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Unexpected bad reaction to a gruesome sight
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Unexpected bad reaction to a gruesome sight

Hello,

I am a 24 years old male, with no health problems diagnosed.

Yesterday, I viewed a gruesome photograph. It was not the first time - and normally, I don't react to such sights with anything more than a feeling of disgust. But this time, I had quite a bad reaction.

Both of my ears started ringing. I felt a grasp on my neck (no nausea). My vision got darker, and I had to lean over my desk. Then, in a sudden spasm, I hit the desk with my forehead twice, not too strong though. I somehow managed to close the browser window, still barely seeing things. After a minute or so, all those symptoms passed.

Today, I am feeling fine.

Should I be worried about this?
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Avatar_f_tn
Probably no need to be worried at this point.  I had a similar problem when I used to work overtime on computers, my eyes got so strained that when a storm cloud came over and made it dark in my office, I felt a jerk and nearly fell out of my chair, and I leaned over on my desk just like you, afraid I would pass out.  So, that's one reason, and the way to avoid it is to rest your eyes from the screen every hour like clockwork, and gaze away as far as you can, like out a window, and just goof off for about five minutes.

Another possibility is how well you eat and sleep.  If you don't get the proper nutrients, and wind up with a vit/mineral deficiency, it can affect your hearing and eyes.  And if you don't sleep well enough, you cannot withstand a shock.  There is also the possibility of anemia.  This can be caused, again, by not getting enough iron and protein, similar to a vit/min deficiency, and this will weaken you.  If the anemia comes from bleeding somewhere in the body, you might have a low blood cell count, and this will make it easier for you to faint.  The way to find out if you have vit/min deficiency or what kind of anemia you might have, if you have it, is to visit a regular doc or clinic and they can draw blood and see what your numbers look like.  A sort of cousin to anemia is where your sugars are at, and again bloodwork will determine this.

Also could be your heart or circulatory system is goofed up somehow.  See, when you see a scary picture or experience fear, your heart will start pumping harder, and your symptoms could mean your blood vessels may be partially blocked and so you don't get enough oxygen to your brain.  A regular doc or clinic can refer you to a cardiologist if your vision isn't tired or bloodwork comes out okay.

Lastly, as for neurological problems perhaps in the brain, normally you won't have your symptoms AS A RESULT OF seeing an upsetting photograph; rather you would have your symptoms out of the blue.  Now, sometimes MS (multiple sclerosis) can affect the vision, but again it wouldn't be set off by any particular event.  I mean, it's possible you're experiencing a psychological stress, and there are a few psychological problems that originate from a problem in the brain.  So, to resolve any neuro basis for your symptoms, a neurologist can order a scan, have you do a basic neuro office exam, talk with you for a while, to see if you are neurologically normal.

But I prefer to think it's one of the items I mentioned, with the most likely listed first.  So, give your eyes a break, make sure you're eating and sleeping well, and if you experience something upsetting, do some very deep breathing for a minute or two, and that will help calm you.  I hope you figure out which item may be bothering you, feel free to let us know what happens.
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Avatar_f_tn
Probably no need to be worried at this point.  I had a similar problem when I used to work overtime on computers, my eyes got so strained that when a storm cloud came over and made it dark in my office, I felt a jerk and nearly fell out of my chair, and I leaned over on my desk just like you, afraid I would pass out.  So, that's one reason, and the way to avoid it is to rest your eyes from the screen every hour like clockwork, and gaze away as far as you can, like out a window, and just goof off for about five minutes.

Another possibility is how well you eat and sleep.  If you don't get the proper nutrients, and wind up with a vit/mineral deficiency, it can affect your hearing and eyes.  And if you don't sleep well enough, you cannot withstand a shock.  There is also the possibility of anemia.  This can be caused, again, by not getting enough iron and protein, similar to a vit/min deficiency, and this will weaken you.  If the anemia comes from bleeding somewhere in the body, you might have a low blood cell count, and this will make it easier for you to faint.  The way to find out if you have vit/min deficiency or what kind of anemia you might have, if you have it, is to visit a regular doc or clinic and they can draw blood and see what your numbers look like.  A sort of cousin to anemia is where your sugars are at, and again bloodwork will determine this.

Also could be your heart or circulatory system is goofed up somehow.  See, when you see a scary picture or experience fear, your heart will start pumping harder, and your symptoms could mean your blood vessels may be partially blocked and so you don't get enough oxygen to your brain.  A regular doc or clinic can refer you to a cardiologist if your vision isn't tired or bloodwork comes out okay.

Lastly, as for neurological problems perhaps in the brain, normally you won't have your symptoms AS A RESULT OF seeing an upsetting photograph; rather you would have your symptoms out of the blue.  Now, sometimes MS (multiple sclerosis) can affect the vision, but again it wouldn't be set off by any particular event.  I mean, it's possible you're experiencing a psychological stress, and there are a few psychological problems that originate from a problem in the brain.  So, to resolve any neuro basis for your symptoms, a neurologist can order a scan, have you do a basic neuro office exam, talk with you for a while, to see if you are neurologically normal.

But I prefer to think it's one of the items I mentioned, with the most likely listed first.  So, give your eyes a break, make sure you're eating and sleeping well, and if you experience something upsetting, do some very deep breathing for a minute or two, and that will help calm you.  I hope you figure out which item may be bothering you, feel free to let us know what happens.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your comprehensive answer, ggreg.

As I never fainted before, or felt like I was about to, even when being exhausted - I would rule out anemia or heart problems. My diet is also pretty decent, almost exclusively varied home-made meals, so I guess this isn't the problem.

Now, sleep deprivation and eye strain seem likely. I remember I woke up earlier than usual on that day and didn't get any more sleep later, plus, this "seizure" happened after a few hours of using the computer.

So, I guess lack of sleep + eye strain + shocking experience = weird things happening.

Thanks again :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Whitestripe,
My friend, I do indeed hope lack of sleep and eye strain is the culprit, and I do think that's what it is.  Sometimes I wake up early because I have been in a lot of pain this past year.  Pain makes me feel kind of vulnerable, and so I am very uneasy and frightened by the silliest things.  Yeah, feeling faint is something else!  It happens so suddenly.  Sometimes my legs get real weak in advance of a near-fainting episode, so I'll immediately sit down somewhere.  But you, you were already sitting, so you didn't have that warning.  But sometimes in movies they'll do that ear ringing thing as a special effect just before a person collapses, so that can be your warning.  But just to share a little more, after I had that experience, I was younger and was working my heart out, too many hours, for a boss who could have cared less.  On my way home that day, which I was scared out of my mind most of the drive because I was so nervous, I swore I would not work no more 60- or 70-hour weeks.  But it was really too much time in front of a computer on top of being tired that sealed my fate.  I found new work and was much happier.  God speed.  GG    
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