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Migraines, anxiety or hypochonria

Hi everyone, i’ve been lurking around for the last couple of weeks or so and reading various posts. So like so many others I’ll post a wee bit about why I’ve ended up here:

I’ve had depression since I was in my early teens, and have been medicated since around the age of 16, with various breaks. I didn’t find anti-depressants a lot of use until I started getting tricyclics. My first, lofepramine, was pretty good but sadly stopped working after 2-3years. The big dip that came when they stopped meant that I ended up seeing a both nice and competant psychiatrist (they do exist! who knew), so I am now on clomipramine. I was also diagnosed with anxiety (initially social but later revised to GAD), plus agoraphobia and part-PTSD - fun times! So yeah, basic jist, in the eyes of the medical profession i’m nuts.

I’ve had migraines since I was about 15, not uncommon for them to kick in with puberty etc i’ve read. Luckily bad ones were infrequent and it never really affected me other than the odd time of missing out on things. About 2-3 years ago they started going from around 1 every couple of months, to 2-3 per month. Then I hit a patch where it felt like I had a migraine constantly for around 3 months. The pain would come and go but it was the ‘aura’ sensation and effects that stayed, in between the pain blips, that really bothered me. Around this time I also started experiencing some slightly weird sensations that I hadn’t had before, sensitive scalp, tingling/burning in my fingers and toes. These too seemed to subside for the most part when that patch was over.

So, back to the usual 2-3 per month for a year or two. Then I started getting some new things with the migraines, difficulty speaking, word-finding, vertigo (really freaked me out the first time it happened), more pronounced vision problems. Then around 3-4 months ago I hit another ‘patch’ where i’m back to the cycle/routine of blips of pain (sometimes bad as per normal migraine, sometimes like a residue but with more triggered by movement or exertion). In between the pain I get what i’ve been calling the ‘aura’ - dizziness, feeling disconnected from my limbs, floating spots and sparkles, blurry visions, shaking vision, vertigo, numbness, clumsiness and loss of balance (not that it was any good in the first place!).

I’m pretty Dr. phobic, as my experiences with them in the past have been very… um… rubbish. For example, I had about a year period where I could leave the house because of stomach problems (of the "oh crap, toilet…now!) type, which was supposedly IBS and/or mental-ness. Until I cut out gluten, and lo-and-behold, no more issues. So anyway, I hate going, I know they can’t be bothered and feel i’m just wasting their time, they have in fact said as much.

After much cajoling from my psychiatrist he wrote to my GP basically telling him he needed to send me to a neurologist to check out the ‘migraines’, reassuring me that he felt that the symptoms I was experiencing were not likely to be due to either the medication or the anxiety. So, a referral was made.

The dreaded appointment with the neurologist came. It went pretty much as I feared, no great interest in my history, didn’t take the family history or migraine diary they had sent me pre-appointment, spent most of the time asking me about childhood bullying. I was so thrown by it all that I’m pretty sure I managed to miss out some information that might have been important (namely mum having mild spina bifida and me having a sacral dimple = worried about that sort of stuff). However, luckily because of the recent additional ‘symptoms’ she has scheduled me in for a brain MRI - I have no idea if its with contrast or not, or how i’ll go about getting results (they also did a blood test, not sure why?) as she made it clear that me seeing her was a “one time thing” (her words). She did, kindly, give me some leaflets about other triptans and things like sodium valproate for the migraines (yay more drugs).

Aaaaaanyway, so here I am. I’m stressing myself half to death about the MRI - if they find something = bad, if they don’t = worse. I don’t want to have anything wrong with me, however at the same time i’m sick of being treated like every physical problem that I have ever or could ever have being written off as psychiatric! I realise the chances of it being MS are reasonably slim, and its much more likely to be just chronic migraines +/- migraine associated vertigo or similar but some of the little things worry me, like the vertigo, eyesight, sensation issues. Helpfully my boyfriend is also doing the “oh but its not that bad” when I talk about my balance/co-ordination being off by way of comforting me, making me doubt myself even more. Its pretty depressing when you get the impression that everyone thinks you’re making it up, or at the very least responsible for your own suffering.

I apologise for my truly mammoth post, I think I needed to vent. Anyway, I have the brain MRI on the 26th, so hopefully that will give me some answers, though quite what I want to hear I don’t know - which makes me feel very selfish!!

Hi. I have migraine and take daily topiramate for it with triptams for the flare ups. They’re really scary and throw off some weird symptoms. I fought my gp to see a neurologist originally and had to go privately at first as my doc said it was anxiety and nothing wrong with me. The neurologist went mad never charged me and moved me to the nhs list and turned my life round with above drugs. I am however waiting to see the neuro again as getting some new symptoms that are worrying me too. Hope all goes well with your appt and you get some answers X

Hello and welcome :slight_smile:

I do wish the medical profession would get a grip about mental illness - all too many of them immediately write off physical symptoms without even bothering to investigate them properly and it’s simply not good enough :frowning:

It does sound like the neuro you saw was going down the same route (the bullying stuff), but at least she ordered the MRI: hopefully that’ll provide some answers for you. Tbh, the most likely cause is probably an escalation in your migraine (e.g. maybe you are getting a lot of silent migraine too) in which case new meds might make the world of difference, but it’s always best to keep an open mind - take it one step at a time and try not to catastrophise.

As far as the sacral dimple goes, it’s probably spina bifeda occulta I would think? This is pretty common (I have it too) and nothing to worry about.

One final thing: you are absolutely NOT responsible for your symptoms. Even if it did turn out that these symptoms are related to your mental health conditions, it’s not like you’re making them up! And any doctor who suggests you are is not deserving of the title.

Karen x