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Frustrated and no one will help...
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Frustrated and no one will help...

I've been struggling with anxiety, depression, and bouts of insomnia as long as I can remember.  The problem is that I'm the type of person who is always smiling and appears perfectly 'normal' on the outside.  Inside, I'm shaky, nervous, sad, miserable, terrified, and agitated.  I have two young children, and they both demand my attention constantly (as children often do) and whatever problems I was having before have been multiplied tenfold in the past year or so.  Financially, we are in debt up to our ears.  My husband's hours keep getting cut, and I am too much of a mental wreck to get out there and try searching for jobs again.  I'm seeing a new doctor, because mine moved across the country, and I feel as if she sees this "happy" me and thinks I'm exaggerating my symptoms.  When I try to explain to her that I've been diagnosed with several mental health disorders, she just kind of rushes through the appt. and ended up prescribing me something that does nothing for me (and is an extremely low dose.)  
I have tried to reach her office several times to talk to her about my concerns over the medication not working, but I always get voicemail, or she's in a conference or something, and no one ever calls me back.  The receptionist makes excuses, and I'm running out of time, because I feel like I'm on the verge of a mental meltdown, and there is no where to turn.  

I tried getting in to see a counselor or psychiatrist, but they are all scheduling 2-3 months out.  I need relief and some sort of help NOW, and no one cares.  Every doctor's appointment ads $150 extra to my already ridiculous medical debt, and this is only making the problem WORSE.  Then, every time I see a doctor, they seem to blow me off and I leave no better off than when I came in.  My family relationships are strained.  I'm stressed out and yelling all the time at my husband and kids.  I can't stay asleep.  I feel tense and nauseous all the time. I have had blood work done and everything comes back normal.  Once doctors see there's no physical problem, it seems like they label me as a hypochondriac and ignore my calls.

Earlier this year I went through a period of weeks where I cried constantly, literally ran away from home, and even contemplated how best to kill myself to make it look like an accident for my childrens' sake.  I had no insurance and found some old Prozac I'd had from before my last pregnancy.  It literally saved my life.  Unfortunately, that ran out, and now that I DO have insurance, my doctor is of no help, and I can't get in to see anyone else because the waiting lists are so long.  What is someone supposed to do when they feel like the world is caving in on them?  How can I take care of 2 kids all day when I can't even take care of myself?  
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480448_tn?1403547723
Hello and welcome!

I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time.  Hopefully we can give you some ideas, and in the least, support.  You're far from alone, so many people live with anxiety every day, the GOOD news is, it's absolutely manageable.

So, what do you do?  The FIRST thing you need to do is to go ahead and make that initial appointment with a mental health provider, I would personally recommend a psychiatrist, mainly because with the amount of time you've been dealing with this, you're kind of in crisis mode, which probably will mean the possibility of using a medication for symptom management.

I KNOW it's frustrating to have to wait for an appointment, but unfortunately, with specialists, that's just the way it is.  Go ahead and make the appt, and let the staff know you'd like to be called if an appt comes up any sooner.  In addition, you could also call periodically to see if anything has opened up.  

Us anxious folks have a knack for feeling REALLY bad for a long time, blowing it off, or sweeping it under the rug, and then when we decide we cannot take it anymore, we want relief RIGHT NOW.  Even if a doctor could see you tomorrow, this is a process that is still going to take time.  As tough as it is, it's important to be patient.  You're not going to feel better overnight.  If you can dig deep and accept that, you'll be miles ahead of the game.

Therapy will be vital for you regardless of whether or not you and the p-doc choose to go a medication route for symptom management.  The therapy will help you in many ways...from coping, stress management, to the most important, learning how to change the way you think and react.  THAT is truly the key to getting anxiety to a manageable level.  Medications will only mask, or dull the symptoms, and usually, as soon as the medication wears off, the symptoms are still there, and sometimes they are even worse.   So, that being said, when you ask your PCP for the p-doc referral, ask her also for one to a therapist, if that's possible.  That way you've gotten BOTH balls rolling.  You may have to wait until you've had your initial eval with the p-doc, but it doesn't hurt to ask your doc in the meantime.  Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may not need a referral.  If that's the case, call your insurance company and ask for help finding a good doc and therapist, they may even do the leg work for you (which sometimes means getting an appt sooner than YOU would if YOU called).  You definitely need a specialist to help you manage this, your doctor is both dismissive, and probably not very "up" on the meds...at least not as much as a p-doc would be.  

And, whatever you do, stop trying to manage this yourself...both by trying to put on a happy face AND by "doctoring" yourself.  Taking Prozac you had lying around was a bad idea for so many reasons.  When it ran out, you probably ended up feeling far worse than when you started.  Anxiety is awful, and it can be debilitating.  It sounds like you're definitely there as far as functioning goes.  That's why you need to make the commitment to do this the RIGHT way, and get that ball rolling, and hang on until you get things started.  With the help, some time, and some "work" on your part, you will be able to regain a lot of your functioning.

There's one other option...if you feel that you literally "cannot handle it" one more day, and you're in crisis mode, you can seek out an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.  I know that many people really don't like that idea, but it's a good choice for people who just aren't functioning, and need to get an aggressive treatment plan started NOW, while in a safe environment.  Only you can determine if you're at that point, and if you are, don't be afraid to express that to your loved ones and your doctor.  You need to do whatever is best for YOU.  You've put yourself on the bottom of the list for so long, it's time to bump yourself back on up to the top, sweetie.

Lastly, there ARE many things YOU can do YOURSELF to help yourself before you are working on an official treatment plan with a practitioner.  A self help book or two is a GREAT place to start.  There are SO many great books out there that would really help you, even IF just to feel less alone.  I cannot tell you how many "ah ha" moments I had when I read my first anxiety themed book, oh my goodness.  A HUGE weight was lifted when I learned more about it, and discovered that I was very much "normal" and not crazy.   In addition to books, there are you tube videos, DVDs, etc.

The one book I would recommend starting out with is "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook", by Edmund Bourne.  It's designed very much like a textbook.  It's interactive, and contains a lot of exercises (not physical exercise) for you to do to help yourself.  There are all kinds of approaches that will help you cope better in that book.  I will post the link to our list of resources, so you can browse through them and find a few books that may seem to be a good fit for you.  

Anything by Claire Weekes is a good choice.  She's written some amazing books about anxiety.  I would recommend either bookmarking the resource page for future reference, or printing it out and highlighting some of your top choices, starting out with two for now.  Many of the books you can borrow from the library, although the workbook I would recommend buying, because you're going to write in it.  Amazon has great book prices.  

Resources:

http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/Mental%20Health/Anxiety-and-Panic-Resources--Books--Websites--Self-Help-Programs/show/1285?cid=60

Please keep in touch, and let us know how you're doing, okay?  I'm anxious to see your update on when your appointment is.  We're here for you, and remember, you're REALLY not alone, as much as it feels like you are.  I know that's a terrible, awful, scary and devastating feeling.  I've been there, 100%.

Take care, and hang in there.
4 Comments Post a Comment
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480448_tn?1403547723
Hello and welcome!

I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time.  Hopefully we can give you some ideas, and in the least, support.  You're far from alone, so many people live with anxiety every day, the GOOD news is, it's absolutely manageable.

So, what do you do?  The FIRST thing you need to do is to go ahead and make that initial appointment with a mental health provider, I would personally recommend a psychiatrist, mainly because with the amount of time you've been dealing with this, you're kind of in crisis mode, which probably will mean the possibility of using a medication for symptom management.

I KNOW it's frustrating to have to wait for an appointment, but unfortunately, with specialists, that's just the way it is.  Go ahead and make the appt, and let the staff know you'd like to be called if an appt comes up any sooner.  In addition, you could also call periodically to see if anything has opened up.  

Us anxious folks have a knack for feeling REALLY bad for a long time, blowing it off, or sweeping it under the rug, and then when we decide we cannot take it anymore, we want relief RIGHT NOW.  Even if a doctor could see you tomorrow, this is a process that is still going to take time.  As tough as it is, it's important to be patient.  You're not going to feel better overnight.  If you can dig deep and accept that, you'll be miles ahead of the game.

Therapy will be vital for you regardless of whether or not you and the p-doc choose to go a medication route for symptom management.  The therapy will help you in many ways...from coping, stress management, to the most important, learning how to change the way you think and react.  THAT is truly the key to getting anxiety to a manageable level.  Medications will only mask, or dull the symptoms, and usually, as soon as the medication wears off, the symptoms are still there, and sometimes they are even worse.   So, that being said, when you ask your PCP for the p-doc referral, ask her also for one to a therapist, if that's possible.  That way you've gotten BOTH balls rolling.  You may have to wait until you've had your initial eval with the p-doc, but it doesn't hurt to ask your doc in the meantime.  Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may not need a referral.  If that's the case, call your insurance company and ask for help finding a good doc and therapist, they may even do the leg work for you (which sometimes means getting an appt sooner than YOU would if YOU called).  You definitely need a specialist to help you manage this, your doctor is both dismissive, and probably not very "up" on the meds...at least not as much as a p-doc would be.  

And, whatever you do, stop trying to manage this yourself...both by trying to put on a happy face AND by "doctoring" yourself.  Taking Prozac you had lying around was a bad idea for so many reasons.  When it ran out, you probably ended up feeling far worse than when you started.  Anxiety is awful, and it can be debilitating.  It sounds like you're definitely there as far as functioning goes.  That's why you need to make the commitment to do this the RIGHT way, and get that ball rolling, and hang on until you get things started.  With the help, some time, and some "work" on your part, you will be able to regain a lot of your functioning.

There's one other option...if you feel that you literally "cannot handle it" one more day, and you're in crisis mode, you can seek out an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.  I know that many people really don't like that idea, but it's a good choice for people who just aren't functioning, and need to get an aggressive treatment plan started NOW, while in a safe environment.  Only you can determine if you're at that point, and if you are, don't be afraid to express that to your loved ones and your doctor.  You need to do whatever is best for YOU.  You've put yourself on the bottom of the list for so long, it's time to bump yourself back on up to the top, sweetie.

Lastly, there ARE many things YOU can do YOURSELF to help yourself before you are working on an official treatment plan with a practitioner.  A self help book or two is a GREAT place to start.  There are SO many great books out there that would really help you, even IF just to feel less alone.  I cannot tell you how many "ah ha" moments I had when I read my first anxiety themed book, oh my goodness.  A HUGE weight was lifted when I learned more about it, and discovered that I was very much "normal" and not crazy.   In addition to books, there are you tube videos, DVDs, etc.

The one book I would recommend starting out with is "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook", by Edmund Bourne.  It's designed very much like a textbook.  It's interactive, and contains a lot of exercises (not physical exercise) for you to do to help yourself.  There are all kinds of approaches that will help you cope better in that book.  I will post the link to our list of resources, so you can browse through them and find a few books that may seem to be a good fit for you.  

Anything by Claire Weekes is a good choice.  She's written some amazing books about anxiety.  I would recommend either bookmarking the resource page for future reference, or printing it out and highlighting some of your top choices, starting out with two for now.  Many of the books you can borrow from the library, although the workbook I would recommend buying, because you're going to write in it.  Amazon has great book prices.  

Resources:

http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/Mental%20Health/Anxiety-and-Panic-Resources--Books--Websites--Self-Help-Programs/show/1285?cid=60

Please keep in touch, and let us know how you're doing, okay?  I'm anxious to see your update on when your appointment is.  We're here for you, and remember, you're REALLY not alone, as much as it feels like you are.  I know that's a terrible, awful, scary and devastating feeling.  I've been there, 100%.

Take care, and hang in there.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi. I also suffer from anxiety and often act "normal" as you put it. The key is to find the right doctor. I would suggest you find a new psychiatrist. When making the appointment, tell them it is an emergency and see if that helps. Some doctors leave blanks in the books for such cases. Also, you can make the appointment for several months out and then keep calling back to see if there are any cancellations. That is how I got into my psychiatrist (and I only ended up waiting a month). You need to be persistent with the appointment making, though. And if you do not like that psychiatrist, keep looking. Eventually, you fill find one that works for you. I have had three.
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4334575_tn?1403832612
Thank you!  I saw a therapist today, and he advocated for me so that my regular MD would listen!
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4334575_tn?1403832612
Thanks so much for your very kind and informative reply!  I actually spent the day yesterday checking with my insurance company and calling around trying to find psychiatrists.  I called the office of a former psychiatrist of mine, and he had a waiting list of over 60 clients ahead of me (!) but the receptionist recommended another place I'd been to (when I was a teenager - I'd almost forgotten I'd been there).   When I called, they told me that I could get in with a therapist right away (turned out to be the same one I'd seen 17 years ago!) but I would need to wait about a month to get in to see the prescribing nurse if I needed any meds.  This was discouraging, but I thought at least the therapy could help me, and I was able to get in this morning!

I had my first appointment, and much to my surprise, when I told him I'd been having a lot of problems trying to get my doctor to return my messages, HE got on the phone and called the office himself.  He told the doctor about my situation, and that I'd been trying to get ahold of her for weeks for some kind of help, and she acted shocked.  My therapist said "heads are probably going to roll" around that office.  I'm wondering if her assistant was not relaying the messages.  Anyway, he got her to prescribe me Zoloft over the phone, and they sent the scrip to the pharmacy right away.  I just took my first dose!  

I know it is going to be a while before the medication starts working, but I'm going to go to weekly therapy now.  I was also diagnosed with "dysthymia" today, which is basically a permanent state of depression brought on by my generalized anxiety.  I feel like all the symptoms describe me to a "T" and I realize that all of these years I've been treated for the occasional ACUTE bouts of depression/anxiety, when the underlying depressive state was never noticed or addressed.  Just knowing the cause, and that there's hope of feeling better now has given me a much better prognosis for the future.  Thank you so much!
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