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Hey! I'm Jo I'm 33 and based in London.


I've commented on a few posts previously and intended to write my intro... so here I am (albeit a little late!)


I love CrossFit; I was in the gym on a Thursday morning at 6 am in early January and we'd just finished doing pull-ups. All of a sudden I had this rush from the back of my neck over the top of my head to my forehead, my hearing went funny, I lost my balance, I felt nauseous and as if I was about to pass out.


I tried to crouch low to the ground (thinking I was going to faint) but it didn't stop and I stumbled to the corner of the room where the coach came to help me. My body was shaking and my heart rate on my watch was at 128bpm and increasing.


Lying on the floor seemed to help and someone in the gym gave me a few sweets, thinking I had low blood sugar (after all it was 6am in the morning) but after some time on the floor I tried to get up again, the colour drained from my face and I felt like I just needed to be horizontal. I wanted to go home and sleep it off, but my friends in the gym took me to A&E. The car journey was only 8 minutes, but it felt like the longest journey.


I lay on the floor in the A&E waiting room and was eventually seen by a nurse - the rest is a bit of a blur, I had a CT scan that confirmed a bleed on the right side of my brain and I started vomiting. After a second CT scan (with dye) I convulsed whilst vomiting and came round with vomit all over me.


I felt that this was my low point, but things seemed to get better after this - my body stopped shaking and I felt less pain with the intravenous morphine and anti-sickness. The CT scan came back clear of any bulges in my vessels, so I was told it was probably a weak blood vessel that burst, but I was transferred by ambulance to a specialist hospital for in-person review.


I had no surgical intervention. I waited all day in A&E for a bed on the neurosurgery ward and had to wait for an angiogram the next day and in the meantime, I started taking Nipodomine. My friend from the gym stayed with me the whole day until my mum arrived - she had googled 'subarachnoid haemorrhage' without me knowing and refused to leave my side. I don't know what I'd have done without her!


Friday morning I was woken up at 6am and told to 'prep for theatre.' This was a rather scary thought. I was nil by mouth, I hadn't eaten properly since Wednesday evening and it seemed that the thought of eating helped me to get through! I'd not long bought my first property (solo) and, with thoughts running through my head, I brain dumped everything to my mum in a text message (my poor mum.)


The angiogram was around lunchtime. The nurses were so nice and the radiologist told me that he would let me know straight away if he could see anything, which he couldn't and the consultant confirmed this to me later in the evening.


I found the angiogram to be the weirdest experience, not knowing if my head was attached to my body was definitely an extraordinary feeling! I slept most of the time that I was in hospital - the eye mask and ear plugs that my friend brought to me in my hospital bag were everything I needed.


I was discharged on the Monday and left hospital armed with a brain injury leaflet and paracetamol. My mum stayed with me for two weeks following this. I'm not going to lie, I was SO apprehensive when leaving the hospital, I just couldn't comprehend what had happened.


The sciatic pain, which everyone seems to encounter due to the blood following centre of gravity and irritating surrounding nerves, started immediately after leaving hospital but this only lasted for about a week or so along with what I can only describe as flashing head pain, which was mostly during the night.


I only took paracetamol regularly for around a week. I started to feel more normal within 2 - 3 weeks, but I had lingering issues including:


  • Fatigue
  • Tinnitus in right ear
  • Light sensitivity (I can't stand bright lights even to this day - it makes me feel unwell)
  • Sound sensitivity (this has now passed)
  • Feelings of 'brain freeze' (like when you eat icecream)
  • Loss of short term visual memory 
  • Brain fog (weirdly, I can't do maths anymore??)
  • Subconcious anxiety (I think I panic at the thought of feeling dizzy or unwell)
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding 
  • Twitches in my right eye (this has now stopped)


Fast forward to today, I am now four weeks in to a phased return to work. I have a busy job in the city of London and I am trying to slowly get back to normal life. I have given up drinking alcohol and I'm too scared to lift heavy weights yet (I was told by the consultant I could do this after 8 weeks..) but I'm using this as an opportunity to become the best version of myself.


Although having said this (!) I think I have hit a bit of a brick wall this week. I have been trying to do some cardio classes at the gym, I'm a little stressed with modern day life and I tried to increase my days of work, but I have encountered debilitating anxiety, to the point where I felt like I was in a constant state of panic and I couldn't make it to the office -


I just kept thinking I was about to pass out. I got myself checked out for piece of mind and I had confirmation that it is indeed anxiety. Perhaps I have mentally and physically exhausted myself. 


I'm feeling confused about whether this will last and that I have to accept a new normal, or, if I'm running before I can walk and it's just too soon? Who knows.. I've been trying to be so positive about what has happened,  but as someone who was so active and can't sit still, I'm finding it difficult to sit back given that I'm 'physically fine.' Would be interesting to see if anyone else has experienced this.


I'll leave it there for now.  I've found this forum very helpful so far and hopefully I will continue to do so.


Nice to meet you all 🙂


Jo x


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Welcome to btg sorry you have to be here xxx


Everything you are experiencing is pretty normal drink plenty of water and rest when you need to xxx


Hope things continue to improve for you xxx 


Look forward to hearing more from you xxx

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Hi Jo


Have also experienced what you're going through.  The anxiety was diagnosed as PTSD and, although mine was an aneurysmic bleed, I have never felt comfortable enough to return to the high intensity fitness regime I had before - jogged, step aerobics, aerobics etc.  Even back pre SAH when doing these activities I could feel my head pounding - who knows the aneurysms could have been there then.


I think you may be running before you can walk - took me a full year to be able to work all day without a sleep and the headache eventually abating.  I now work 37 hours a week in a very busy school office where there isn't five minutes peace.


Accepting the "new" me was the hardest, but once I had and had come to terms with everything that had happened - my recovery was mentally easier.  The counselling that I received for the PTSD was a massive help too.


This forum saved my sanity and my life - so welcome to the family.  My favourite thing to say to newcomers is "it can be a long road to recovery, but you can make as many pit stops along the way as you like".


Take care, and like Jess said, make sure you're staying hydrated - it helps the brain massively.

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Thank you so much for the responses @jess and @Skippy I really appreciate the advice!


I also really love the 'Pit Stop' analogy... I now keep using this when I refer to my experience last week :-)

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