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monsoon's avatar

What's going on with my brain?

Asked by monsoon (2485 points ) July 12th, 2009

So I had a panic attack… four days ago. On thursday. I used to have bad anxiety when I was a teenager (I’m 22 now). I because very nausious and shaky and afraid of dying, and I also sometimes suffer from “derealization” (you can wikipedia that, I can’t make a link for some reason), and this got worse than it has ever been during the panic attack. I was eating dinner at a restaraunt when it happened, with my girlfriend. We left and went for a walk, and I… actually now can’t remember the rest of that night. I believe we went home, played som video games, I took a shower because I still felt aweful, and that made me feel a bit better. The next morning I woke up feeling better, but very shaky, and I kept thinking that I was having another panic attack. I was not, but I was giving myself anxiety worrying that I was feeling a panic attack, or the derealization coming on again.

When my girlfriend left and I was alone for the first time, I felt aweful. I felt like I was a different person, I feel strange in my own skin. It got a bi better, and then saturday I woke up feeling still worried that the anxiety would come back, but better. Then I made a mistake and went to see public enemies, as we had planned to see that for a while. That made my anxiety come back. I have not been able to eat more than a few bites since it happened, I feel nausious and like I’m going the throw up whenever I try to eat, and I still feel just… so afraid. Afraid that I’m going crazy. I feel weak and dizzy, but rationally that’s probably because I’m making myself sick worrying that I’m going to have another panic attack, and I also haven’t eaten properly in four days.

I don’t know what this is, but I feel like I’ll never feel right again. I think I’m most afraid of the derealization. I can’t be alone, I’ve become very clingy and I’m not a clingy person at all. Even now I’m afraid of getting answers to this question because I’m afraid some one will tell me I’m going insane..

I don’t even know what it is that I’m afraid of. I’m afraid of going crazy, of not loving my girlfriend anymore (She’s everything to me), of staying in this, haze, ofrever. I can’t be alone. I don’t want to do anything, but if I’m not doing anything, my mind goes into scared-freaking out mode overdrive.

So I guess my question is, is this just depression? The not being able to eat scares me the most, and my girlfriend, I’m usually the opposite of a picky eater. I’ve never thought of myself as a depressed person, I’ve just always suffered from anxiety.

Sigh.

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34 Answers

nebule's avatar

has anything out-of-the-ordinary happened recently to trigger this? if not… i would get to the docs…quick… if so…can we have more details??

answerjill's avatar

Hi, Monsoon,
Sorry to hear that you are going through such a rough time. Some of what you describe may be part of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Some ocd’ers have derealization. Also, it is common for people with ocd to obdess about their relationships (some call it ROCD). I don’t want to try to diagnose you online (and I am not qualified to do so, anyway), but you might want to look at ocdfoundation.org or the chatroom “Stuck in a Doorway” for more info on OCD. All the best to you!

monsoon's avatar

I’m starting a new job, which I was nervous about. None of that seems very important to me now though. Also I was sick for a few days, which was bringing on the derealization, I had a head cold.

And I had OCD when I was a kid. I’ve always just attributed it to my anxiety. That’s interesting about ROCD, because I’m always afraid that I don’t love my girlfriend, which is rediculous, because I love her so much I don’t know what to do sometimes.

monsoon's avatar

Also @answejill, that link looked kind of like a add-based search engine or something. I didn’t get it.

augustlan's avatar

This all seems like classic anxiety symptoms, not depression. I recommend you go see your doctor ASAP, and get some Xanax for the short term, and into therapy (and possibly other anti-anxiety meds) for the long term. Good luck to you!

Darwin's avatar

I concur with @augustlan. Sounds like you need to give your doctor a call and get on treatment for anxiety, and then go into therapy to develop behavioral tools to help you head things off at the pass.

From personal experience, I can tell you that both depression and anxiety have caused me to be unable to eat. Xanax for the anxiety and Zoloft for the depression helped a lot.

And I learned something new from you. I hadn’t heard of derealization before, but now I know that was what happened to me sometimes in high school and then again in grad school. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me in many years since then.

answerjill's avatar

I’m sorry, that link should have read ocfoundation.org
Yes, ocd is a form of anxiety disorder.

monsoon's avatar

@Darwin, I just found that term out a few days ago when googling panic attacks. I’m not sure I’m glad I found it though, now that I know I wasn’t imagining it, I’m constantly wondering if it’s happening. I’m pretty sure though I would know if it was.

I think I’m going to wait it out a couple days until I start my new job (because I suspect that my nervousness about that was part of why this all happened, and see if after that I can get some closure and start eating properly, and get back to how I was a few days ago. If not, I guess I’ll check out a therapist.

SirBailey's avatar

Monsoon, medication can take away those symptoms and make you feel SO much better. Don’t suffer one minute more. Tomorrow make an appointment with a Psychiatrist (he’s a doctor who can prescribe meds). If he can’t see you right away, either go to your regular doctor or look for a local hospital that has a Psychiatric Emergency Room. Hey, they’ll even see you NOW, no appointment. Ya know, I think maybe you should go now.

I have OCD and wasn’t diagnosed until later in life. I can remember having an anxiety attack where I felt that I would have to breath “manually” or else I would stop breathing. So there I was, breathing in, then out, then in… This went on for a few hours until I got tired and fell asleep. When I woke up I was fine. It was ALL in my mind.

So, there’s no need to suffer and no need to panic. See someone.

nikipedia's avatar

You’re not going crazy. This sounds like anxiety to me, too. I agree with what everyone else is saying…this is a solvable problem, so why not go to the doctor and solve it? You could just tough it out, but life is better than that.

SirBailey's avatar

@monsoon, I would NOT wait until after you begin your job. There WILL be anxiety your first few weeks. If you have an attack there, then what?

answerjill's avatar

Hi, again. Yeah, ocd and other forms of anxiety are often triggered by life transitions (new job, and so forth). Will you get insurance from your new job? If so, you should check to see which mental health providers are covered by your plan. Good luck at your new job!

loser's avatar

I get panic attacks so I feel for you. Do yourself a favor and get help with it ASAP! I go through periods when I have to take a medication that helps to prevent them from happening and it’s a gigantic help! Good luck!

Phobia's avatar

The answer to your question was in the derealization wiki:
This type of anxiety can be crippling to the affected and may lead to avoidant behaviour. Those who experience this phenomenon may feel concern over the cause of their derealization. It is often difficult to accept that such a disturbing symptom is simply a result of anxiety, and the individual may often think that the cause must be something more serious. This can, in turn, cause more anxiety and worsen the derealization.

Just like others have said, I suggest seeking professional help. Get some medication that can help the anxiety and have a talk with a therapist. The sooner the better, no use suffering from another panic attack if it can be prevented.

cyn's avatar

Eat properly!
If you’re worrying too much, you’re making it happen….

Fred931's avatar

About the not eating part,see your doctor immidiately. One tome I had a provblem eating,I got so IV fluids and I was perfectly fine.

Judi's avatar

I heard on a documentary that they are coming very close to moving OCD from psychiatry to neurology because they are understanding exactly how and where in the brain it works. Your problem could have a very neurological cause. Avoiding seeing a doctor because you’re worried about being labeled as having some sort of mental disorder, could cause you to endure a lot of trauma and symptoms that might easily be avoided with treatment . Please see a doctor. I have a funny feeling that the OCD and these symptoms are related.
(and like what @cyndihugs said, not eating is probably making things worse.)

answerjill's avatar

@judi – According to the experts, ocd most definitely has a biological basis (as do many other psychological/psychiatric disorders). If your insurance company gives you trouble about getting coverage for treatment, it is a good idea to remind them that ocd is classified as “biological.” For whatever reason, they will take your problem more seriously and give you more coverage if your problem fits in that category.

wundayatta's avatar

Dollars to doughnuts this has an organic cause. A psychiatrist is the best person to help, in terms of prescribing meds, but a doctor can help, too. It’ll be labeled as mental illness, but welcome to the club. It’s something going wrong inside your brain. Unfortunately, they probably won’t be too clear on what is going wrong with your brain, so finding a drug that can help you could be an experimental process.

Meanwhile, you might comfort yourself as I do. Mental illness must be useful somehow, or it wouldn’t be protected by evolutionary processes. All you need to do is figure out what this helps you do, and then find a way to take advantage of it. There is a “mad pride” movement (which I wish they would call “crazy pride”) that is seeking to remove the label of “illness” that is attached to these “disorders.” They do have advantages, and if the surrounding community is supportive, you don’t have to worry as much about being “normal.” Unfortunately, that’s a really big “if!”

Anyway, it’s not all bad, but if anyone can help you, it’ll be a psychiatrist or a neurologist.

Clair's avatar

You’re not going crazy. Having been crazy and having panic attacks, I totally understand how you feel. This sounds pretty serious. I would go see a doctor if I were you.

monsoon's avatar

Update: On tuesday I actually threw up. I hadn’t been eating, so it was some gross throwing up, but I talked to my mom, who actually works for a hospital, so I was able to talk an emergency councilor over the phone, which helped a lot. I’m now on the search for a more long-term therapist (which is turning out to be more challenging than I thought).

Thanks every one here for you’re help, I don’t think I would have considered seeing some one if it hadn’t been for this post.

augustlan's avatar

@monsoon Thanks for the update. I’m so glad you’re going to get the help you need. Please keep us posted.

monsoon's avatar

@SirBailey I just remember what you wrote a few days ago, about thinking you have to breathe manually. It’s interesting, because right now my biggest cause for bringing the anxiety back is this sensation that I feel weird to be looking out of my own eyes, five feet off of the ground, and have arms sticking out of the sides of my vision. I just can’t shake this feeling of weirdness, and It distracts me and I can’t concentrate at work a lot.

It makes me feel like this isn’t normal anxiety, but I think it is, and maybe it’s just the anxiety that’s really weird.

answerjill's avatar

Hi, again, Monsoon,
I want to give you the link to Stuck in a Doorway, an ocd community forum: http://www.stuckinadoorway.co.uk/ . Sometimes, it really helps to know that there are people out there who are dealing with similar problems.

ralfe's avatar

Firstly, Monsoon, I highly recommend you go see a registered psychologist. Everything that you describe points to a great deal of psychological trauma which needs to be resolved in the correct way, otherwise it will continuously result in various manifestations or symptoms.

Secondly, to those who are trying to diagnose here, it is highly unethical to do so. Instead of diagnosis, let me rather explain to you what is happening when these symptoms present themselves.

When we suffer psychological trauma which we are not able to deal with consciously, we repress that trauma. However, that trauma seeks expression. So we have your mind trying to push that trauma down, but that trauma is trying to push its way up into your consciousness. What results are nervous symptoms, which we call neurosis. These divert your attention away from what is actually causing you distress, whilst at the same time allowing the trauma to come out.

Some have suggested medication to treat these symptoms, but that will not solve your problem, as the repressed trauma will continuously seek expression one way or another.

In conclusion, I ask you to please go see someone. If you are already, do not feel you need to stick with that person. If you feel they are not helping you successfully, change until you are happy with your therapist.

I hope that you find peace.

Ralfe

graynett's avatar

The doctors the go! After see if you can find a GROW group they use (care share) a literature program and a group method to help overcome lots of different disorders. Mainly going by what you know not how you feel type of help

Judi's avatar

@ralfe, first you chastize the collective for diagnosing then you go on to say “let me tell you what’s going on here?”. Sorry, but that sounds a bit hypocritical to me.

ralfe's avatar

@Judi People are throwing around terms such as OCD. This is dangerous, as misdiagnosis can lead to many problems. Instead of labelling and attempting a diagnosis, I felt it would be more appropriate to share a psychodynamic explanation of the symptoms, without attributing a pathology to @monsoon. I do not know why people felt they should attribute OCD to what what was said, as there was very little there that indicates Obsessive or Compulsive behaviour. Then, not only do people make guesses about what is wrong, but then some assume this is now true, and tell @monsoon that their condition has a neurological basis and can be cured etc…. I can tell you now that not even a trained psychologist would make such statements without requiring a lot more information. Making such statements without sufficient information can lead to increased panic and anxiety, which is obviously not good.

Judi's avatar

In his first post after the question he said he had OCD as a kid. I think people assumed it had been diagnosed by a physician. They were offering a possible link to his confirmed diagnosis.

Shuttle128's avatar

@ralfe Really now? Freudian psychoanalysis? No one else here should diagnose monsoon but you can diagnose using methods deemed pseudo-scientific in the 30’s? Sorry, I found this to be a trifle hypocritical.

answerjill's avatar

Ralfe, as I said above, “I don’t want to try to diagnose you online (and I am not qualified to do so, anyway)...”

Lorenita's avatar

@monsoon I believe there’s a whole world of mental disorders out there, and nobody here can make a diagnosis. But I must say I relate to your feelings, I too am afraid of stop loving my boyfriend and I constantly worry that in the future I might cheat on him, which is ridiculous since in the first place I love him so much and I’m not the kind of person that cheats.. then I don’t know who am I anymore.. because I used to be so clear about these issues and now I forgot who I was. I don’t know how to help you, but to tell you that we have to stop analizing every feeling or thinking we have, this over criticism could make anybody crazy.
Perhaps you are in a phase where you must make decissions about your life and your relationships.. I know I am, I’m 25 and figuring out life.. but here’s what I do.. I think that no matter what I don’t have to lose faith, because the path will clear on it’s own, whatever happens happens, and I will know what to do then.. so will you.

Response moderated
auntydeb's avatar

No one here has simply asked if there is a possible physical cause behind the dramatic first instance for poor @monsoon! It surprises me how willing people here are to offer ‘diagnoses’ for ills and how often people post medical questions. Why are people so afraid of taking their problem to a doctor? There is some sage advice, and some kind thinking here, but @monsoon the best thing you have said is about the talk with your Mom. Getting to actually meet with a medical professional has to be the more practical option!

I really hope you feel able to talk freely with a medical doctor and rule out a metabolic cause. I’m not about suggesting what it might be – I am not a doctor! – but really, with this dramatic stuff, your body is as involved as your mind. A ‘stress’ reaction, when masses of Adrenaline is pumped into your bloodstream can be caused by foods, buried phobias, smells… Very good luck with getting help, I hope it is really something simple and controllable. :o)

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