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My Anxiety Story

Jun 28, 2016 - 0 comments

I have been dealing with increasing levels of anxiety over the last 4 months.  I have always had anxiety issues, and have a family history of anxiety related issues from panic disorders to agoraphobia in my father and members of his side of the family.  I suffered from anxiety in my young adulthood through my early 20's, that I mainly self medicated with alcohol and drugs.  I got sober at 26 and have dealt with some anxiety related issues since, and have taken some antidepressants over the years that have allowed my to enjoy a mostly anxiety free life, that is until this year.

In February of this year I was hospitalized for 3 days with a heart arrhythmia most likely caused by a Niacin supplement that I was taking for high cholesterol, as well as the Welbutrin that I had been taking for depression.  I wore a monitor for a month and was put on atenolol to help with palpitations, and was given a clean bill of health.   But this started some of the symptoms of anxiety, including night sweats and a bit of generalized fear.  Things got worse when my doctor tried to put me on a statin to manage my cholesterol, after a few days it caused some pain in my abdomen.  We discontinued the statin and took some blood tests to to make sure I wasn't experiencing liver issues, and everything came back fine.  However, the pain in my abdomen never went away, and I started to have multiple stomach related issues related to digestion and elimination.  This made the anxiety get worse, more night sweats, more fear, more phantom pains in my stomach, I also started to lose some weight (a few pounds) and I started to become much more aware of my body and its functions (like noticing that I was losing weight in my face, and noticing that the veins in my hands and feet seemed to be getting larger and more noticeable).   We ran more blood tests, that all come back fine, and finally a CT scan of my abdomen, that came back fine with the exception of a small 2.7 cm cyst on my adrenal gland, that I was told was benign due to location and the fat content present in the cyst.  That night my night sweats got progressively worse and the next day I was in the emergency room having a full blown panic attack.  

Now it is a month later, and I have been in full panic mode most days.  Anxiety almost all day long, night sweats and only being able to sleep for 1-2 hours at a time, stomach pains and funky digestive issues. Plus issues with the veins in my hands and feet seeming to get larger and feeling numb or on fire night.

They have run more tests, an MRI, and an up coming colonoscopy to rule out my mysterious stomach issues.  And though the blood tests have come back relatively normal there have been some issues with my cortisol levels that could either be related to the cyst on my adrenal gland or just a high level of stress.  My doctor even asked me on my last visit if there was anything that was stressing me out that he should be aware of, which seemed to me to be an insane question to ask someone who has been hospitalized and been told that they have a growth on their adrenal gland...

So, at my last ER visit, they put me on .5 mg Ativan and that helped for about 2 weeks with the night sweats before it stopped working, then my psychiatrist tried to put my on zoloft, which made the night sweats twice as bad so I stopped taking after a week.  Now they are trying to rotate me to Xanax, which helps with the anxiety for about 4 hours, but when it wears off, makes it seem twice as bad as before and does nothing to assist with sleeping.  More blood tests the last 2 days to check hormone levels and somehow confirm that there is a problem with the cyst, and next week a colonoscopy.  

My thought process fluctuates between thinking that there is really something wrong with me that they are missing, or that they are not finding fast enough (ie, the cyst), to thinking that all this crap is just created by the anxiety inside my head.  I am doing a lot of Google searching for symptoms, which I know has got to be the stupidest thing ever, I have had everything from adrenal cancer and carcinoid tumors, to some sort of rare blood pressure and vein disease that they don't even have a disease for yet as I am the only person that has apparently ever suffered from it.  Most of my fear is that I have something that is going to kill me and that I am going to leave my wife and 2 young boys without a father to take care of them.  

Well that is my story so far, I will update with any news or solutions I find.

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