Thank you for the warm welcomes!
Shortly after posting this my dad was broadsided and totaled his car. His spine looks like he has the AS but he had a staph infection in the same area so they have been saying that is what caused it. It is completely fused so I worried when he got in the wreck but he is okay. He saw the same rheumatologist but she didn't give him any diagnosis. He takes pain pills and muscle relaxers every day.
That must have been a flare like you said cause by all the stress. I started walking a lot and it seems to help although it irritates my SI joints. I'm hoping I can push past the pain and stay active. My hands still hurt but not as bad. It seems to get worse after high carb meals so I limiting my carb intake now. I've actually lost about 8 pounds this month. I am also struggling with depression but that's nothing new. I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and a bunch of anxiety disorders but I don't take anything for that at the moment. Just blood pressure pills.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 2) years ago, even before I started having AS symptoms. I also have anxiety issues. It used to be social anxiety, but since the AS has acted up this has shifted more towards hypochondria. Even though the symptoms for all these diseases are pretty mild for me, it's still quite a struggle to deal with them…
Just a heads up, you're probably already aware of this, but since Lithium and NSAIDs interact with each other, you can't take NSAIDs while you're also on Lithium. Definitely discuss your AS diagnosis with your psychiatrist if you still see one. I'm not on lithium anymore, but should the need arise for a mood stabilizer, I will start valproic acid which is safe to use alongside NSAIDs.
Also be very careful with prednisone! I've heard it can send you straight into full-blown mania. Definitely mention you have bipolar disorder to your rheumatologist if he/she wants to prescribe prednisone...