I will try and start exercising more.

  • Wow- just Wow! You have had a rough time. I think you are doing the right thing in seeing a councillor/psychiatrist. They will have access to much more answers and help.

    I would love to have some suggestions for you but Olderal has covered it all! They make sense (so to the other replies too).


  • Thank you for your comment!

  • Really sorry that you are suffering so much.

    I went through 40 years of depression and anxiety that turned out to be down to problems with one particular vitamin - B12.

    Generally a deficiency in B12 is caused by an absorption problem rather than lack of B12 in the diet (eg being a strict vegan as it is only found in animal products) - as the mechanism by which most B12 is absorbed is very specialist.

    B12 is used by a number of systems in the body and affects multiple systems in the body - you can find a long list of many of the symptoms of a B12 deficiency here


    It is generally pretty low on doctors radar - even specialists - and is frequently misdiagnosed because its conditions overlap with numerous other conditions - including ME, MS and CFS.

    Under normal circumstances the body is really good at recycling B12 so very little is needed on a daily basis, and the body can store several years worth of B12 in the liver. However, if there is an absorption problem then the recycling becomes inefficient and eventually ceases to operate completely. It can take decades for an absorption problem to manifest as a full blown deficiency. However, you use up a lot of B12 if you are very active (trainers and coaches of high performance athletes are often more aware of B12 and its affects than most medics) so if you had an absorption problem high levels of exercise could result very quickly in a deficiency ... and taking vitamin supplements wouldn't help as the vitamin wouldn't be absorbed from the supplements. Neurological problems are one of the results of a B12 deficiency. The neuropsychiatric effects include depression, anxiety, mood problems.

    Chronic fatigue and brain fogs are also common symptoms.

    It isn't something that is routinely tested and even where it is the tests are far from accurate. To add to the problems with diagnosis many doctors will dismiss the possibility of B12 unless anaemia is present (it was first identified as a form of anaemia though this is an effect of B12 deficiency rather than a defining characteristic).

    If you think it might be a possibility then I'd recommend that you join the PAS forum on healthunlocked.

  • Hi! Thank you for such a lengthy response. I will do so. If taking a B12 vitamin wont help because of absorption, how do I get my body back to the state where it CAN absorb it?

  • If you have an absorption problem the usual treatment is injections - however some people can cope with high dose oral (1000mcg to 10,000mcg). You can also try for absorption through another route that doesn't involve the gut - specifically the ileum which is where 99% of absorption occurs. Possibilities are nasal sprays (works well for me), sublingual tablets and skin patches.

    Unfortunately supplementing before getting a diagnosis makes diagnosis even more difficult - thing to do is probably ask if anyone has ever looked at your B12 levels - the tests (particularly if you are in the US) are serum B12, MMA and homocysteine. The latter two are waste products that build up if the body isn't able to use B12 properly.

  • I will ask the next time I go. Thank you!

  • guptaprogramme.com/ Sorry to hear what you are going through. This site may help!

  • Hi, please excuse the intrusion. I was wondering if you'd tried the B12 avenue or anything else, and found any improvements?

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