Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hiya.  I'm just trying to figure this out because (1) it predates meds, though it's happened more often since I began treatment, (2) it doesn't quite match the usual explanation given, and (3) there have been no super-recent med changes I could blame it on; only one dosage change in October. 

Most people have these symptoms at some point, I'm told:  you are standing, and then everything grows very dark.  The world crowds in on the tension in your head, and you rapidly cannot see.  Your ears are filled with loud white noise, high-pitched buzzing, and all your limbs grow heavy.  You have two options:  fall over and hurt yourself, or sit down very fast (very, very fast) and try to breathe normally or deeply until your senses return. 

The usual name:  orthostatic hypotension.  The usual reason:  a sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing, depriving your brain of oxygen.  My issue:  this doesn't just happen upon standing.  In fact, I tend to be fine upon standing.  This happens randomly throughout the day.  Sometimes five minutes after getting up in the morning, when I've already been through the bathroom, fixed breakfast, popped it in the microwave, and begun doing dishes.  Sometimes when I'm browsing in the library, wandering through the endless aisles of happy reading.  Sometimes while grocery shopping, someplace between the Galas and the Empires.  It's never when I've just stood up.  It's always several minutes later, if not hours.  I never sit at work, and it's happened there, too. 

So what the hell is going on, and what can I do about it?  I'm starting to get quite annoyed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, this occasionally happens to me too, although I also get it when I stand up too quickly.

It sounds like hypotension of some sort, though.  How's your heart?

Do you have any arrhythmias or blood sugar problems?

What's your blood pressure like normally?

I'm at about 110/50, so I always figured I'd be more sensitive than usual.

Another thought that occurred to me is that they used to tell us (marching band geeks) not to lock our knees when standing, but it sounds like you have it in a variety of positions.

This site has some interesting ideas about treating orthostatic hypotension - I'm not sure pdoc believed me when I mentioned the bit about two cups of coffee.  ;)

Good luck with this one.  (and if you find a solution, can I be filled in?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to pass out at the drop of a hat, especially when pregnant and they recommended granny stockings, support hose. Dang those things are ugly!

I also have arrhythmias, low blood pressure, CNS, dysfunction, and vasovagal reactions (used to happen every time I ate that was fun!  ;) )which means I can get pretty loopy.

I am supposed to:

-make sure I get enough salt

-drink lots of water

-do exercises where I stand against a wall and bend my knees then straighten holding both positions for a period of time

-not stand up fast

-eat normally

hope that helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lmnop -- this could be any number of things, but ultimately it is an issue with circulation and/or blood sugar. Most likely (from info I know as opposed to info you haven't ever given) this is stress related. I was having the same thing in early 2004, after having had a few episiodes of big blank spots in my field of vision in late 2003, and the GP sent me to a neurologist and there were all sorts of tests and it was horrible and scary. Anyway what it was in me is probably not what it is in you, but I did figure out in the long run that I needed to quit smoking (again), get more exercise, and keep an eye on sleep and diet. With these things stabilized, I only have had any similar symptoms since then during my grad school semester, around mid-terms and finals. Stress can do a lot.

As lame as this sounds, eating salads with a variety of things in them can do a lot for this type of thing.

Of course, if you can you might want to see a GP and check that you don't have something more serious going on. Hopefully it won't be as bad as the fucking neurologist who was convinved that I did, despite my telling him from day one I thought I had an occular migraine, which as it turned out I did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently had something exactly like what you described, only in my case I was sitting down at my computer. No problem, reading along and then -- boom -- it just came over me! Both wooshing and loud ringing noises in my head, limp limbs, feeling faint. Got on the floor and tried deep breathing. Not much improvement. Then crawled up the stairs to let my housemate know, in case I needed him to drive me the the ER. He helped me to prop up my legs (I was flat on my back) and to really slow my breathing down, do more deep breathing. Finally it went away.

I figure it must have been an anxiety attack, even though it seems weird 'cause I wasn't doing anything particularly anxiety provoking. But it did happen around the time a few weeks ago that Lamictal started to lift my depression, and I started to get a bit too obsessive reading CB, staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, not eating as well as I should, etc. In those circumstances, and especially while at my computer and focused on something, I tend to do shallow breathing. Have since been trying to temper all this, and have only been aware of beginning to get that faintness & whooshing one other time, at which point I made sure to stop what I was doing and b-r-e-a-t-h-e. It went away.

Hope this helps ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Argh. I started replying to this this afternoon, but then my time elapsed and the school computer automatically kicked me off. *shakes fist at library* So.

I did see a GP on Thursday. After a very drawn-out question period with a med student, the doctor opened her mouth, rattled off the list of things he was supposed to be excluding in order of importance but hadn't been, and eventually signed a requisition form for a crapload of blood tests and an EKG. (Joy.) The EKG was normal. I can't do the blood tests 'til next week. No biggie. She thought maybe stress.

What I'm kind of kicking myself over now is not mentioning my right arm's pins-and-needles tingliness while I was there. It had just started in the waiting room, so I figured I'd picked up my backpack funny or something, and it would go away. It's still here. To anyone else, I'd suggest a carpal tunnel issue, but my pinky and ring finger are far more tingly than the rest. Argh. The last time I had an issue with this, it was a toe, which didn't feel normal for months. Friggit.

Revlow, I definitely find that purposeful, deep breathing makes the blackness go away. That, and sitting down, leaning on something. What you're experiencing sounds longer-lasting than my little 1-3 minute blackouts. Maybe it was a weakness from exhaustion/nutritional deficit, to start, then turned into what you're describing from shallow respiration?

I've passed out from hyperventilating before. That was fun. Not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I'm kind of kicking myself over now is not mentioning my right arm's pins-and-needles tingliness while I was there.  It had just started in the waiting room, so I figured I'd picked up my backpack funny or something, and it would go away.  It's still here.  To anyone else, I'd suggest a carpal tunnel issue, but my pinky and ring finger are far more tingly than the rest.  Argh.  The last time I had an issue with this, it was a toe, which didn't feel normal for months.  Friggit. 


I have trouble with the pinky and ring finger getting that tingly "fell asleep" feeling in my left hand. It comes from the way I lean on my elbow while using my mouse with my right hand, and from the edge of my desk. My general doctor says that the nerve reaching down to those two fingers is along the elbow right where I rest it on the desk. So typing makes it worse, although I'm getting less of it if I keep something soft along the edge of the desk and switching off between right and left hand mousing. It also gets worse if I'm doing something like carrying a bag in my left hand, or a heavy bad over my left shoulder.

This may or may not be true for you, but my general doc says it's irritated but not damaged. So when I don't need to use the computer so much it should resolve itself -- but I can't step away from the computer right now. She also suggested using an over-the-counter anti-infammatory if it gets really bad.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Happy Finals! I finally got over hating school since finishing my BA and am ready for graduate stuff-

About your weird blackness spells- I am heavily suspecting it is nutritional. Electrolyte intake is important, especially since for me, my meds messed with my balance big time. I just couldn't stand up right, when I was already standing, and I had other weird side effects. They went away when I started buying sports drinks of all things. Hey, worth a try for a couple of days! See if it helps your electrolytes.

The hand thing *could* be a pinched nerve. This *can* be triggered by the way you sit at the computer and type, but could be from taking class notes or whatever. I've had it before too.

the loon

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Know you're not here for the moment. Whenever you get back, here's another thought: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can cause the symptoms you've described. Kind of off the wall, but just in case this might be useful I thought I'd throw it out.

Hope your finals went well!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lmnop -- hopefully you're not accumulating things that could be medically wrong with you. The truth is a LOT of physical problems could cause your symtoms, many of them not serious. Stress absolutely is playing a role. Anything that decreases circulation, blood sugar levels, and oxygen levels would be the main culprits but that's why they need to do tests -- there are so many things to look for.

My periodic loss of vision (occular migraine) and occasional fainting/blacking out turned out to be in part because of a "mild" AVM (malformed blood vessel in the brain, what killed Nate Fisher) and blood-shunting between my heart and lungs, where some blood is flowing backwards. As horrible as all that sounds, I was told none of it was too serious and I worked to reduce my stress and eat better and quit smoking, which I had started again. I haven't had symptoms since (almost two years). But I had to go through a lot of tests to determine that what was going on wasn't very serious. Guesswork may just add to stress, you know?

Edited to change "feinting" to "fainting". Big difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello again!  I have returned!  I still haven't done those blood tests, though.  With the list of what they're asking, I must delicately balance my personal schedule with time of last lithium dose plus twelve hours of fasting.  Like, what?  Then breakfast.  Then more vampiry.  I'm going to try to do it tomorrow (even took my lithium early -- yay?), but I'm not sure I can swing it.  There's no way in hell I'm going to miss the teacher's official study session for my final final exam. 

I'm told the last of the results should be in by the time school starts again. 

Most angelic Loon, is there anything particularly special about sports drinks?  Aren't they essentially colorful sugar water with a dash of salt?  What am I missing here? 

Revlow, my results on the white hand test were wholly undramatic, so TOS is low on my list of possibilities, but thanks for bringing it to my attention.  You never know which piece of information will cause the whole puzzle to make sense. 

Fiona, you are the source of much awesomeness in this world.  Thanks.

Jem, you are the only person I know who would "encourage" a friend by suggesting they, too, may suffer arterial malformation and a funky blood exchange.  (This isn't what you were aiming for, but it's what I picked up from my first reading.)  That's hilarious.  I ought to smack you upside the head and join your personal harem. 

I can't do money, CS.  How about pet pebbles?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest FrannyNZooey

In health reasons I had it due to low blood sugar and low blood pressure,and do have the heart murmur and other thingy too with heart, which both went very much down while being pregnant, and I was given glucose tablets to keep on hand.  Did get to point where I was afraid and chose to not drive.

That was all pre-meds, and so on for me. What hit me since never on Sequeol was that you said it comes on prior to taking meds.

First reasons I had to take meds was anxiety. I did not have good reactions with lot of meds.

So, I quickly built anxiety to meds. Meds now have been ok. But, I still catch that flutter in chest, that feeling of walking towards gloom (over dramatic) it is still there, I just have been fortunate to be on right meds for long enough, and reason that with self.

I hope they check all out with you, and meds, so you feel better very soon.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes you ought to.

Sports drinks contain a lot of salts aka electrolytes. The key to sports drinks is if you take a sip and it tastes like heavenly nectar, you need it. If it tastes like sweetened battery acid, your electrolytes are fine. Some meds deplete electrolytes. Trileptal for instance. Not sure what lithium does -- it is a salt so maybe it does something.

I wasn't saying you might have AVM or blood-shunting. I think there are soo many possibilities you should stop trying to guess what they are. Sleep well, eat well, and occasionally blow off school to really chill out (I went canoeing one day mid-semester and it saved my life for finals).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Aaaaan unfor-tu-nate aaaaaa-cci-dent, in a kuh-noo...."

There's no one here named Adrian, right?

Noting VE's experience with Strattera and his obvious survival, I'm proceeding under the assumption that it's not dangerous unless I fall from a dangerous place. Still getting those blood tests done... on a day when I haven't forgotten to revise my final paper (which I store in my email in case of imminent hard drive failure). I'll go work on that now. Life later. School now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...