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Can anyone relate to my symptoms?


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My current psychiatrist doesn't give me a clear diagnosis.

 

These are my symptoms:
 
My mind feels like it won't shut up, and like it's on speed. Racing, obsessive, intrusive thoughts - and I feel like everyone is looking at me, even if they're not.
 
My vision seems much clearer and 'brighter'. I have a fight or flight response whenever a person walks by me, even if they're a child, girl, or older person.
 
Sometimes I get intrusive homosexual thoughts/impulses, even though I'm quite straight, and intrusive aggressive thoughts when I see women/girls.
 
I feel like I'm stuck inside my mind and I can't get out. I feel like I'm all over the place, not grounded.
 
I feel like I'm missing my personality, and like I'm not my normal self. I feel transparent, as though everyone can see and walk right through me.
 
I can't detach myself from people and my surroundings. I feel like I notice everything around me, and it's too 'close' and oppressive.
 
Everything is too fast, and I feel like I have to do many things at once. I feel like I need constant stimulation, and I can never just relax, or relax my mind.
 
I almost feel like people can read my thoughts, and like I have to hide them.
 
I also always have the TV on while I'm on the internet, even if I'm not watching it. I'm also doing things very quickly and switching between tasks very quickly.
 
I find myself engaged in activities that I normally wouldn't, were I in a 'normal' state.
 
My thought patterns and emotions are quite distorted. I wake up and go to sleep in this abnormal state.
 
Even when I'm alone, nothing changes. I also feel aggressive, and have almost gotten into trouble/possible fights, due to looking at people wildly in the eye. I manage to control myself though, but I seem to sometimes provoke others, and am provoked myself by every little thing (very irritable).
Edited by dreamedm
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I have had similar symptoms in the past (the paranoia, thinking people can see through me, thinking people can read my thoughts, racing thoughts). 

 

However, that's about all I can say. Try not to focus too much on the diagnosis, and just focus on treating the symptoms. Pdocs treat symptoms, not diagnoses. Your pdoc may not even have a clear diagnosis for you yet. 

 

But anyway, to answer your question, yes I can relate to some of your symptoms. 

Edited by Parapluie
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Hi. It is hard for a lot of members (such as moi) to read large blocks of text, either because of MIs, or medication for MIs. If you can edit it into paragraphs (I know, that may seem impossible), you will likely get more feedback. I honestly can't concentrate when there are too many characters too close together.

 

Thanks. I'm sorry you're felling so shitty.

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Hi. It is hard for a lot of members (such as moi) to read large blocks of text, either because of MIs, or medication for MIs. If you can edit it into paragraphs (I know, that may seem impossible), you will likely get more feedback. I honestly can't concentrate when there are too many characters too close together.

 

Thanks. I'm sorry you're felling so shitty.

Okay, thanks for letting me know. I edited my post. Do I sound like I'm psychotic or manic?

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However, that's about all I can say. Try not to focus too much on the diagnosis, and just focus on treating the symptoms. Pdocs treat symptoms, not diagnoses. Your pdoc may not even have a clear diagnosis for you yet. 

 

 

I'm sorry you're feeling so crappy, but we can't diagnose you.  Para has a really good point.  Do you have an appt set up with your pdoc anytime soon so you can ask him/her these questions?

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However, that's about all I can say. Try not to focus too much on the diagnosis, and just focus on treating the symptoms. Pdocs treat symptoms, not diagnoses. Your pdoc may not even have a clear diagnosis for you yet. 

 

 

I'm sorry you're feeling so crappy, but we can't diagnose you.  Para has a really good point.  Do you have an appt set up with your pdoc anytime soon so you can ask him/her these questions?

 

I see my pdoc almost weekly, she tells me I have a 'thought disorder' and that I need antipsychotics for my symptoms.

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Is she unwilling to narrow it down a little for you? Do you also see a therapist?

I only see a psychiatrist. She says that I present with symptoms that needs to be treated with antipsychotics, and that I need to calm my mind with them. I saw a few therapists, but I find it pretty pointless as it doesn't help with my symptoms. One therapist even told me that before I see him again, I should take some meds to calm my mind.

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Maybe you should try the meds your pdoc (psychiatrist) has prescribed and see if they help your symptoms at all.  A lot of people here have been helped by meds.  Especially if you've had both a pdoc and tdoc (therapist) recommend them, it might be good to give meds a try and see how they work for you.  There are tons of threads here on all the various meds and what to expect.

 

I also had a tdoc refuse to help with any other issues I wanted to talk about until I got my depression under control with meds.  He said otherwise it was a waste of time, because as long I was so ill with depression, I wouldn't be able to focus on therapy and get any benefit from it. 

Edited by Catnapper
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Maybe you should try the meds your pdoc (psychiatrist) has prescribed and see if they help your symptoms at all.  A lot of people here have been helped by meds.  Especially if you've had both a pdoc and tdoc (therapist) recommend them, it might be good to give meds a try and see how they work for you.  There are tons of threads here on all the various meds and what to expect.

 

I also had a tdoc refuse to help with any other issues I wanted to talk about until I got my depression under control with meds.  He said otherwise it was a waste of time, because as long I was so ill with depression, I wouldn't be able to focus on therapy and get any benefit from it. 

 

I've been on like 9 different antipsychotics, lithium - it only helped me once, when Risperdal made me a zombie - a week later I felt normal for 2 days, until my symptoms returned again - maybe because i stopped the meds. I'm on Trilafon now - typical antipsychotic - but so far it isn't helping either. Nothing can calm my mind except Klonopin - just a little bit of help for the anxiety.

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Don't be surprised if that is not what your pdoc offers you first thing. Everyone responds differently to different meds. Even though that combo works great for ray-of-sunshine, it doesn't mean it will work for you. Or maybe it will. You just can't tell until you have tried it for yourself.

 

Also, while ray-of-sunshine is BP 2, please do not take that as confirmation of what is going with you. People present differently, and diagnoses can change over time. The key is to treat the symptoms, the label is really secondary.

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I can relate very much to your symptoms. You describe what my life used to be like. I don't have specific advice or a diagnosis for you, but I'll tell you what my journey has been like, and you can take whatever feels relevant, and discard the irrelevant bits. I'll try and be succinct and cogent, but I probably can't be brief, although I'll try:

I started feeling "strange" around age 17. I'm 56 now. There were tell-tale signs prior to age 17, but 17 is when I crashed and burned. It happened when I left home for the first time to go to college out-of-state.

I was hyper-vigilant, as you describe. My mind raced. Everyone was looking at me. They could read my mind (or so I let myself believe, if only briefly, and without psychotic conviction). I got into confrontations with people because I looked at them the wrong way. I emotionally pushed my way through social interactions. Nothing was natural, and everyone could see my wild-eyed anxiety. I had few friends and became socially isolated. I had the most hellacious and damaging depression.

I saw psychologists and therapists at college; intermittently and with little relief.

When I was 40 I saw my first psychiatrist who put me on SSRIs of various types as we experimented with medications to find the right one at the right dose. I got much relief from the paralyzing depression, but still had my other symptoms, which included the very disturbing intrusive thoughts. It was almost like having Tourette's syndrome of the mind. I didn't have tics and didn't verbalize, but my mind was always flashing these bad, uncharacteristic, shame-inducing thoughts in my head.

I also had a hair-trigger temper. I didn't go off on people, but in my head I'd castigate them for their bad driving, rude behavior, inconsiderate nature, or anything else I could imagine. They were just being regular people, but I took offense at a lot of it.

Those were my symptoms. Cutting to the chase, here is what I found out about myself from age 40 until now:

I have social phobia. That led to the anxiety and distorted self-perception in regard to my place in society. It's probably genetic. I think my Dad had it to some degree.

I have ADHD. That led to the racing thoughts and generally disordered lifestyle. My brother has it for sure.

I have some type of low-level bi-polarity. Probably the Non-specific type (i.e., not Type I, and not really Type II, either). I have had financially destructive bouts of hypomania where I've bought all kinds of junk thinking it was an answer to my mood disorder. I have the mood-disorder part of bi-polarity without some of the other hallmark characteristics, other than hypomania. I'm always somewhat depressed, even now, it's just a matter of how much. I have to work at staying positive all the time. Every day.

Here's what has helped me. I can almost guarantee that your relief will not encompass all this, and it will not be exactly the same. It's just food for thought:

Ritalin has helped me order my mind and my lifestyle by treating the ADHD, but only in conjunction with Trazodone. Trazadone helps with the social anxiety and some depression, although I'm still a quiet, shy, avoidant type of person. Trazodone is considered an "old" antidepressant, but the SSRIs were what forced me into hypomania, I believe. I don't take SSRIs anymore, and my buying sprees have subsided to a large degree. Trazodone also made the intrusive thoughts subside. I never had any other medication that did that. I thought I was stuck with them.

The Ritalin helps me get on with my life, otherwise I'd fall back into myself and wind up back in my emotional pit of years ago.

I'm currently working on finding the right Trazodone dose, and am hopeful that I'll get even better results as I slowly increase my dose. (I feel hung-over the next day if I up my Trazodone dose too quickly. I do it in 25mg increments over time.) I may also experiment with a low dose of Zoloft which, although potentially an inducer of hypomania in me, has offered the best relief of my depression. I'm still working on the depression part, but the other symptoms that you and I have shared are controlled and I feel victorious over them, even as some residual reminders of them remain.

I still have some residual emotional bad habits, but my life is much improved, and I'm still working on it. Good luck to you on your journey. I think your answer is out there, and I apologize for this inordinately long post.

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KeepGoing, thanks very much for your insightful post. I'm going to suggest Trazadone to my pdoc, even though she thinks all I need are antipsychotics. A few previous psychiatrists told me I'm Bipolar, but my current one says I don't really present with much symptoms of BP. I also had a shopping spree recently, though. Before she also suggested that I have social phobia, and gave me a couple of antidepressents, but now she feels ADs are useless in my case. I also really hope I can find something to manage or get rid of these very troubling symptoms. Thanks again.

 

-Igor

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Hi dreamdm. I thought I'd tell you some more about Trazodone, if that's okay:

I am currently taking 125mg (I split pills to get that dose). I started at 50mg, once at night, right before bed. It makes many people sleepy, and is very often prescribed as a sleep aid. That can make it a little bit harder to get up in the morning because of this effect, but it is nothing too terrible in that regard.

I think most physicians don't even consider Trazodone for its anti-depressive, anti-anxiety effects, because they consider it old and weak, but I have found it to be very effective for the symptoms we share. It gets poo-poo'd a lot these days; just like the tricyclic antidepressants do. I'm not sure if all physicians have much knowledge or experience prescribing Trazodone, either. Its old skool reputation gets in the way, I think. If they do prescribe it, I think it's mostly for people trying to get some sleep at night.

When the Trazodone had a positive effect for me, my psychiatrist said that I could increase the dose, because 50mg is not even the therapeutic dose. I think the commonly understood therapeutic starting dose is 150mg. When I upped the dose and started taking 100mg I got that hung-over feeling the next day. I had to try again, but this time, in order to get to my current 125mg dose, I had to up my dosage incrementally by 25mg maybe every week or so. As you can see, I'm not even at the starter dose, and I've been taking it for close to a year now.

I plan to start taking 150mg soon, because I'm looking to fine-tune its antidepressant effects. The lower dose, though, was pleasantly--and quite unexpectedly--effective for the hyper-vigilance, internal aggressiveness, intrusive thoughts, and other anxiety-related symptoms. I was very surprised at the way it elegantly relieved those symptoms.

Some people take very large doses of Trazodone, but I don't think I could. I think I'd feel like crud, swear off the stuff, and would probably quit taking it before it took effect, and before my body could get used to it.

If you and your physician agree that it's the right medication to try, I'd approach it slowly, conservatively, and incrementally so that you aren't deprived of its potentially beneficial effects because the initial dose was too high. That's just my opinion, though; maybe your physician has experience with Trazodone, and that would make their recommendations the most important ones.

At the risk of creating another verbose post, perhaps I could comment on the "yes it is", "no it isn't" nature of the bipolar diagnosis. Like many others, my bipolar diagnosis was on-again/off-again. I have read a lot about it, and my non-physician opinion is that you don't have to have all the classic symptoms to be bipolar. I think even the National Institute of Mental Health recognizes the "Bipolar Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified" diagnosis, which is what I believe I have. Their website is very informative regarding bipolar disorders.

Best of luck to you going forward. I'm hopeful for you. I'm sure it will work out well as you continue the hard work of making a better life for yourself. And Happy New Year; things are looking up!

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Thanks, KeepGoing. Best of luck to you, too, and a happy new year. I just spoke to my psychiatrist and she says it's most likely Bipolar. I asked her about Trazadone, but she said it shouldn't help me with my symptoms. She's saying I need to be on Neuroleptics, and has just increased my dose of Trilafon. I hope she's right, and that they will eventually stabilize me.

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