Mystery Illness - desperate for answers - 22 year old male - please help!

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I have now been trying to work out what's going on for nearly two years now and to no avail.

I suffer from a range of symptoms -

Tired despite seemingly deep sleep (i fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow and wake up after 8-8.30hrs),

Inability to concentrate, zoning out most of the day and recently decided to stop any lengthy driving trips.

Anxiety and depression which is growing by the day as I fail to work out what's up.

Memory is worsening

Sudden chills and muscle/joint pain

Fatigue after eating, with what I would call brain fog often occuring 5 mins after eating.

General apathy with life.

Throat feels like it has a lump in it, with some difficulty swallowing at times.

Constant feeling of fullness in left ear

Frequent sore red eyes

Now the weirdest thing is, at least three times a week I completely snap out of this rut and suddenly feel extremely happy again, with absolutely no anxiety, with the fatigue lifted, with a sudden burst of enthusiasm and optimism. Always during this period I feel warm with no cold spell, I have no digestive issues, no body aches.

Now I've been searching long and hard to work out what the triggers are. Three or four times it happenned following a bowel movement, often it happens after an afternoon nap, sometimes just sitting there depressed sitting in my chair staring blankly at the wall. Whatever it is it is strange and I can't work it out. My family now think i'm mental and cannot believe the sudden shift in my mood when this happens.

In the past i've had a range of blood tests which all came back negative - thyroid, diabetes, vitamin b, hepatitis, anemia, glandular fever etc etc

I'm going back to the doctor later this week but I just don't know what to ask for. What would you suggest? A sleep study? Narcolepsy perhaps and my mood swings disguised as excessive daytime sleepiness?

Benign brain tumour?


Barium Swallow for LaryngoPharyngeal Reflux?

Any response would be extremely helpful

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  • Posted

    Hello there, 

    A few things that I've picked up: 1) You titled your post "Mysterious Illness", implying that you might believe that you have an illness. 2) You mentioned that you've been trying to uncover this for 2 years, 

    However, I do appreciate your concern and I am happy that you're being proactive about your health. With that said, I'd like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind

    1) What is your sleep cycle like? Do you go to bed and wake up at a consistent time, or do you go to sleep when you absolutely cannot stay away anymore? 

           Do you dram when you sleep? Do you find that you cannot remember in the morning whether you dreamt or what you dreamt? 

    2) Anxiety and Depression it seems like is due to the fact that you're extremely stressed out about this. 

          Have you been diagnosed with depression or anxiety? 

          Do you take any medications for depression or anxiety? 

          What kind of anxiety are you experiencing? General? Social? Specific to a situation?

    3) Do you have any comorbidities (e.g. hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol)? 

    4) Do you spend a lot of time in front of the computer screen? 

    5) Can you explain a little about your loss of memory? What makes you believe that you are losing memory? 

    6) What is your diet like? Do you stay generally heatlhy (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, water) or do you spend little time thinking about quality of food? 

          Does the brain fog occur regardless of how big the meal is? Does it occur even when you snack? 

    7) Do you exercise? Take any medications? Supplements? 

    Your symptoms are rather braod and could mean many different things. I think the first thing we need to do is get as much information out of you as possible before we go ahead and order a whole bunch of tests. 

    I also want you to keep in mind that some of these symptoms- for example, your daytime fatigue could be due to constant stress that you are experiencing trying to figure out what is wrong with you. 

    Try to meditate, do some relaxation exercise

    Exercise regularly

    Make sure you are hydrating (at least 2 liters a day) 

    If your diet is not adequate, try to fix it (eliminate junk food as much as possible, sodas, etc). 

    You can also try to sleep less (7 hours instead of 8 or 8.5). Perhaps you're sleeping too much, which can also cause fatigue. Or, you can try and sleep more and see if that helps. Everyone is different when it comes to amount of sleep. Experiement with that and see how it goes. 

    Again, I understand your concern but I don't think you have anything to worry about it. These quite broad and common symptoms, some people tend to take them more seriously and cause them selves stress, and others brush them off. 

    If you could answer some of those questions for me that would be helpful. 



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  • Posted

    Hi Chris,

    My heart goes out to you. I also have had something going on for a year that comes & goes & the doctors have no explanation for it. I have been through every test under the sun. So I just deal with it the best I can. What caught my attention is your brain fog & sleepiness. I have the same thing on an irregular basis & it usually passes in a week or two. I would suggest a metabolic blood test & blood work to see if you have been exposed to any heavy metals. They have specific tests for this. The most important thing is to not give up! You know your body better than anyone else & you have to live with the discomfort-not them. Keep searching until you find your answers. Don't give up!

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  • Posted

    Thankyou very much for your replies.

    I've made some discoveries recently which I need to add. This may help with making sense of it all.

    First of all, I suddenly learnt today that the problem of concentration etc is nearly entirely due to a blank stare which is almost perpetual. By that, I mean I barely take in anything with my eyes and instead just fixate on what I'm looking at.

    So today I have closed my eyes whilst listening to music, whilst talking to family, whilst talking on the phone and my concentration issues improved exponentially. I mean a drastic change.

    Now it doesn't seem to me that this is due to anxiety as I get it when I watch tv, when i talk on the phone. I just seem to gaze into space and my mind goes blank. Can anything be done about this?

    The other thing is that I think I dream most of the night and I also take a long time to get going, feeling like I am dreaming for the first hour or so in the morning. Almost certainly I could fall asleep within a minute or two most times of the day if i laid down and allowed myself too despite sleeping all night.

    Any further responses would be greatly appreciated

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    • Posted

      I'd also like to add that it's almost as if my eyes and brain are just not communicating with each other. I have not too long ago been to an optometrist who told me my eyes were good and I had minimal convergence insufficiency but I don't think that's causing the debilitating concentration issues.
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