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Can all this REALLY be caused by Anxiety?

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MrS88

New member
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
3
Hi. So I'm looking for a little advice. Mainly wondering if all my symptoms could really ALL be down to Anxiety. So for about 2 years now I've been having these bazaar bouts of memory loss. One moment I'm fine, next I feel dizzy, and then I have no memory of what I was doing, where I was going etc. Naturally, I've been to the doctor's. I've had multiple MRIs, EEGs and a 48 hour heart monitor fitted and so far everything has come back fine.

When the attacks first started, they would last anywhere between 10-20 mins, I could usually remember what happened during and I'd get one every 2-4 week's. Nowadays, they're more frequent (I've had one everyday this week. Sometimes twice) but also shorter. Only lasting 1-5 minutes. I also never remember what happened during the attack. It's like one minute I'm working, I get dizzy, then suddenly I'm in the kitchen getting a glass of water with people asking me if I'm okay. These past few days I've felt awful. I feel like I'm going crazy. I can't think straight and I'm terrified this is going to turn into something serious. I've literally spent today in bed watching YouTube videos. Exciting times.

So my question is, could this really be all down to Anxiety? I've always been an anxious person, and I was going through a bout of depression at the time of the first attack. I was put on epilepsy medication by my first neurologist but it did nothing. My newest neurologist seems to think it's unlikely to be epilepsy. I was also put on an antidepressant - citalopram - which made me really tired 24/7 but not much else. Didn't seem to slow down the attacks. I do realize there are a bunch of antidepressants and not everything is going to work for everyone, but the fact it made me feel WORSE is a concern.
So, yeah. That's my life right now. I'm not driving out of fear of having an attack while driving and I'm scared to do anything social for the same reason. Could this really be all down to Anxiety? Or are there deeper things at work here.
Thanks for reading.
 
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Ian Haines

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Joined
Aug 5, 2012
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154
Location
Merseyside, North West England.
To my own view, those symptoms and experiences are not only anxiety, even if they are worsened by anxiety. Tell me...why were you getting a glass of water, as you said, above. Did you drink any?...or, was it a comfort, only?

If you're lucky (and, I think you will be), this could be the onset of "Dissociative Disorder". I'm not qualified in ANYTHING, but I do recognise what you've described from things told to me by others, over around 45 years.

FROM GOOGLE: "Associative Disorder" - "Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life."

Let the thread know what you think, on this, if you would. :)
 
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gam9147

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Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
369
Location
Delaware, USA
Those are tough symptoms. Is there anyone around that can help you fill in the blanks when you have these attacks? Get to talk to you, ask you questions, see what if anything you remember or what you say to them about how you feel then.

I think as Ian started to say, you are going to need a psychiatrist to help you diagnose. A Neurologist may not be able to recognize if its a mix of issues or if it is all psychological.

Hopefully you are considering going down that route? I do hope you feel better, We here understand what its like having anxiety attacks and suffering from them. Although mine are different -- much longer and more steady (generalized anxiety), I have had numerous panic attacks and they aren't fun and trying to figure them out is even less fun.
 
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MrS88

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Dec 16, 2016
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3
Hi, thanks for the replies.
Dissociative disorders certainly ring a few bells. Some of those symptoms sound a lot like what I experience. I'll be sure to bring it up to the doctors next time I see them. Thanks for that.

As for what happens during the attacks, a few times they've happened with people around. I ask them afterwards what happened and usually they'll say I seemed fine, if a little 'out of it.'
Last time it happened at work, I was apparently hunched over a trolley I was working on. One of the supervisors came up to me, spoke to me, asked me if I was okay (apparently I was answering back, so there's that) and took me to the kitchen/staff room to sit me down and get some water. I was pretty much fine for the rest of the day.
All I remember from the attack is one minute working, feeling dizzy, then suddenly being in the kitchen. Scary.

Another time it happened, I was at home making notes for a wrestling podcast I help run, I had the familiar weird dizzy feeling, went to the bathroom, came back to find a bunch of notes I had NO memory of writing about a match I had no memory of watching.
I re-watched the match, remembering none of it, despite the fact I had clearly watched it before because I had notes about it! So weird.

My main fears right now are:
1. Could the MRI scans have missed something? - All my MRIs were done without using a 'contrast dye,' which apparently are the best way to find things like (god forbid) brain tumours. The common sense part of me thinks "If they thought you could have a brain tumour they would have used the dye in the first place!" but the anxious side of me just thinks... what if?

2. Am I going crazy? - What if losing my mind? What if whatever this is is only going to get worse? What if there's no cure? What if this is going to kill me? What if I'm going to be stuck in a mental home for the rest of my life?

I should also mention I am seeing a Psychiatrist once every couple of weeks who seems to think this is all down to Anxiety, although I'm not convinced. (hence this thread, I guess!)
She says things like "We all forget things. I don't remember what I did for dinner last week but that doesn't worry me, because that kind of memory loss is normal!" - Maybe I'm not explaining these attacks well enough. Or maybe she has a point and I'm just to paranoid to realise it?

I had another attack yesterday which I actually managed to get on video. It was a very short one, and it doesn't show much. Just me sitting there with my eyes closed for a minute or so, then snapping out of it and stopping the video. I'll show it to the doctors next time I see them, see what they think.

So, yeah! That's me right now. A broken scared mess. I have another appointment with my Psychiatrist on Friday. I'll bring up 'Dissociative disorders' with her and see what she thinks.
I also have an appointment with my Neurologist in a little over a week. I'll mention the MRI contrast dye thing and see what he says.

Thanks again for reading, and if anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to hear them!
 
RueBea85

RueBea85

Active member
Joined
Jan 24, 2019
Messages
27
Location
Canada
It sounds like anxiety to me, as I'e had panic attacks where I became disoriented and I didn't know where I was or what I was doing. However, this would only last for about 10 seconds or so.

I have been diagnosed with depression/anxiety, and I can relate to what you have written about the fear of having a brain tumour or something. I was given a number of tests, and I was told that there was nothing physically wrong with me. I think our brains can convince us that something is wrong when there may not be anything wrong. I'm not discounting what you're saying, but it could be "just" anxiety. I remember when I'd go to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack, and the paramedics would tell me that everything was fine. They would tell me that it could be from a lot of stress going on in my life (as these would normally happen around exam time). Stress can be a very real killer, and not to worry you, but stress can affect us a lot more than we may give it credit.

I think your psychiatrist may have a point, but I also think it would be beneficial for you to see that the MRI comes back normal. I do think that our anxiety can play tricks on us, and our brains can play tricks on us. From what you've said though, it may just be anxiety. It's not just anxiety, it can be very frightening. Just because something "is in our head" does not make it any less real or scary. Hope that the MRI goes well. Please keep me updated.
 
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gam9147

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
369
Location
Delaware, USA
You are working on everything medically that you can do , but in the meantime have faith in yourself and your doctors. If all of them discount a purely medical diagnosis then there maybe something to that. Its not to say they can't be wrong, but is there any harm in the meantime as treating it as anxiety and working on it solely as that condition?
 
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MrS88

New member
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
3
Thanks again for the replies, really appreciate it.

You're totally right, I need to focus on the Anxiety side of things! Stop over thinking what it could be and focus on staying calm and in control. I have a habit of getting lost in thought and getting side-tracked at how miserable I feel and how it must be something serious because I feel so miserable blah blah blah. -I've had a pretty rough few days/weeks thinking like this.

I will make every attempt to lower the amount of stress in my life, (not that I have a very stressful life, only the stress I create for myself!) focus on all the positive things going on right now, and if I have more attacks, so be it. Let the doctors figure it out.

I'll post again after my talk with the Neurologist next week. Thanks again guys.
 
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