Avatar universal

What is Happening to my Brain?

For the past year and a half I have not been able to figure out what is wrong with me. It all started at the end of August 2019. I had been on vacation camping for a week and everything was normal, but when I returned home I started to feel very strange. It was almost like everything seemed very far away and fuzzy. I went to sleep and didn't think much of it, but when I woke the next morning I felt the same. As the day went on I started to feel worse; my head way very foggy, I was dizzy, and I felt like I was going to faint. I still thought it would pass but when I went to work the following day I could barely function.

I am a retail manager and my symptoms made it almost impossible to do my job as I was having major memory issues, anxiety, and the previous symptoms still persisted. The following day I couldn't even go to work because I had a panic attack that lasted hours (my first ever). This continued to happen multiple times over the next few days. My partner took me to the hospital and they discharged me without saying much of anything. Over the course of the next week the attacks got even worse and lasted nearly all day. I again went to the hospital (a different one) and they gave me a script for lorazepam 1mg. This helped immensely, but when it wore off my symptoms returned and increased. The following week I was basically bed ridden with anxiety, panic, paranoia, and a fear of interacting with people outside. It got so bad that I had to go on short-term disability. I spent that time with family and it seemed to subside slightly. I stopped having full-blown panic attacks. However I still had increasingly intense brain fog, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression. It was to the point that I would consider it completely debilitating, as I could not function for even basic daily tasks.

In result to this I started looking for a family doctor and psychiatrist, recieved a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and began trials of multiple medications in the course of the past year and a half. Each one affected me differently, but none helped me be able to function normally. The medications were as follows:

Wellbutrin SR
Wellbutrin XR

Each of these medications were tried for at least a month and discontinued at the advice of both my GP and psychiatrist. None of the above helped me in anyway and in fact gave me many, many negative side effects.

During this entire journey I have also been to a sleep clinic (I recieved a CPAP machine), had multiple full blood workups, a CT scan and MRI, a test for Lyme disease, seen a psychologist, taken part in a 6 week CBT group; nothing gave me any results. It has now been close to 2 years and I still cannot function, let alone return to work. No one can seem to tell me what is wrong with me and I am living in a literal hell each and every day. Currently my symptoms are as follows:

Constant fatigue
Intense, unyielding brain fog
Intrusive thoughts
Anxiety and social anxiety
Bouts of anger
Extreme irritability
A feeling that I am losing sense of reality
A similar feeling to having a fever, but without having one
A feeling that everything is far away
Inability to concentrate
Memory problems
Cognitive impairment

Every single one of these issues are present 100% of the time and do not decrease in intensity. The worst of which is the brain fog and cognitive impairment. I really do not know what to do anymore and have completely lost hope to the point where I cry daily and feel completely lost. I do thankfully have a very supportive partner, but this whole thing has obviously put a massive strain on our relationship. I would have likely killed myself if they were not part of my life supporting me during this. Adding to everything I also have to worry about major financial issues as I have been off work so long on long-term disability.

I am at a complete loss right now and have no idea what I can do to finally put an end to this ongoing nightmare hellscape I live in 24/7.
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Avatar universal
Hi Andrew. I hope you're feeling better now as your post was written a couple of years ago. I identify with many of your symptoms which I think was related to a head injury I had when I was a teenager. I'm 46 now. I've found cutting out gluten and dairy has helped and I'm on 20mg citalopram, 150mg effexor and 200mg lamottogine for bipolar 2. The previous post about Lyme disease makes sense as you were camping. Did you get diagnosed with anything yet and how are you feeling? I wish you good health. Nick
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Avatar universal
This is a lot.  The first thing I'd do is see a specialist, not your general doc, about the possibility of Lyme.  Many people who have it are not diagnosed correctly for years.  General docs are just that, generalists.  They don't specialize in anything and so are aware of many things but expert in none.  Every day they see a list of patients most of whom have different things going on, and that makes it very hard to get super good at any one of them.  It takes a lot of repetition to get really good at anything.  There are specialists who have focused in more on Lyme and other but-borne diseases that you might have gotten on that camping trip.  The other possibility is that something happened on that trip or around that time that traumatized you to have caused such a huge reaction.  All those meds, skipping around so many also might have caused some problems for you.  It takes 4-6 weeks to know usually if a medication for mental illness is going to work or not, and usually the safest way to use one is to taper up slowly on it so you can see how you react to it so that means you don't get up to a therapeutic dose for even longer than that.  And individuals vary in effective dosages.  Switching after a month is too soon, in other words, and if you're properly tapering up it may take longer than that.  Since each drug has potential side effects, and we all get some when a drug is absorbed well, switching that often on that many of them has to take some toll.  There's also the problem of stopping -- although being on one for a short time usually makes stopping easy, that too has to be done on a taper that suits you, not a general taper that suits everyone since again we're all different in how we respond.  But if your problem isn't a mental illness, and it doesn't sound like it ever was, although it might be by now, those drugs aren't going to treat it.  Because it happened so suddenly, came after a camping trip, and has so many different symptoms other than thinking anxious or depressed thoughts, which is the essence of an anxiety or depressive disorder, the likeliest thing to look into until there's no more looking into it is what happens on camping trips, and that brings up bugs and bacteria and the kinds of infections one can get on a camping trip.  But it also might have been a coincidence and something else might have been building up, such as a thyroid problem or blood sugar disorder or who knows what, all things the average general doc isn't necessarily great at finding and a psychiatrist knows absolutely nothing about.  I have no idea what is going on with you, and it sounds horrific, but if all those meds did nothing much and you weren't thinking in an anxious or depressed way in such a profound depth that might cause such a reaction, I'd try to find better docs.  Mayo Clinic anyone?  Peace.
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Oops, said but borne, meant bug borne.
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