I've been to 6 psychologists and none have been able to diagnose me, though I have multiple symptoms and a low quality of life. I am 21, and feel I have been mentally deteriorating for some time now. As a child I was an intelligent perfectionist, with lots of friends despite being shy, and a pleasant and happy demeanour according to everyone who knew me. I have few memories of my childhood, and the ones I have are vague, though I do know I can recall being significantly worried about many things, though at a much higher level of functioning than I am current at.
I hit puberty toward the end of my primary school years, and mention this because I feel it was the beginning of my deteriorating social and emotional condition. I was afraid of boys, and rarely spoke to them at school, but can recall no sexual curiosity toward them in my younger years. I can't remember when I became aware of anything sexually-related eg the difference between boys and girls etc etc, but I had an extremely basic knowledge of sex when I reached my menarche at age 11. I have never dated despite wishing for a companion. Although I have a curiosity about males, I feel very little sexual attraction toward them. I have just as little sexual attraction to females either so I'm not a lesbian in denial. I have considered bisexuality but do not feel attracted enough to anyone to consider myself sexual at all, although I am turned on by sexual thoughts or images and have therefore been told I am not a-sexual. This is one of my major social concerns at the present time. I live alone and feel lonely only when witnessing other peoples relationships. Whenever I DO try my hand at having a relationship, I find it is simply too draining and stressful.
Panic is another major symptom of mine. I have severe anxiety problems in many situations, though I do manage to hold down a full time job and perform perfectly well in social situations of a professional nature. In saying that, I am not able to speak publically or perform in front of an audience in my situations, including when drunk (though it is a little easier then). I also freeze if I am being judged or assessed, and inevitably screw up. I am very friendly and happy to be around my colleagues and clients, however.
My anxiety comes from many other aspects of my life. Relationships, for one, as well as family interactions. I am unable to live with others, and need a significant amount of time alone to recover from the day. I am unable to handle criticism to the point that I have full blown anxiety attacks at the thought of people entering my home, reading things I have written, seeing me undressed etc. I will not go to doctors for any kind of physical examination, am unable to go to the beach or any such activity. There is a history of depression and anorexia in my family and although I'm not anorexic, I am very appearance and weight conscious (having always been slightly overweight) which is a large cause of my depression and anxiety.
I have a lot of social anxiety, for although I can relax with many people and empathise with them, I struggle to recognise a number of social cues or respond to certain behaviours eg sarcasm, many jokes, certain facial expressions etc. I find myself often feeling blank or pretending to know what people are talking about to save embarrassment.
I struggle to use public bathrooms, to sleep when other people are awake nearby, to eat in front of others and many other social anxiety problems. Also, I frequently run home during my tea and lunch breaks at work to check that everything is turned off, doors are closed, pets are still alive, no one has visited my house etc. Often I cannot remember my actions eg whether or not I turned the stove on or off etc, and this causes me a lot of stress, so I often try to provide myself enough time to double check everything until the visual memory sinks in. If I am rushed out of the house, I get physically ill from not being able to remember if everything is safe. I have frequent persistent anxious thoughts.
In addition to this, I am unable to perform a number of every day tasks such as driving and using the telephone. Phoning people is intermittant, sometimes I am fine, other times the thought of ringing someone or having my phone ring is enough to cause me to shake and feel nauseous. I cannot drive because 1. I feel far too stressed out when in the car, and 2. the primary reason = I seem to struggle with visual-spacial aspects of driving. I am unable to see past the contrast of headlights in the night-time - I am literally blinded by this and my eyes fill with tears until I close them which is obviously dangerous. Also, I cannot judge distances, so I find it very different to park and change lines. Furthermore, I am unable to reverse images and actions in my mind. When I first went for a learners license I passed with 100% but almost didnt get my licence because when they gave me the vision test I couldn't tell whether I was looking at letters that were normal or reversed. When driving, I can't recognise where things are in my rear-vision mirrors, nor can I figure out which way to move the car whilst in reverse. If I am given enough time to think very hard about it, I can figure these things out, but never under the quick stressful time limits imposed by traffic. This is a source of great stress and disappointment to me. Everyone tells me it is something I will learn with practice, but I have been learning to drive for five years and have seen no improvement.
As well as these problems I am experiencing new difficulties with learning and motivation. As I mentioned, I was a bright child, and I found it very easy to learn things, pick up skills, retain information etc. Nowadays I struggle very much so. Even as a teenager at high school I was very motivated and could work through my diminishing memory by putting in a lot of hard work. Now, I am not only unable to retain new information for very long (I literally forget things within hours of learning them), but I also feel far too mentally fatigued to 'care'. That is, I have lost all the determination which defined me up until about 3 years ago. My attention has dropped significantly also, and though I am able to focus very well on certain tasks (eg. I can read a novel for 24 hours straight, can watch the same film over and over if I enjoy it etc) I struggle with most things. My brain wanders when people speak to me, even if they are saying interesting things. I get tired a lot, though my body still feels geared up for movement. I enjoy being active but am often too worn out from work to do much more than lay around until I can sleep. Even so, I don't receive as much sleep as I probably should because I sleeping too much makes me anxious (I dont ahve enough time to do everything I want/need to do, and always feel an impending sense of time running out). My interests have also changed a lot in recent years. Where I used to enjoy sociology and playing instruments, I now prefer science and physical activity - the things I was afraid to learn in the past. My ability to read music and relate to sociological concepts is all but gone!
I also experience unrelated symptoms, such as feeling that I have too much body hair, oil and moisture (though this may be personal perception more than accuracy). I get lumps on my body sometimes like small cysts that go away if I don't bother them, but still concern me, have persistent mild-moderate acne, get heat rash and ingrown hair follicles, eczema and intense itchiness, frequently experience headaches, have menstrual discomfort/pain, and sore/tired eyes and feet.
Every medical check up I have is perfectly healthy, with the occasional warning that I have low iron (though it's still in range so last I checked I wasn't anaemic). I feel that my doctors believe I am simply a hypochondriac.
I have considered this diagnosis myself, but am not satisfied with it. Even if many of my symptoms are simply symptoms of anxiety, rather than an actual problem, my quality of life is too diminished by them for them to be ignored like this.
All the psychs I have seen have told me that I do suffer from mild-moderate anxiety, but this should be treatable/manageable by different therapies and counselling sessions. So far, nothing has worked. If anything, I feel like I am going crazier the older I get.
I have always been at risk of depression and anxiety, and suffered from depression for five years although it was ignored by everyone, including my doctors, because I appear to be fairly sane and level-headed. I have a very good grasp on reality and rationality due to my knowledge of medical and psychological conditions, however rely on fiction and solitary play to fulfill my emotional and social needs, as I find society too difficult to be a part of most of the time. My symptoms began to develop into serious problems from the age of about 11 (the onset of puberty) and wax and wane frequently. Other than puberty, and obviously life changes eg finishing school, the only change to my life in these times has been the divorce of my parents (always blamed for my emotional problems though in reality they began before it and the divorce has, in my opinion, been a blessing!) and a vegan diet which I began when I was about 15. Although I don't feel healthy, my diet is more healthy now that it was before I became vegetarian (I never used to eat fruit, vegetables or dairy), now I eat fruit, vegetables and soy, as well as bread, cereals and tofu products, and the removal of dairy from my diet did cure a persisent respiratory problem I had as a child (so I assume it may have been related to a food intolerance).
Thats all the information I can think of right now, so if anyone has any ideas on what on earth the doctors could be missing in their failure to diagnose me with something (ANYTHING!), I would love to hear from you!
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