Editor's note: Thank you Jordan for sharing your story and experiences.
I was in college at the time and slowly, it started with burning leg pains, depression, anxiety, fatigue and occasional paranoid thoughts, which led to a diagnosis of a thyroid condition. When the depression and fatigue lingered, my parents asked our doctor who suggested a psychiatrist for me to see. After a while, the depression still lingered. It would go away for about a week or two and then return stronger and worse than before. As this was happening, the paranoid thoughts got worse. During this time, I was seeing a psychiatrist every month who had put me on several different medications to help with my mood, and other medications to help with my agitation and restlessness. Eventually, I was put on a sleeping medication, as I was having trouble going to sleep. My parents started to ask the psychiatrist at what point was this bipolar? My parents also informed the psychiatrist about the suspicious thoughts I had towards them, which they found odd. However, my parents weren’t getting any straight answers, which eventually led them to switch psychiatrists. My new psychiatrist later confirmed I had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (also known as schizoaffective disorder). All I remember is that this was a defining moment that confirmed my schizophrenia diagnosis.
It began when I had thoughts that someone had illegally snuck into the country and infected me with AIDS or the Ebola virus. Then, I thought that I had cancer and nobody was telling me I had it. I went for blood work on Halloween, which was one of the worst days of my life. It began when I started experiencing leg pain. I started freaking out as soon as I got into the chair for my blood work. I was paranoid about illegal immigrants coming into the country and that I carried the Ebola virus.
After making it to the ER for the leg pain, I had scans taken. The horrible thing that happened all during the time of my delusions was that, on my way to the ER, hospital workers were walking by with a bed full of fake body parts caked with fake blood. Another group of hospital workers walked by. They were wearing masks, growling at me. One of them jokingly said they were going to cut off my arm, jokingly of course but for me, it was disturbing on top of the delusions I was having. I eventually made it to the ER, and the doctor treated me for my leg pain. I don’t remember if it was the night before this all happened, or if it was the night of Halloween, but I went with my parents to drop my sister off at college half an hour from where we lived and started freaking out about the leg pain and having, what I now realize were delusions. I also recall a day where my legs were in pain, my head pounding, and I had been hearing voices. I was walking a block or two from my house, crying. I was tested for sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders but the doctors came to the conclusion that my fatigue was not related to a sleeping disorder.
Now I am on Tintralex for my depression as well as Ability to help with my delusions and the voices. Yet, I still struggle with chronic fatigue on a regular basis and still struggle with mild depression on a regular basis. Right now, my psychiatrist is trying to get me to do activities that bring me joy, and encourages me to exercise to help reduce the fatigue and depression. I don’t feel better but my family sees improvements. I hope that by sharing my story I can help others who are struggling just like me and see that they are not alone.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story.
Chathan, ON, CA
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