In a really bad way

Hello all,

Over the last 4 weeks I’ve found myself on a slow but incremental downward spiral of feeling more and more symptomatic. Yesterday things suddenly hit a new low and I found myself in the board room at work lying on the floor trying to rest my head the disorientation/dizziness was so bad. It really hit after I had driven a work car about 60 km. I’ve been on a small dose of Paxil now for some time (August) and been ok with numerous but survivable blips. My doc told me the other day I should swap over to lexapro given the MAV control I had on Cipramil. I took a one tab 2 days ago (1/4) but the next day at work I was massively depressed from it and felt really off beyond normal and couldn’t work. With the trip coming Sunday I pulled the plug on that and decided to stay with paxil for now and hope to return to baseline. Baseline is not happening and I’m now so massively dizzy in my head that sleep is very difficult. Lisa, I’m doing what I did when I had that meltdown in Toronto (this is worse now) and taking valium 4x daily but it’s not stopping this onslaught even though I’m not sitting here in a panic or anything. It just is. I have to face the fact that I may not be able to get on that plane this Sunday. All that travel and ending up in Thailand like this would be hell on earth. I can’t imagine. To top this off I’ve been battling a viral infection (sore throat) since Saturday. It’s not bad and feels like it’s on the way out but could also be a factor in this hurricane.

I need a plan to salvage this but what? I could throw myself back onto Cipramil and just take the nasty start up and all of the ugly side effects I get or I could hit pizotifen which may help but I’m not sure it ever did although I could tolerate it. It does feel like I just have a serotonin depletion problem. I know this feeling. Increasing the paxil dose might work but then it makes me feel crazy every time I’ve tried that so not holding my breath there either.

Any thoughts on this appreciated. I can’t see very clearly while in this mess.

Going to try and sleep again. Scott :shock:

I’m sorry, Scott. I have nothing to offer you but prayer.

I can feel your pain, just by the way you have written your post, and I know you don’t blow things out of proportion.

First of all, can you just clarify the dizziness? Are we talking rotational spins that incapacitate you (true vertigo) or the ‘other’ dizziness symptoms that blow our heads off. If true vertigo, could you look at something like SERC to calm the storm? I can tell from your post you have added anxiety about going to Thailand - try not to let this fuel your current episode. Forget sundays flight for the moment and just try and get your head levelled out. Is there any way you can reduce work pressures? I would also keep on the same Paxil dose for now, and make changes after you get back from Asia. Yes, I agree you do have a Serotonic issue, given your mood changes and the relation to your other MAV symptoms - its clearly what sends you into a curve ball. If Valium works for you - I would hit it hard for the next few days whilst trying to keep everything else in equilibrium ( excuse the pun).

Scott - I know you hate hocus pocus methods, but have you tried Hypnotherapy for the anxiety & mood changes? Its a registered practice on the NHS now in the UK, and GP’s make referals for patients to them. It has helped me get a better hold of dealing with this int he past, granted no cure, but might makes things easier? Just a thought.

Good luck, let us know how you get on, and don’t throw your holiday out of the window just yet.


Hi Scott,
I am so sorry you are having this onslaught now… ugh! Unfortunately as you know, all the preventive meds take so long to work so there are no quick fixes. I would just stick with the valium daily and don’t be afraid to keep increasing the dose. It will take a good five days to get to a steady state in your body so if you take a good dose of at least 10-20 mg per day for at least 5 days you have a good shot of maybe calming things down by your trip.

Keep us posted…

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really hope you get to feel better quickly so you don’t have to cancel your trip Scott. :frowning:

I too have been felling much worse lately, after a year of pretty much constant symptoms in the lowrange (which have somewhat made me doubt it is migraine I do have). It seems whereas the motion in my actual body is the same, I have lots of more stuff going on in the brain; I’m sure most here know the feeling of magnets having a tango inside your head. Buzzing, almost electric feeling inside the head most concentrated around the ears, and if you close your eyes it feels like you’re falling pretty much. Better when lying in bed however so I can still sleep ok, but visual and audial sensitivity is definately increased = problems with computer. I haven’t experienced this in over a year and back then I only felt sorta like this in the head when the motion was way worse in the body as well (I felt more like I was rocking around + my head was, now it’s like my body is not rocking much but my skull is). It really really sucks!

It started about a week ago just after I shaved my hair very short, but I can’t see how shaving your hair would make you dizzy :o
I also dropped one of those low-energy lamps in the floor but I’m not sure it even actually broke (it kept giving light so I figured there was no crack, but didn’t inspect closer), and so I don’t that is the cause either.

Really hope this passes for us both soon scott :frowning:

Thanks MJ.

Luke – the dizziness is never spinning like it was in VN days … it’s heavy disroientation instead. When my eyes are shut and I lie in bed I feel like I’m moving somewhat but it’s not heavy vertigo where I’m sliding to the left or right. Lying down with eyes shut produces greatly increased heart rate and it feels like it’s pounding harder. Sleep is totally disrupted. Yet, I’m not lying there feeling anxious at all, only massively concerned that this thing has gone mental if that makes sense. When I just got out of bed and tried to walk I fell side ways and needed to keep one arm against a wall. So I guess it’s heavy dysequilibrium, as though I’m really drunk. Re Thailand: I’ll cancel it if I have to and I can live with that. I’ll be really pssed off though because of the $$ and saying bye-bye to my holiday bc of this ^&%$ crap. Work pressure is off now. I’ve done all the hard work – today is the launch of the Program I was working on. Little will they know how wasted I’ll be under the facade today.

I know hypnotherapy is the real deal and works for some. I just completed a course in mindfulness based stress reduction. I’ve been using that a lot to get back to sleep. Concentrate on my breathing and not on any catastophising etc. I can usually get back to sleep despite the madness in my head but I’m awake again 2 hours later.

Thanks Lisa. There’s no doubt the valium helps to keep me sane through all of this but it’s not stopping the freight train so far. It may let up with the virus going … it’s back this morning. I can only reassess after today and hope like crazy that it dies out like it did in Toronto, though this feels worse if that were possible. I reread my posts back then and it was pretty dire then as well though I didn’t have this heavy dysequilibrium. At least I don’t have to drive a car anymore this week. I’ll do another 10 mg today and see how that goes. I still have 4 days to rein this in.

Thanks again … Scott

Hey Mikael,

Sorry to hear you’re in the shitter too. The electric feeling you descibe I can relate to. I feel it all over sometimes … have the shakes too occasionally. It really is like some weird anxiety state or something yet it also comes with headache (sore now), massively screwed up head, and IBS (the latter has dropped off a fair bit over the last week which is one plus for me). I wonder what your trigger was? Mine has definitely been real external anxiety that I had hanging around 4 weeks ago now from work pressure and some other things. Ever since then, I have just been sliding down the slippery MAV slope seemingly unable to grab anything to stop the slide. Valium makes the plunge easier at least.

I hope you can get this sorted too mate.


thanks! I wonder if mine might be anxiety-related too. I’ve noticed how I often get headaches or dizzy or whatever AFTER the trigger has subsided; so if it’s stress that’s the cause then I tend not to get the headache till after I’m done stressing and am actually relaxed, if that makes any sense :S

so it’s possible that anxiety is somehow causing this, lord knows I’ve had a bit of that lately (well not anxiety per se, more of a “depressive” state that has subsided now however). I just hope I don’t have to add this to my list of troubles, because I don’t feel like I can handle any more to be honest…

I’m supposed to study the philosophy of Husserl over christmas… Not going to happen it seems! :smiley:

take care friend.

EDIT: Seeing as I haven’t noticed any obvious food-triggers, I’ve been eating a big mac for almost every day the last couple of weeks (don’t ask me why…), so perhaps that has contributed as well. No more junkfood.

Scott I am wondering how much histamine plays a part. I get some sort of relief with syndol (mixture of paracetamol, caffeine, codeine, anti histamine. I take half pieces throughout the day as needed. I know everyone talks about rebound but its what has given me a life for the last 20 years.

It is odd that I got a bad vertigo attack an hour after eating spinach (highest in histamine). It was in the afternoon and I dont generally have them start at that time of the day.

Also, when I got back from abroad, I had a series of bad vertigo attacks lasting 6 months, then, they stopped. If it wasnt my ears from flying, the only thing I can think of was that I had 70 mozzie bites which itched for the same amount of time (histamine release maybe??)

Just a thought. Anyway, the syndol helps me. It might help you too at this bad time.

When I went on Cipramil I had an almighty migraine that lasted the 3 days I was on it and stopped when I stopped it, but that was a while ago now.


Hey Scott,

Sorry you are getting so hammered. I expect some of it may be because of your external triggers - both personal and professional. All the build up to finalising a program, especially at the end of the year with Christmas holidays looming should not be underestimated. Plus - you’ve got the “deadline” of Thailand.

It’s easier said than done I know but try not to get too worked up about Thailand. If you can’t go you can’t go and that’s that. You can spend the holiday just doing nothing at home - no flights, no airports and just the cruisey Sydney beach scene. There are worse ways to spend your holidays. On the other hand, you may be alright to get on the plane and that would be cool too.

As your program is now up and running can you take the rest of the week off on sick leave? I mean, you are in fact sick! That’s what it’s for after all.

I agree with Lisa and Luke that if Valium is providing some relief then hit it hard over the next few days to try and get to a manageable level. I don’t think there is anything at all to worry about (re tolerance/dependence) in that short amount of time. There are many people on a low daily dose with no adverse effects. If it works, take it.

Hang in there and we’ll talk soon.


Hi Scott,

Gosh, I am sorry that you are feeling this way. The good news is that all of can relate on some level with this horrid thing. Do you think you might need to add something in to the mix that you are currently on? I am wondering this because as you know, I am on 3!!! Could you try Verapamil again? Keep doing what you are currently doing and add in Verapamil? Just a thought, but you might need a couple preventatives to work together but doing different things?


I am sorry to hear you are feeling so terrible. I really can’t add much to the words of wisdom others have given you. Is there any chance that meclizine/antivert would help? I do hope you are able to find some relief soon. We all know how disabling this can be.

Scott -

So sorry to hear you’re going through this, and at such a bad time. One thing that jumped out at me in your post was that you’re fighting a virus - your body is going to be less able to handle just about anything. So I’d suggest pushing the fluids and doing whatever you can to get some sleep so that you can get rid of that bug as soon as possible. It’s probably hard to take sick time now, but some time off from work to recover from this wouldn’t hurt! It’s so hard to get well when you can’t get proper rest.

I would think that the effects of the virus could exacerbate the dizziness you’ve got going on, so getting over it might really make a difference.

Thanks all for the feedback.

I’ve noticed how I often get headaches or dizzy or whatever AFTER the trigger has subsided; so if it’s stress that’s the cause then I tend not to get the headache till after I’m done stressing and am actually relaxed.

Mikael –- if you’re getting hit after a stress out over something this is very common and called a “Letdown Migraine”. These occur after the stressful event is over. It’s not unusual to be ok while your stressing and then once it passes a migraineur can become very ill. This seems to be partially what has happened to me and additionally with the lex trial inducing all of this dizziness that won’t go away for me. Re the daily Big Mac lol. You have to stop eating that sort of crap man. It’s migraine in a box that stuff. Remember Steve Rauch says you have to eat fresh foods as much as you can.

Christine – yes, I think antihistamines are effective for migraine too. Pizotifen has a strong AH effect and is marketed as an antimigraine med. Does appear that histamine may set you off.

Vic – the next two days is so laid back it’s not worth taking a sickie really. Just Christmas parties and that’s about it. I’ll just be sticking to very plain food. I’m still cycling now between tons of visual vertigo and headache … and now profoundly tired after the massive attack. All textbook stuff eh?

Pam – yes, I likely need some multi-pharmacy but what? Everytime I throw in a new drug it’s a nightmare. Tried Verap all ready which did nothing for me but make me ultra dizzy for 2 weeks. Wondering if propranolol is worth looking at again? I wish one of the tricyclics was a miracle pill.

Book – I’m going to stick with valium for now. The anti-dizzy drugs all make me feel much worse. It sort of puts a band-aid over it but doesn’t stop the process quite like valium does. Thanks for the idea though.

Maryalice – yeah, no doubt the virus is making it harder to get back to any baseline with this. It seems to be on the way out though which is great … no massive head cold coming by the looks of it. I just need to have ONE night without the mad dizzy head and I should gain some ground. Not sure it will happen tonight though.

Scott :shock:

Hi Scott,

So sorry to hear that you are suffering through all this, buddy! I am truly stumped. Thinking back over your posts, the only thing I can recall is you saying that you have not necessarily been sticking to the migraine diet and been a little stressed, right? I don’t see why that would be causing the MAV to be flaring up as much as it seems to be. Then again, maybe you never “found” the right med to begin with and just lucked out in feeling ok until now with the Paxil or other minimal meds you had been using? The red flag in your recent post, however, is that you have a viral infection. That of course tells me ok, whatever MAV symptoms he’s having are going to be worse. I think we all know that often when you get sick, it makes the MAV stuff turn nasty. You are in a rock and hard place as they say. If you are still planning on going to Thailand, I would be hesitant to start up a new med. The valium may be the way to go. But only you can say how well you think you can handle things - travelling, the meds, etc. I would agree with some other posts there though - REST for sure, up your fluids big time, majorly fix your diet, get on the valium, and try not to fret over it. Can you make a decision last minute about the trip? That’s what I would do. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but you are definitely in my thoughts. Hang in there! ~Bonnie


When I tried the Lexapro last year after one day I was so sick I could not hardly move without extreme symptoms. It took it several weeks for me to get back to a baseline which was not as good as my baseline is these days. You throw into the mix that you have been stressed, not eating right, and a virus on top of that and it sounds to me like it was a train wreck waiting to happen.

I would take it easy as I can for the next several weeks , get yourself back to your baseline and rethink where you go next. Perhaps your body needs a break from the meds (other than the Valium) for a while just to sort of clean itself out and start with a clean slate so to speak. As far as your trip you will have to decide if it is worth the risk of making the symptoms worse than they already are at this point. There will always be time to go in the future.

I am very sorry you are feeling this bad and hope that everything calms before the holiday…perhaps just some rest and relaxation would be good for now…just my thoughts. Feel better.


Thanks Timeless … I tried lex before and was not this trashed by it oddly enough. There was a bad “come down” though about 5 days after I had stopped but nothing like this.

I continue to feel shocking. Today I took another nose-dive. I woke at 4 AM with really strong vertigo this time and it went on until I woke at 7 am. I had this feeling of sliding across the bed as well as the usual feeling like my eyes were moving around with eyes shut. I can only sleep now with my head completely propped upright. Lying flat is out of the question. I was shell-shocked all morning.

These MAV attacks really are such an enormous assault on the central nervous system. It’s just unreal. I can plainly see what it’s doing to me. The migraine must seriously penetrate the whole fight/ flight centre etc. No wonder we all deal with so much anxiety and depression.

My take on Thailand is this: I’m going to go and hope like hell that things get better and become tolerable. If they don’t and I just feel worse, I’ll simply grab a flight back on standby if I have to. There’s just no knowing how this illness will pan out. It could burn out, stay the same or get worse over the next 2 weeks. I’m going to take the chance considering I’ve already dropped $1300 on a non-refundable ticket. Not particularly looking forward to waking at 6 am, and then getting on a 9 hour flight in a cabin pressurised for 2,500 ft.

Scott :shock:

Hey Scott,

So sorry you’re still getting slammed, especially with your trip to Thailand so close. It’s great that you’re still going though - good on you. You’ll get through it, you’ve been through worse - you’ve been on longer flights than this with MAV (eg Toronto) and at least this one’s not an over-nighter. I really hope though that things do pick up and you can enjoy it and have a relaxing break. Remember, Valium is your friend!

Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you champ and as Halmagyi would say - Send us a postcard from Thailand! :wink:


Scott: Good for you! I am glad to see you are still going on your trip to Thailand. I think you will do fine especially if you go with the understanding there may be times that you have to just sit back and do nothing. That is my thinking whenever I go away. I just let everyone know that there would be times that I would have to just sit, but I would rather just sit away on vacation then at home.
Have a great time! and relax.
Let us know how it goes.

Ok Scott, we’ll be thinking and cheering you on! Hold on tight, and hopefully you’ll get through it. Give yourself a day or two to decompress after arrival and then go for it! I hope you can enjoy your vacation (or holiday if you will). Merry xmas!! ~Bonnie