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ShySparrow

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Hi everyone, I just joined today because I'm out of answers and I'm really fed up.

I'm a 42 year old male from Lancashire, UK. I have suffered with depression and anxiety most of my adult life but was only diagnosed with both disorders when I was 29, just before getting married. I've had quite a few severe bouts of depression since then and the anxiety is always present.

A few months ago I went to A&E with what I thought was a heart attack, I was told it was a panic attack. ECG was normal and so were my bloods. I was prescribed 10mg of Propranolol to take up to 4 times a day. I've been taking 45mg of Mirtazapine for many years. Since the hospital visit I have had one symptom after another and I feel like I'm losing my mind some days.

I've had a really strong pulse all over my body but the Oximeter I have says my heartrate is normal and my oxygen levels are good. I've always been quite active, a bit overweight but quite fit. I play football once a week and cycle quite a lot. My resting heartrate was about 60-70 before all this started but with the Propranolol it has been about 50-60 on average. My doctor said this is normal. I've also been having chest pain which I have been told is possibly Costochondritis, I constantly have to crack or pop my sternum by arching my back, this gives me relief from the dull ache that is there. The pain seems to move around my chest and back, sometimes aching and sometimes stabbing pain but not anything too painful.

Last week I ended up in A&E again after a strange moment in the middle of the afternoon, I was having a nap because I hadn't slept well the night before and my right forearm went into what I could only describe as a spasm, my whole forearm was visibly pulsating. It really scared me. The nurse looking after me was really nice, she did a load of tests again. ECG was normal, chest x-ray was normal and bloods were all normal, no sign of anything wrong with my heart or lungs, she listened to my heart valves and said they all sounded really good and so did my chest. X-ray showed my lungs were nice and clean. Bloods showed no sign of infection, no inflammation, no signs of clots, sugar levels were normal and kidney function was good. No explanation for the arm spasm though. I told her I'd been having pain in my calf and my groin every now and then, but she didn't seem to be concerned about this. I told her about my chest pain and she said it sounded like Costochondritis. I have been researching this and there does seem to be a link between this and Fibromyalgia, hence why I'm here.

I'm also being treated for what my doctor thinks is Gastritis. It started about 6 or 7 weeks ago with a really bad burning pain in my upper abdomen, I wasn't eating properly because of my depression and anxiety and when I did eventually eat it was something very fatty and that night I was in real pain. I was prescribed 30mg of Lansoprazole which I have been taking for nearly 6 weeks now and the symptoms are better but I do have to be careful what I eat. I'm trying to stick to a low fat, low sugar diet but it's easy to get carried away when I'm feeling alright.

The last 2 days I've been getting a weird sensation in my lower left leg and but mainly my left foot. It's hard to explain, it's like a buzzing sensation that comes and goes in waves. I heard it described as a cat purring or a phone vibrating. It's not painful, just worrying because it started suddenly yesterday and isn't going away. I don't notice it when I'm up and about but when I've been sat down for a while like now, or when I'm trying to go to sleep it is very noticeable.

It just seems like one thing after another and it's wearing me out. I'm not in constant pain but I have aches and pains all over that come and go. From my chest to my back, to my shoulders, neck, arms and legs.

It would be great to hear your thoughts. Could this be Fibromyalgia?

Kind regards
Sparrow
 

sunkacola

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Hi Sparrow,

Yes, this could be fibromyalgia. And it could just as easily be any number of other things. The only way to know is to be tested for everything else it could be.
A fibromyalgia diagnosis is arrived at in a process of elimination and there are a lot of other things to eliminate. What they test at A&E is only what is going on that moment, in order to determine if you need the hospital or what they can do to help you there. They don't test for all sorts of other things that could be causing this, because that is the job of an internal medicine doctor, or a rheumatologist, or whatever. Unfortunately, this process is often long, but it is what you need to do in order to find out what is going on with you.

Some of the tings, like a buzzing sensation, are not uncommon at all with FM, and the pains we get often come and go. But rather than you deciding that you have fibromyalgia or asking us (since we are not doctors and are not there with you) I strongly recommend that you see other doctors to get tested for the various things that could cause this. A visit with your regular doctor would be the place to start.

In the meantime, if you would like to write about your experience here, you are most welcome to do so. We are here to help and to support, and sometimes that support is valuable when going through the diagnostic process.
 

ShySparrow

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Thanks for your reply, sunkacola. Yes, I agree, I would never use forums to get a diagnosis. I will speak to my doctor again next week possibly and try and get to the bottom of this.

All these symptoms are linked to anxiety as well, which I have been diagnosed with. I have good days and bad days regarding the other symptoms. I just wish the good days were more frequent!

Take care
Sparrow
 

Auriel

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Hi @ShySparrow I completely get the anxiety/depression thing, I have both too and get how crippling they can be, as for fibro I have neuropathic pain and the buzzing sensation you discribed (sometimes I find the sensation hard to verbalise so you’ve given me a new way thank you ) there are a few on the this forum who also suffer with cosochondritis, I hope your dr gets to the bottom of what is causing your conditions so you can have some kind of resolution, kind regards back to you 🌟💫🌟
 

ShySparrow

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Thanks, Auriel. I appreciate your reply. I hope I can get some answers too. I mean, I have received some answers already so I suppose it's about managing the different conditions now. Easier said than done as we all know!

Take care
Sparrow
 

Jemima

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Hi Sparrow,

I'm sorry to read everything that you're going through. As Auriel said, a lot of us here can relate to much of what you describe - me included!

I'll just add one other thing. When it comes to fibromyalgia, managing the condition through certain lifestyle practices can make a huge difference to the severity of symptoms.

These practices are also things that can certainly benefit those with depression, anxiety, and a range of other health concerns. Sunkacola does a fantastic job of outlining them here.

I suggest trying to incorporate a self-care management strategy as you go through your diahnosis process. Hopefully, you can get ahead of the problem, whatever it might be! I hope you feel better soon 🎄
 
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ShySparrow

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Thanks, Jemima. I'm sorry we're all suffering, I hate seeing others suffer. I will take a look at the link you've posted, thank you.

Kind regards
Sparrow
 

Jemima

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Thanks, Jemima. I'm sorry we're all suffering, I hate seeing others suffer. I will take a look at the link you've posted, thank you.

Kind regards
Sparrow
I just edited my post - it was supposed to say diagnosis process! Best of luck to you, Sparrow.
 

JayCS

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Hi ShySparrow,
I can see your depression & anxiety on the mental/emotional side, and ribcage/sternum, arm spasm and buzzing leg & foot, plus alternating pains etc. on the muscoskeletal side of things as well as gastritis on the gastrointestinal side.
If you're not talking whole body pain/ache, fatigue or sleep problems that seem independent of that, then I'd guesstimate it's not fibro, and something can be done about all of them if you look at them individually.

In my experience neither docs nor meds help with any of them, because these are mainly trained/developed to suppress symptoms whilst hoping that the body will heal itself in the meantime, instead of helping find triggers and preventing these, and analyzing symptoms to alleviate them to support the body healing itself.

For anxiety & depression I've always worked mentally, successfully, using CBT, self-help books & mailing lists.

The ribcage & sternum muscle problems, probably connected with the arm spasm, mimics heart problems, and are very probably costochondritis like your nice nurse suggested. I used to have this a lot, been in E&R unhelpfully too, and have alleviated and now prevented this with appropriate physiotherapy / back exercises / stretches (PT & nowadays youtube). The arm can be secondary to that, due to you having to compensate for the rib muscles. Magnesium capsules & heat / cold / massaging a little may help with the spasms directly, but to prevent it again PT / exercises should quickly prevent this happening.

It's the conglomeration with anxiety & depression which which complicates all this: As we become unsure and demotivated this makes our activities less unsure, puts us into protective postures, which exacerbate everything. So it's good to do what you've been and are doing now: Find out what it is, make sure it's nothing too tough and shoot each of 'em down individually. Increasingly doing, not waiting and wavering and hoping it'll somehow stop or someone/-thing else will get rid of it.

The buzzing in your leg is probably like Auriel is suggesting something with your nerves, maybe originating as far up as your back, so even maybe also indirectly related to your costochondritis, which can fork out into your whole muscoskeletal system. But as that's not chronic yet, it being so fresh, it also very likely has a muscular cause, and there's lots of youtube exercises for this, too. The sooner you get going the less likely it'll happen again. Same goes for the many other things that come and go.

Gastritis will usually be due to too much stomach acid (hyperacidity), but may also come from too little (hypoacidity). Again, meds will suppress symptoms for a while in the hope that it'll recover itself. Most docs cannot get their heads around what else to do, nutritionists may help more there, or again just searching for the symptoms & following the various suggestions. In my experience, stomach acidity is triggered by the foods we eat and once it becomes chronic finding the triggers can take a long while. You are trying to reduce fat, sugar & keep eating even if you are feeling depressed or anxious, but finding self-discipline / motivation hard when you are alright. Again that's the mental & physical side of things in combination, so working on 💥keeping your spirits up & on the move (rather than suppressing), to become more confident and happier is related, as well as 💥less stress via some suitable relaxation exercises (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation, autogenics, yoga nidra, again see youtube videos) normalizing stomach acidity.
Talking diet: Fat is actually not really the problem - just that most of fats have become processed and are saturated, instead of omega 3 high unsaturated fats like in canola oil and olive oil and nuts. This means that it's not about reducing fats, it's about increasing unsaturated fats and stopping saturated ones.
Sugar definitely is a problem, because it doesn't matter in how apparently healthy and unprocessed form (honey etc.) we are taking it, it consists of simple carbs. To get away from sugar we need to get our motivation up, for some it helps to criminalize it ("drug" making us "addicted"), but best is to find alternatives, filling ourselves up with goodies - esp. lots of scrumptious veggies & nuts.
But if aside from this gastritis keeps on, or to get it down when it's there, it pays to reduce or keep away from everything spicy, onion-like, sour (fruit), for some minty, at least for a while. For many it seems good to have 5 small meals a day, but rest time in between, no "sweet" in between. (To keep my lipids down I need to keep meals down to 3 with 5h in between.)
Our society makes it far too easy to eat unhealthy. The food industry thrives by making us desire to eat a lot and to eat processed food (including processed low fat stuff). They've taken up the ball about "low fat" to make loads of processed low fat foods, which are not healthy, but seem so. To motivate ourselves to eat healthy, we need to select and accessibly present good food as first priority, making it visible and starting each meal on it.

It's always dangerous 💥to ask for "my thoughts", and at the moment Christmas & being alone for a day I've let my brain go into overdrive ⏩ - I hope you can take all this 😏 😎 But in a nutshell: I doubt what you have is fibro and I'm pretty sure you have the power to get each symptom down individually and fairly quickly if you prioritize it, using relaxation, exercises & diet, so @sunkacola's pinned advice is always good in every case.

(Now it's time to change my priority, as I've been planning: put the laptops aside, increase exercising, improve my timing & get the flat nice 'n' tidy - & praps go to "nidra-sleep" again.)

(Edited bits'n'bobs on Dec 26th)
 
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Jemima

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It's perhaps worth considering, too, that high-level anxiety can wreak havoc on the digestive system. Energy is diverted away from the parasympathetic system - which controls digestion, rest, and repair - and towards the sympathetic system, which readies us for fight or flight. Perhaps have a Google of the work of psychologist Dr Paul Gilbert, and his theory of the emotional systems. I found that really helpful!

I heartily agree with JayCS - working through - symptom by symptom - on our own behalf can open up a lot of doors to progress.
 

ShySparrow

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Thank you so much for your detailed reply, I don't know what else to say but thank you! I really appreciate your comments. I'm trying to work through my problems and this will help.

Kind regards
Sparrow
 
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