I need to get this off my chest. What I hope to gain from the whine/vent/hysterical rampage that is someone…anyone…who can suffer through this blog can tell me what the hell is going on and please give me some hope.
Brief history…I diagnosed sometime ago with major depressive disorder. Started meds (Celexa first, then Lexapro). Went to counseling. Personal diagnosis, I am not depressed. I have General Anxiety Disorder. I have never known depression. At least not until this happened. Now I know depression. I have had tried and true anxiety attacks since I can remember. The first I remember was at age 5 or 6 when my mom took me to the public library. She gave me the “talk” about proper behavior in a library. We went with our neighbors. Neighbor mom apparently did not have the “talk” with her daughter and she ran screaming up and down the aisles, climbing on shelves and generally being a 5 year old in a new playground. I became hysterical. I had to be removed from the library. (Apparently the library staff anticipated her behavior… mine not so much.). In second grade, I was called out in the hall for being disruptive. I was asked to admit what I did (I was being a clown and liked it when classmates laughed at me), but I would not speak. They got the principal. I became hysterical and was sent home on the bus with the morning kindergarten class.
So flash forward to modern times…brain never stops. I wake up with my brain attempting to solve problems that don’t exist. When hiccups in life happen, I get sick. I get physical pain. The physical pain lasts until I go to the doctor and get the “you are having an anxiety reaction” speech followed by the medical bill. The pain subsides. It’s never the same pain so it’s never something I coherently or logically say “oh hmm, I must be having a reaction to a stressor”. I have found through therapy and reaching out to the bloggers, that I am not alone.
What I cannot accept is that as a middle aged, educated woman with an amazing family, a decent job and relatively good health, cannot find a way to “deal” with this. When the new pain happens, I cannot tell you what the stressor was that triggered it. I don’t “feel” stress. I function like every other normal person. If a stressor…a true stressor…like an auto accident…I react with normal stress. Like any other adult would. If finances run tight, I logically work through it like an adult. I don’t curl into a fetal position unable to function. When my daughter returned from vacation and has been robbed, I respond as any mother would and prepare a list of what she needs to do, stopping short of jumping on a plane to Seattle to track down and beat the shit out of any possible suspect hoodlum.
This year…starting in about March I began having tinnitus. I also started having pressure in my right eye. The eye issue I assumed was the need to get new contacts. I saw the doctor at the local get-new-glasses store and he couldn’t see anything wrong. (My brain translates that to “you are making it up”.) He gave me some antibiotics and no contacts for a few weeks. For the tinnitus I saw my doctor in April. She said my ears were impacted and cleaned them. That should help. It didn’t, but it wasn’t that bad at that time so I waited for it to just go away. Since I figured it is yet another anxiety reaction, I acknowledged it. Accepted it and waited for it to go away. It didn’t. It got worse. It is all day/every day. A screeching. Never stops. Never.
End of July, I went to an ENT. I am “congested”. Told to use nasal spray. Oh and take lipoflavanoid. It could take 60 days at least to begin working. I did argue with the ENT about allergies and congestion. But after starting nasal spray, I started feeling congested. (Oh and my hearing is perfect.). I stopped the certrizine which I had been taking for allergy itching for nearly two years. (I read long term antihistamine use can cause tinnitus.). She also said in her report that it was anxiety.
At the same time, I went to an eye doctor/surgeon. I have dry eye. And cataracts forming. I have eye drops. Eye doctor said he sees dry eye incidences like this with people who had parotidectomy. I had the parotid tumor removed in 2005 or 2006 so he said it was odd for that to be the reason so many years later. But short of that, there isn’t a reason he can see for the pressure in my eye.
I told my family doctor I wanted off the lexapro since a side effect could be tinnitus (although I’ve been on it for nearly 2 years and the tinnitus just started this year). She agreed but wants me to see a psychiatrist for behavioral therapy. Ok whatever they want. Oh and take zinc and B12. That could take 4 months to be effective.
I know tinnitus can be made worse by anxiety and nonstop tinnitus definitely creates anxiety.
Friday. After a very busy week at work struggling to concentrate through the screeching in my head, and admittedly dealing with a very stressful event (daughter returned from vacation and had been robbed), I took the opportunity of early dismissal to go to the ER. I was beyond able to cope. The nasal spray was not helping the tinnitus and if anything it was getting worse. I sat in triage and cried. I was hysterical and made stupid dramatic statements that people with a depression diagnosis are not allowed to say. I begged them to do something, anything to make it stop. The ER nurse literally sat there mouth hanging open as I blubbered uncontrollably. The doctor was sympathetic but there isn’t anything they can do for tinnitus.
She was the second person to ask if diagnostic tests had been done. No I tell them, only a hearing test. I am again asked if the tinnitus is in my right ear. Through my hysterical hiccups I tell them AGAIN it is in my WHOLE HEAD, but yes, ok, it never subsides on the right. Sometimes the left seems less intense but 99% of the time it is in my whole head. I rambled on that the eye pressure is only my right eye and the doctor said that might be from my parotidectomy but it’s been so long that he wasn’t sure. Wait…your right eye? Parotidectomy? Well, she can’t order an MRI, but she’d call my ENT. She returns with prescriptions to immediately start treatment for neuropathy. A small dose of gabapentin and prednisone, but I’m to get back in to the ENT and see if I need to get a referral to a neurologist.
She tried to prescribe xanax too but I declined. And after seeing I was calm and not a threat to myself despite my wildly hysterical comments, she discharged me.
The bottom line vent
Why the f&$k does the diagnostic testing have to be the last thing they think of? Am I prejudiced against because of the depression diagnosis? Does no one believe me that the pain is real? Do the doctors listen? My breakdown was largely caused by NO ONE BELIEVING ME. Tinnitus is subjective. No one hears it but me. You just need background noise to distract you. Like a fan. Really? And never know silence again? Never enjoy hiking in nature again? Silence is my recharge. Does anyone understand the anxiety that is caused by being told that I’m making these things up in my own head and they don’t really exist? Do they translate “nonstop screeching in my head” to “a mild humming that occurs off and on”? It does exist. It is all I hear. As I sit here now, with the tv on, the landscaper out back and the dog running back and forth because the landscaper is here, cat meowing because the landscaper is here, my head is filled with screeching. Loud unbearable screeching. If this is caused by something, I’m going to be pissed beyond belief that I’ve had to want to stick an icepick through my head for 6 months now because no one took me seriously. And if this IS yet another reaction to anxiety, I’m done. The mental institute can have me. Because if my brain is capable of doing this to me, and my only recourse is living with it, well I suspect my remaining years will be lived so doped up on every effing anti-anxiety medication, my “life” isn’t going to be very productive. ⬅️ oops super drama self slipped in. Seriously though, as I sit here today, with the screeching I cannot escape, “living with it” seems unbearable.
Ok whew, off my chest.