What’s wrong with me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

4 or 5 years ago our family doc said I might have a bipolar disorder, Because I get really depressed and don’t do anything or talk to anyone for a long time,, I also would have migranes that would last for weeks at a time, and not sleep for 3 or 4 days at a time…

Now that is all that I told him, or my wife told him, all of that up there is correct, now what I did not tell him was I hear things that are not there, at first it was not that bad, but now it is everyday, I see things/ people that are not there, I always thought these were flashbacks, from doing drugs when I was a teen, I did LSD quite a few times, but these things I see is nothing like the trips I had while on LSD… I have not done any Illeagal drugs since I was 17 im 30 now, but the current meds Im on now is the duragic patch (spelling) 25mg its for my back, and I still don’t sleep worth a crap, at most 4 hours a night, most nights I finally get to bed at 5am and have to get up at 6am, I have night sweats, some night there cold sweats other times there hot sweats, to the point where the sheets are soacking wet, When I do sleep I have nightmares about me hurting other people, When my wife asks me what my dreams are about I lie to her and tell her I don’t remember, But I remember every detail, all these thoughts stay in my head, the only time they go away is when I start something else, a project or have to go cook dinner or something, Things have been getting worse in the last few months, nothing has changed in my life as to say there was a breaking point, but my anger owards my wife and kids is out of control, somedays I wish I was not around her and the kids it gets that bad…

I could go on and on with this, is there any special doc that I need to see about this or what do you think I should do.

A: Your mind is sounding an alarm and you’re not listening. No one ever stopped a fire by ignoring a smoke detector. You’re not going to get better by hiding your symptoms from yourself and your doctor or by lying to your wife. It’s time to get some quality help.

I’m really, really sorry you are going through such a terrible time. I’m also quite worried about your health. I don’t think this has anything to do with experimenting with drugs when you were a kid. I do think you should make an appointment with your doctor immediately. Yes, you could have a mental illness. But from what you’ve written, my best guess is that the problem is physical.

The first step is to have a complete medical work-up, being as honest with your doctor as you have been with me. Delusions can be caused by such things as an underactive thyroid, a vitamin deficiency, an electrolyte imbalance, auto-immune diseases, heart trouble, or a brain tumor, to name only a few possibilities. You are also sleep-deprived. I don’t know if the lack of sleep is partly causing your symptoms or if your other symptoms are keeping you from sleep but, either way, the bottom line is that you’re not getting anywhere near enough restorative sleep. That’s probably contributing to your distress as well.

If you don’t think your family doctor is a good diagnostician, ask for a referral to a good diagnostic clinic or arrange to go for a second opinion from someone with a reputation for thoroughness. (In fairness to your own doctor, you didn’t give him enough information for him to make a correct diagnosis. He may be able to be more helpful if you do.)

I do understand that it’s scary to feel so out of control and mystified about what is happening to you. But once you have a diagnosis, you’ll be able to take some action. You and your family deserve better. Having some direction is often the first step to getting there.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Apr 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). What’s wrong with me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/04/23/whats-wrong-with-me-3/