Phantom Wedgies…and other signs of nervous system dysfunction

For the last twelve hours I’ve been plagued with the sensation that my underwear is riding up my left butt cheek.

It started last night. At bedtime I was nice and relaxed and felt like I could slip right into sleep without pharmaceuticals. (Hello? Have I learned nothing in the past eleven years?) As soon as I adjusted my many pillows, settled my head into the groove of my contoured pillow and wiggled my body into a non-lumpy spot of my memory foam mattress, I felt it; my underwear creeping up the left side of my butt. I reluctantly reached down to tug my underwear back into place, only to discover that they were in place. The wedgie wasn’t in in my butt, it was in my brain.

I should have gotten up right then and taken a muscle relaxer, but I didn’t. I squirmed around, trying to stay off the imaginary lumps in my bed. As soon as I got semi-comfortable, I felt it again, the sensation of my under riding up my left butt cheek. I tried to ignore it, tried to think of other things as people that don’t have messed up nervous systems are always suggesting. It didn’t work. The sensation screamed at me with all the subtly of a sledgehammer. I reached down and checked. Underwear still in place, not sliding anywhere. WTH?

Then my husband started snoring and I felt the bed and my pillow vibrate. Actually, vibrate. I popped in earplugs and turned to my other side. Immediately stomach acid started dancing around the edges of my esophagus, threatening to spring up, burning my throat. I ignored it. Then, a sudden stab of pain shot through my left foot. Then an electric shock sensation ripped through my right hand. Then my right shoulder started itching. While I squirmed around trying to ease these discomforts, a lump sprang up under my right hip. It felt like I was laying on a rock. I turned back to my other side. Phantom wedgie again.

About one-thirty, I got up and took a muscle relaxer. I ate a Larabar (sometimes eating is the only thing that will calm my agitated nervous system down) and read a book until two-thirty, when I finally felt sleepy enough to go to bed. I sort of slept, then woke up uncomfortable with the type of pain that I call Cardboard Bones.

Right now, sitting here in my chair, my weight holding down the edges of my underwear, the left side still feels like they’re creeping up. I’m about to go change underwear for the third time, even though I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with these.

Last night’s misery was enough for me to call in a refill of my amitriptyline because this is what life was like before I started taking it, every night a battle to quiet my nervous system down enough to drift into the lightest stages of sleep, still aware of my discomfort all the while. I can’t do it again. It drove me to depression and insanity and I don’t want to go back there.

So, I guess I’m back to packing on 5 lbs a year, every year until I’m so fat they have to cut me out of my house to get me to the hospital or the morgue.



28 thoughts on “Phantom Wedgies…and other signs of nervous system dysfunction

  1. Can’t say I’ve ever had a phantom wedgie. How annoying. At least with a real one we can pull it out and get relief. Sorry to hear about your rough night and the need for a refill of the ‘fattening’ meds; not fun having to chose between two evils like that. 😦

    1. It was! Insomnia is one thing I have no tolerance for, even without all the weird nervous system dysfunction. But I’m drugged up again now, so all is well.

  2. That’s definitely a pain in the butt (no pun intended 😉 )! Love the title of your blog post–it made me laugh. But I do understand how annoying nervous system dysfunctions are. Lately, I’ve been really sensitive to these little kind of noises. Like the sound of my ipod charger. It’s like high squealing to my ears. Hope you get a better night’s sleep tonight and that the phantom wedgie goes to haunt someone else…perhaps they can haunt that nurse practitioner that I saw which thinks I have severe food allergies! 😉

    1. I will gladly sent the phantom wedgie to haunt the nurse practitioner. I’m annoyed with her for what she said to you! I know what you mean about the little noises. I call that phenomenon “Bionic Hearing”. I can hear, and be agitated by, things that no one else can even detect.

  3. “The wedgie wasn’t in my butt, it was in my brain.”
    That is, without a doubt, one of the single greatest sentences I have ever read in my life.
    Ugh, snoring husbands are the worst. It’s like, maybe I could ignore my muscle twitches* and pain if I didn’t have a bear next to me. *My favorite muscle twitch is my stomach muscles twitching. It’s like a large fish jumping out of the water all of a sudden.

    1. Ugh! I haven’t had severe muscle twitching in my stomach like that. That sounds awful! A couple of days ago I felt like there was a baby rolling around in my abdomen though. It wasn’t painful or anything, just distracting as hell.

    1. They sure do. All the nervous system stuff is enough to make any person, not to mention their health practitioner, think they are insane. Which is why I never mention an of this stuff to my health practitioners!

  4. I’ve felt that! Actually, your night’s sleep is very much like mine. I hate thinking of anyone else dealing with that. It sucks more that we’re stuck with meds that make us gain weight, or all the lack of sleep, the tension and stress (which does that to us too.) At least I’m not the only one who dons earplugs for the SO. What are “Cardboard Bones” like?

    1. You’ve had the phantom wedgie? I’m sorry you experienced that annoyance but it makes me feel so much better to know that I’m not alone in feeling weird stuff like this! Our medication choices really suck. I’ve yet to find one drug that treats fibromyalgia that doesn’t list weight gain as a possible side effect. “Cardboard Bones” is this feeling I get once in awhile. It’s like a stiffness and discomfort that surrounds the bones of my hips, back, shoulders and neck.

  5. I understand what you are going through. Food helps me and will odften the systems will disappear. I had bad spell yesterday. It started by my not knowing what was going on. Eat something and went to sleep woke up utterly exhausted and couldn’t even read.
    🌞Have a pain free day 🌞.

    1. I think somehow I missed this comment. Sorry about that! (If I already answered and I just don’t remember, please forgive. I do have brain fog spells!) Eating often helps me too. I’ll lay awake feeling twitchy and itchy and uncomfortable for hours. Then, I’ll finally give in and get up to eat something and I’m able to sleep after that. It’s crazy and very inconvenient while trying to not gain anymore weight.

  6. Finding this blogpost has literally saved my sanity. I was on the brink of quite a spectacular meltdown only moments ago, convinced that I was going to wake up either paralysed or incontinent tomorrow morning!!!!!! I’m currently in the throes of on-going diagnosis and this symptom was very nearly the straw that broke the camel’s back until I found out I wasn’t alone!!!!!!!!

    I miss the days when my CNS was on my side… (!!!!!). Pain, vision problems, memory slipping by, can’t use my hands properly anymore, can barely walk — can’t even sign my own name (!!) and now plagued by a permanent but phantom wedgie?!?! Alas, life is hard!!!

    If there are any solutions to the phantom wedgie could someone let me know? I’m on 300mg pregabalin (lyrica) per day but really don’t think it’s working… 😦

    1. I have to heavily sedate my nervous system to get comfortable enough to sleep. If I don’t eat a bedtime snack and if I don’t take my nightly cocktail of sedatives, I lay awake all night with intense discomfort in many places, including the dreaded phantom wedgie. Sometimes I feel it in the day but, for me, it’s mostly at night. I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing such widespread and intense problems. Life with a haywire nervous system is miserable. There were many times in the past when I thought I would lose my mind or just couldn’t take another moment of the discomfort. I’m doing better now, thanks to finding a good naturopath who prescribed several adaptogenic herbs – eleuthero, holy basil and rhodiola – and herbs to support the nervous system. There are many herbs which can help calm the CNS – valerian, passionflower, hops, skullcap, lemon balm, St. John’s Wort – but, with you taking Lyrica, it would probably be a good idea to consult with someone before trying any. The only other thing that has helped me with the phantom wedgie phenomenon is wearing granny underwear. You know, the big ones that come way down below the buttocks. They’re ugly but if I feel the leg band further down on my leg, my mind/nervous system seems to realize that they can’t be riding up. Not a perfect solution but comfort is so important to sanity!

  7. When I googled “why do I feel like I have a wedgie all the time” I really didn’t expect to find any results…..I was wrong. Since last May(maybe before that) I had been dealing with pain in my left rib/stomach area that would go around to my back. My stomach would get distended and I just wasn’t feeling good. I had all kinds of tests and MRI’s, CT’s, etc but nothing was found until the day after Thanksgiving(that(Thanksgiving) was a good day because I found out I was going to be a grandmother for the first time….black and white sonogram pix. I only have one son so this was exciting news). Anyway, the next day I had an MRI of my thoracic spine(which I almost didn’t go to because I didn’t know if I would be able to lay on the table). When I got home I had a message from some doctor I had never heard of wanting me to come to his office ASAP. Well, the short version is they found a tumor on my spine(another black and white pix for me to view…..not nearly as excited as the day before). I had it removed the next Friday. It was a more complicated surgery than expected. Since then I have had this “wedgie” feeling and I feel like I am sitting on a balloon…neither of these are good feelings. I am going to an endo. doctor Thursday for bowel problems The neurosurgeon said there would be CNS feelings/discomfort, but I wasn’t expecting this and the worst part is I don’t feel that much better. My left leg has that prickly feeling all the time. I take Gabapentin, but maybe not a high enough dosage yet. Sorry to ramble….I just needed to do a little venting,

    1. Phantom wedgies and feeling like you’re sitting on a balloon – that sounds terrible! I hope you can get your Gabapentin dosage right and maybe the nerves will start calming down now that it’s been a few months since your surgery. I hope researchers come up with some better medications for calming down the nervous system really, really soon. Some that don’t make a person gain so much weight. My small dosage of amitriptyline helps calm down my nervous system but, even with that small of a dose (25 mg), I keep gaining. It’s so frustrating. Good luck at your doctor’s appointment. I hope you get some answers and some help soon!

  8. I have been “googling” and searching for this condition, and just when I was about to give up.. I found your blog! I have been having this “Phantom wedgie” for a while now! I can’t seem to find any medical term to it and I thought I was the only one. If it was a nervious system dysfunction then I would not be surprised as I already have trichotillomania. Do you recommend I see a doctor?

    1. I don’t know if a doctor would take this complaint seriously! I never mentioned it to my doctor. I have noticed that medications that sedate and calm the nervous system help. I now take 25 mg of amitriptyline and 4mg of Tizanidine every night and I never experience this problem unless I run out of one of them. My nervous system just won’t calm down on its own at night. I hope you can find some relief!

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