From the U.S.:  I am a 25 yo female. I have been struggling for the last two months or so with episodes that are making it near impossible to do anything. The episodes are accompanied by a whooshing in my head 100% of the time. The more intense the episodes are, the more symptoms I have.

The symptoms include weakness (I am not weak, but during these episodes, holding a 7lb baby feels like I’m holding a 30-40 lb baby), blurred vision, confusion, light-headedness, difficulty speaking; memory fog/loss (I can hardly say anything after my jaw locks up from it), jaw tension/locking, hysteria, irritability, and mood swings, shakes; tremors, nausea, and sensitivity to sound/light. I don’t have every single symptom every single time, but the more intense the episodes become, the more I am not myself.

I find myself in these hysterical states screaming, sobbing, and unable to stop whatever is affecting my head. I find myself incredibly irrational and unable to think clearly. I am a rational, level-headed person. Every letter of recommendation has mentioned how conscientious and level-headed I am. But when I have these episodes, it is almost like I am someone else entirely.

I don’t believe it is migraines because I have had so many over the years and most last for 2-3 days (without coming or going) and these episodes are inconsistent (they come and go). I also don’t usually have a headache every single time. It started out as an episode here or there but it has gotten to the point where I am having several episodes per day.

I don’t know if it is some type of seizure, or psychological, but one way or another, I need them to stop. Its interfering with my college coursework, my job, and my day to day functions like just getting out of bed. I can’t stay on bed rest forever and even laying down I am having these episodes. They come in day/night, light/dark, whether I am hot/cold, and in any state of mind. Often they come while I feel fine. They are coming on quicker, stronger, and are lasting longer. Please help me figure out what this is and how to stop it.

Yes, you need this to stop. You can’t expect yourself to function with these episodes happening out of the blue and out of your control. This is serious!

It’s okay to get help when you need it. It’s crucial that you accept help when nothing you already know how to do improves things. You already know something serious is going on. You already know that you can’t handle it on your own. It’s time to get some professional help. Actually, it’s way past time.

My guess is that this is a medical problem, not a psychological one. I may be wrong, but from what described, I think it is likely that there is some undiagnosed medical problem. I don’t have enough information to make even an educated guess. The way to find out is to see your doctor — now! You wrote a clear description of your symptoms. Take your letter with you and share it with your doctor to jump-start your appointment.

If a thorough exam rules out a medical problem, get a referral to a mental health counselor. Even if there is a medical problem, it may be a good idea to see a counselor for the support they can offer. What you are describing could make anyone anxious and scared.

Please follow up and get yourself the help you need and deserve.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie