I am in the infortunate situation in which the symptoms of chronic lack of energy, anxiety, memory and concentration issues, and most importantly sheer inability to get things done, despite attempting to plan them, or to subdivide tasks into smaller ones. Also, loss of motivation and interest in things, even though I’m not depressed. Also, terrible sleep quality.
I’m 24 years old now. The problem started GRADUALLY about 2 years ago. A couple of years into a software engineering job I quite enjoyed, some internal restructurings have made corporate politics+bullshit start to get on my nerves, which gradually lead to burnout. In retrospect, I attribute this change to my hormonal structure rather than external circumstances. In any case, I was putting a lot of stress on myself.
Roughly at the same time, I started taking finasteride for hair loss. I used to be on the skinnier side, but with a lot of muscle on the lower body (I would constantly/every weekend do ~100 mile MTB rides with lots of climbing, it used to be a big passion of mine). I had a flat abdomen with clearly visible abs. In a matter of weeks after starting taking finasteride, I started to notice that a biggish flab of fat was growing on my belly (a spare tire), and also that my breast have gotten noticeably bigger. No change to either my diet or lifestyle occurred in the meantime. I quickly stopped taking the pill.
At the time, I had now for quite some time been sleeping more than 9-10 hours a day and still felt tired all the time. I would often nap during lunch breaks.
In about a year of gradually lower performance, i became aware that I was burning out (by the looks of things), and decided that perhaps I should switch jobs (i was constantly getting offers). After a few more months, the time I started experiencing said cognitive problems, that were seriously affecting my work. After a few days at the new place (during the interview they said i was their best candidate they ever interviewed), I was experiencing extreme anxiety for some reason, I simply couldn’t sit in the chair. I quit that job too. I decided that maybe I was so stressed out in the recent past, that maybe I need a few months off, (after reading everything I could find about burnout). I also have previously had several business ideas that I was thinking I should work on.
And now, add 7 months to the mix, and things haven’t really improved much. They did improve a bit, but not enough to give me hope. I could summarize these months as an ongoing cycle: I had a precise plan on what I would no next (a hierarchical list of goals), I would start working on the highest priority item, but for some reason I just couldn’t progress, it took me days to do things that previously had taken me hours. I would track my progress, and simply despair at the state I was in.
As for the improvements, a lot of the aversions I developed in that burning out period have gone, I rediscovered a joy for hacking. The mental performance in things like competitive programming stills seems to be there, even though I struggle a lot more. But in larger projects, I just don’t have the mental energy to carry them through.
And recently, about 1-2 months ago, I relearnt to finally relax, and accept the state I find myself in. That did cause a vast improvement in my well-being for a couple of weeks. Then it normalized itself.
As you imagine, as this problem unfolded I’ve been to a lot of doctors. Initially I was fairly sure my problems were sleep-related and suspected I has sleep apneea. Also allergy-related. My conventional blood test was fine overall. Ultimately I was disappointed with the quality of the medical system, and it was simply to slow to wait weeks for appointments, only to find that it didn’t help the problem at all. I also suspected hormonal issues, but the family doctor said that testosterone doesn’t affect energy, and my TSH was within range blah blah blah. I was happy with getting that sleep study, which I was fairly sure would solve that issue.
Now after these 6-7 months, I finally got myself to do a blood test again:
- SGHB: 36.9 nmol/L
- LH: 3.71 mUI/ml
- Testosterone serum: 287 ng/dl
- Estradiol: 40.3pg/mL
- Free test: in progress.