AVM and Mental Illness

I have dealt with anxiety attacks and bipolar 1 disorder since I was young. When I started developing sporadic yet intense pains throughout my body, I thought I was going crazy. When my headaches and migraines started causing me to be bedridden, I thought it was depression. When I first had a dizzy spell ad my words came out all mixed up, I cried, thinking I was going to be sent to a mental facility. My family member battled schizophrenia and ptsd when I was a child, witnessed some things that I’m sure changed me emotionally. I was balanced for a couple years before going down hill fast. Went through some really dark times before an MRI found my avm. It was so small CT couldn’t find it so the er would tell me I’m fine, no cause for arm feeling broken, can’t lift it or touch it without crying, but it isn’t injured. I felt insane, I hear tones from the avm, almost constantly, for almost four years now, was scared this was a prelude to hearing voices. When MRI showed an avm, I cried in relief. I’m Not crazy!!! (Well, maybe I am, but oh well :slight_smile: at least there was Something causing these symptoms. There is a reason for most of these weird sensations I had been trying to convince myself weren’t there.
I know I am so blessed to find my avm before it ruptured but still feel like my avm is angry or something. I understand some of the problems I am having Are from mental illness I have always struggled with, some emotions I’m feeling are Normal simply because of the diagnosis (I think anyone with a diagnosis will go through stages to get to acceptance) but for the sensatiorns I deal with that have no cause, I have a relief my avm could be causing them. It has made me more determined to get it removed before something happens, hopefully this new Dr will know what he is dealing with.
Are any of you dealing with mental health issues and coping with avms? If so, you are not alone! I am too :slight_smile: And it is OK God is with us and will help us o

Mamagin, I know other members have had similar experiences with mental health issues. You may wish to friend Hiro, who is a lovely person (http://www.avmsurvivors.org/profile/Hiro). If you don't get other responses, running a search on "bipolar," "anxiety," or "depression" should turn up a fair number of posts. And, you're right -- you are not alone, and it is OK. :)

Welcome to the club, Mamagin. :)
I was diagnosed with depression in 7th grade, bipolar disorder at 10, seizure disorder at 21, AVM and idiosyncratic hypersomnolence (sleep disorder) at 22, anxiety disorder, non-epileptic seizure disorder, and stress gait disorder at 23.

Many people are wondering if my depression/bipolar disorder were actually triggered by my AVM, because of its location. I wonder. Though now my anxiety disorder (presumably from the scarring in the brain from the surgery) is bad enough that it's covering everything!

Wow! I’m actually laughing out loud not at both your stories but at my own! I have been so sick for over 10 years!!!
Mental illness! Depression, anxiety,
Well you see, in 1998, I lost a child of course I should be depressed, but I kept spiralling… Deeper & deeper. Couldn’t get out of bed 5 years ago. Headaches so bad, migraines, vomiting daily! No one would send me for a CT SCAN!!!
It’s your depression. Caren, your obese, you’re unhealthy, you have high anxiety, you need to take better care of yourself. I have had insomnia since grade 9! Severe for the last 15 years… I mean 7 days, 4 hours of sleep & I worked 2 jobs for 8 years & just kept going! Vomitting & work, migraines, couldn’t take head off pillow at Dr’s weekly. More anti-depressants, switch them, try new one, add anti anxiety! My Dr convinced me I was CRAZY for the last 4 years!!!
Which if you met me I AM TRULY!! LOL IM a 100% EXTRAVERT single mom, who is a workaholic with an awesome career, travels for a living w NO SLEEP, VOMITTING DAILY, inbetween meeting… JUST THE NORM FOR ME! Lol
Then February 14th, 2013 left side of my whole body went numb @ work I collapsed at my desk called the Dr. The receptionist said "Caren, you have heart problems right now, sounds like possible stroke, get to hospital NOW!!"
So CRAZY ME :slight_smile: DROVE MYSELF 20 minutes to the hospital bc I’m STUBBORN like that! Hospital rushed me into CT in 11 mins of arrival bc I was stuttering SO BAD & right eye dropped they knew brain problems, NOT ONLY did they find AVM deep in right side of my brain, they found Chiari1 as well! Oh lucky ME! LMAO
Oh…& I forgot my stuttering was due to massive brain seizures that my neurologist thinks I’ve been having for the past 3 years! I’m now completely stable, have been since April11th cleared on my last MRI- NO brain seizures. Started driving again April 12th! Sleep like baby since I was put on my anti seizure meds! Haven’t had any bouts of DEPRESION that I had a MAJOR breakdown last year & had to take 8 weeks off of work! Which looking back now, was the 1st major symptoms of my AVM & Chiari1.
Have been cleared by my Cardioligist… Don’t have heart problems at all… It was both the AVM & Chiari1 causing my heart stress. Still have major headaches but at least now I know why after 15 years!!! & I haven’t vomitted since I was admitted to the hospital.
I have NEVER felt more human in my whole life… So do I think I have struggled with mental illness on & off through the years??? YES! Do I think it was as severe as I was diagnosed over the last 10? Absolutely NOT!!!

It was Ted… Who lives in my head! Lol

(I named my AVM TED) he has to be a man bc when he acts up & misbehaves & makes me angry that’s who he is! I told you I’m crazy! I am me & I love who I am!

Thank u, I found a couple, mainly just hope to help anyone reading the posts that may not feel comfortable talking about mental illness. I know this is AVM site but I can’t separate myself from the two. They are both me. I’m a wife, mother, avm and mental health surviver:) you are always so encouraging, thank you for your support dancermom!

Oh man, Hiroshima, I’m so sorry your anxiety worsened after surgery! That is sad, anxiety is crippling- hopefully you are working with a psychologist of some sort, biofeedback therapy is amazing. We are definitely two peas in a pod!! I can’t believe you have been dealing with these issues since you were a kid too. I’m happy, selfishly, to meet you, yet I feel for you, Hiro, I know how it is! Did youfeel relief when they told you about your avm?

Omg, Hiro I’m sorry, my phone auto corrected your name, I’m sorry!! I know it is Hiro :0

Hello caren thank you for sharing your story with us, and I’m sorry for your loss, I know how it feels to have a miscarriage. I’m so glad you finally have some relief!! Did you have any remedies for your headaches? Right now I’m so desperate I rub bengay and icy hot on my head! Actually I stopped with icy hot after my Dr told me it contains aspirin. I’m a dork! Should have read the package…
Hope you have a good day ~Ginger

I was gonna say…! Hahaha.

I don’t know if I felt any relief when they told me about the AVM… or I Guess I did, because at that point, we’ve been trying to figure it out for over 2 months, and those 2 months were fairly painful. But before that, I just thought my mental illnesses were just mental illnesses I’ll hopefully grow out of when I got past puberty, maybe not. Something like that. But then I found out I had a REALLLL problem (because, obviously, if there’s no PHYSIOLOGICAL reasoning, it’s not REAL!). I guess it was a relief in some way, and devastation in another!

Yeah I was like that too, relieved yet scared beyond belief. Anyone lucky enough to outgrow mental illness is amazing, I tried to ignore it for years only to find out not only was I Not hiding it well but I also felt worse than ever during that time. I’m very blessed to have a husband that has family with mental illnesses so he can deal with me most days :wink: have your 'symptoms ’ gotten worse over the years or better? For me I do great for skittles then have a bad month or four, I was feeling wonderful for almost two years straight at one point.

Thanks for your post. It helps me to hear this. I was thinking that maybe I am bi-polar.

Avm’s steal blood from your brain - the size of the avm puts pressure on your brain - the throbbing of the vains in the avm causes pulsating shock waves into your brain that beats in time with your hart. The brain only needs a small amount of pressure to function abnormally and we live with this every day and what I have found is times of calm the avm is dormant when your relaxed but when your stressed or physical activity the blood pressure rises and the blood flow increases to the avm causing it to become active. This has to cause some disruption to your brains activity and as you can’t see it you just feel your body doing abnormal things that can’t be explained.
I thought I was mad at times but post surgery I feel so positive, very focused and back in control. Post surgery complications can be depression through brain swelling ext and for some people trauma from surgery can damage parts of the brain that control depression, emotions and cognitive thinking - surgery is a 50/50 may make you better or may make you worse, sadly you won’t know until its done but in my case it was thumbs up and positively a life changer

Thank u richwag for your insight that totally makes sense!! I read ur post to my hubby and a couple friends, they too found it helped them grasp it

Your welcome, take care

Hey! I was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child due to hallucinations, hearing voices and sounds etc. but since my avm ruptured I’ve discovered I’m not actually schizophrenic but they were symptoms of my avm. It’s all very strange and I hope you’re baring up!

Hey gemmily!! Thank you for sharing, I love how we can talk openly about this and can find comfort knowing other people have invisible pain and there could possibly be SOMETHING causing it!!! I took psychology in college, as mental illness runs in my family and the mind always intrigued me. Quite ironic mine has a rare mutation or whatever you want to call it. I usually refer to mine as “It” . It doesn’t need a name. We know where it is and it is no longer welcome here. It drives me crazy yet it brings me some peace. My mother had severe schizophrenia and tried to kill herself in front of me at nine. I started having alot of thinking clearly issues and repetitive thoughts. Started to fear I would “be like that too” but I have an amazing husband who got me help when he noticed behavior changes. My avm is still in there, I have had micro bleeds but give all glory to God that we found it before it for the upper hand. It has been symptamatic (pain) for almost 3years. But psychological effects since I was a kid. We are strong enough to make it through this! I pray u continue to be free from the hallucinations :slight_smile: your friend Ginger.