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Am I cracking up - or is this just middle age????

(34 Posts)
ditherydora Thu 28-May-15 23:28:07

That's it really. I am a long time mumsnetter. i've name changed because some people might recognise my other user names - and in real life I am supposedly a normal, hard working career woman and mother who copes well with anything.

Except I'm not coping. I've had a lot of difficulties over the last few years and since last summer it's been particularly intense. Nothing life threatening (to me) or tragic, but one quite high stress factor after another. in no particular order this included my MIL having a stroke while she was with us (and then having surgery and looking after her), finding possible evidence of DP's infidelity - and nearly splitting up over it, DD2 being very challenging, problems at work when they wanted to make me redundant (illegally), looking for a new job, finding a new job, finding another new job etc etc, DF having a major health issue, trying to buy a house...

none of these things has tipped me over the edge. But I am in a state of constant stress. And I am incapable of making a rational decision about anything. I am having anxiety/panic attacks and often can't sleep

I am also very, very scatty and having problems thinking straight. i quite often can't find the correct word or phrase for something, even commonplace objects, which is worrying me more, as I have always had an excellent vocabulary. In the past few months I have also had problems at work, not in strategic thinking but making silly mistakes, like addressing and sending an email to the wrong person, or forgetting tasks that I haven't written down

I did go and see my GP after Christmas who ordered a blood test but that didn't show anything relevant.

My secret fear is that I am developing some kind of early onset dementia (I am 44) or other health problem, although I know that is pretty unlikely.

Or could it just be the cumulative stress? I have had depression often in the past but nothing quite like this before

holeinmyheart Thu 28-May-15 23:43:02

This sounds like extreme anxiety caused by stress. I had exactly the same symptoms two years ago when I had loads of things going on such as you have detailed. I was prescribed Beta Blockers.
They worked like magic for me.
I was weepy, panicky and anxious, with an inability to concentrate.
Horrible isn't it, you have my utmost sympathy.

ditherydora Thu 28-May-15 23:49:13

Thanks hole. it's useful to know that these could be actual symptoms, rather than just being doolally iykwim. I've had beta blockers before for migraine and they made me a bit spacey (and didn't cure the migraine) but I can't carry on like this. If nothing else, I'll end up getting sacked if I can't function at work

TongueBiter Thu 28-May-15 23:51:19

I think some of these symptoms are also peri menopausal. I have the shit memory and inability to remember the simplest of things, spelling has gone to pot .... Might be worth getting that checked out?

ditherydora Thu 28-May-15 23:54:51

Tongue - I think that is what the GP thought (and so did I) but my blood test should normal hormone levels. I suppose it could just be starting so perhaps not showing on the blood test?

ditherydora Thu 28-May-15 23:55:44

I do bloody love mumsnet though. If it wasn't for this conversation i would lying in bed working myself into even more of a state than I am already

TongueBiter Fri 29-May-15 00:08:17

I think it depends when you have your bloods tested, although my gp just put me on hrt based on symptoms without ever doing a blood test. But obviously it's possible that it is stress that causing your symptoms.

Would it be feasible to take any time off work? Or be signed off for a couple of weeks?

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 00:13:11

maybe i should go and see my gp again anyway.

Work is a bit complicated to say the least I've just started a new job but have been offered another new job which I am going to take. So I have to resign from the first new job. And that is causing major stress/anxiety. Self-inflicted but I think it's all come about for the same thing - which is that I can't make decisions anymore. aaarggghhhh........

how have you found the hrt? I don't think everyone gets on with it?

TongueBiter Fri 29-May-15 00:22:33

It's taken a while to find the right one, and dosage (see, I wrote doseage first!) - ended up with a mirena and oestrogen patches because I wasn't tolerating the progesterone in the tablets. It's a bloody minefield!

How do you feel about counselling? I had a couple of months of it and it was really useful in terms of identifying the nitty gritty of my stress/anxiety, what I could deal with and what I should just shrug and walk away from. Mindfulness is a useful tool too.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 00:27:43

grin at doseage

I would happily do counselling. I had it before to help with depression. But I worry [of course] that it will be more time away from the kids and might not help . DP is struggling too with working hard and his own health issues (diabetes) and if he has to spend more time watching the kids I worry he might snap as well.

I am supposed to be resigning from my current job tomorrow (where I have only been for a few weeks) but every time I think about it I start hyperventilating. This isn't normal is it? Even if it is highly stressful

TongueBiter Fri 29-May-15 00:41:11

But what's the worst that can realistically happen? (No catastrophising allowed!)

You're taking another job which presumably suits you better - focus on that and the benefits it will bring.

I'm going to go all Derek Acorah on you now grin and say that it feels like you are carrying a huge burden - it's tangible in your posts. One thing at a time ..... talk to DH about counselling - now it's nicer weather etc, could he take the children out for an hour while you go? Does he recognise the positive benefits of you going? Would he be up for going for any?

I'm going to have to turn in for the night now, but honestly, no one is going to put you against a firing squad for handing your notice in. Worse things happen at sea!
Let me know how it goes (if you remember grin)

2Retts Fri 29-May-15 01:00:19

Almost exactly the same kind of nonsense for me too dithery, and was absolutely convinced it was peri-menopause (after following many MN threads looking for possible answers).

Similarly 'perfect storm' two years leading up to that appointment (some six months ago).

So convinced was I, I tried to steer the conversation that way.

Full blood count ordered. Back in for another. Back in for another.

Ridiculously high blood pressure had been measured on the first visit and placed on BP meds (low dose) after first visit. After third count, it was decided I had deranged red cell count and this was basically down to dodgy nutrition...not enough folic acid, B12 questionable Vit D levels. Prescribed additional 5mg Folic acid and a multi vitamin.

Query developing social anxiety disorder, but I think, we'll leave that there for now and see how we get on with the supplemements and I promise to disengage from the stresses (the things I can't control) and to re-engage with my previous (mental/mindfulness) stuff on the rest of it in making informed and committed choices, taking the time etc.

My sleep walking and absent- mindedness (try looking up anxiety actually assured me when I knew I was bordering on anxious) have practically disappeared.

Exercise is also a prime factor in this scenario but I am not an expert and won't profer my amateur advice; suffice it to say, always good to make time for some regular exercise.

Just my perspective but I love TongueBiter's responses too (especially the whole Derek Acorah...very good!).

It is indeed a minefield and I hope you have an excellent GP to thoroughly explore and take you through it.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 06:16:08

Thans * Tongue* - I am going to have to google Derek Acorah! It's interesting what you say about carrying a burden. I've never thought about it that way before

2Retts - <great name btw> - my GP is good but I haven't been back to see him since the first test. He seemed to think it was because i had a lot on my mind. DD was there being her useful high maintenance self and I reckon he was attributing it to that. I will also google anxiety dementia. And social anxiety disorder

It's quite a relief to know that I am not alone!

indigoteeshirt Fri 29-May-15 06:32:45

There are too many moving parts in your life and it seems as though you're completely overwhelmed. This phase is the most demanding, responsible for so many strands - work, children, parents, home - so called sandwich generation. It is reasonable to be anxious, being on high alert all the time. Try gogling 'mindfulness'. Might be more reassuring and enpowering than dementia.

Scarey having to resign but they'll recover and all credit to you for finding a new job in current economic climate.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 06:37:37

Thanks, I am not even sure that i am doing the right thing in taking this other job! Tbh, what I would really like at the moment is a nice 9-5, 3 days a week, where I can just quietly get on with my work. But that doesn't seem to be an option anywhere!

TheHoneyBadger Fri 29-May-15 07:01:49

tbh i think it's a mark of your strength (and probably of your overcoming depression in the past and therefore having skills you developed in that) that you are not actually in the pits of depression and 'can't function' state.

periods of life that are packed full of changes and stress and the need to constantly react to crisis' are one of the big triggers for depression or some kind of breakdown.

it's great that you're strong and aren't really in that state but that doesn't mean you can keep pushing forever iyswim? definitely you need to find a way to carve out some self care time and take seriously your need to relax and release some of this accumulated stress.

i know it sounds twee but even having a weekly slot for you to look forward to and fill with things like having a massage for example really does make a difference. highly recommend massage actually as it is amazing how much of this stress is held onto in our body and how much releasing it from the body feeds back to the mind and emotions.

i think when we get like this it's an alarm system basically warning you that you must take care of yourself, that the pressure levels are too high, etc the longer you ignore that (whether willfully or because the crisis' are still going on and you can't address things yet) the louder and more intrusive the alarm signals get.

sorry - having dealt with depression in the past i'm sure i'm teaching you to suck eggs here but i for one still need the reminders when i'm caught up in stress even though i 'know' cognitively that this is how it works.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 09:10:24

Really Honey, I need the reminders! I always think that it is my fault I am not coping. That if I just work harder/ better then everything will be okay. I had quite a high powered job before but when I left it I was showing all the signs of burn out. The job I am about to resign from is triggering all those symptoms again, even though it is a lot less pressure.

TongueBiter Fri 29-May-15 09:44:37

Re-read your OP and imagine someone else wrote it - what would your response be to that person.

What issues is your DP having with his diabetes? Is it newly diagnosed?

You're struggling under the burden of a lot of things that are NOT of your making; it is NOT your sole responsibility to fix it all single-handedly.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 10:37:41

I think I would tell that person to go lie in a darkened room for several days!

Seriously though, it does look like a lot when written down like that.

DP was diagnosed about 3 years ago. He's actually done really well in managing the disease but he still has funny turns and I often have to remind him to eat as he loses his appetite and then gets snappy or, more worryingly, lethargic. He started his own business about 18 months ago, having been unemployed for 6 months (more stress there!) and is doing brilliantly. But he is workjng bloody hard so I'm having to pick up more of the domestic stuff. Thankfully DD2 seems to be coming out of a really difficult phase but she is very "challenging" still.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 10:39:43

And thanks again to everyone for replying. It's really helped

ageingdisgracefully Fri 29-May-15 10:53:13

No, you're not doolally. I'm like this too-thought I was going mad and it was something relatively trivial that sent me scuttling, embarrassed, to the doc, when I was in the middle of a car wash and forgot how to press the buttons with the code! I didn't feel particularly stressed, but had dealt with bereavement, unemployment, relationship breakdown, in a relatively short period of time amidst the menopause. I overthink and try to be perfect all the time and I'm seen as "strong". Unfortunately having people relying on me and the fear of letting them down eventually did it for me.

I do mindfulness and it really helps, along with yoga and pilates.

HellKitty Fri 29-May-15 10:56:51

I was/still am like this and also had a shitload of stressful things to deal with - now mostly resolved. My sleep pattern was ridiculous, I kept a record and it was something like 12 hours total in bed over a week. I either couldn't sleep or would wake up so spent time playing on the phone or sat on the sofa watching shite. I begged my GP for sleeping tablets, I'd only take two a week so one pack would last ages and a decent nights sleep really helped me focus. But I wasn't getting any better. Like you I assumed menopause or early onset dementia. At my last GP visit he ran blood tests, all normal apart from my vitamin D. I had a count of 12, 30 is said to be too low so it's a wonder I was still walking!

I've now been on high strength Vit D for a few weeks and feel a little less foggy but my sleep has really improved. Google Vit D deficiency, I literally ticked every box and symptom going, all sound like yours.

Oh and major stress is said to deplete it too confused

TongueBiter Fri 29-May-15 13:23:54

I'm getting annoyed with your DP to be honest. He needs to take responsibility for his medication - set a timer etc, find strategies to remind him to eat regularly. He's a grown man ffs. Does he realise the knock-on effect that not eating/lethargy/snappiness is having on the family unit? Yes, self employment is tough, he could probably spend 23 out of 24 hours working, but does he really REALLY need to?

Oh, and I googled anxiety dementia too but couldn't find anything helpful really - pretty much all of it was linked to Alzheimer's. I'd go down the multi vit route first, maybe omega 6? , mindfulness, exercise. Something to make you smile.

orangebeige Fri 29-May-15 13:33:44

What blood tests were done? I am experiencing similar (also have a dh with diabetes and a challenging dc) and although it could be menopausal I also have some symptoms of under active thyroid and diabetes. I am currently waiting for the results of extensive blood tests. I do get forgetful too but think it is because I am thinking about lots of things at once and getting distracted iykwim.

ditherydora Fri 29-May-15 15:39:56


Thank you lovely mumsnetters for your support!

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