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Dr-A-Greene
Dr-A-Greene, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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I just want to get a clearer view on whats happening to me.

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I just want to get a clearer view on what's happening to me. June 12, 2011, for me, was just like every other day. I went to a BBQ and then a party with my friends that night. I did get extremely intoxicated that night, but it wasn't as if I'd never been that drunk before. The next day I was extremely hung over (I was sick probably 12-13 times that morning/afternoon), but I thought I could just sleep it off. I was starting to feel better when my vision started blurring every once and a while. I kept thinking it was nothing, and that I was probably just tired because the longer I was awake the more often it happened. I decided to go to sleep. Lying there, I suddenly got this instant feeling of doom and despair. I thought I was having a stroke. My mother had just died of one the year before, and knowing that a stroke would make you confused and disoriented, I started repeating multiplication tables to myself and pacing back and forth in my room.

Since that night my life has never been the same. While I was finally able to get control of the debilitating panic attacks and am able to function in society again, I constantly deal with health anxieties, especially at night. The moment I look up a symptom and some life-threatening disease is mentioned, I immediately think I have it even though I know it's irrational and illogical. I can barely make it in a plane from San Jose to Burbank, CA because I'm afraid of having a stroke up in the air and dying. I have noticeable cognitive impairments. I use to be an excellent speller, and have perfect grammar. I can honestly tell that I'm losing that part of myself to this disease. I forget things extremely quickly when I use to have almost a photographic memory. I went from having headaches once in a blue moon to having them almost every day. I can't sleep unless someone I completely trust, a group that only consists of 4 people, are sleeping with me. I have to sleep with the TV on because silence and darkness bring on panic in horrific waves that won't relent. I have horrific bouts of depersonalization that seem to last forever.

I won't say that I wasn't without problems before. I suffered, and still do, from severe depression, have had auditory and visual hallucinations in the past (most recently this past August), and have a problem with impulsive behavior. I have tried to commit suicide on one occasion, have been placed in a ward twice for admitting to want to kill myself (separate occasions than when I actually tried), and have been self-harming since I was 15 years old. I have a crippling fear of abandonment by those who say they love me, to the point where I will pretty much do anything to keep that person from leaving my little world, but I don't even think of their feelings when someone better, brighter, and new comes along.

I feel like I'm going crazy (or crazier), and I can't get control of the chaos that plagues me everyday. More and more often I get thoughts of suicide again, which I find strange because what's ruining my life more and more is the constant worry that I am, in fact, dying. I've gone through a barrage of medications that never seem to work. The only thing I take now is Clonazepam to sleep.

What is going on with me? Is this just anxiety and depression, or something more?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 2 years ago.

Well, it sounds like there's a cluster of symptoms that are happening. They may be interconnected or they may be separate. Why don't we deal with them separately and go from there:

 

1) You mentioned fear of abandonment as being a key issue for you. This is a hallmark of Borderline Personality Disorder, as are the suicidal tendencies and attempts. Borderline PD can be very difficult and is usually caused by some childhood trauma or a difficult relationship with your primary caretaker. Impulsivity and depersonalization also go along with Borderline PD.

 

2) Auditory and visual hallucinations - these are typically linked to psychotic disorders, but can be linked to severe depression, drug abuse, or mania. What do you think set off the hallucinations?

 

3) The extreme worry about illness is probably linked to anxiety. It's not a panic disorder, per se, but it sounds like it comes close sometimes. Debilitating anxiety often leads to depression, which will occasionally lead to suicidality if it gets bad enough to where you feel you can't control it.

 

Here are my questions for you: have you ever been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder before?

and

Do you experience the hallucinations anymore?

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your prompt response.

I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder when I was 18, but some of the attributes of the disorder threw me off. One of the main things is that I don't see in just black and white. While I do put people up on pedestals with just the slightest of encouragement, if they do something to hurt me (whether it be accidental or on purpose), I'm not immediately condemning them or even hating them. I'm very passive when it comes to that kind of stuff, mostly because of the fear of abandonment. Yes, though, I have been diagnosed with it.

I've experienced auditory hallucinations when I was 12 consisting of hearing voices talking like they're at my funeral and I'm already dead. This is the most constant hallucination I've had. While I've only had 3 periods of time where I was hallucinating, these auditory hallucinations of being at my funeral have been experienced each time. The longest period was the episode that started when I was 12, and lasted until I was close to 14 years old. I never told anybody about it until I started having visual hallucinations at 18. Around that time my papa passed away and my then-boyfriend (now husband) went off to college and said he needed space. I feel that my grandpa's death combined with the feel of abandonment from my boyfriend exacerbated my hallucinations. The last bout of hallucinations started around the end of July into August. They were the most malicious hallucinations, and the only hallucinations I've ever had that actually spoke TO me instead of about me.
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 2 years ago.

Alright, well there is a slightly complicated picture here, but I think we can parse it out a bit - thank you for all the details, by the way - it helps immensely!

 

I understand what you're saying about that particular symptom of Borderline. It doesn't seem to fit with you, however, many of the other symptoms do. And, you don't need to meet all the criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder. That said, I think you have a pretty balanced view of what you are and aren't doing in your relationships. That's a great start and could probably be expanded upon.

And, as you mentioned above (about the abandonment by the boyfriend/death of grandpa), it sounds like the variable that precedes the hallucinations is also abandonment. Thus, I'm beginning to think that everything is interrelated and probably comes back to the Borderline again. In my opinion, this is good news. This indicates that no, you're not suddenly going crazy - it's all part of the same thing.

 

But, it also means that finding treatment for the Borderline with someone who is very competent would be really important for you. Ideally it would be great for you to find someone who understands that everything goes hand in hand and doesn't try to treat everything separately.

Have you ever tried Dialectical Behavior Therapy with an adjunct medication like Seroquel?

 

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm in therapy right now with a therapist I enjoy talking to, and she helps me with the grief and loss of my mother, but she has said that she doesn't think I have Borderline Personality Disorder because people who are suffering from the disorder are extremely hard to deal with. I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just stating what she said. I don't know whether I've had that specific type of therapy with previous therapists, but my now-therapist's approach is mostly that she's my friend and confidante that doesn't judge (if that makes sense).

I had a prescription for Seroquel, but I have medication anxiety as well so I never filled it. I'm extremely afraid of the side effects of drugs and how I'm going to react to the drug. I am also in fear of medication that makes me drowsy besides my Clonazepam because I know that if something were to happen I could still function on my dosage.

I'm pretty much at a point where I feel I can't move forward due to my anxieties, but I know that I need to move forward because I can't live with my anxieties. If that makes any sense.
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 2 years ago.

Yes, of course that makes sense. You are at an impasse where you know that something needs to change, but change is always frightening.

 

If you like your therapist and you feel like she's helping you then I would stick with her. However, if you feel like she's more of a friend than someone who is helping you with your issues, you may want to reconsider at some point in the future.

 

Regardless, a new medication could really do wonders I think. I know you're afraid of the Seroquel - how do you feel about SSRIs like Prozac? I know you mentioned that you'd tried some before, but I ask because a higher dose of an SSRI can help a lot with anxiety and doesn't have the side effect profile of Seroquel.

Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 2 years ago.
PS - Magnesium (supplement) also helps with anxiety
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I haven't tried Prozac since I was 15 years old, and it made me happier, but made me extremely scatterbrained (my GPA went from 3.4 to 1.0). I'd been thinking about going back on prozac, though, to help with the severe depression I've been dealing with lately.
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 2 years ago.

You know, I've always liked Prozac. It seems to be a really clean antidepressant - I don't hear of that many side effects. It helps with anxiety too (as the anxiety and depression usually go hand in hand). It might be worth a shot to see if bringing up your mood will help with the other symptoms. Using Prozac in connection with an anxiolytic like klonopin or ativan is an awesome combination for anxiety disorders like OCD. I've seen it totally turn people's lives around.

I have faith that what you're experiencing now is just some heavy anxiety and nothing more than that & that the correct meds would knock it out. Smile Additionally, Prozac can be known to cause a bit of a "brain fog" at the beginning (first 2 weeks or so) - it generally wears off. Also, that would've been much more pronounced in adolescence (the concentration thing you were talking about).

 

Dr-A-Greene, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience: Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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