Fesus Chucking Jrist what a couple of months...
First off, apologies to those who I said I’d be more active! I’ve been meaning to come on here and update every week but I just never get ‘round to it!
This is basically going to be a complete overview of everything I’m currently going through and/ or have been through since I last posted (which I’m pretty sure was around mid september). Don’t be expecting much positivity. I’m also putting in a major “broken record” alert for everything you’re about to read, as it’s probably been said a quadrillion times before. I need to get it all down in writing though and I figured there’s really no better place to do that! I’m going to list all my symptoms and feelings, in no particular order, in great detail, hoping that at least one of you can find reassurance/ provide me with some!
To start off, I’ve now been on Sertraline (zoloft) 25mg (‘cause I’m too scared to go any higher :L) for prerty much 9 weeks. All of the following will be what I’ve done/ haven’t done since that time. I have completely cut out caffeine (maximum of 2 decaf coffee’s per day, no chocolate, no tea and no carbonated beverages containing caffeine) from my diet. I have not consumed a single drop of alcohol since 5 days before taking meds (september 8th) as I’m far to scared to while on Sertraline, and fgured it’s kind of pointless drinking if I’m not going to enjoy it! This is by FAR the longest I’ve gone without alcohol in the last 2 years. I’ve also avoided all stimulants (cutting down on sugar etc.) and have not consumed any of the substances said to interact with my medication, besides a swig of tropical juice, which contains a whole 2% of grapefruit juice 😱😱 ;L Has any of this helped you may be wondering? No. Not a single f*cking bit. I just REALLY want a beer and a coffee. 👍🏻.
I have partaken in no strenuous or overly demanding activities, besides basic housework and a spot of gardening here and there. I have left the house a total of 7 times, all of which have been Doctors or Job Centre (the place you go to claim benefits, as for obvious reasons, I can’t work tight now 😩😩) appointments. I’ve planned to attend 3 social events during this time (including tonight, foreworks party across the street) all of which I’ve bailed from last minute. 4 of these outings have resulted in full blown panic attacks that total me for the day, 2 were dodgy but manageable, and 2 were surprisingly uneventfull (althought by no means pleasant ;L).
Therapy-wise, I’m currently on a waiting list for “High-intensity CBT” with the Cornwall mental heath service. This will be with a health anxiety specialist, for 12 (I think) weeks fortnightly. The waiting time is significantly longer for this but as my issue is solely based on my health, it seems worth the wait!
Now on to my current list of physical symptoms. Again, a LOT of these you’ve probably seen hundreds of times on here (including from myself :L) but I need to get them ALL down for my own sake! *takes deep breath*
Nausea: This has been something I’ve had on and off from the start (Dec. 2015). It’s never been massively intense or persistent, until the last couple of weeks. I’d say 70% of the time it’s this irritating but not horrendous background nausea. I can still eat and do stuff when it’s like this. There will be an hour or so (random) most days where it kind of doubles in intensity, I’d liken this to the nausea experiences during a particularly unpleasant hangover ;L About 5-15 times per day, I’ll get a massive rush or super intense sickness, which can last anywhere from a couple seconds, to a few minutes, and always sends me running for the bathroom or at least “bracing for impact”. Again these happen at complete random, although I have had them a few times directly after making a sudden movement (looking in a different direction ((especially when my neck is stiff)), standing up, stretching etc.) This symptom does not seem to be in any way associated with how stressed/ nervous I’m feeling, however it does ‘cause me a great deal of fear, especially the sudden bursts! I’d rate this an 8/10 on the “horribleness” scale at the moment. Any tips on reducing it would be hugely appreciated as nothing seems to work!
Lightheadedness/ faintness: Bet you’re surprised to see this one here 😂 But seriously, I have never experienced anything even close to this! It’s so so bad it’s almost funny! The lightheaded feeling I’ve had the last 2 months (since the bad attack in the car, see previous posts if you don’t know what I’m on about) had made EVERYTHING up until this point seem like a trial run. Like a free Anxiety Disorder demo disk that came with a magazine, and now I’ve gone out and bought the double delux edition with season pass ;L I can barely walk 99% of the time, like literally getting from my room to the bathroom (which is directly opposite my room) is incredibly unpleasant on some days. It’s ever-present, from the moment I wake ‘til the moment I sleep (and has even been in my f**king dreams...). Lightheadedness has been a problem from the start. It was my 1st symptom in fact. It’s come and gone drastically in severity over the months, and even vanished almost completely occasionally (April/ May last year, and on and off throughout most of winter). It’s always been something that’s affected me hugely when stood, but not so much when sat, so at least I could actually enjoy relaxing and doing anything that doesn’t involve being upright! That’s completely out the window now. It’s still significantly worse (most of the time completey debilitating) while stood, but it’s ALWAYS there in varying degrees no matter what position I’m in, completely destroying activities (guitar, gaming, lying in bed) which up until now have been always been an escape from it. Just horrendous. A solid 12/10 worst symptom.
Seizure-like symptoms: This kind of ties in with lightheadedness as the two seem to interact with eachother. Also forgove the misleading heading, I’ve never had a seizure, but this is jist what I’ve always imagined they (or the time leading up to one) feel like. It’s like a massive overwhelmed feeling, ultra-intense faintness with a kind of all-over massive tingly/ churny feeling. This happens at random throughout the day, but what’s really REALLY concerning me is that it’s triggered most of the time by movement/ light. Videogames are a prime example. This sucks as they are 2nd to music in my list of interests (well, pretty much obsessions ;L) and have up until now been a fantastic escape from bad days. I can’t begin to recall how many horrible days have been completely turned around by a few rounds on Battlefield or getting lost in my favourite retro RPGs! Completely impossible now. I’ve actually had to buy a shitty wireless keyboard and mouse and plug my TV into my computer so I can use it from my bed, as sitting at the desk infront of my monitors is extremely uncomfortable especially when gaming 😞 It’s super frustrating as I’ve spent tonnes on my setup over the years and I can’t even use it to it’s full potential at the moment! I know this is an ultimate 1st world problem but when it’s something you’re passionate about and that’s helped you through the worst times, it really sucks to have that taken away. Even playing games, watching videos and even music production from my bed is still very uncomfortable. Any flashing light or continuous scrolling brings on this feeling immediately, and I find myself having to constantly look away. It’s a very very distressing feeling and not like anything I’ve had before. Compleyely takes over my body and I can’t seem to find any way to remedy it. A definite 10/10.
Frequent blinking: One of the less distressing new symptoms for sure, but still incredibly annoying and concerning. Not really much else to say about it. I literally bink constantly. My eyes feel extremely dry ad irritated as well, and the blinking doesn’t seem to help at all. This comes and goes at random, but I find it occurs indefinitely whenever I’m concentrating on something (TV screen, playing guitar, talking to someone etc.) The latter is especially annoying as I feel like they’re probably sat there like “the f**k’s this guy’s problem?” ;L 5/10. Inconvinient, but I could live with it.
Random movements: This also seems to occur when I’m talking to someone or trying to concentrate. The main one which kinda ties in with the blinking is constantly raising my eyebrows forcefully (if that makes sense :L). The weird thing is, I’m completely aware that I’m doing it, but find it almost impossible to stop. I get a very uncomfortable feeling if I don’t do it, almost like tourettes or something. I also randomly tense up my neck muscles in the same kind of fasion, like short muscle spasms that I’m completely in control of. Very weird.
Jaw clenching/ teeth grinding: This SUCKS. All day. None stop. Probably the worst of the new symptoms (don’t recall every having this before) Occasionally I realise I’m doing it and force myself to stop, which usually results in a rather unpleasant feeling (like a burst of anxiety). My entire face and neck area feels very tense and kinda like play dough from doing this so much. Like it’s numb from being under so much tenion CONSTANTLY. I must do it in my sleep as well as it feels tense in the morning. While it causes little to no pain, it’s HUGELY affecting my ability to talk and coordinate my jaw in general. I find that a lot of the time, words which require substantial jaw movement come out sounding really weird and mispronounced, as I’m struggling so much to open and close my mouth correctly! I really don’t know how I’m gunna get past this one as it’s totaly automatic and feels very uncomfortable to stop. It also seems to be completely unaffected by stress levels. Very much a main contributor to my worries at the moment.
Coordinating: This is another brand new thing (since the incident in September, sinificantly worse since starting medication). Without a doubt, this is currently the biggest contributer to my crippling fear and inability to do anything remotely physical. My entire body feels totally out of whack. I’ve honestly never felt anything like it. You may notice a tonne of spelling and wording errors in this, as I’m really struggling to type on both my phone and keyboard (something I’ve been very good at for years). It’s affecting everything I do day to day. I’ve played guitar since I was 9 (now 22) and I’m struggling more that ever to do that now. It’s like there’s some sort of delay between what my brain tells my fingers to do, and them actually doing it?! Really REALLY scaring me, as I’ve read NOTHING about this being an anxiety symptom ANYWHERE. Same goes for walking, my legs feel like then just can’t coordinate. Constantly scraping my foot along the floor, tripping over and flopping about like one of those inflatable flailing tubes outside of car showrooms ;L Everyday tasks like making food, using a computer, personal hygiene and cleaning are all hugely affected. This is undoubtedly the number one thing holding me back at the moment. Really need some reassurance. 7268272/10.
Pain: Shooting pains, aches, random weird tender spots that feel like a bruise but are invisible, cramps, muscle tension, stomach pain, back pain (upper and lower), electroc shock like feelings (particularly in head which REALLY scares me). You name it. Constantly. Another symptom I’ve up until now really never experienced. My anxiety was hugely affected by constant shooting pains in my head which seemed to come out of nowhere around summertime this year (which I believe is what lead to my massive attack a couple moths ago). I was all-in-all doing quite well up until then but they really set me off again. Still everyday I’m getting these pains, along with headaches and weird zapping sensations. These tender spots are REALLY weirding me out as well. I’ve had one on my right shin just below the knee for about a week now. Only really hurts to touch. Felt very very warm when it first appeared but that’s gone now and it just hurts. Have a similar thing in a few other places (side of left knee, forearm) but not as bad. Pain is something I could live with definitely but it really freaks me out and I’d love some sort of explanation.
Shaking: Nothing much to say about this. I constantly shake. Ranges from a shiver most of the time to like a full on tremor. Is affected by stress but also changes at random throughout the day. Extremely annoying again when it comes to daily activities.
Temperature: Another new one. My body seems to be constantly changing temp. I can be freezing, like ice cold one minute and roasting the next. This can occur throughout my entire body or in patches. For example my lower back and legs might feel extremely cold, while the rest of me is warm or really hot etc. This can also be like a suface temperature (alot of the time, the affected area will be physically cold/ hot to touch) or a very internal feeling.
Vibrating/ blurry vision: Exactly what it says on the tin. Very noticable when reading text or looking at something bright. Almost like the edges of everything are wobbling?!
Tension: Again really doesn’t need much explaining. My whole body either feels extremely tense, or completely dead, all the time. This ties in with the lack of coordination for one hell of a combo! My neck and shoulders are massively affected by this. I feel like my neck is constantly in a brace, and there’s someone always pressing down on my shoulders. I get very lightheaded when moving my neck or trying to massage it which leads me to believe that this may be hugely contributing to my problems. I just have no idea what to do about it, as NOTHING I do seems to help. Sitting upright has become almost impossible due to this, which is really affecting my back. I also feel it in my forehead and face, which massively exacerbates the jaw clenching I mentioned earlier. I’ve had this tension for a while but it’s become WAY worse over the last couple months.
A few others that I’ve either talked about excessively before or can’t be bothered to go into detail about include:
Constant breathlessness, random bursts of fatigue, trouble concentrating on anything, massively exacerbated symptoms when standing/ walking, feeling completely dead/ spaced out after ANY physical activity, memory problems (short term), feeling super spaced out (kind of what I imagine LSD to feel like :L), waking up gasping for air (multiple times per night sometimes), massively increased “jumpiness” (very easily startled), sound sensitivity, unusually slow feeling heart rate... the list goes on... (and on...)
Having probably now obliterated the record for longest post on any forum ever, I’m going to leave it there ;L I know this seems rediculously exhaustive but I NEEDED to get it all down and I’m in serious need of reassurance. More than ever. I’m having an impossible time believeing this is solely mental illness at this point so anyone who can relate and shed ligjt I beg you to do so! I’m still happy and still smilin’ but I REALLY want to be Adam again! I’ve completely lost my “party on” attitude that’s kept me just about sane so far over the last couple months and I’m not going to be able to get it back ‘til I can get out of this unfathomably deep ditch I’m currently in! Even to be at the stage I was earlier this year would be an absolute godsend. At least I could function!
A massive massive thankyou to anyone who’s taken the hours out of their day to read this. It means a huge amount to me (especially as it’s taken me close to 2 hours to write 😂)! Xx