Anxiety and Depression Support

Please help. I’m a 26 year old husband and father of 1. My life is in utter turmoil!

To start, I’ll say this is all very new to me. Before this whole ugly episode started, I had no mental health issues, no symptoms of any type of mood disorder, no need for medication of any kind whatsoever. Within 3 weeks all that has quite suddenly changed. Let the story begin...

Since I graduated high school I’ve tried to be very conscious of my health. My father, a Vietnam veteran, drank himself to the point of diabetes and heart disease. Although he stopped drinking long before his untimely death from a heart attack in 2014, the damage had already been done due to his lack of willingness to change his lifestyle. I was determined that my daughter would not have to constantly worry about her father’s health the way I worried about his. I don’t do any recreational drugs. I don’t smoke. I VERY RARELY consume alcohol. On average about 1 shot glass of whiskey a month if that.

I’ve been working at a factory since I was a teenager after I graduated. Not the most glamorous job in the world but I liked it fine. For the last 3 years I’ve been on straight night shift. I of course don’t like it but for the most part my sleeping never really suffered. I managed it just fine. About 3 months ago, I started to notice that I was starting to get a little uncomfortable in my clothes and the scale was starting to tick just a bit into the wrong direction. I graduated high school 275 pounds in 2009. Since 2011 I’ve maintained a weight under 170. After losing so much weight after years of suffering I swore to myself I would never gain that weight back. So naturally when the scale got back up to 170 I made a doctors appointment. I told him I’d noticed a little bit of unexplained weight gain as well as being just a smidgen irritable at times. He took blood to check for all the ordinary things, thyroid, testosterone, etc. Well in addition to all that he said “I want you to try this pill called Celexa.” “It’s a very mild antidepressant that I myself have taken in the past for seasonal affective disorder.” The results from the blood work wouldn’t be back for a few days but I got the prescription filled for the Celexa. I got the medicine home and sat down and read the pack of papers that comes with all those medicines. Naturally when I read about the possibility of suicidal thoughts I was very put off. I tossed it around in my head for 3 days whether or not to take it. Finally I decided to. I took a 20mg pill that morning at 7am and went to bed to get up for work that evening.

Fast forward to 7pm that evening. I had made it to work after having my daily two cups of coffee and dinner at home. In the middle of working on the line like normal, talking to one of my buddies I had a very odd sensation I’d never felt before. I just instinctively froze and my brain said “somethings happening.” Within 5 seconds my hands and feet went numb and clammy, my heart rate skyrocketed, I got light headed and short of breath and the biggest wave of panic and fear that I’ve ever felt washed over me completely. I almost collapsed in my panic stricken state to get to the bosses office to get help. I thought I was having a heart attack. They had seen this before and assured me it was a panic attack. Well my wife came and picked me up and drove me to the ER. They explained what was going on. They said maybe it was just a rough reaction to the medicine combined with the caffeine. They gave me a .5mg pill of Ativan and sent me home. I took half the pill when I got home at 9pm and the other half that next morning before I went to bed. Well I thought that was the end of it but I was wrong. I had another panic attack two days later, this time my brain felt goofy like I wasn’t sure who I was, that scared me even worse than the first one. Well then I contacted my doctor and he sent me an emergency prescription of Xanax to the pharmacy. 6 pills, 1mg each. He made very clear to tell me of the dangers of Xanax but said at this dose with that many pills it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Well over the next week or so, I never took a whole pill, but I took it for about 7-8 days in a row. The first 4 days .5mg once a day, the next 4 days .25mg. I started to have some crazy dreams so I decided to stop taking the Xanax, especially since I didn’t want to get hooked. As it turns out, the blood work came back and it indicated that I was in fact having problems with my thyroid. He put me on 25mcg Levothyroxine. If only we would’ve waited for the blood work to come back before trying the antidepressant but oh well

Over the next couple of weeks I kept some constant symptoms of anxiety. Tightness in my chest, accelerated breathing, worry about having another panic attack. I had really started fearing for my sanity. I had a follow up appointment over all this and my doctor diagnosed me with Anxiety/ Panic Disorder and represcribed the medicine in a much smaller dose. He said instead of 20mg, take a 10mg pill and break it in half. Take that for about a week and then possibly try a whole one. Well until this past week those were all my symptoms but now this has taken an odd turn. I’m not sure if because I’ve worried myself into a panic so much that this has happened, but throughout the day on some days I started to experience bouts of depression that I had never felt before. They usually always followed times when I felt great anxiety about something and got really scared. This turned me into a chronic worrier and self diagnoser. My biggest fear through all of this has been losing my sanity and doing something to myself or someone else like you see all the time in movies. Because of that I had an absolutely terrible nightmare that caused me to not be able to sleep for two days. It involved my daughter and she had been killed. All the people in the dream kept on telling me that I had done it, that it was my fault. So after that I couldn’t stay off the internet, trying to reassure myself that there wasn’t some homicidal maniac waiting to get out of me. I came across every possible thing you could have and at times was convinced I had it. “Harm OCD, “Recurrent Brief Depression”, BiPolar Disorder 2 with hypomania.” The last one came about simply because I had actually felt better for a couple hours one morning but had racing thoughts when I tried to lay down. I was really convinced that since I had felt happier for a little while and now my mind was racing, I wasn’t simply having insomnia due to anxiety, but full blown hypomania from BiPolar disorder.

Now fast forward to the present. I’ve been taking the 5mg Celexa for about 6 days. For the last day or two I had been kind of depressed. Like I said before, suicide and homicide are the two most reprehensible things I can ever imagine. But because I’ve been so worried about having suicidal thoughts, it’s like now I can’t shake the thought of “What if?” It terrifies me when I imagine it in my head to the point that it almost gives me another panic attack and I just try to block it out of my mind but it tends to pop back up. Maybe because I’ve been so afraid of suicidal thoughts that I’ve convinced myself that I actually am having them? Please tell me these are just intrusive thoughts. Maybe it’s just a nasty side effect from the medication? Maybe someone can offer some opinions or insight into anything I’ve talked about. Anything anyone wants to say is greatly appreciated. I’m very scared and feel very alone about all this. It just doesn’t make sense to me that after 26 years of perfect health I could suddenly get some type of debilitating mind condition. Maybe all this is just anxiety related from the original panic attack? I await all your responses and feedback.

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Interesting..................

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Hey, Just read your story, I'm having to go out just now but wanted to let u know I'm having all the What if? thoughts on a daily basis since having a severe panic attack in my sleep one night..so trust me , the thoughts are anxiety related...I hope this helps :) if theres anything u want to ask I will be home later this evening...Try to distract your thoughts when their bad....

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Thank you so much. Just reading that really helps.

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Youre welcome :) Glad to hear its helped, try not to believe the thoughts, its anxiety playing tricks...:)

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I am so very sorry to read your story!!!

I have a thyroid disorder and it is a catalyst for anxiety/depresion, especially when it is jacked up!

My first suggestion—go to an endocrinologist. Do not rely on a family doc or general practice, or a PA, at least until you have had a long period of thyroid stability. Please trust me on this! It takes at LEAST 6 weeks to even get the meds going in your body!! Then you add an antidepressant when your body is adjusting to thyroid hormones😳

I am no professional, but it sounds to me like a reaction to the meds, then a reaction to your panic attack, which is so common!

Be your own advocate and get to a great thyroid doc! Find out if you have Hashimoto’s or just a blown out thyroid.

Hashimoto’s and regular thyroid disease do go hand and hand with depression and anxiety disorders, so it is so important to get your thyroid working well-which may erase your anxiety/depression—in order to get your mental health straightened out. If you do need medication for depression, they work much better if your thyroid is working well!!!!

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and bi-polar disorder are known to be best friends, even when thyroid levels “seem” optimal on blood tests.

Did they check your Vitamin D levels? Also could be adding to the problems. Where do you live? Do you get outside for sun? (Vitamin D!)

You can and will be better!!!!! Keep advocating for you!

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Hi Pearl,

Really agree with you about an endocrinologist. I had gyn endocrinologist so something unusual in reproduction matters. But what type of endocrinologist is yours? I mean how would he know the proper name to find one...is it "thyroid endocrinologist" or what?

Thanks.

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Mine lists herself simply as an endocrinologist. I know the clinic focuses on thyroid and disnetes.

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Thanks...did you catch that T_Rose?

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Got it loud and clear. I’ll check into an endocrinologist in the morning.

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Then you can decide if the care may be more appropriate for you. Print your post and replies and give to the doctor to scan over....may save time that you can use for discussion if that MD's care would be different or more appropriate. Good look.

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For anxiety sufferers I would recommend a low dose of lithium only, if desired. 150mg. Otherwise you need support from people and to learn how to self validate, learn good coping skills, create a protective environment, low stimulation. Love you,

Geoffry.

I do have experience. Was a therapist for 20 years. Studied enough psycho pharm to say take min possible.

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Whew. Well, what has your prescribing doctor said in response to everything you just wrote?

The 11th Commandment is : Thou shalt not Google. Call MD.

You will be receiving other replies to your post that probably be more helpful than mine. Your doctor should be able to explain the chemical effects on you, but your obsession that you now may have thoughts of harm because of the one panic attack ...well...think that's out of my league. Other than saying just "chill" and relax a bit with mediation and let your mind and body adjust to your fairly new medication, I haven't anything specific to offer other than don't stop your thyroid medication without your doctor's ok and help. Google may have affected you more than your panic attack. I wish you well, as you don't sound as though you have anything serious going on ...except that you are worrying that you may. You're young, healthy and this sounds like the first health issue you've personally experienced. ( Not meaning your Dad) I mean your body chemistry and needing thyroid medication. Think you're going to be fine and focusing on the upcoming holiday season may help you focus on what is real and enjoyable now with your little child and your wife.

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Thanks I needed to hear that. It’s no secret to the people surrounding me that I’ve always been a bit of a worrier and an over thinker. Part of me wonders if I have actually worried myself sick into some of these symptoms after that first panic attack.

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Yes, not uncommon. That's why I frequently add the 11th commandment about Google. It is seductive in it lists about every possible, but not probable, health possibility. Not really meant as a medical expert source.

Hope you weren't offended by that. Once out of curiosity I plugged in my diagnosis, and I am actually dead according to Google. Died about five years ago. lol

The suggestion about finding an endocrinologist for your thyroid treatment is a good one...problem is finding one. If there is a medical school near you, no problem, experts out the gazoo. May want to ask Pear67 how to find one and what type of endocrinologist is one called.....there are endocrinologists for various parts of the body. I had one for gyn care as my body is a bit different in the normal reproduction area....you definitely don't need that kind.

Please keep in touch on this open forum or by PM. I don't want you getting caught up in the spider web of drugs and fear of having a mental health issue when I really don't you have one...but takes weeks for the thyroid meds and your body chemistry to get to know one another.OK?

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Absolutely. I’ll reach out if it becomes necessary. Thank you so much.

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I asked Pearl for you about what type of endocrinologist would benefit you...like what is the proper area of endocrinology you would look for.

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I read somewhere that People who are crazy for real think that there's nothing wrong with them. I have also had moments when I worried that I will go crazy, it's typical for anxiety sufferers

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Do you all think it’s possible to worry so much and be so anxious that you actually worry yourself into a depression thinking that it’s come true?

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Crazy? Denial is a symptom of an illness. I take issue with "crazy".

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My mother had schizophrenia....she always said everyone else was “crazy,” and she was the one who knew things. My counselor said that if you “think you are crazy or losing your mind, you are probably not! Most people who have lost touch with reality think they are completely on point!” Remember that!

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