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Brain fog

Posted by Michael73 on December 19, 2002, at 18:27:49

Dear readers, I wanted to describe what I've always simply called "the feeling in my head" which may better be called "brain fog". I've read some of the previous posts and found some similar descriptions. It feels like a pressure behind my eyes and forehead. Like a headache without pain. It makes me feel confused, dumb and forgetful. If I use nicotine I will get extreme morning grogginess which no one else seems to experience. It has a component of derealization to it also. It is accentuated by bad stress to the point of being overwhelming. It affects my eyesight some, interfering with reading. This is hard to describe but almost feels like weak blind spots, but more generalized, or a bit like the effect of looking at an optical illusion.
I have had this at some level or another since high school, I believe. 8 years ago, in college it manifested/caused a bad bought of depression/anxiety/OCD. (I also had social anxieties and a severe case of paruresis (bashful bladder syndrome) that all came to a head at that time.) The "feeling in my head" was the central issue though, mainly because at age 14 I had sniffed inhalants (gasoline,glue,etc.) 20-30 times and had went unconscious once. Other than that I smoked marijuana some but not a lot when in high school. I've done no other drugs - these times were largely the result of peer pressure. Marijuana was almost always a horrifying experience for me and I do remember that that was the case even before any sniffing.
I have obsessed over the issue of brain damage and have often tried to remember whether I had this feeling before age 14 but am not sure. I do not know whether I am brain damaged or not and assume there is no way of telling. I have an above normal IQ based on some online tests I took, but that's not how I feel. Other symptoms are that I frequently mess up when handwriting, sometimes even on my own signature. I do not space out but do tend to go in circles on a lot of tasks.
I am successful at work as long as I feel I have control of my situation and have a good grasp of what I am doing. I have recently been offered an advance and a chance to attend graduate school but the stress has aggravated the brain fog and I've gotten scared. I have been living happily the last two years medication free by being carefull of stress, working in a field I feel comfortable with. I don't know if I should risk that that by trying to attend graduate school. I am afraid of a nervous breakdown enduced by the brain fog. I wish I didn't have this limitation though, because I really want to go.
Anafranil was a miracle for me in terms of relieving the obsessing over the brain fog. It also lifted a lot of social phobia, shyness, and sweating armpits. I didn't like living with the side effects though which included difficulty urinating, tenseness, and emotional dulling. Gingko helps quite a bit. I'm going to try Coenzyme Q-10.
I mainly posted this to document my experience so as to help others, but for my own benefit would very much like to see follow-up posts from anyone with advice or similar symptoms. In the past I've tried Luvox, Prozack, and Effexor. Nothing worked like Anafranil for me. Any one have advice on something similar that might have less sideffects? What about Paxil? Sincerely, Michael73




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