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A wall in my head - this is new!

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Before I try to explain what I mean, let me just say that I have been to my GP to make sure there is nothing sinister going on and he assures me I'm fine!

What I'd like to know is, does anyone else experience it and if so, what do you to when it happens?

For the last three weeks, every now and then I will be in the middle of something and my brain just stops. I can actually feel it run out! It is like there is a wall in my head and there is no getting past it. There is, i have found, no point in even trying. When it appears that's it - time for bed no matter what. It's the weirdest feeling! For example, if it happens when I'm eating, i can no longer work out how to lift the fork to my mouth. I regularly do puzzles but when the wall comes, I can't even try to start an easy puzzle. I won't be able to hold a conversation properly. Like I say, I just go to bed. I assume this means I'm doing too much? My GP seemed to agree and was unconcerned. I guess I should be too. To be honest, my recovery so far has been pretty straight forward and I've been very lucky so the wall probably feels worse than it actually is.

Any thoughts?

Dawn x

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Hi Dawn.

I have not experienced the effect you have described, but have, on many occasions felt that I must just stop, and rest.

I would not describe it as a wall, more of a gradual slowing of responses. Someone (sorry, I can't remember who) described it as, wading through treacle.

This is more the effect that I experience.

I seem to be OK in most of my working hours, but at lunch-time or at the end of the day, I have been known to "drift-off" and become a bit remote.

My work colleges call it "petite -mal" , and call me back to the moment with phrases like, "Bill,.... Bill,..... BILL...... you were gone for minute then,

weren't you?"

Don't worry Dawn, I think it's all normal, in the vast spectrum of our individual recoveries.

I think you already have the answer. Sleep, when your brain switches off.

In my experience, you can't fight the fatigue, so roll with it, and make the most of the alert time.

I, too , love puzzles and quizzes and have become used to coming up with answers out of sync with everyone else.

Like some demented Ronnie Barker sketch, the solution will pop into my head minutes after the question was asked.

I suppose it took that long to wade through the treacle, to the place in my memory, that the answer was hiding.

I know, that lots of people on this site struggle for familiar words or names.

It may, or may not get better, depending on the damage caused by your event.

What will definitely get better, are your coping strategies.

When you sense your wall, beginning to form, rest and recover.

It will become like second nature, over time, and cease to trouble you, with a bit a bit of luck.

When I arrive home, after work, I have thirty minutes, or so, of , what I call , "violent- sleep". Sleep, so deep that I am difficult to arouse.

This is, actually, my favorite part of the day.

When I wake up, I feel great, refreshed and ready for life.

Without this sleep, I am useless and lethargic, for the whole night.

It's my coping strategy.

I hope some of this helps.

All the best Dawn.

Bill B.

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Dawn, I agree with Bill about when your body is ready to rest etc..

The only really weird thing I had and I account it to being tired was at work one day a few weeks back I was standing looking right at a couple of co workers- I was watching them move a sick dog and I kind of greeted them and for about 10 seconds I had a pause and became frighten like they scared me. I screamed and they panicked because they did not know what to do and I kind of came out of it with a "Wow, what was that all about???" I do not know it is was a "wall" moment but it was a 10 second "I am not here moment for sure". I frighten very easily now ( and prior to SAH)and it makes my head split when it happens. It was maybe a "delayed" reaction moment where my brain confused an emotion while being tired.

I have some moments of being "blank" but not when I am eating etc. Are you getting enough rest & water? I am back to work way to early and I am lucky to have a great boss & co workers that cover for me. Like today I knew I needed a real nap and at noon when I went home I slept until 3:00 and everyone was cool with it. If I were not able to get some naps in when I am ready to crash I cannot imagine the mess I would be.

Good luck. maryb

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I experience exactly what you have described but now I can feel it happeniing & know that I have to rest. In the early days I didn't listen to my body & would hit the wall & then need complete quiet & rest & my brain would refuse to do anything more.

Now I can feel myself gradually withdrawing from a situation & becoming quieter & my smile becomes more forced & I go to one word answers, then I know I'm getting tired & need to take myself off & regroup somewhere quiet.

It sounds perfectly normal to me & in time you will recognise the early warning signs & be able to head off the crash into the wall at the end.


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Thanks for the replies, it's good to know that I'm not alone - even if the symptoms aren't quite the same! I do go to bed, but I can't sleep no matter how tired i am. So I just lie there in the dark. It seems to help, certainly having some silence makes a difference but when I get up again, I still can't do anything and TV is just awful when I feel like that. It's hard to make the time pass.

It's only 2 weeks until my 6 month check-up, weirdly I'm looking forward to that!

Dawn x

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Dawn, I used to get that 'wall' feeling, you have a good way of descibing it. I don't get it any more, 18mths since SAH. I do still get headaches though, the best way I can describe them is that my head feels like I'm wearing a crash helmet, not immense pain by any means but it's as though there is something pressing my scalp to my skull, just like a crash helmet. I can't say I've stopped worrying about it but I try to minimise the impact of it by carrying on doing what I'm doing.

Re the lying down in the dark, I also used to do that but, like you, couldn't sleep. I think the problem with the TV is that it takes up too much of our brain power when our brains are still recovering, not only does your brain have to process the pictures you are seeing but you also have to concentrate on what you are hearing. I used to listen to radio, found it much easier. If you are a keen reader you could try audio books, they are great.

If you think this may help just click this link, http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/ alternatively just google free audio books, there are plenty available.

When I came home after surgery I was strongly advised to rest properly, wasn't easy as I work from home, but I did as I was told. The way I looked at it was this: If it were a limb injury, say a broken leg, and I returned to using it before it was properly mended I would end up walking with a limp for the rest of my days, yes I'd get around but not as freely as I would if I'd rested it properly.

Well I didn't want to spend the rest of my life 'thinking with a limp' so to speak, so for the first time in my life I did exactly as I was told. It wasn't easy but I managed it, as for now, well I reckon I still have everything I had before in terms of mental agility, yes I have the headaches but i had them before, so no change really. Not saying that there aren't other parts of my life that are no longer how they were but in terms of my brain power, well I'm still a smartarse:lol:

You seem to be doing really well, you certainly have a very active mind and an insightful thought process, the questions you raise have struck chords with plenty of us.

So keep on doing what you're doing, take the rest when it feels right, in 2 weeks time you may well get the 'all clear' like I did, I hope you do.

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Bill – It was me that said ‘wading through treacle’ in the past, as that is how difficult everyday tasks could be for me initially and for many months post-sah. I felt it explained the physical exertion of trying to drag myself through tasks and situations…

Dawn - I think I experienced ‘the wall’ during the first few weeks post-op… I didn’t have to do much to be completely shattered and feel that ‘shut-down’ ‘lights on but no-one is home’ feeling…

It is certainly true that you learn to listen more carefully to your body over time and start to recognise when you are over-doing it and can then implement coping strategies to help get through it.

Mary – that is good that your company and colleagues are allowing you to rest when needed. I certainly frightened a lot easier post-sah although that has got better over the last 2 years.

Take care

Kel ;)

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