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Author Topic: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?  (Read 290 times)

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Offline Michael L

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Hello,

Where to begin...this is going to be long..........  I'm a 32 year old married man, and I have a 3 year old son and a 10 month old daughter.  I work a steady low-stress 9-5 job for the past 7 years that has regular internet access and a lot of free time.  I have some pre-existing medical problems, such as hypertension and pre-diabetes.  I have occasional bouts of Gout, and have a history of mild acid reflux.  I'm overweight, but not severely so (6' tall, 240 lbs).  I don't normally exercise to a high degree. 

I've always loved to eat.  It's just been one of my favorite things to do.  Eating has also historically been my stress outlet of choice; nothing makes me feel better like something greasy and salty.  I've also been a very "regular" guy.  I don't eat bad all the time, but when I'm stressed, I typically eat a bunch of fast food that I like to eat.

My family has experienced some big changes over the past 5 months.  While my wife was pregnant with our daughter, she lost her job.  We were making it ok on unemployment for a while, but then Federal Emergency Unemployment ran out at the end of December, and we were forced to move back in with my parents.  A smallish 1800sf house with my parents, me and my wife, and our two children.  Meanwhile, my wife has decided to go back to school to change her career. 

I won't lie and say it's not hard.  Prior to moving in, the past 5 years have been more or less good.  I was happy, had a good routine, and although I've always been a "worry wart", i never let it control my life.

Anyway....the past two months have been utter hell for me.  It all started with some gassy bloating in my upper abdomen that never seemed to go away.  I would strain on the toilet and I would sometimes have normal stool, and sometimes diarrhea.  Sometimes I'd be constipated, and I always felt like I needed to go.  This went on for a week and I typically would go three times a day with varying different results.  Then one day during my morning poop at work, I witnessed what appeared to be blood in my stool.  Freaking out, I immediately went to google/wikipedia and was convinced I had colon cancer.  I spent the rest of the day obsessing on websites learning about colon cancer, and was unable to get anything done at work. 

Since I wanted to see a doctor right away, I was unable to see my normal primary care physician.  I showed the other doctor the photo I took of the questionable stool, and he agreed it looked like blood.  He did a finger swipe test which showed no blood, a physical examination of my abdomen, and a CBC/Ferritin/LFT/Kidney test.  Everything came back normal (except Ferritin slightly elevated).  His suspicion was that i may have either an internal hemorrhoid, or possibly inflammatory bowel disease like Chrons/UC.  He explained to me the chances of me having colo cancer were very low, as it takes long time to form the polyps that become cancerous.  I reiterated my concern to him and he explained that worrying myself to death on a tiny chance was not helpful.  To be safe (or to indulge me), he ordered a sigmoidoscopy. 

In the meantime, I was stuck at work for the rest of the week.  I spent the bare minimum of work (half-assed for sure) and spent most of my time looking up the symptoms of colon cancer on the internet.  Repeatedly.  I re-read the same pages over and over and told myself that I didn't have symptom X or symptom Y, so I would be ok.  Then, a day or so later, I began to have symptom X and symptom Y (in this case, pencil stools and irregular bowel habits. 

Not confident in the first evaluation, and armed with my new symptoms, I went back to google/wikipedia and found that the sigmoidoscopy is limited only to the lower part of your colon, so I made another appointment, this time with my primary care physician.  I explained to him all of my symptoms and showed him the photo, and he said that he could not be sure it was blood.  He thought that if it was blood, it could mean something or it could mean nothing.  He was satisfied with the evaluation from the previous doctor and agreed with the sigmoidoscopy.  I pushed my concern and my doctor asked about my life, and his thought that I was suffering from anxiety, which could cause some of my symptoms and additionally that I probably had IBS.  After asking again about the sigmoidoscopy, I was able to convince my doctor to instead request a complete colonoscopy.  There's only one way to be sure, right? Nuke that sucker from orbit!

The bad news came that I'd have to wait until 7/18/14 to get the colonoscopy.  I had become so agitated and anxious, I again went to google and wikipedia.  I then began to manifest symptoms in my breathing.  I was convinced the cancer in my colon had metastasized to my lungs.  I started questioning my breathing.  I became intensely aware of each breath, and a lump formed in my throat and my chest began to throb.  I developed a cough and also began to feel lightheaded.  I spent all day at work feeling this way; this feeling that I couldn't breathe without straining and chest tightness and a weight on my chest.  After work, afraid I was having arrest or tumors in my lungs, I went to the emergency room. 

I explained my malady and the doctors gave me an EKG and a chest xray.  Both came back great.  They also ran another CBC which came back normal; no anemia.  The ER doc assured me that 99% of guys in their 30s coming in with bloody stools are not cancer, and was satisfied that my xray came back normal.  Feeling better having received tests and having confirmed I was indeed not having cardiac arrest or obvious tumors in my lungs, I left for home and was feeling almost normal, and ravenous.  I stopped by KFC and devoured a three piece meal (two breasts; I don't mess around) like it was nothing.

Anyway, I went home feeling better about things, and then.....compulsion struck me.  I went back to google/wikipedia and looked up other cancers that I might have in the event the colonoscopy came back clean.  Foremost of my searches for a upper abdominal bloating and fullness was stomach cancer.  Reading the symptoms, I was satisfied that as long as I didn't have symptom X or symptom Y (in this case, loss of appetite, especially for meat, and weight loss), i was ok.  My GERD in the past had been mild, and I can recall a number of times being beset with indigestion and gas, but my hunger had always been a trooper.  I've especially always loved meat.  Anyway, reading into that as being a risk factor (nobody in my family has had stomach or colon cancer, and I do not smoke), I soon began to lose my appetite. 

One of my guilty pleasures has been McDonald's double cheeseburgers.  In my youth, I could pound three or four of these badboys without a blink.  But the next day at lunch, I couldn't stomach one of them.  The taste was revolting and I was convinced that not only was my appetite lessening, but my love for meat (if you could call McDonald's patties meat) was waning.  At this point I was convinced that I had stomach cancer.  Hysterically, I called my doctor and got another appointment.

I had to wait three days to see him, and in that time frame I barely ate; additionally, my lower GI problems seemed to vanish and my upper GI problems intensified.  My mouth was constantly watering, I was having trouble breathing, I had a bitter taste in my mouth, a lump in my throat, and my GERD was going crazy.  I was somewhat nauseous and I felt pains all over my abdomen.  I was a mess and couldn't focus on work or my family or anything except looking up the big C online, frantically trying to find alternative diagnosis that were less severe.

By the time my appointment came, it had been about two weeks since my initial interaction.  From my measurements, I had lost about 7 pounds.  My doctor said that could be anything from variation in the scale to the clothes I was wearing (indeed my normal EDC is about 4 lbs heavier than what i wore to the doctor that day, I measured the difference at home).  He suggested that I'd seen the doctor twice, and a trip to the ER, and have a colonoscopy scheduled, and they were doing everything they should be doing to find out what my problem was.  He had me take an anxiety quiz and a depression quiz, both of which came back moderately suggestive.  My doctor thought that depression and anxiety could cause my loss of appetite, my weight loss, and even some of my GI problems.  I was then referred to psych for an evaluation.

Feeling beaten and vulnerable, I accepted that diagnosis.  I went home, and had started to feel ok about things.  But the next day, as almost as a test, I tried to push down some more of those cheeseburgers that I once loved.  I could not eat them.  Feeling sick to my stomach, my mind racing, I emailed my doctor almost begging for an EGD to search for stomach cancer, H Pylori, Barret's Esophagus, etc.  I felt terrible and frightened, and i checked my phone for that email every 2 minutes.  Work was pointless, and even afterwards I had a bro date to a show but I was having no fun at all.  I barely spoke to my friend, and I kept checking my email every 5 minutes.

Finally, I got that email from the doctor.  He replied that he would order the EGD.  Feeling great that they were doing something, I magically began to enjoy myself out, and went home and ate a full meal.  Keep in mind my appetite has been ragged the past two weeks. 

I went home, and then compulsion struck me again.  I didn't know when i would get the EGD.  I already had to wait a month to get the colonoscopy.  What if I had to wait another month?  It might be too late by then!  Stomach cancer has a very low 5 year survival rate!  It needs to be detected now!........so back to worrying I went.  Appetite went south.  I became detached; I just wanted to lay down and watch TV and sleep.  I was tired, and even slept so much one day I gave myself a headache.

A few days later, my doctor emailed me informing me that the EGD was approved and would be done on the same day as my colonoscopy.  He thought my symptoms of a lump in the throat, bad taste in the mouth, were from GERD, and suggested I continue prilosec.  He was unhappy that the soonest behavioral medicine appointment wouldn't be until the 21st.....more upset at that than the fact I had to wait for the actual exams.  Anyway, I felt great.  I was happy they were doing something about it.  My appetite returned, and I went home and smashed down a steak and eggs and a few apples to top it off. 

Anyway, I had began to convince myself that my problems are just my EGD and IBS with anxiety and mild depression.  I was starting to feel good about things.  That night I had to do a sleep apnea take home test.  I wore this silly bracelet and finger attachment.  But.....today I began to read up about how bad silent reflux can be.  I read about how it can cause esophogeal cancer, and then I began to look up throat cancer, and other cancers like pancreatic or lung.  I noticed on my arm there was a bruise!  How could this be?  Maybe I swung my arm (the one with the silly apnea watch) and slammed my nightstand.  Now I was "bruising easy".  Back to google I went, to diagnose myself with leukemia.  My appetite went to the toilet again, and for lunch I was able to eat a half a sandwich and two grapes. 

I stumbled upon this website during my afternoon break, and read the Google sticky.  I felt better about things.  I felt that all my symptoms could just be anxiety, depression, or some combination of them. 

I came home and slammed down half a hawaiian family size from Papa Murphy's.  I'm feeling a little bloated down, but I'm pretty sure its the cheese and dough.

This whole time my wife has been supportive, but she's been occupied with satisfying my mother with home duties and taking care of the kids.  My sex drive is one of the only things that seems normal, but she's never in the mood; probably because i am such a mess.  Our relationship is strained already by our situation, and more so by this episode.  I come home feeling impending doom and am constantly fearful of death.  I talk to her about it sometimes but I just can't wrap my head around it.  She tells me to stop "googling" but I can't help myself at work.

Anyway.....thank you for reading if you managed to get through it all.  Maybe you can help convince me that I'm not dying. 

In other news, my behavioral medicine appointment is not until 7/21/14.  So that means I'll just have to suffer until 7/18/14 with my neurosis.  I am trying to stay positive that the EGD/Colonoscopy will come back clean.

A question to you all.....have you always had HA?  Or has some event triggered your HA?  Is it often that it just happens?
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Offline soaringfalcon

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 10:35:38 PM »
It really does sound like classic anxiety.  I've always had some form of anxiety but not always health.  It comes and goes depending on the amount of stress and change in my life.  I manage it pretty well with an SSRI and have xanax if I need it.  I also see a psychologist.

To help you now while you're waiting...here are the things that help me.  I hope that one or several of them can help you.
- journal
- STOP googling...I know it's hard so try to lengthen the time between sessions and it gets easier.  I've even set a timer before and tell myself I wouldn't google for 15 minutes
- exercise....a good walk can go a long way to helping
- when panic strikes, concentrate on your breathing and count to 10 slowly.  It may take several tries to get your brain to concentrate long enough
- when the obsessive thoughts come...tell them to stop and then redirect your thinking.  Tell the thoughts they are irrational and you will not give them anymore attention.  This takes a ton of practice so don't get discouraged.

Hang in there!!  You can overcome this beast.
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Offline Michael L

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 10:47:37 PM »
Thank you for the reply.

As to your suggestions, I think you're right.

Just writing that post (novel? Lol) made me feel better.

I need to just keep telling myself it fits (like House! I've been binge watching it on Netflix.......come to think of it my symptoms began around episode 120) that I have GERD/IBS/Anxiety/Depression.

Google revealed that, in addition to my doctor, that all three are linked and usually found together.

If that's all it is....I can live with that.

I just keep looking at my kids; I want to see them grow up.  And thinking that I might not, or that they'll grow up without a dad is scary.
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Offline Bocephus

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 12:54:03 AM »
Michael l, sound so much like me minus the kids.  Come to this site for a while and just read posts.  It helps.

Sounds like you're definitely going through some stressful changes at home and that can totally trigger a lot of stress and anxiety, and along comes HA..  It's ok, it's normal to some extent.  Just do what soaring falcon said, those things really help. 
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Offline Michael L

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2014, 01:12:29 PM »
Thanks.

A problem I seem to have is hat in the morning, I think to myself, "am I going to have an appetite today, or feel normal?"

And then I'll start having symptoms like mouth watering, slight nausea, and not want to eat.

I don't know if this is real physical symptoms of a physical problem, or is my thought process sabotaging me with anxiety?
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Offline zmichelle557

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2014, 02:22:31 PM »
Oh my gosh you sound just like i did when I was first diagnosed with anxiety.  Mine has gotten better over time but I still have issues. It definitely sounds like you have anxiety and you probably have an ulcer that is inflamed from all this excessive worry. I have done it myself.  Here is some good news though..my sis in law was passing blood for two weeks and they ran all possible tests. It was just an infection that healed itself.  I'm sure what you experienced was something similar. You will be okay. I agree with your doctor's and highly doubt cancer.
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Offline Disaster_Dino

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2014, 02:48:01 PM »
This sounds like CLASSIC anxiety. I'm sure you'll be a-ok.  ;D
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"everything will be alright in the end. If everything's not alright, it's not quite the end!"

Offline Michael L

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2014, 01:24:10 PM »
Well guys, the 18th has come and after a lovely night of Gavilyte and being on the toilet, I did my combo colonoscopy/EGD today.

THe procedure was painless and low stress.  Took about an hour to complete.

They discovered: an internal hemorrhoid that was somewhat high up in the colon (which likely caused the bleed), a few small polyps that were removed for biopsy, and some stomach tissue to biopsy for H. Pylori.

All in the all the GI doc said it looked good and said to see him again in 10 years.  The biopsies he says will likely come back negative or possibly just get some antibiotics for the h pylori if that's found.

Thanks for all the support everyone.  Just goes to show that all these symptoms are usually just anxiety and once you get them evaluated they turn out to be nothing serious.
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Offline vardnas

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2014, 02:37:55 PM »
That's great, Michael. I'm sure deep down you're not at all surprised at the findings, or lack thereof.

Given your story, and the nature of anxiety, I am almost positive that you will move onto a completely different health concern soon.

My advice? Follow up with a mental health professional. You're in the intense, beginning stages of health anxiety, and your journey could be lengthy and oftentimes unpleasant. Having the objective opinion of an emotionally uninvolved therapist or counselor to lean on in tough times will, I believe, help you greatly.

Having gone through all of this myself, I will tell you that there are no quick solutions to what you're going through, but that recovery is definitely possible. Also, googling is detrimental, and so is running to the doctor for tests. You will logically know this but you'll continue to do it anyway, at least for a while.

Glad you found this little corner of the internet. Godspeed.
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In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Offline AnxiousMD

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2014, 07:56:10 PM »
Fantastic news on the studies.  Now, remember they were ok and DON'T go looking for other causes.   :laugh3:

As for your story, fairly classic anxiety.  Sounds very, very similar to mine.  Definitely see behavoiral health early if possible, makes a huge difference.
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Online Never-Quit

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Re: My doctor thinks I have Anxiety/Depression. What do you think?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2014, 08:29:12 PM »
Hi Michael  :action-smiley-065:

Since you, like me like to research and "Google" Everything  :happy0151:  Which is pretty scary  B-;

There are some resources that I downloaded and gave them to my family members who needed some solid and reliable information about their Anxiety disorders and it even included some self-tests.

Here some great links, - That will help YOU determine "What you Think" :yes:

Solid and helpful information and even a self-test quiz, VERY HELPFUL when I speak to my dr. - I would have printouts of my symptoms and self-quiz to help my doctor point me in the right directions :action-smiley-065: - here are some great links to get you started :grinning-smiley-003:
                                   
                                    SELF-DIAGNOSIS AND SELF-TESTS

                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHpanic.pdf - PANIC DISORDER + SELF-TEST
                                            I have chest pains or a racing heart.  I have a hard time breathing or a choking feeling.
                                            I feel dizzy, or I sweat a lot.  I have stomach problems or feel like I need to throw up.
                                            I shake, tremble, or tingle. I feel out of control. I feel unreal.
                                            I am afraid I am dying or going crazy.


                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHgad.pdf  -  GAD anxiety + SELF-TEST
                                            I never stop worrying about things big and small. I have headaches and other aches and pains for no reason.
                                            I am tense a lot and have trouble relaxing. I have trouble keeping my mind on one thing.
                                            I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. I sweat and have hot flashes.
                                            I sometimes have a lump in my throat or feel like I need to throw up when I am worried


                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHdepwomenknows.pdf - DEPRESSION + SELF-TEST
                                            Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex.
                                            Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness,.
                                            Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening.  Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating / weight gain
                                            Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
                                            Thoughts of death or taking one's own life. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
                                            Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, - headaches, digestive disorders, chronic pain


                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMHocd.pdf - OCD + SELF-TEST
                                            I have upsetting thoughts or images enter my mind again and again.
                                            I feel like I cant stop these thoughts or images, even though I want to.
                                            I have a hard time stopping myself from doing things again : counting, checking on things, washing hands.
                                            I am Re-arranging objects, doing things until it feels right, collecting useless objects
                                            I worry a lot about terrible things that could happen if Im not careful.
                                            I have unwanted urges to hurt someone but know I never would.

                                 
                                     HELPFUL ARTICLES AND INFORMATION
                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/MENANDDE-coverpage(1).pdf Depression for men 
                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/NIMH317.406_F_TSH_treatable.pdf  - Depression is Treatable
                                    http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,26.0.html Social Anxiety overview



Also, I am glad that you had some great lab results  :party0006:

Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing  :action-smiley-065:
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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

You cant live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

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