why am i so darn tired all the time? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 05-05-2011, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Over the past 2.5 years I have tried 7 different medications and combinations of antidepressants. I see my psychiatrist regularly to try and find my best fit in terms of medication. With every medication fatigue has become too severe to continue. I'm currently on 100mg of Pristiq, up from 50 hoping that the fatigue is a depressive symptom that just needs to be nipped. But I'm still exhausted no matter how much sleep I get.

I've had my iron tested and thyroid tested. Also tested for a kidney disease or infection. I'm waiting for these results but I think its unlikely.

I'm a healthy weight, forcibly active (I of course would rather sleep than exercise but have to manage 3 kids). I eat relatively well. I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee each day and 0-3 glasses of wine at in the evening.

Please tell me why I am debilitatingly tired all the time. It's affecting my kids, my school (I'm a PhD student), and my marriage!!!
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#2 of 29 Old 05-07-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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I wish I could tell you... I am dealing with the same thing. I get some relief from a gluten-free diet but I still have severe fatigue most of the time. Sometimes I convince myself it's all in my head (related to depression/anxiety/etc.) but overall I feel it's something with my body... yet my doctor hasn't been able to find anything major.

So I guess in addition to the thyroid & iron tests, I would look into things like chronic fatigue syndrome, food allergies/intolerances, adrenal issues, lyme, sleep apnea, Epstein-Barr, etc. Do you have any other symptoms, or only being tired?

Is the fatigue directly related to medication? If you were taking nothing, would you still have that fatigue?? I do remember having issues with certain meds myself, years ago when I was taking those meds... but I have been med-free for a while now and the fatigue has only gotten worse.

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#3 of 29 Old 05-13-2011, 05:00 AM
 
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I wish I knew too. I'm trying a raw food diet. :D

 

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#4 of 29 Old 05-13-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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Interesting.... I was taking Luvox and it made me so tired I couldn't function at all. I switched to Lexapro and I feel great now! 

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#5 of 29 Old 05-13-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Have you considered food intolerances? I am gluten intolerant and before figuring it out and switching to GF I was so tired I could barely move. The moment my DS went to bed (6pm) I'd crash, DH would wake me up for dinner, I'd do some housework & go to bed. Despite 10 hours of sleep, I'd wake up feeling like I got hit by a bus, and a few times I even fell asleep taking care of DS! DH would try every once in a while to take him for a weekend adventure and let me literally crash for as long as 15 hours - ZERO improvement. Very similar: healthy weight, well-rounded diet, forcibly exercising (now I can ENJOY exercise! i love running!) 1-2 cups of coffee, 0-1 glasses of wine. Between the exhaustion, depression, anxiety, migraines, and joint pain, I thought I was going to die. Since switching to GF (and dairy free improves it for me too) my energy level has improved GREATLY - so much so that being pregnant and then having a newborn in the house didn't really effect me (sleep & energy as well as depression wise anyway). 

 

When the fatigue first started/progressed, DH was so irritated with me he could barely handle it. As it got worse over 6 months, he was literally in tears in fear for my life. A certain level of tired is a part of life, and could be a part of parenting and/or meds - but when you can't move, and it never gets better, it's probably something more. 

 

I don't even have to take anti-depressants now :) As for the anxiety........... Well, I think that's my personality ROTFLMAO.gif


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#6 of 29 Old 05-14-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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ansmama  Did you do a complete elimination diet to find out that you were GF intolerant?

 

I've suffered with inexplained fatigue for years as well, but don't know if I feel up to a full elimination diet.

 

OP: Taking a multi B every day takes the edge off the fatigue for me. Treating anxiety does as well (Passion Flower helps, although I'm looking into something else that's officially nursing compatible).

 

Otherwise, it's a mystery to me!

 

I'm very tempted to try eliminating gluten but it sounds so difficult. It's hard to imagine a restrictive diet when you're exhausted.

 

I hope you get some answers.

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#7 of 29 Old 05-14-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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Oh, Nuvigil worked wonders for me... but then my insurance changed and it's no longer covered as 'off label' for me :(

 

It's for narcolepsy/obstructive sleep apnea that does not respond to treatment, and shift worker disorder.

 

So that's why I'm back to looking for the actual reason that I am so exhausted.

 

Something called 'EndoRush' also helped a lot. It was a workout/energy drink from GNC. I took it to the Dr. They said maybe it was the caffeine. eyesroll.gif Puh-lease.

 

So those might not be things you want to try, but then again they might be an option.

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#8 of 29 Old 05-14-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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I also suffer from severe fatigue.  I have tried gluten free, casein free, gluten and casein free, omnivore, vegan... I do feel slightly better on a very healthy mostly vegan diet but the fatigue is still there.  I am not usually depressed and the fatigue does not seem to be related to my mood.  I wish I had an answer for you!  My fatigue started after a long illness that I healed from, but my energy & strength levels never got back to normal.  The only thing that has helped, apart from eating mostly vegan, is doing a walking program (I do leslie sanone dvds).  I worked up from 1 mile to 4 miles daily and it has definitely improved the quality of my sleep and energy levels, but I am still far from normal.  I will gladly take the modest improvement though!  I feel like I've at least got a piece of my life back. 

 

I too am a very healthy weight, have had various tests that came back normal.  I do let myself sleep as much as I need to-- sometimes 3 hours a day in addition to 7ish hours at night. 

 

Some psychiatric meds can cause crippling fatigue so personally I would avoid them at all cost.

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#9 of 29 Old 05-14-2011, 07:49 PM
 
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I wanted to ask everyone-- what symptoms do you experience when the fatigue hits at its worst?  For me it feels like I'm trying to walk through a wall of water-- it is actually hard to move or even walk a few steps, I get body aches, cognitive disorientation (I refuse to drive if I am feeling severe fatigue), difficulty speaking or putting sentences together, pins and needles sensations on my skin.  If I can sleep 2-3 hours it usually dissipates and I feel much better. 

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#10 of 29 Old 05-15-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EnchantedMamma View Post

ansmama  Did you do a complete elimination diet to find out that you were GF intolerant?

 

I've suffered with inexplained fatigue for years as well, but don't know if I feel up to a full elimination diet.

 

OP: Taking a multi B every day takes the edge off the fatigue for me. Treating anxiety does as well (Passion Flower helps, although I'm looking into something else that's officially nursing compatible).

 

Otherwise, it's a mystery to me!

 

I'm very tempted to try eliminating gluten but it sounds so difficult. It's hard to imagine a restrictive diet when you're exhausted.

 

I hope you get some answers.

I also eliminated gluten and I know what you mean about trying such a restrictive diet when it's hard enough just to get through the day!! What I did was pick up a lot of GF convenience foods at first -- things I couldn't normally afford or even want to eat -- but it helped me get through the first couple of weeks until I started feeling better. A lot of GF foods can just replace what you normally eat, so it's no extra effort -- so, GF pasta instead of regular, GF tortillas instead of wheat ones, etc. I don't know what your current diet is like but if you want to try eliminating gluten I'd be happy to give you some ideas as to replacements that won't take any extra energy!!

When I'm on a GF diet, I honestly don't *feel* all that different but it makes a huge difference in my functioning. On gluten, I literally lie in bed most of the day. I can't cook or clean or anything, just keeping up with DS is my only priority (and we did lots of reading in bed....) Off gluten, I can cook dinner a few times a week, clean the house for a bit, run around for a few minutes with DS, etc. I'm still overwhelmingly tired, but it's like one layer of exhaustion has been removed (and TBH I do have a small amount of gluten one a week at church, which may be a problem, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up Communion to test the theory...) It's sometimes hard to stick to it because I still don't feel 100% but whenever I've lapsed & gone back to gluten, I've really regretted it.
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Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

I wanted to ask everyone-- what symptoms do you experience when the fatigue hits at its worst?  For me it feels like I'm trying to walk through a wall of water-- it is actually hard to move or even walk a few steps, I get body aches, cognitive disorientation (I refuse to drive if I am feeling severe fatigue), difficulty speaking or putting sentences together, pins and needles sensations on my skin.  If I can sleep 2-3 hours it usually dissipates and I feel much better. 


Mostly I just feel immobile. The effort to pick up my arms or head or legs just seems too much to even bother trying. I get lots of random aches and pains and talking, reading, etc. are all too much effort too.. However, sleep helps very little... a full night's sleep might relieve it a bit though...

And if I eat a substantial amount of gluten, I get the above problems plus my brain feels all foggy and I feel not just tired but sleepy, like I've been drugged...

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#11 of 29 Old 05-15-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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Have you ever looked into having your adrenals tested? Fatigue and depression are both key symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Good article from Women to Women with symptoms and natural treatment (starting with lots of rest, of course, but giving up coffee is another biggie). Here's the article I read: 

Adrenal imbalance — the effects of stress and high cortisol levels

 
Good luck, mama! I've struggled with fatigue, too. It might sound like it should be the opposite, but giving up caffeine can, in the end, help you feel more energetic than ever! Taking care of your adrenals also helps with mood, too. Look into it! 
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#12 of 29 Old 05-15-2011, 08:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Mostly I just feel immobile. The effort to pick up my arms or head or legs just seems too much to even bother trying. I get lots of random aches and pains and talking, reading, etc. are all too much effort too.. However, sleep helps very little... a full night's sleep might relieve it a bit though...

And if I eat a substantial amount of gluten, I get the above problems plus my brain feels all foggy and I feel not just tired but sleepy, like I've been drugged...


Exhaustion + pains + cognitive troubles sounds a lot like Lyme disease.

 


I don't come here anymore. MDC has become overgrown with ads & useless extra forums.
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#13 of 29 Old 05-17-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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I think the 'wall of water' analogy is pretty close! I actually feel almost as if I'm UNDER water sometimes. It's hard to even lift my feet as I walk. It's difficult to make conversation or be sociable. My head hurts, but it's more like a tension headache than any other kind. I almost feel short of breath.

 

Mentally, I feel like my brain is slogging through mud. It exhausts me, on top of the original feeling of physical/body fatigue.

 

It's frustrating because for the while that I was on Nuvigil I was a completely renewed person. I was bright, I joked and made people laugh, and I breezed through my day. I would LOVE to know why normal life can't be like that. Sure, I felt tired on days I didn't get enough sleep, but it was regular tiredness, not mind-numbing fatigue. Sigh.

 

I did some research yesterday and may look into d-Ribose (possibly after I finish nursing). It's been used by people with CFS and Fibromyalgia and MS. It's not an answer or a cure, but it is supposed to help a lot and should be relatively harmless. The only caution is that it can lower blood sugar.

 

There were a few other things mentioned that I will try to find and post.

 

I just wish I knew what tests to ask for. We need a tribe!

 

Hope the OP finds some answers or relief.

 

 

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#14 of 29 Old 05-17-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post

Over the past 2.5 years I have tried 7 different medications and combinations of antidepressants. I see my psychiatrist regularly to try and find my best fit in terms of medication. With every medication fatigue has become too severe to continue. I'm currently on 100mg of Pristiq, up from 50 hoping that the fatigue is a depressive symptom that just needs to be nipped. But I'm still exhausted no matter how much sleep I get.

I've had my iron tested and thyroid tested. Also tested for a kidney disease or infection. I'm waiting for these results but I think its unlikely.

I'm a healthy weight, forcibly active (I of course would rather sleep than exercise but have to manage 3 kids). I eat relatively well. I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee each day and 0-3 glasses of wine at in the evening.

Please tell me why I am debilitatingly tired all the time. It's affecting my kids, my school (I'm a PhD student), and my marriage!!!

Have you had your cortisol levels tested? Both am and Pm. And, have you tried going gluten free as well?

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#15 of 29 Old 05-19-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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Quote:
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I wanted to ask everyone-- what symptoms do you experience when the fatigue hits at its worst?  For me it feels like I'm trying to walk through a wall of water-- it is actually hard to move or even walk a few steps, I get body aches, cognitive disorientation (I refuse to drive if I am feeling severe fatigue), difficulty speaking or putting sentences together, pins and needles sensations on my skin.  If I can sleep 2-3 hours it usually dissipates and I feel much better. 



When the fatigue is worst, I can't stay awake (even when VERY important things depend on my wakefulness), I cannot get out of bed in the morning - I literally set my alarm 1.5 hours before I need to get up so I can start the process. It is hard to move, my joints hurt, my "blood hurts" is what I always tell my DH... as if I can literally feel my body pumping and moving blood. A ton of dizziness, faintness, disorientation, migraines.. a really hard time focusing, listening, keeping my thoughts assembled. Sleep does not help with most of it (because it's a gluten problem for me, so it takes a few days to wear off). 


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#16 of 29 Old 05-19-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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My first suggestion would be a sleep study.  I was in your shoes 5 years ago.  I couldn't believe how tired I was ALL. THE. TIME.  Only when I started sleepwalking and sleep-eating did I think that I should check in with a neurologist.  I had an overnight sleep study (with polysomnogram) and an MLST.  I flunked with flying colors.  I couldn't believe it when the neurologist told me I had narcolepsy.  I laughed and said, "You mean like when the cartoon character falls asleep in his soup?!?"  Within a few years of the diagnosis, my rheumatologist diagnosed fibromyalgia (sleep disorders often precipitate a fibromyalgia diagnosis).  And just to keep me on my toes, I am gluten-intolerant and have severe lactose intolerance ("Ah, so this is what's causing the IBS!").

 

If you have decent health insurance, the sleep studies are usually covered.  If I hadn't started sleepwalking (which doesn't necessarily happen with narcolepsy), I NEVER would have even thought of consulting with a sleep specialist.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post

Over the past 2.5 years I have tried 7 different medications and combinations of antidepressants. I see my psychiatrist regularly to try and find my best fit in terms of medication. With every medication fatigue has become too severe to continue. I'm currently on 100mg of Pristiq, up from 50 hoping that the fatigue is a depressive symptom that just needs to be nipped. But I'm still exhausted no matter how much sleep I get.

I've had my iron tested and thyroid tested. Also tested for a kidney disease or infection. I'm waiting for these results but I think its unlikely.

I'm a healthy weight, forcibly active (I of course would rather sleep than exercise but have to manage 3 kids). I eat relatively well. I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee each day and 0-3 glasses of wine at in the evening.

Please tell me why I am debilitatingly tired all the time. It's affecting my kids, my school (I'm a PhD student), and my marriage!!!


 

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#17 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 08:39 AM
 
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Everyone!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help me! 

 

I feel the exact same way! 

 

What worked for you to alleviate this horrible feeling? 

 

Please help me.  I am not doing well and do NOT know how to fix it!
 

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#18 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 08:54 AM
 
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Here is a partial list of things to consider.

 

* Lyme disease

* Other autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, sjorensen's, etc.)

* Heavy metal toxicity (such as mercury - amalgam fillings for example - but also lead, copper, etc)

* Adrenal fatigue (though this may be simply another symptom rather than the root cause, but other times it's the root cause)

* Dietary sensitivity or allergy - common culprits are gluten (wheat and cereal grain protein) and casein (dairy protein).

* Thyroid issues


Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#19 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 09:27 AM
 
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Thanks!  I have had many of those things tested and the results come back negative, unfortunately.  I have had a 24 hour saliva test which showed some borderline low cortisol.  I just don't know what to do.

 

I hope the mothers who posted previously catch this and would please let me know what worked (or didn't) for them and how they are doing now.

 

Have you had issues with this as well, or are you just knowledgeable about those specific medical conditions and know the symptoms?
 

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#20 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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I'm floundering too. Here are the things that seem to have made some improvements, but nothing quick and easy. Basically, all the stuff people say about being healthy, all the common-sense stuff that is so easy to blow off.

 

Eating well, reducing or eliminating processed foods.

Reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol.

Reducing carbs, keeping a steady blood sugar level.

Personally, I've not found increasing fats to be problematic at all.

Sleeping enough hours and doing what is necessary for good sleep quality.

When I'm at my worst, exercise is not merely difficult but seems to make me feel worse. But when I feel lousy but not at my very worst, activity helps. So I try to prioritize activity of whatever level I can tolerate, but when I have the "sensation" (hard to describe) that exercise will make it worse, I don't push it.

I had no reason to think I had a gluten sensitivity, but I'm desperate to try anything and I didn't see any risk of trying gluten-free for a while. I had a really big surge in energy for a while when I did it (plus my extra weight dropped off). I think it helped but it wasn't absolutely everything, unfortunately. (For a while I thought I'd hit the jackpot though).

 

Each of those things (except the caffeine and alcohol elimination since I didn't partake anyway) in its turn helped me in some amount. But none of them "cured" me. They are still worthwhile.

 

I don't have any "tricks" for bad days, and will keep my eye out for any suggestions. I seem to have this instinct that low energy can be helped by eating something carby, which technically works (albeit temporarily) under normal conditions but doesn't do a darn thing for me. Not even a temporary perk-up. And it may even make it worse. I've found medium-term helps (above list) but nothing short-term at all. On my bad days, I've not been able to do anything but ride it out.


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#21 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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Thanks!  That is so disheartening you still do not feel great.  I have felt this way for a couple years now. 

 

I wonder, have you had your thyroid checked?  If so, what were your lab numbers (TSH, Ft3, Ft4) and ranges?  I've become an expert at testing them.

 

Also, do you ever get blood sugar rushes, hyperactive at night, or adrenaline surges?

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#22 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 11:09 AM
 
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Thanks!  That is so disheartening you still do not feel great.  I have felt this way for a couple years now. 

 

I wonder, have you had your thyroid checked?  If so, what were your lab numbers (TSH, Ft3, Ft4) and ranges?  I've become an expert at testing them.

 

Also, do you ever get blood sugar rushes, hyperactive at night, or adrenaline surges?

 

lol, so much for my attempt to help you.

 

TSH was .77 last time it was checked (2 years ago).

 

Hyperactive at night, no.

 

I have in my life experienced blood sugar problems but have controlled that totally in the last 10 years with a better diet. So I remember how they feel and sometimes feel "tricked" into believing my fatigue is like a blood sugar drop (though it doesn't feel the same) but it doesn't respond to eating something (like it did when I actually had blood sugar problems due to a blah diet when I was younger).

 

Adrenaline surges is something I had a few years ago with stressful situations. I've pretty much eliminated them (stressful situations, that is - and the adrenaline issues seem to subsided). When I had them, a moderate stress (say, a marital argument or MIL confrontation) would knock. me. out. For 24 hours, even if everything was all made better, I'd feel utterly awful and fatigued and unable to cope.

 

Had generally been feeling better bit by bit over the years, never really well but coming back to normal. But recently something took a nose dive and I've experienced some of the really bad fatigue (like it's hard to just SIT THERE fatigue) again, plus now I have the lovely symptom of pain (seems like connective tissues). It's faded in the last week or so but omg it was bad for a while. And so much for thinking I was on the road to recovery, even if it was slow.

 

Sorry for the blah blah blah.


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#23 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 11:47 AM
 
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Thank you so much for the info.  My TSH is 2.77, so yours is definitely a lot better than mine. 

 

Oh, I don't know if I will ever get off this darn couch.  As I sit here I keep wanting to fall asleep and take a nap, despite a good night's rest the day before.  I have tried thyroid meds and they make me either fat, anxious, or just not any better.  I don't know what to do. 

 

I feel like a prisoner inside my body which is not functioning as well as others.  How did I get so lucky in life?
 

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#24 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 01:24 PM
 
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Ditto. Hugs.

 

I feel like my life is just going by and I'm not able to live it.

 

But the symptoms are 'all in my head" and I need to just "get over it." Every day, every hour, I have this internal monologue trying to talk myself through it... "no, really, you're not just lazy. You still want to do all these things. A few years ago you would have done them without even thinking. No, really, you're not just imagining that your brain isn't working as well. Remember how you used to be able to read those books and understand the concepts the first time? And now you're struggling to think your way through a basic task at work? No, really, you're not just imagining it..." and so on.


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#25 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 01:34 PM
 
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I feel the same way.  I don't want to give up. 

 

But, I know how I feel - and it's pretty overwhelming and debilitating and I know it's not going to disappear without something pretty substantial helping me.  What, I don't know. 

 

If you ever figure yourself out, please let me know. 

 

I had a thyroiditis, but it was supposedly temporary and my numbers have gotten back to where they were before the thyroiditis.  I just haven't felt the same since then. 

 

It's devastating.  It's devastating to feel this way and I have been up to 15 doctors and they tell me to pop an anti-depressant and shut up.  If taking an antidepressant would fix what I am physically feeling - trust me, I would LOVE to do that.
 

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#26 of 29 Old 06-18-2012, 06:04 PM
 
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I responded to your PM but I doubt it was very helpful. Dietary changes are helping but so far from perfect. The diet I follow now is basically a paleo-ish diet but not as heavy in meat and I also include dairy. I react to lots of foods and I still haven't tracked them all down (some increase the fatigue and others cause other issues, may or may not be related). I did try thyroid meds for a while but they didn't help and seemed to cause some mental issues actually. I don't have health insurance at the moment but I am planning to see a new doctor soon so hopefully this new doc will have more insight (though I'm not holding my breath). I've been dealing with this for over 6 years now, I can remember when it began almost to the day... it is so incredibly frustrating to feel like I'm basically disabled! I did recently start therapy to work through some past traumas and I'm hoping this will put to rest the notion that the physical issues are 'all in my head' (well, you never know, maybe it is a mental issue and therapy will fix it, I'll take a 'cure' wherever I can get it!) I hope you can find some way to get through the day and one day find a solution. greensad.gif I wish I had something more helpful to share.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#27 of 29 Old 06-20-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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on top of everything else, try a b complex vitamin (one labeled for stress is the best) and magnesium supplements in am and pm.  you need mag citrate or mag glycinate for it to be absorbed.  Mg-ATP is the active form of the energy molecule in our bodies.

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#28 of 29 Old 06-30-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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I am skimming this thread in utter shock. The things so many of you are saying are exactly how I feel. Wow, I am not alone!


Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#29 of 29 Old 09-27-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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How old are you? You could be pre-menopause or menopause. I had severe mental fog, confusion, fatigue, and memory problems. Had every test done. I had an FSH test done (ask your gynecologist). She was hesitant but it came back positive! I now take low doses of hormone and I feel so much better. No more headaches too.
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