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Hey everyone, first time poster but long time reader. I want to tell you a bit about how my anxiety started. I'm male, 28, engaged, from Newcastle, UK and I play drums in three bands.
Back in the beginning of March I accidentally discovered a lump on my inner thigh, right leg. And I didn't think too much of it at the time but this was to trigger a series of events which were completely out of my control. At first I didn't think to attribute these things to anxiety but it turns out it was just the beginning.
Immediately my sleep was interrupted, I would wake up at 3/4 in the morning and lie awake for hours unable to sleep even though this wasn't playing on my mind at all at this point. The day after I discovered the lump, I went to the doctor and she booked me in for a soft tissue scan. I was pleased but I had to wait 6 weeks for this. This time was unbearable for me for a number of reasons, my sleeping was so bad that I was constantly exhausted, I had the classic falling asleep and 'jumping' in my sleep which would scare me and wake me up. One day I woke up feeling not myself at all, my head was fuzzy, strange like a dizziness and nothing felt real around me. It was like I was 5 steps behind myself and everything around me seemed to be moving even though it wasn't. I had trouble waking up, a constant feeling of heaviness in my head and a pressure build up in my nose and my whole head. After some research I came to discover this was a combination of derealisation and stress, probably the most frightening thing I've ever experienced as you feel like something is extremely wrong with you and you don't know how to describe it to people.
Thus began my downward spiral into the grim world of depression and severe health anxiety. I visited doctors, went to the opticians etc as I thought there was something wrong with my eyes, I experienced grainy vision, so many floaters, ringing ears and everything was changing. It was terrifying. All my bloodwork came back normal but it was no reassurance at all to me as I needed to know what this lump was. I had several nervous breakdowns before the scan as I was reading on Google every single day about what it could be and before you know it I was diagnosing myself with lymphoma, cancer of various sorts and tapping in to how long I had to live. I would speak to my mother every single day and I would break down and be unable to stop crying because I was terrified that I was dying. I had thoroughly convinced myself and made myself so unwell.
The day of the scan came very slowly! But I went in very nervous and was told by a very funny and charming doctor that I had a cyst and it was nothing serious. I felt elated and it was amazing, I thought all my worry was for nothing and all my symptoms would lift after a couple of days. Well, they didn't. In fact things are now worse than ever. A couple of weeks after my hospital visit, I came down with a nasty stomach bug which didn't make me sick but give me terrible stomach cramps, diarrhoea and IBS while I had it. Straight away I knew that wasn't a symptom of anxiety but it cleared after a week although it left me severely dehydrated and I constantly had to drink water to feel better.
Shortly after, I decided to give Sertraline a go as I heard from various people that it worked wonders for their depression and anxiety and I thought I had nothing to lose. So I stepped into the unknown. The side affects at first were hard to live with, I experienced the worst night sweats of my life (10 x worse than any anxiety sweating) I experienced orgasm failure and unable to achieve an erection which wasn't good for my relationship. But I thought they were minor things if I could potentially get better in my head. For the first week I felt as if I was getting better everyday but I think this could have been a placebo effect as I started to slip back in the second week and feel worse.
This brings me to the present day. I sit typing this fearing that at any moment I will drop dead as I'm convinced I have a DVT in my right leg. I had experienced muscle weakness in my legs anyway during the bout of my anxiety and it would be hard to walk up the stairs but I remember one night about 6 weeks ago, I went to play a gig with my band and I sweat a lot as we wear masks, suits and wigs and I remember my calf cramping at the end of the set. It hurt but I thought nothing of it as I had lost a lot of water. Well ever since that night I have had intermittent pain in my foot and calf every single day. The majority of the time I feel no pain but then it will come out of nowhere for a couple of minutes and then disappear again sometimes for over an hour. It doesn't hurt to walk on it, if anything the pain arises more when I lie down or sit at a desk, I can function when the pain is present as I would rate it a 4/10 at it's worst but it's there and it gets no better and no worse. It's just a horrible little reminder that something is there and I believe I have something terribly wrong.
Also since then, my right knee and foot will turn purple, blue and red now and then, and my foot especially feels ice cold even when my left foot is warm. I've been to the Doctor who examined me and told me there's no sign of anything serious and thought it could be a minor calf strain and give me some stretches to do, however none of this helped at all. So I visited another doctor about the colour discolouration in my leg and foot and she has referred me to a vascular specialist so now I'm waiting on the letter for that. But I don't want to be waiting for weeks!
Last week I felt the pain in my calf and I slightly tensed it and I gave myself a Charley Horse and it was horrific, the pain was the worst I've experienced and I couldn't move my leg at all. My partner was really concerned and got me to A&E immediately. They got me in straight away and took my blood to test for d dimer, which came back negative, the Doctor told me he was 99% sure it wasn't DVT as it doesn't present the way I had described. So they diagnosed me with a torn calf muscle and gave me crutches. You'd think I'd believe two people people telling me I have a torn calf muscle but it doesn't wash with me, I don't believe it. I still believe I have a DVT despite my bloodwork coming back negative. D dimer is present in newly formed clots but this has been going on for weeks, what happens if it's been there for a while and the test hasn't picked it up?
So I've took their advice and been using crutches for nearly two weeks, I'm not drumming, walking, lifting or any other strenuous exercises that may make it worse but it's still getting to better and no worse, just always the same. I'm at my wit's end and I don't know what to do anymore. I'm obsessed with reading symptoms on Google and everything I read points to DVT but because my bloodwork came back negative, everyone's getting frustrated because I won't believe what they're telling me and now I don't know what to do.
I guess I just posted here because I need to get it off my chest and talk to people who I don't know and get some outside perspective on it. What would you guys do if it were you? Would you trust your gut or believe what you're told? I don't know know who to turn to anymore and it sucks big time.
Note: I also came off the Sertraline cold turkey and this is a week and a half later, my head feels so much better ironically.
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