Unable to work due to anxiety and stress?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by susing, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. susing

    susing New Member

    I am unable to work outside of the home due to anxiety and stress. Most of my life I have worked outside of the home and had no problems. Recently about 5 years ago I could not keep jobs because I felt so much anxiety, than the anxiety led to stress and the stress to my physical pain with Fibromyalgia. It is unending circle. I am ashamed of myself because of course physically to look at me I am perfectly fine..but no one but us the Fibromyalgia sufferers know how we suffer silently. I was always proud of having my own paycheck, but now I am unable to work. It effects your self esteem and contributes to more depression and physical pain. Anyone in the same predicament?
  2. susing

    susing New Member

    Thanks for understanding!! It is nice to hear from someone who has gone through the same thing. Sometimes it feels like I am the only one going through this situation. It is hard to talk about it with someone who is not familiar with Fibromyalgia. They can't look pass the "healthy" looking person to really see the suffering we go through.
  3. Katy47

    Katy47 New Member

    I started dealing with severe anxiety and depression at age 14, so I have a lot of practice in these things. I was on more Ativan than anyone I have ever heard of. At 47 I'm now down to 1 mg and doing fine with that part of it, but the physical stuff is overwhelming and I get fevers. Had to quit work for the first time in 20 years.

    I suggest you get a thorough workup from an immunologist with tests for all kinds of bacteria and viruses, including and especially LYME disease as it messes with us neurologically.

    Someone recently posted an article about how pathogens affect the brain and our psychology. People rarely consider this when it comes to mental illness but I'm a firm believer that they're a major factor.

    Il'l try to find that posting and copy it for you. I hope your doctor has you on adequate benzodiazepine.


  4. monica33flowers

    monica33flowers New Member

    I haven't worked since May and it drives me crazy. I've always been a single parent and most of my life I worked two jobs, one full-time and part-time waitressing.

    I do have a wonderful man in my life who is picking up the slack with me not working. I feel horrible he is working 3 jobs just to make ends meet.

    I sure miss having my own money. It sure has hurt my self-esteem being I've always been so independent. I always have to ask him for money.....very hard, indeed!

  5. Katy47

    Katy47 New Member


    I think you have the misconception, like so many, about FM being directly related to stress. After much research I believe there are viruses or bacteria involved, combining to weaken the immune system.

    Here's the article, it's wordy but interesting . . . if you fully grasp the significance of bacterial and viruses hanging aruond in the system you'll feel less guilt about your problems:

    A Look Behind the Causes of Mental Illness 12/04/07 10:14 AM

    by Dan Stradford
    President, Safe Harbor and

    When Linda J. began to hear voices and lose touch
    with reality, her husband did not know what to do.
    She was clearly losing her mind. He scrambled for
    help, seeking assistance from friends and family
    while trying to cope with the chaos of his wife's
    dwindling condition. One of his calls was to our
    office, Safe Harbor. We gave him our standard
    advice: ensure she is given a full, searching
    examination by a competent doctor who will LOOK
    for what is wrong.

    We warned him that most doctors would not help
    him. This, sadly, turned out to be true. In searching
    for a full exam for his wife, he was told simply that
    Linda (not her real name) was a "catatonic
    schizophrenic." Normally, this "diagnosis" is a
    sentence to a lifetime on psychiatric drugs.
    Fortunately for Linda, her husband did not accept
    this expert advice. He persisted for months until he
    found a doctor who would look beyond the obvious
    behavior and investigate to find out why she was in
    this state.

    The doctor examined a number of factors. He
    ordered something only recently available in
    biochemical analysis and still unused by many
    orthodox doctors: a 62-item organic acid test from
    Great Plains Laboratory. This test is commonly
    ordered to check for yeast and bacterial
    overgrowth, which can cause psychosis. But this
    time something unexpected showed up.

    The citric acid in her urine was five times normal.
    This indicated a likely lack of a substance called
    glutathione, which is made of three amino acids
    and helps metabolize citric acid. The test also
    showed she was low on an amino acid called
    pyroglutamic acid. This, too, indicated a possible
    glutathione deficiency because pyroglutamic acid
    is derived from glutathione.

    Linda was given a 250 mg. intravenous injection of
    glutathione along with calcium and magnesium.
    She received a vitamin B12 shot intramuscularly
    and was given oral supplements of glutathione and
    N-Acetyl-Cysteine. Glutathione tends to break
    down in the gut, therefore, one of it's amino acid
    components, cysteine, is taken so the body can
    make glutathione.

    By this point, seven months into her psychosis,
    Linda J. had become almost mute, speaking only
    once or twice a day. Thirty-six hours after treatment
    was begun, Linda J. got on the phone and spoke
    for an hour.

    A month later she was completely recovered.

    The Plight of the "Mentally Ill"

    Linda's story is, unfortunately, a rare one. Every day
    thousands of people like her around the world are
    not thoroughly examined. Instead they are admitted
    to psychiatric hospitals and started on psychiatric
    drugs when they are, in fact, physically ill.

    Even more disturbing is the fact that this is not new
    news. In the May 1981 issue of the American
    Journal of Psychiatry, Richard Hall et al reported on
    their study of 100 consecutive psychiatric
    admissions to a research ward where patients
    were specifically examined first for medical
    problems. Eighty percent had physical illnesses
    requiring treatment. Forty-six percent had
    unrecognized ailments that either caused or
    exacerbated their mental problems.

    The exams done in this study were not particularly
    extensive. Ninety percent of the medical problems
    were discovered from a workup that included:

    1. A psychiatric and physical exam.
    2. A standard urinalysis.
    3. An electrocardiogram (ECG).
    4. An electroencephalogram (EEG) after sleep
    5. An SMA-34 (a 34-item blood test).

    The exams also didn't utilize a multitude of tests
    developed in recent years by alternative medicine
    which can detect physical sources of mental
    problems such as:

    1. The organic acid urine test used in Linda's case.
    2. Hair analysis and chelating agents which can
    detect heavy metal toxicity, among other things.
    3. Tests for faulty nutritional metabolism
    (particularly those pioneered by the Pfeiffer
    Treatment Center in Naperville, Illinois).
    4. Food allergy testing.
    5. Essential fatty acid profiles.
    6. Twenty-four-hour urine tests for hormones.
    7. Blood tests for environmental toxins.

    One begins to see that in the above study, with
    better tools, it's very likely that far more than 46%
    would have been found to have physically-induced
    mental problems.

    The New Trend in Mental Health

    This high rate of misdiagnosis of "mental illness"
    has not escaped the notice of many
    forward-thinking physicians. Our group, Safe
    Harbor, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to
    educating the public, the medical field, and
    government agencies on alternative mental health
    treatments. On our web site,
    AlternativeMentalHealth.com, which has become
    the world's largest site on this subject, we have a
    directory of doctors around the world who offer
    alternative treatments for mental health problems.
    The vast majority tell us they no longer view
    psychiatric diagnoses - such as schizophrenia and
    attention deficit disorder - as actual diseases. They
    generally see these as terms that describe
    behavior caused by a variety of non-psychiatric

    Some, like Dr. Lita Lee, author of The Enzyme
    Cure, will flat out tell you, "I have never believed that
    people 'just go nuts.' I have always believed that
    abnormal brain chemistry leading to mental
    problems is a direct result of abnormal body
    chemistry, poor nutrition and hormonal imbalances.

    Most of these doctors also help take people off
    psychiatric drugs. We have found that taking
    children off of Ritalin has become an industry in
    itself amongst alternative physicians. Labeled with
    attention deficit disorder, these youngsters are
    commonly found instead to have food allergies,
    toxins in their systems, medical problems, and a
    host of other non-psychiatric situations.

    Physical Sources of Mental Illness

    All of us have experienced negative mental effects
    from physical sources. Too much caffeine can
    cause anxiety or too many sweets can give you the
    "sugar blues." And many women have have
    endured mental disturbances as a result of
    hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.

    Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Sydney Walker - one of the
    country's leading authors and advocates on finding
    the physical causes of severe mental symptoms -
    narrowed "mental illness" down to something he
    called neuronal reductivism. In short, if a person
    experiences strange mental phenomena, a good
    doctor will reduce his investigation down to: What
    is impacting the neurons? It could be an infection,
    sleep disturbances, hormonal disorders, low
    oxygen, chronic pain or a host of other problems.

    "There's no magic in any of this," Walker told a
    female patient who came to him with a diagnosis of
    bipolar disorder. "The feelings you are having have
    to be coming from somewhere and we are going to
    find the causes." The woman was found to have,
    among other things, low blood sugar. She
    improved noticeably after three days of a change of

    The physical sources of mental symptoms fall into
    four general categories: medical, toxins, allergies,
    and nutrition.

    Medical Causes

    Medical causes include a vast array of standard
    physical problems such as Lyme Disease, certain
    forms of epilepsy, diabetes, hepatitis, and
    glandular malfunctions. Canadian Dr. Erwin
    Koranyi, reporting on this in the Archives of General
    Psychology in 1979, stated, "No single psychiatric
    symptom exists that cannot at times be caused or
    aggravated by various physical illnesses.

    The thyroid gland alone, when malfunctioning, can
    create a vast range of mental phenomena from low
    mood to psychosis. The American Association of
    Clinical Endocrinologist openly states on its web
    site: "The diagnosis of subclinical or clinical
    hypothyroidism must be considered in every patient
    with depression."

    Demonstrating how people can be labeled as crazy
    or depressed "for no apparent reason," a study
    reported in the Feb. 28, 2000, issue of the Archives
    of Internal Medicine revealed that of 25,000 people
    examined, nearly 10% had a thyroid problem they
    were unaware of.


    Toxins are becoming an ever-increasing source of
    concern in our modern-day world. Metals such as
    mercury and lead have longstanding reputations for
    causing severe mental problems. Mercury used by
    hat makers in centuries past was so potent that the
    phrase "mad as a hatter" became a yardstick for
    insanity. The June 19, 2000, issue of U.S. News
    and World Report cited a study in which delinquent
    Pennsylvania youths were found to have
    significantly higher lead levels in their bones than
    non-delinquent youngsters.

    Newer toxins like pesticides, cleaning chemicals,
    and air pollutants can also have a serious effect on
    one's mental state. In his book Brain Allergies, Dr.
    William Philpott tells of a man who became
    psychotic from roofing tar odors. Dr. Sherry Rogers
    discusses "toxic teacher syndrome" in Depression
    Cured At Last, with depression and brain fog
    topping the list of symptoms caused by poor
    ventilation and off-gassing of new carpet and
    construction materials.


    Allergies, particularly food allergies, are a common
    source of severe mental symptoms in adults and
    children. A landmark case was noted by Dr. Theron
    Randolph in 1949 when he saw a female patient go
    psychotic after eating beets. When she was
    retested, the insanity returned.

    A woman wrote our office about her admission to a
    psychiatric hospital for depression at the age of
    eighteen. Months of psychiatric drug use followed.
    "Years later," she wrote, "I was diagnosed with
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as debilitating
    food allergies to foods I've eaten every day of my
    life! This was the true cause of my depression."
    After she addressed the real problem, "Life
    became brighter. I became motivated and
    optimistic. I began to feel like the old me from a
    long, long time ago."

    In testing patients classified as "schizophrenic," Dr.
    William Philpott found that 92% reacted to one or
    more substances as follows:

    · Wheat - 64%
    · Mature corn - 51%
    · Pasteurized whole cow milk - 50%
    · Tobacco - 75% with 10% becoming grossly
    psychotic, with delusions, hallucinations, and,
    especially, paranoia
    · Hydrocarbons - 30%. Weakness was common.
    Some participants reacted with delusions or
    suicidal inclinations.


    "Some psychiatrists express their scorn for nutrient
    therapies, claiming they are too puny to have any
    real clinical potency," writes William Walsh, Ph.D.,
    senior scientist for the Pfeiffer Treatment Center in
    Naperville, Illinois, a clinic on the forefront of
    nutritional treatment of severe mental symptoms.
    "My favorite response begins by asking the
    question, 'Where do our neurotransmitters come

    Nutrition plays such a major role in mental health
    that it spawned the entire profession of
    orthomolecular psychiatry (ortho = right or correct).
    Remarkable discoveries of nutrient deficiencies
    and overloads led to successful drugless
    treatments for the worst of psychiatry's burden, the

    Orthomolecular pioneer Dr. Abram Hoffer
    developed a supplement regimen tested on
    thousands of patients (available at
    www.AlternativeMentalHealth.com) which he
    claimed recovered 90% of those with early-stage

    No "mental illness" exists which has not been
    treated successfully to some degree with nutritional

    In the elderly, deficiencies represent a common
    cause of mental disturbance. As many as one in
    four people over 60 may have a B12 shortage and
    the odds increase with each decade of age.
    Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause moodiness,
    depression, memory loss, dizziness, and dementia
    - all common symptoms of "growing old." If caught
    early enough, the symptoms normally vanish with


    The moral of this story is: If you're having a severe
    mental disturbance, you may not want to call a
    psychiatrist first. You might just be physically ill.

    Like Linda's husband at the beginning of this
    article, you may want to find yourself a good
    forward-thinking doctor you can trust - one who will
    not simply put a label on your symptoms and send
    you home with something to numb you to the world.

    Your health - and your future - could be the better for

  6. EricaCFIDS

    EricaCFIDS New Member

    I really do understand. My health is draining our finances, but I can't even imagine myself handling a job with my strange symptoms. I would love to work and help pay for my care, but it seems like Mt. Everest right now! I was always this super confident person who excelled and now I feel so held back. It's really a vicious circle. Not working, not contributing financially, spending a ton on medical help and feeling paralyzed by these symptoms really lowers your confidence and self esteem. I often use the word discouraged instead of depressed. I don't feel like I'm clinically depressed, just unbelievably discouraged sometimes! Who wouldn't be?!

    I have CFIDS and found out my hormone levels are almost all extremely low. I believe the anxiety and sweating comes from exhausted adrenals. I'm learning more and more about low cortisol, aldosterone and renin. I believe some answers may lie in these low levels. Have you had these tested? I'm going to look into an ACTH Stim test too. I think it all may stem from my pituitary.

    I'm sorry for each of you, but it sure is a comfort to know I'm not the only one feeling like this.

    Love and health,
  7. mishun81

    mishun81 New Member

    I have suffered with severe anxiety disorder since I was 8 years old but never has my anxiety been such sheer panic as it has been since I got sick. Over the past 2 years I have gotten progressivly worse. I spent my whole life to over come my anxiety, graduated college and landed a successful corporate job at 21. Now at 26 I can barely work a full day in an office that is 3 minutes from my house. I am unable to travel (I threw a fit in the middle of Tampa airport and on recent trip to Niagra Falls) because I felt like I was having the worst anxiety attack of my life. The joys I once felt have all turned into panic. I never had situational anxiety but I always feel like if I am sick too far from home that I won't make it to help in time (does that sound weird?).

    But I have to say that the one thing I have learned is to be honest with my employer and educate them on my condition. At 26 with college loans to pay off, I have to work, I have no choice, I found a boss kind enough to let me work a shorter day and bring work home. I have learned to take each day at a time...I know it's cliche but living as a "creater" and "planner" my whole life, the cliche is the best thing that I learned.

    I recently started a new medicine and injection treatment and it has changed my life so much. Please don't feel ashamed you offer to the world what you can, whether it be a good listner, educator, mother, money is not the only thing that should show your worth in life. Just remember as weak as we all feel we are the strongest people out there because we live in pain everyday and most of the time no one notices because we continue to move forward with life the best way we can.
  8. annwinter

    annwinter New Member

    I started to have panic attacks in college and they became severe--several a day that were extreme. It's very uncomfortable to live with. Eventually, I took antianxiety meds. They help. They are worth taking so that you can return to your normal self.

    However, due to CFIDS and everything that accompanies it, I can no longer work outside of the home. I worked in publishing for years and got so sick, I had to quit. I just couldn't make it to work anymore.

    I'm interested in the person who posted about working with a boss that allowed flexible hours. I think I could work for a company if there was no travel involved (the kind of job I do may require travel 2-3 times a year, but maybe that could be worked out). And I'd need very flexible work hours. I would love for an employer to take me on. Knowing I'll do the work, but some of it has to be done at home.

    Right now I freelance and have clients who I'd like to get permanent jobs with. But I don't know how to approach the issue. Any advice?

  9. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    I am sorry you have had such a rough time. I understand myself.

    Several years ago I was in that position until I was lucky enough to start my own business. I absolutely suffered working for others. The stress made me sick - just can't handle the baloney.

    When stress increased the pain would come over me like a drape and I had to lie down.

    I finally had to come to a screeching halt in order to get the pain under control. I read once your body develops pain pathways (or something) and that must be stopped.

    The beginning of breaking my pain cycle was taking MS Contin for 9 months a few years ago. It stopped the pain cold and enabled me to get up and move again. I mean within days of starting it I was getting out of the house again, going to the movies, etc.

    It took a while to build up my stamina because of the years of being so sedentary.

    I had to stop MS Contin due to side effects. I had undiagnosed gallstones and really got sick for several months. Finally November 06 I had surgery and the gallbladder removed.

    Today I feel better than I have in 15 years. It is hard to believe. I guess I just want to tell you that here is someone who did have years of being housebound and I somehow got better - it can happen - but everyone has to find their own way.

    Being on this board really helped me because I was able to learn so much. I appreciate everyone who posts their ideas. There is no right or wrong about why we have fibro. No absolutes as to why we have this or what works. It is all trial and error as to what helps you get better.

    At one time I was convinced I had a vitamin deficiency - that was my own theory. I now believe I was toxic from the gallstones.

    Right now the only meds I take is Tylenol, Subutex 16 mg day, and 1 Soma at bedtime. Since I have a tendency to get the aching muscles, the Soma really controls that.

    One of the most important things is to have the best doctor you can find. One you like, and who likes you and truly wants to help you try different treatments to get better.

    For those who become so isolated due to this DD, I wish we could have some sort of social function just for fibro and CFS people. Just to get out once in a while and visit others in a comfortable place.

    [This Message was Edited on 12/05/2007]
  10. lmmillion

    lmmillion New Member

    I've been a single parent since my daughter was only six months old. I had a successful career that allowed us to live comfortably and not depend on child support to get us through. However, at age 38 (5 years ago) I became so sick, that I ended up going on permanent disability. Since then, it's been a downhill battle. My income on SS Disability, and no child support, has us living paycheck to paycheck. But even worse, is the fact that I no longer have that career that was my identity. I felt like I was successful and made my family proud of my accomplishments. Now,it's not that way at all. I feel depressed about not being able to provide a better life for my child, and I feel that friends and family view me much differently now. Maybe it's just my perception, to a point, but I know that the strong and independent person I once was has changed for the worse. It's been horrible for my self esteem and I worry every day about what the future will bring. It's very scary to me.
  11. hi all,

    the work stress is the part that we cant put right/fix.

    i had many goals that i wanted to achieve,and i am working part time in the afternoons,but it isnt easy.

    im having work stress at the moment,because im having to do more work as a lady coninues to be off work due to stress.

    in pulling in her work chores,to please my boss,im having major fatigue bouts.it just feels so unfair to me right now.

    ive told my boss i cant continue not one more week with the added chores.

    i dont say ive got M.E/cfs i just say,,,look at me,im worn out.and its telling on my face.the whites of my eyes are redish,and i have dark lines under my eyes,look very tired.

    my doctor advised rest for two weeks,but i cant afford to lose money,so stress is setting in,although im still able to sleep ok at night.

    my legs are always the first thing to suffer when im feeling this fatigued,they just stop working.

    my foot tendons are straining too,im in a right mess.

    so please choose your job carefully,but how can we survive work stress caused by other people?,i just dont know.

    kind regards

  12. moonieray

    moonieray New Member

    Anxiety/panic attacks are back again in full color! I am 58f started having them in my 20's. Have done therapy, meds, exercise, you name it. Had it under control for years. Worked as a teacher's aide for 16 yrs. Was hit by a car in '93, hospitalized for a week. Haven't been the same since. Took care of both parents at home till they passed, had three grandkids...bang bang bang...5 4 and 3 now. Cared for my sister until she had to go into a nursing home. Now I am mentally, physically, emotionally, spirtiually, exhausted. And the anxiety is here again. Can't work, have spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease which makes it impossible for me to sit or stand for any length of time. Vertigo and tinnitus that is annoying as hell. I am in the process of applying for SSI but have no great hopes. My doctor said it is worth a try and will support me. Well, enough about me....as terrible as it is, it is nice to know that your not alone suffering with something. Don't get me wrong I do count my blessings, but at times it feels like it has more power then I have to fight it. I am sure some of you feel this way too. To someone who doesn't suffer with this, it sounds so trivial, and their advice to us would be..."Just cut it out already." simple to say, huh?
  13. mishun81

    mishun81 New Member

    Hi Ann,
    I am replying to your post about working with an employer who is flexible with my hours and understanding my condition. I worked a corporate job out of college at the height of my anxiety and the beginning of my symptoms starting. The demand of that job took everything out of my and it was showing. I made the decision to speak with my boss and tell them that I suffered from severe anxiety and it was something I worked to overcome my whole life. I felt it was better to be honest with them about my condition vs. them thinking I just didn't care about my work. I ended up leaving that job and going on STD for 5 months.

    My current Job: I work as a Legal Assistant for a sole male attorney. In the beggining I told him about my anxiety and that (at the time)they were ruling out MS. I always made my health the key importance of my life over my job. I made him realized that he needed me more than I needed the job (which was not true I needed the job!)I proved my worth in the beginning and was upfront about my situation. I have been with him a little over 2 years now. He lets me work 9/9:30 - 2/3 everyday and then I take some work home. He also allows me to take the days off when I get my injection treatment b/c he knows how painful it is.

    I guess the point of all this is that it is not how much face time you put in at the office, its about the quality of your work. There are more companies out there that are willing to work out flexible sched with people then one may seem to think. Be upfront, honest, but most of all dont be ashamed to admit that you have a condition that requires the flexiblity. They will see your strength through that. I hope this helped!
    Take Care
  14. susing

    susing New Member

    Just joined this message board yesterday, and I am so amazed with the love and care everyone shares. Thank you so much for the article. I will definitely bring it to my next Dr. appt. Thank you all who responded to my post. You have made me feel so accepted.
  15. annwinter

    annwinter New Member

    Great to hear more about your work situation. Thank you.
    I work for publishing companies, some local, some not local. I'd like to see if I can ease my way into a job, but not sure the first step. I need to meet some of these clients, even the local ones. Just set up a rapport. Then, continue to do good work. Then maybe check out any job possibilities. Or ask about a contract agreement that might move into full-time. I'm really really not sure how to approach this. One publisher gives me a lot of work. They are in NYC. I think they might like me on staff, but I'd never be able to go there. It'd have to be a complete telecommute. I don't think companies will do that. So I'm probably better with a local company.

    In all honesty, I'm not sure I'm capable of being reliable even from 10-3 every day. I'd have to start out slowly since a new job is stressful. Then, be able to come in and do my work with little involvement in any corporate politics. In other words, a small company would be best for me.

    Just thinking this out as I write. Thanks for listening.
    It's just disappointing, because I want to be able to do more.


  16. baanders

    baanders New Member

    I know what you mean. Yes, i would give all of my teeth to be able to do what i used to do. I suffer in silence, and out loud too. I don't like complaining to my husband, but sometimes the tears fall down and I need someone to hear.