Sleep Disorders Community
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Extremely Tired for Way Too Long!!!!

I have been extremely tired every day for at least 5 years now.  I am a 27 year old female, overweight (wouldn't say obese) mother of a 3 year old, eat fairly healthy.  Had all bloodwork done and everything is normal.  When I go to the doctor with that one symptom, they diagnose me with depression.  I am not depressed.  I don't want to sleep all day, I just feel like I need to go to sleep at any time of the day.  I've been on all different depression meds off and on over this 5 year time period.  They've done nothing for my fatigue.  I finally have an apointment with a Dr. on Mon. June 2.  My nurse practitioner referred me to him.  I think he is going to order me a sleep test.  This is my last resort.  I'm wondering what I can do if the sleep test says I don't have sleep apnea.  I cannot keep going through this.  It affects my life in every aspect.  Please help!
18 Responses
Avatar universal
hmm....do u dream alot at night? prolonged REM sleep and insufficient rest sleep makes one extremely tired when they wake up, i read that it is common in depressed or anxious people
Avatar universal
I know that I dream.  I can't really say how often and whether or not it would be considered a lot.  This hasn't really just popped up on me.  I've been dealing with this for years now, so I don't know what is normal.  I'm not really depressed or anxious, except for the fact that I am so tired all the time that I don't feel like doing normal things.  It is getting really difficult to work.  I went back to work in Septmeber after having my daughter who turned three last month and it has progressively gotten worse and worse.  I did forget to mention that I wake up around five times a night, but quickly go back to sleep.
Avatar universal
Getting the sleep study is the best thing to do, especially since other possible causes have been ruled out and this is long standing. There are many other sleep disorders besides sleep apnea. Another common sleep disturber is periodic limb movement disorder. I have both. In fact one can obscure the other in a sleep study so if your symptoms continue after treating a diagnosed problem, go back for follow-up. Let us know how your sleep study turns out.
Avatar universal
Your post gave me an eerie, "deja vu" feeling because of how similar your situation is to mine. Like you, I'm in my late 20's(I'm 29) and was a new mom when all of my problems & symptoms started. Like you, I've been dealing with extreme, dibilitating, & constant fatigue/tiredness for years. Since 1996, in fact. Like you, I've been to numerous doctors(family medicine physician, gynecologist, neurologist) begging & pleading for them to figure out what was wrong with me, as the constant need to sleep was interferring with every aspect of my life, from being a mom & fiance to being able to stay awake during college classes. Like you, I've had every blood test under the sun ran on me, with the results ALWAYS coming back as normal. Like you, I've been told in the past by numerous doctors that I "must be depressed" because all of the blood work had consistently come back normal & none of the doctors could think of any other explanation for my symptoms. Like you, I was prescribed an antidepressant(Prozac) & begrudgingly took it for about 1-1/2 years. But ONLY in the hopes that it would help & make me feel "more awake". Like you, the antidepressant did nothing for me & I felt no different on the med vs off of it.

It wasn't until after I started my own search & research of answers, that I finally got some. And some vindication, as well. Shortly after I got married and switched health insurances in 2005, I was seen by a board-certified sleep specialist/neurologist. To me, he was my last chance & hope of finding out the truth. In my heart-of-hearts, I knew the answers lied somewhere within a sleep-study and was praying to God that he'd take my situation seriously-enough to order the test. He did, both the overnight & daytime studies. And guess what? I was right!!!!! The sleep studies proved I am not depressed and I am not crazy. In fact, I have full-blown narcolepsy. During the MSLT study, I fell asleep within 2-4 minutes in 3 of the 5 naps. The results even surprised the doctor!

Anyways, my whole point to telling you all of this is to never give up on yourself. Only YOU know how YOU feel. And if you don't feel your symptoms are related to depression......then you're not depressed!!! Honestly, there were times when I wondered if maybe the doctors were right & I was really depressed, but in denial over it. Then I'd come to my senses and realize that wasn't the case. Rather, I was tired of being tired, tired of being brushed off and labeled "depressed", tired of nobody believing me when I'd say "something's not right with me" or "I shouldn't be this tired at the age of 20"(and 21, and 22, and 23, and 24, and 25, and 26); and tired of nobody wanting to help me get to the bottom of what was wrong. When those sleep study results came back, I felt so relieved & vindicated, like a big weight had been lifted off of me. But I also felt sad & disappointed that 8 years of my life was lost due to no one wanting to believe how serious my symptoms were.  

Good luck with the new doctor. Hopefully, he/she will order a sleep study so that you can get answers &/or peace of mind. Let us know how things go.
Avatar universal
Hi kramsay, how are you? You are going through a lot of stress due to the sleep deprivation and childcare. It is right thing to get a sleep study done, as sleep apnea is common to cause sleep disturbance followed by a very hard day. You might also be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, which needs thorough evaluation. Are you currently under any medication? Try to get some daytime nap. Keep physically active, and drink lot of water. Yoga and meditation are best way to relax. Keep updating on the sleep study and doctor advice. Take care and share your thoughts.
Avatar universal
Honestly, there is no way to take a nap other than on weekends.  I have a three year old.  By the time I get home from work and cook dinner and give her a bath, it is bedtime.  And then time to do it all over again.  Plus when I do take a nap, it makes me feel even worse.  I will definately keep you posted.  I am just ready to see this doctor and hope I finally get some answers.
Avatar universal
Hi kramsay, thanks for your reply and update. I do understand, for a working mother getting times to rest is very hard due to time at work and house hold chores. Still you need to get adequate rest as stress due to daily living causes more disturbances ending up totally exhausted. Better to take lot of fruits, vegetables and drink plenty of water. As said earlier trying yoga for half-an-hour daily is helpful. You can also have a consultation with the neurologist. If you can get a baby care taker, it may ease a few hours of you to relax. Keep updating on the doctor visit and advice. Take care.
Avatar universal
So, I went to the Dr. yesterday.  I had to answer several questions to rate my sleepiness.  He checked my nose and throat for obstructions and said there was none.  He decided to go ahead and order me a sleep test to rule out sleep apnea.  So, I am currently waiting for the sleep lab to call me with an appointment.  I wish there wasn't so much waiting involved.  I'm just ready for answers, but I am trying to be very patient.  I didn't get into any details regarding my feelings throughout the day, but I feel like when I go back, if it is not sleep apnea, he will keep trying to find out some answers for me.  So I feel very confident about him.  He was easy to talk to unlike the other doctors that just made me feel crazy or stupid, almost like I was making things up.  He did tell me to try to avoid driving until I get the sleep test.  And also to keep a sleep journal from now until I see him again.  I guess I was thinking about everything so much last night that I just tossed and turned, making today an even bigger drag!
Avatar universal
Hi kramsay, thanks for your reply and the updates. Its good to hear you are comfortable and satisfied with the medical care provided by your new doctor. This is most important to have a good patient-doctor relationship, which will see good results. Yes, plan for your sleep test and just try to relax as stress worsens things a bit. Keep physically active and take care of your baby. Weekend outings with family might be refreshing. Keep updating on the sleep study results and doctor advice. Take care.
Avatar universal
So, I've heard nothing.  No appointment yet.  I'm beginning to feel unimportant.  I called the nurse Tuesday morning and left a message.  No returned call.  No call from the sleep lab with an appointment.  I just really don't know what to do.  I don't even think the Dr. thinks it's sleep apnea.  So if it's not, I have to go through all of this, if they ever call me, and then if that's not what it is, I'll have to keep trying.
Avatar universal
Don’t give up.  A generation ago, depression didn’t exist, and now it’s the answer to everything.  I’m betting it won’t be too long before tiredness comes into its own, and you can get some respect.

Doctors are best with things they can SEE and TOUCH, that show up on x-ray or in lab results.  Not so good with things that have to be described to them.  If you are terse with the description, they don't get it at all.  If, on the other hand, you report your symptoms at length with descriptive terms, trying for the best opportunity you can give the doctor to understand it, you are immediately histrionic and hypochondriacal and a great deal of what you say is discounted.

Another problem, imho, is that they don't have good WORDS for tired.  Words like "compound fracture" or "aortic stenosis."  The words that exist for tired, like "chronic fatigue syndrome," suffer from having no etiology and nobody who knows exactly what they mean, which is frustrating to doctors (who are mostly Type A personalities, and like to get things DONE! after all).   "Tired" just goes on and on, resistant to treatment and, let's just say it, ungrateful.  After a while, a doctor thinks his efforts are misplaced on this illness that won't even say its name, and wants to move on to a more satisfactory word like "granuloma."

I'm a lot older than you, and after years and years of trying everything, I have no expectations.  I've taken this and done that in the depression repertoire, and the two things I've really liked are caffeine and amphetamines--only the effect wears off, and they do nothing for the underlying cause, whatever that is.  I LOVE adrenalin, but I'm generally too tired to stir some up.  My surgeon was sure I'd have tons of energy after my severely occluded aortic valve was replaced this spring, but I never believed it.  I was tired long before that valve went sour.  I'll live longer for AVR, but I'm still tired.  And now they've stumbled on this sleep apnea business, which will probably result in my wearing something that looks like a gas mask to bed--the only place I can now let myself be tired and feel ok about it--and receiving assurances that I will be rewarded with tons of energy.  Which I won't.

My personal favorite suggestion is, get some exercise.  Go out and run a few miles, or climb a mountain, and you’ll feel much better.  People who exercise aren’t tired all the time.  I’ve given up explaining politely, yes, you idiot, if they were tired, they wouldn’t BE running miles and climbing mountains.

I've my solution:  retirement.  It’ll be a long time for you guys, but long before that, you will have more medical solutions.  I really do think we, the tired, are finally getting some attention in the medical community.  

And if all else fails, who’s better than we are at staging a sit-in?
Avatar universal
Hi kramsay, thanks for your reply and the updates. Hope you are doing better. Do not give up the hope, may the sleep lab is full with appointments or might be planning to schedule you as time permits. It is not an urgent requirement, relax and cope up with your daily living activities. You can call the attending physician once and let him know your concern to hasen the sleep test date with the lab. Be physically active, continue with the regular stretches/walks and try to sleep well. Follow the sleep tips as said earlier and minimize thinking unnessarily. I hope you will get an appointment call from the sleep lab soon. Take care and keep updating.
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