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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:21 am 
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Hi all,

Ok, here's the story (it's a long one). Some people may remember me harping on about tonsillitis last summer. I had all the usual stuff, swollen nodes, sore throat etc. However, after a week, although the tonsillitis cleared up, I was left with neck pain.. i googled this, and found it to be linked to lymphoma, which has left me fraught with worry ever since (pretty much since July). Over subsequent months, it has spread from being on one side of my neck to both, as well as under my arms, in my stomach, and behind my knees; all sites where there are lymph nodes, only further re-enforcing my theory that I'm gravely ill.

I've been to various doctors over it scores of times, and had many blood tests, a scan, and an x-ray, and none of them can find anything wrong with me. I've spent nearly all my money seeing a private guy because I've been so worried, but he (and my g.p) have diagnosed me with anxiety and/or depression. He said that I have swollen nodes, but all the tests I've had discount anything serious, and that this is the "stress response", i.e the nodes swell up when you're under large amounts of stress, and I'm effectively wearing my immune system down through worry.. and that to jump from tonsillitis to lymphoma is a very big jump indeed. However, I spent a large amount of time googling symptoms at the start of all this and as a result have pretty much convinced myself that's what I've got, and I'm finding it incredibly hard to break out of this mindset.

I would be the first to admit that I've felt pretty low recently, but I'm finding it hard to remember whether I was this down before I became 'ill', or as a consequence of it.. the old "what came first, the chicken or the egg" scenario. It doesn't help that I've always very much been of the opinion that depression "isn't a real illness, just an excuse to stay off work for months" etc etc for most of my life, and I've always prided myself on being able to cope with anything that life throws at me, so I'm finding it incredibly hard to accept that this is a mental problem that's causing physical symptoms and aching.

I know this isn't a medical forum, but I've found that most people on them are compulsive worriers (like myself!) and don't really help. I was wondering if anyone (NickD aside.. he's been very helpful to me in recent months with his words of wisdom) has experience dealing with anxiety/depression, and does anyone recognise what I'm describing as typical symptoms? I'm only 24 and I hate feeling like this, but at the same time, although I know it's probably irrational, I have a horrible feeling I'm ill and I'm being mis-diagnosed, everyday is just the same, with this stuff going round and round in my head. I feel like I can't move on with my life and do what I want, because there's no future for me. I can't deal with this pain anymore.

Sorry if this all sounds incredibly self-indulgent, but I really could use some advice.

Thanks in advance guys/gals

Andy


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:11 am 
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Hawleytastic!

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Oh dear!

I have suffered for many years from anxiety and depression but luckily (or unluckily) these days it has developed into Seasonal Affective Disorder so at least I know what to expect at various times of the year when the nights become dark and the days dull, grey and miserable.

When I start worrying about niggling little health worries that is when I know I need to get back to the doctors and on the light treatment as that is one of my signs of depression.

The main thing to remember is that it is NOT a weakness, depression is a condition caused by a chemical imbalance.

Stress is a similar condition caused by too many of the wrong chemicals - but that often affects the stronger type of person as they put up with whatever is causing this for too long and then suffer as a consequence.

It definitely sounds from your post that the doctors are right - concentrating on your real or imagined ailments is not healthy and you could well be suffering from depression. I am not a doctor but I would suggest you try whatever treatment they are offering. They can do wonders these days - I have been on antidepressants for many years and I can honestly say that without them I probably wouldn't be here as I was such a wreck about 13 years ago. I also had counselling at the same time as I was in a bad work situation - that helped too as I live alone and don't tend to confide in anybody - the relief was enormous.

So take my advice - try whatever treatment your GP is offering - give it three months to see if it works. You won't see an improvement overnight - its a gradual thing. You won't wake up one morning and think "I feel better". You will only come to realise after several months that you are more yourself again.

And DO NOT - repeat DO NOT keep googling symptoms on the internet! :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:15 pm 
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I agree with the Baroness, I get into the same cycle sometimes and imagine I have all sorts of ailments and sit there brooding on it. The funny thing is, when I am doing something else or am generally busy, I don't give it a second thought but then I find myself worrying when I get a moment to myself.

I have been doing stuff like that ever since I was a teenager off and on and it does wear you down. If you have seen the docs and they have given you a clean bill of health then you sound absolutely fine. I have done the same thing and 'googles' all sorts of symptoms and stuff and according to what comes back, you have all sorts! Best to leave well alone!

Trying to relax works for me, or just doing stuff that you can escape into and not think about anything else, watching footy, watch a film, go out with friends etc. There are loads of people going through the same stuff from what I can gather, so try not to worry. Probably hasn't helped but there is my two penneth worth!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:30 pm 
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i told you to stop googling health advice , you tube! i don't know where you live but i would get in touch with crises if i were you. they ask you a few questions about how you're feeling, go away and decide if they can help you with free counselling. they're marvellous. i think from what you're saying that they will see you as you're stuck in a vicious circle by the sounds of it.

i've always coped with stuff but sometimes it all gets too much when something really bad gets on top of you. there's no shame in feeling like you do. i think there's quite a few people on this forum who have had their moments. this is the number for the leeds branch (0113 2755898). give them a ring and see if there's a branch in your area. hope you feel better soon.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:19 pm 
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Mersey,
I've just been through a year I'd like to forget forever. I've suffered from depression for nearly 20 years. During this time I've gone through births, deaths, divorce and horrendous personal crisis. I knew from early on that I had a problem and this has spilled over to my relationships and family and at times put them through hell. A year ago I had a relationship breakdown that for the first time had me seriously thinking about ending it all. I didn't need the internet to tell me that thoughts of topping myself wern't good. I went straight to my GP and found myself on Prozac and put forward for councelling. Slowly and with a lot of pain and help from friends and family and the drugs I got better. This last week I've ditched EVERY drug I'd become dependant on over the last 15 years. Depression is so very misunderstood by anyone who has not experienced it. See your GP, seek councelling TALK ABOUT IT! The hardest thing I ever did was telling 2 close friends I was ready to end it all. They listened, didn't judge, helped me through. Take heart my friend, you will get better, you'll realise that the good usually outways the bad and that life IS for living. You'll always carry this weight as will I, but you can cope. Don't let the demons in your head beat you.

PM me if you want to chat.

Dave x

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:34 pm 
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I've had years of experience of watching helplessly as my mum battled with depression throughout most of my life. She went though several spells of focussing her attention on physical symptoms; some real and some imagined. With the expert help of a wonderful psychiatrist amd the right medication, she is now well and in good spirits at age 76. I agree with Dave - the most important thing is to talk about how you are feeling. By all means drop me a PM if you need a shoulder. The Samaritans are always ready to listen also and are used to all kinds of social and health-realted issues. Sometimes it just helps to hear yourself saying things out loud to someone who doesn't have a vested interest, but who will hear you out and be constructive without swamping you with advice. Take care x

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Last edited by Jan H on Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:13 am 
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Hi there merseybeatle,

From my own experience I know that all kinds of symptoms, physical ones included, can be a result of depression. And the main thing I learned, which took some getting my head round, was that you can actually be clinically depressed without feeling 'depressed'. It can affect you in so many different ways. I always thought I'd be 'smart' enough to realise that I'd become depressed, but it took the doctor to point it out to me. I was quite resistant to taking any medication - as I was convinced the side effects would make me ill!! I even carried the prescription around for weeks whilst I wondered whether or not to take it. Eventually I did. I didn't suffer any side effects & I did feel better. Not euphoric or weird, just normal. Looking back I realise I'd not been quite right for literally years. The tablets - one of the Prozac family - also had a beneficial effect on another condition which it was discovered I had.

I'm not saying this is a magic bullet, all the other things that people have said on here are wise to do too, especially talking to someone you trust. The very act of putting it into words can help greatly. Talking or writing it down.

Try any treatment your doctor offers, and give it time to take effect. It's hard to see the wood for the trees sometimes, and treatment can often help to clarify things.

All the best, Lofty x

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:56 pm 
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Surround yourself with 'likeminded' people......totally indulge in all those things that 'float your boat'........take some medication.....................................and one day soon(though it may seem distant now)....there will be some clarity....and you will think to yourself,fuck I got my life back!!!!

Best of luck to you......Love Beeshette.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:27 pm 
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There's some great advice on here already and I can't significantly add to it but, as one who has also (in the past) seen the inside of hell and emerged from it, I will say that 'all things must pass' and they do. I agree also that medication for depression takes time to work and you have to give it time. Counselling, talking to people, self-help groups and some wonderful professional organisations mentioned already here, all have their part to play and, taking all that into account, there is YOU. You have the power of self determination even when it seems everything is out of your control. With help and time, you will get that strength back.

All the very best xx

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:26 pm 
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I'm waiting for a referral, because I'm figthing anxiety and depression. It got me ages to bring myself to the doctors. I hope they send to some kind of councelling. I don't want to be medicated. I was medicated once and I go hooked. Fluoxetine was the bastard pill I was like a zombie with that crap.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:00 am 
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Andy, as others said, I don't want to toss out more possibilities that might confuse you, but it might help to know that I spent several years of my life battling Lyme disease. It can present itself as a myriad of symptoms, including flu-like ones, cognitive ones (I was getting lost coming home from work, couldn't alphabetize, later had more mind problems similar to dyslexia and aphasia). And obviously, having freakish symptoms and not being believed that you're sick...very upsetting, leads to depression in many.

I live near the place it was named for (Lyme, Connecticut)...yet I was told that it was in my head, nothing was wrong with me, and to see a shrink. The doctor at the health clinic actually said I was hypochondriac...when I'd been in three times in five years for diagnosed things like strep.

I googled around and became convinced if it wasn't Lyme, then I either had been bitten by a brown recluse spider or had bone cancer, nothing else could fit Then I went into a weird state where I didn't tell anyone, thinking, if I'm going to die, let it all happen. It felt like my bones were on fire and made of broken glass. I was sometimes paralyzed. Yet I wasn't "sick"?

It was a long struggle with a very vague illness. It was my dentist who actually figured out what was wrong with me, when he looked so closely at me, and saw that I got better on a weekend of antibiotics. I then found an expert, who found that my blood tests were off the chart. I started to get better on simple penicillin for a few months, but the events of 2001 slowed my recovery - mind and body are one. It was very hard as well, to have something that wasn't always that outwardly physical, so even friends didn't all believe how sick I was.

Press on! Get answers. Don't be told it's in your head as a dismissive thing. Mental illness is truly illness, yes. But you may also have something else that you must find.

Lots of love.

~ Karen


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:00 am 
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It sounds like not everybody has great experiences with the SSRI's Paxil/paroxetine or Prozac/fluoxetine but I can testify that the former saved me. I've suffered from depression since my late teens; it caused me to perform miserably in high school and university and rendered me almost totally unable to handle social situations. While I wasn't looking to commit suicide, I was certain that if I were going to spend the rest of my life that way, there was no point in going on. These are the commonly accepted signs of clinical depression:

* Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
* A dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
* Fatigue and lack of energy
* Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt
* Extreme difficulty concentrating
* Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
* Inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities
* Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
* Recurring thoughts of death or suicide


With the exception of appetite change (never had a problem there), I had them all in spades. The difficulty in concentrating was the most frustrating symptom, especially throughout school; studying for exams was an utter impossibility when you'd have to read the same sentence over ten times without the information sticking in your head.

While I'll agree with others that counselling should be at least attempted, it really did nothing for me, and I think that's because I'm at heart a very logical person; I knew that circumstances in my life were nothing to be ashamed or worried about, and the fact that I was anyway was only making me more frustrated. No matter who I talked to, they couldn't shed any light or give me any advice that made sense. But once my GP referred me to a psychiatrist who put me on Paxil, it was like a light went on.

I've been on it for almost 15 years now, which may make some people throw up their hands in horror; there's this really weird Puritanical mindset among some that medication is to be avoided at all costs. However, clinical depression has many parallels with diabetes, among them that both involve the body not using its own chemicals (serotonin and insulin) properly, and I have yet to see anyone tell a diabetic that they're "addicted" to insulin.

My perspective? Find out if medication will do the trick, and don't let anyone else pooh-pooh it due to their own prejudices.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:14 am 
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i'm hoping my doc will keep the citalapram coming my way after the next prescription. everybody suffers in a different way. that stuff had the same effect on me. all negative thoughts banished. wonderful.

isn't it amazing how many people suffer from this yet we're suposed to view it as some supposed weakness?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:22 am 
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I can absolutely see what you are saying there bloodshift. The SSRIs have worked very well for me. After the initial few months I was afraid the doctor would take me off them, as I was so drastically 'changed' by them, but he was happy to keep me on my low dose. I really believe that I'd probably never been 'right', due to some chemical imbalance. As I'm sure you'll agree, it's not euphoria that kicks in, just a feeling that finally things are how they should be, and not the constant battle they once were. Don't think I had a life before The only downside, if you want to call it that, is that I find I'm not quite as 'sharp' as I was, although this could just be growing older. I used to write more & be a bit more imaginative before I took the medication, but sometimes that was like having a fire in your head. Fire is scary. I'm glad of the peace.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:07 pm 
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I'm taking paroxetine at the moment, just a low dose, I've been on that for about 6 weeks (I did start taking it before xmas, but foolishly decided to come off it because I felt a bit better.. big mistake).

Thanks for all the kinds words. I've had so many blood tests I couldn't recount all of them, and they've all been normal, as well as the scan and x ray. I'm just so fed up of the constant pain. I'm paying to get CBT therapy from the private doctor (I haven't really got any money but I've been feeling so low about everything I've thought about killing myself a few times, so I thought I might as well just spend the money if it'll help me).

The private doc is the same one who ran a lot of tests for me ("every test under the sun" as he calls it) and has said categorically that i "100% do not have lymphoma", as has my gp and various other docs. I'm hoping that the therapy will help me come to accept that. Like I said, it's because I have real physical symptoms that I'm finding it so hard to accept it's a mental problem, I'm terrified of it being a mis-diagnosis, even though it's irrational.

Apart from change in appetite, I have all of the symptoms you mentioned bloodshift, plus swollen painful nodes. I guess that just further backs up the depression/anxiety diagnosis.


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