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Avatar universal

Lost

Hello all...I will try to be brief but feel totally lost and need some help.  I have posted on this sight before with concerns but neeed some clarification.  I had a baby around 3 months ago and one month postpartum began to have some very unusual sensations in my head.  At times it feels like a "whoosh" has come over my head, other times a zap and then other times I just feel lightheaded or dizzy.  I am getting quite upset and anxious over this and have looked into it extensively.  I have had a normal CT scan, and MRI of my spine and head.  A neurologist said that my neurological exam was normal and he didn't think that I had MS (which is one of my biggest fears.  I went on zoloft after these symptoms began because they stressed me out so much but it is not helping.  I do know that brain zaps can occur when one is coming off of an antidepressant but I have not been coming off of it.  I guess that I have these 4 questions for the doctor and for anyone else to answer:
1)  Could these senstations that I get in my head EVERYDAY quite a few times a day be anxiety???  I have looked on MANY web sites and forums and cannot find anyone with a similar problem.
2)  Could these sensations be due to hormones???  Again, I cannot find anyone with a similar problem (except those women with menopause issues) and I do get a lot of these sensations when I am breastfeeding but not all the time.
3)Could strange sensations like these become worse from being on an antidepressant??
4)  Finally, has anyone heard of strange brain sensations like "zaps" or "whooshes" to be early MS symptoms???  I am, of course fixed on this disease and know that it can take on many forms.  
I feel so lost and alone with this because no one can give me an answer and they are not going away.  They have become to really interfere with my quality of life and I want to enjoy my litte baby.  Please help.
23 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
These brain/head sensations are very frequent, and almost always part of an anxiety picture.  Yes, they can occur when coming off of antidepressants, and frequently do.  Once they start occuring, you become hypersensitive and aware, and that makes them appear to be more frequent.  Instead of zoloft, ask your doctor for a short course of klonopin or buspar for the anxiety..not a permanent drug regmiment,,.just a month or so.
Avatar universal
I also recently had a baby actually two within 15 mos of each other. about a month before I got pregnant I started having all kinds of wierd symptoms and was told it was anxiety. I am still scared it is more than that. I haven't had any scans. Just blood tests. But I do have really strange feelings in my head almost like I am dizzy or just out of it. I also get pains in my head. It is scarey. I want to enjoy my kids also. I am breastfeeding and taking welbutrin xl but it doesn't seem to help much. I hope you start feeling better.
momjones
Avatar universal
Hi Chicklett.
I know exactly how you are feeling.  I had my baby in May.  I am so dizzy all the time, it's made me lose my mind.  I was so convinced I had MS that I was making my husband crazy.  I would cry for hours telling him that I have it.  And now all the meds they keep putting me on for my anxiety are making my vision funny.  That really get's me going!  I could go on and on about my obsession with this illness.
Antidepressants can give all kinds of side effects.  Even my legs are aching!  I read that only happens when coming off, but I have that feeling ramping up!  I get so embarrased to tell my doctor about my side effects, but I imagine he's heard it all.  I know he must look at me like I'm just out there!
Anxiety can also do bizarre things to the mind and body.  
Please keep me posted on how you are doing.  I'm going through it right now.  My post partum depression has been dibilitating and to have problems with meds only makes it impossible to care for my baby.
Avatar universal
Thanks to kellyd and momjones for posting a message...I don't feel so all alone now.  I wish that we were all in the best health and didn't need this forum but it is good to be able to talk to others experiencing the same sort of problems.  I have been hanging in there, trying to do my best as a mom.  I love my daughter so much and want to do everything right so having this depression/anxiety is really hard.  Perhaps that is part of our problem - are we wanting to do everything right so badly that the thought of being sick and not being able to be there for our children is making us anxious?  I personally am really getting tired of these weird head sensations and feel that they must be a direct result of my pregnancy and not only anxiety.  I have been getting horrible pains in my head now and my eyes hurt when I look from side to side.  I have had all of the "big" tests done but still feel that my doctor is missing something.  Can you tell me what blood tests/other tests you have had done?  Maybe it is hormones...but why wouldn't our doctors suggest this??  I have quit taking zoloft as I want to see if my symptoms are at all better when I am not taking it.  The head sensations did start before I went on the medication but you never know...zoloft could be making it worse. I also get really weird sensations as I am drifting off to sleep at night and don't know why this could be.   I feel for both of you so much as I know what it is like to struggle with this.  Please keep writing in and let me know how you are doing.
Avatar universal
also i dont take any meds because like you i dont want to think these feelings will be a result of a side effect from a anti depressant so these feelings are entirely my own doing.
Avatar universal
hi chicklet
i have not had a baby but do experience the same sensations as you i have had anxiety for 3 months now did not know what it was happening at first, I suffered from terrible tension headaches as time went on i began to feel other things aswell like a wooshing feeling or a feeling of floating away when at rest i began to be able to cope with these feelings but recently have been feeling hot and tingly spots in my head which have sent me spirling back into panic and one of my fears is that this could be the symptons of a brain heammorage even writing it now i know it sounds stupid but yet i cannott seem to let this feeling go. I do know that as soon as i let go of this fear then these "feelings" will go away but i do know they will with time.
Avatar universal
hi chicklett,
just checking to see how you have been feeling since you stopped the zoloft. I see my doctor today to find out if I need to switch.  My legs muscles and lower back are still hurting badly.  The twitching is getting better though.  I was thinking about your "head symptoms" and some of it could be from lack of sleep also.  I know that when I'm up a lot with my daughter and don't get my 8-10 hrs that I've always needed, I can't get myself together in my head for the whole day.  But also, a lot of what you're saying sounded like zoloft issues too.  Things get too complicated, don't they?
Avatar universal

I forgot to say that I'm sure breastfeeding is related to some of these funny head sensations.  I know I have anxiety but could the breastfeeding be also so blame.  Can any doctor confirm this?
Avatar universal

Hi everyone

Just wanted to write to you all because I've just had a kind of head rush thing and I was breastfeeding my now one year old daughter.  I also get occasional jolts/zaps in the head, they are not painful just frightening.  However I have seen both my homeopathic doctor and a chiropractor who both confirm it is anxiety.  Basically you think when your body is stressed and tired that your body would act the same but it is the opposite.  Your brain is kind of 'on charge' and that's what gives you the funny symptoms in the head.   It seems quite logical when you hear it but its accepting it that takes the time.  A good website to view is www.anxiety.com - it is really helping me through my panic attacks etc.

However I must admit I had my first whooshy feeling tonight when I was breastfeeding and it did scare me but when I see your posts I feel a lot better.

Good things to take are:

Ionic Zinc
Magnesium

and basically follow a really healthy diet cutting out refined sugar.  I've been eating loads of veg and fruit recently and have been feeling loads better.  It's only in the last week when I have felt exhausted that these feeling are coming back.  

Good luck and hope you all feel better.  Stay positive and don't worry - it's just anxiety.

Avatar universal
Hello Sazzer, thanks so much for your post!  I have been up and down lately and my doctor has decided that I need to go back on Zoloft but at a higher dose.  Apparently, the dose I was on (50mg) wouldn't have been doing very much to help me.  Anyway, I still get the crazy head sensations (both zaps and rushes) and feel quite anxious still about it all.  In my heart I feel that it is anxiety but when the head sensations happen, I panic and feel that it could be something serious.  I am  obsessed with the notion that I could have MS even though three doctors have told me that I don't and am fine.  The doctor that delivered my baby did suggest that hormones could be playing a part - especially since we are breastfeeding even when we are not...you know?  The hormones are always at work in our bodies but we especially get a rush of hormones when breastfeeding.  Anyway, thanks for your post and keep in touch.  By the way, I have been cutting out sugar and taking Udo's oil everyday...apparently it helps with anxiety.
Avatar universal
Just wanted to know how you are doing?  I hope you are feeling much better.  

I have finished breastfeeding now, about one month ago and am trying to eat really well and take some good vitamins.  I still get the occasional head zaps which still do panic me a bit but I'm trying to stay positive and enjoy motherhood.

Let me know how you are getting on.

Best wishes
Sarah
Avatar universal
Hi Chickett,

The sensations you describe I have had for over 24 years on a fairly regular basis.

Do you also get like a rocking sensation from side to side when you sit still and focus on them although you are not moving?

Does it feel like a very fast jolt - like electricity that goes through your head or over your head and is very disturbing.

Do you sometimes get the feeling behind your nose like pounding.

please let me know I think I can answer your question.
Avatar universal
Just wondering if you could answer my query too!

My head zaps are like one big jolt in the head, sometimes appearing to come from the top right side of my head and then on other occasions from all over my head.  I just had one this afternoon which felt like it made my whole body jump.

I used to get them at work (I was a secretary) and then since having my daughter I seem to be noticing them more.

I do try not to panic but it does annoy me and upset me that they don't seem to be going away.  I have been told that it is because my body is basically hyped up and it is nothing to worry about.  However I do wish I didn't get them.  Can you help at all?

Avatar universal
Hi Sazzer,

I hope this helps because I have been through hell trying to work out what was wrong all these years and nobody seemed to take me seriously or know what the problem was - In the end I had to figure the whole thing out for myself. Although before I start I have to tell you that I am not a Doctor!

Basically it is stress/anxiety related - but what actually seems to happen is that the person usually has a very long period of their lives that is stressful over many years and the stress continually builds up - if you can imagine like in layers.

So for example if someone was very poor and continually worried about money and paying the bills over many years and their situation never got any better and on top of this additional stresses were happening small and big things that added to the stress.

It continues to build until one day the body can take no more and you become sensitized to the emotion of stress. Once you have reached this stage you tend to get these sensations which are the nerves responding to even more stress which takes you over the edge.

So basically it is the electrical activity in your brain/nerve endings that is already in your brain that is over reacting to more stress that the body cannot cope with.

Once you have reached this stage it is very difficult to break out of because the slightest amount of stress will just take you back over the edge no matter what you do - for example relaxation techniques.

This is why the zaps - jolts - whatever you want to call them come on strong when you are in a more stressful situation - just think back to the times when you get them. Obviously having a baby is a very stressful event.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to get out of at this stage because of the catch 22 situation - your stress has built up over many years and now you need to get rid of it but you keep getting additional stress that comes back on top - do you follow?

It also tends to affect people who are sensitive and shy and who tend to focus inwardly rather than the extrovert type of personality. I myself had a very stressful and difficult childhood and early adult life and the stress kept building year upon year - just out of the blue in my teens I started getting these strange jolts.

When people say anxiety, stress etc etc, what they are really taking about is fear all the different words names etc all = fear. So the anxiety that builds up is really the fear that has built up over the years - fear of not having the money to pay bills, fears of being bullied etc etc. whatever your fears are or have been.

The only way out of it is to become a more relaxed person and to stop worrying about things however difficult this may be - you have to stop worrying and be positive.

These are a list of things that I have found greatly help:

Learn about relaxation techniques where you tighten and loosen your muscles, as people tend to be very tense.

Exercise as much as possible - swimming and running is good.

Eat good food & cut out sugar.

Do not take anti depressants or any drugs.

Try to cut down on alcohol.

Get a job and lifestyle that causes you the least stress - you have to know your limitations.

Get a massage as much as possible - especially the shoulders and neck where most tension builds up. You will have nodules in your neck that will be stiff but will loosen with the massage - these nodules alone can cause headaches etc.

Improve your posture.

Get away from any relationships or things in your life that cause you stress.

Take up yoga.

Learn to relax about life and do not take life or yourself to seriously and look forward and outwardly at all times - don't focus on the jolts - I KNOW THIS IS REALLY DIFFICULT BUT YOU HAVE TO REALISE YOU WILL NOT DIE OR SUFFER ANY REAL PAIN - IT IS JUST NORMAL THINGS HAPPENING IN YOUR BRAIN THAT YOUR BODY HAS BECOME SENSITIZED TOO AND IS EXAGERATING THESE NORMAL SENSATIONS.

Things I have found that do not help are seeking shrinks - I have seen five and in my opinion they do not serve any purpose because they take you back to your problems. You can work it out better for yourself and save money.

Also any drugs like anti depressants are a bad thing - try natural things like St John
Avatar universal
Thanks for your post Mark.  This definately does make sense to me - especially about the fear.  I fear sickness, death, disability - especially the thought of leaving my husband and baby daughter behind if I die.  I just want to feel "normal" again and yes I agree that shrinks don't seem to help.  I am on Zoloft and my doctor increased the dose to see if it would help.  I did that and for about 2 weeks the zaps went away...then they came back.  I wonder why that would be?  I was just getting a massage tonight and I was feeling really relaxed.  Then all of a sudden I got a really bad zap - really strong and I didn't enjoy the rest of the massage at all.  Why would it happen when I am relaxed???  I am just sick of all of this and wish that they would just go away.  There is still part of me that believes I have the beginning of MS even though 2 neurologists, a CAT scan and 3 MRI's tell me otherwise.  It's the "What If" that makes me so fearful.  What if it is the beginning of a disease?  I guess I am not any better than when I first wrote in.  What are the books that you want to suggest???
Avatar universal
Hi Chicklett,

I have had these symptoms on and off for about 20 years, and i can assure you it is nerves and not anything more sinister.

People who suffer from this tend to have very good imaginations and are creative but in some respects this is part of the problem as they can create a whole range of things that are wrong with them.

It is nerves that are overreacting - nerves that are tired and worn out and they are sensitised. This means that they give an over the top reaction to stress. I also bet you are very jumpy to sounds - sounds, sound loud and you get startled easliy?

Recovery takes alot of work as it took many years to get to this stage but one thing is for certain you have to force yourself to focus outwardly and stop focusing inwardly.

When you have a massage initially this can jumble things up and you can feel worse for periods because it releases the stored tension in your muscles which seem to float out of your body.

But if you keep it up it will have very big benefits long term - also when you are in a massage you have the time to focus on the zaps.I found that a deep muscle back and shoulder massage was best with oils.

My quess is that you are anticipating the zaps/jolts and are tensing your body up in anticipation which is totally the wrong thing to do - can you see that this creates a catch 22 situation.

You have to work at becoming a relaxed person by doing all the things that help make you relaxed - this is on a daily basis. It needs work and is not easy you have to set a strategy of what to do each day.

Don't give up easily as it has taken years to get like this so it is going to take time to get better.In fact this is also another way of stress if you upset yourself that progress is not being made - can you see all the catch 22 situations you get in with this problem?

Can you also see that by trying to convince yourself that it is something more serious like MS that this is the opposite of what you should be doing. The mind is a very powerful thing and i have learned that you can convince yourself of anything.

In my last post I listed things you can do - you have to be determined to do these things everday. Also get plenty of sleep -drink lots of water - take a good fish oil supplement - deep breathing techniques etc.

Books that will help - DR CLAIRE WEEKES - ESSENTIAL HELP FOR YOUR NERVES - MANAGE YOUR MIND GILLIAN BUTLER AND TONY HOPE - STRESS MANAGEMENT - EDWARD CHARLESWORTH AND RONALD NATHAN.
you will get these books off the web.

I will make a guess that like me you are a very deep thinker - your mind is constantly on the go and you constantly worry about everything - if you take a step back you may notice this.

I have had to try to change the way I think and make myself have days off where i refuse to worry and force myself to do enjoyable things.

Speak to you again

Mark.
Avatar universal
Hi Chicklett,

I have had these symptoms on and off for about 20 years, and i can assure you it is nerves and not anything more sinister.

People who suffer from this tend to have very good imaginations and are creative but in some respects this is part of the problem as they can create a whole range of things that are wrong with them.

It is nerves that are overreacting - nerves that are tired and worn out and they are sensitised. This means that they give an over the top reaction to stress. I also bet you are very jumpy to sounds - sounds, sound loud and you get startled easliy?

Recovery takes alot of work as it took many years to get to this stage but one thing is for certain you have to force yourself to focus outwardly and stop focusing inwardly.

When you have a massage initially this can jumble things up and you can feel worse for periods because it releases the stored tension in your muscles which seem to float out of your body.

But if you keep it up it will have very big benefits long term - also when you are in a massage you have the time to focus on the zaps.I found that a deep muscle back and shoulder massage was best with oils.

My quess is that you are anticipating the zaps/jolts and are tensing your body up in anticipation which is totally the wrong thing to do - can you see that this creates a catch 22 situation.

You have to work at becoming a relaxed person by doing all the things that help make you relaxed - this is on a daily basis. It needs work and is not easy you have to set a strategy of what to do each day.

Don't give up easily as it has taken years to get like this so it is going to take time to get better.In fact this is also another way of stress if you upset yourself that progress is not being made - can you see all the catch 22 situations you get in with this problem?

Can you also see that by trying to convince yourself that it is something more serious like MS that this is the opposite of what you should be doing. The mind is a very powerful thing and i have learned that you can convince yourself of anything.

In my last post I listed things you can do - you have to be determined to do these things everday. Also get plenty of sleep -drink lots of water - take a good fish oil supplement - deep breathing techniques etc.

Books that will help - DR CLAIRE WEEKES - ESSENTIAL HELP FOR YOUR NERVES - MANAGE YOUR MIND GILLIAN BUTLER AND TONY HOPE - STRESS MANAGEMENT - EDWARD CHARLESWORTH AND RONALD NATHAN.
you will get these books off the web.

I will make a guess that like me you are a very deep thinker - your mind is constantly on the go and you constantly worry about everything - if you take a step back you may notice this.

I have had to try to change the way I think and make myself have days off where i refuse to worry and force myself to do enjoyable things.

Speak to you again

Mark.
Avatar universal
Hi Chicklett

Sorry i forgot to answer this question in my last post.

I am on Zoloft and my doctor increased the dose to see if it would help. I did that and for about 2 weeks the zaps went away...then they came back?

What i have learned is that the body becomes used to drugs like this so that after a period of time the effects becomes less and less until they have no effect at all.

All these drugs do is give you a bit of breathing space they mask the problem but do not cure, it is still there in the background.

In my opinion these type of drugs are a big no no and add to your problems because they create additional side effects and withdrawl symptoms and alter your brains chemistry.

Getting a healthy diet and lifestyle is better and using natural alternatives.

we must remember that drug companies make alot of money selling them and that Doctors are also I believe get incentives from these companies.
Avatar universal
I feel like you know me!!!  Yes, I am a real "thinker"...I am constantly worrying about others and myself.  I also am creative and pretty outgoing actually.  I am trying so despretely to continue on with daily activities and my life but intrusive thoughts (negative ones) seem to wear me down.  I am tired.  I am tired of fighting with my thoughts, you know?  
However, your posts have encouraged me to keep pushing on and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I exersise everyday, eat a really healthy diet (I could eat less sugar I suppose) and I don't drink, smoke, etc.  I do take yoga classes and get massages regularly.  I know that I need to focus on other things and yes I do anticipate the zaps/head sensations.  I worry about when they may happen again.  I wish I knew FOR SURE that they are nothing but stress and anxiety built up - your explaination does make sense as I have had anxiety/depression for years and these last few years have been hell.  Yes I do jump at loud noises and am easily startled.  In fact, I have been experiencing these zaps upon hearing a loud noise.
Anyway, thanks for writing back and I do plan to get off of Zoloft in the near future.  I guess all it really does is cover up the symptoms and make your body numb for a while until the stress comes back.  Do you think that I will have them forever?  Thanks for the book suggestions.  
Chicklett
Avatar universal
Hi again Chicklett,

I also went through the having tests for MS, a brain tumor - you name it.  I also thought I was having a heart attack and went to hospital. I actually found out that alot of this is also muscular - tension in the muscles, which also builds up with the stress. This tension which also builds in the sides of the neck and can contribute to these feelings. It buids up over years.

It will take a good time for massage to start to relieve the symptoms and this is only part of the process.

You can overcome this but you have to be determined to do it - you can fully recover in 6-12months. You may occasionally get the symptoms back when you let the routine slip at times of stress because the stress will build up again.

But when you have had a good time of healthy living and the body has fully recovered you can start to ease off a bit
Avatar universal
Mark

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for such imformative posts.  You have described me exactly and it all makes sense.  

Both my homeopathic doctor and chiropractor both agree that the jolts are due to stress and my body being hyped but I agree with 'chicklett' that there is always that doubt in your mine.  Both myself and Chicklett need a course in positive thinking - we sound so similar!!

I think my tension in my shoulders and tiredness (looking after my daughter with interrupted night sleeps) are probably a major factor but I do worry about things constantly.  

Thank you so much for taking time out to talk to us and my new years resolution ...... positive thinking!

Sazzer
Avatar universal
This thread has been SO reassuring to me.  I'm a 40 year old mom of three, and have been having discrete spells of dizziness many times a day for a couple of weeks now.  It's not vertigo (spinning), but it's very distracting and I was extremely anxious about it before the normal EKG, bloodwork, and CT scan!  Even now that I'm much more relaxed, I'm still having episodes every 15 minutes or so, but  after talking to lots of people and reading on the web, I'm fairly sure it's anxiety.  I saw my primary care physician this morning, and she prescribed a short course of Klonopin, almost as a diagnostic aid--if I take it and the symptoms disappear, it's likely to have been stress and anxiety.  I'm a little hesitant to take it, but the PCP says she's prescribed a low enough dose that I'll "barely know I'm on it."
Avatar universal
Just to add to what everyone else has been talking about!  I am 37 year old woman who has not just had baby, but I have had a build up of stress over the past year.  First my brother whom I was very close to and in business with, was stealing money and took the business from under my nose,  then my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In the past 3 months i have been getting sharp shooting pains all over my head and whooshing feelings,  I am constantly beating myself up, with thoughts that i am going to drop dead at any second because of these pains.  Have had blood tests, etc but doctor is adamant it is anxiety.  I think deep down I know it is but i find it so hard to believe that anxiety can cause this horrible shooting pain in my head.  I think we all have to think positive but i know this can be so hard.  Am thinking of you all
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