Monday, October 5, 2015

How I fixed this strange feeling

First of all, this won't be a continuous blog. I just want to write about the weird problem I used to have for more than a year and the way I cured it. I'm leaving this for all other people who are suffering from this sickness and are frustrated to find out how to get rid of it. If you liked this post and if that helped you, please leave a comment. Also that would be nice to show your appreciation by using the advertised products in adword banners.


The Story:

  I am a software developer in test (SDET) which simply means that I write code to test other's developed software. For years, I could easily work with computers for 12-14 hours per day, including my job activities and personal stuff like emails, education and playing games.   Around a year ago (December 2014), our company hit a hard deadline in a sensitive ongoing project that would cost a fortune if we couldn't make it by the new year. I deliberately and voluntarily worked more that usual, focused more on computer screen and sacrificed weekends for the project's sake. We achieved our objectives and closed the project before the new year's eve but my body didn't forget that and started to punish me for what I did.

The Problem:

  That hard working days broke something in me; I got more sensitive to light, would get tire easily and quickly, and worst of all, after few minutes focusing on computer screen, a strange pressure in top of my head would start growing up. This sickness would force me to not pay full attention and evade looking at monitor. I can't describe that feeling very clear perhaps because of my limited English vocabulary but I try my best to elaborate what it felt:
It was a painless pressure expanding on top of my head almost close to my skull. I could imagine that something like a sponge inside my brain is getting soaked, bigger and heavier that put more pressure on my brain. As I said, it never caused pain but it would cause some sort of numb feeling in the head.  At the same time I could feel that my eyes are somehow connected to this sponge. I was uncomfortable to roll my eyes around because I the eyes mussels were a little sore.
Taking a coffee break with some extra sugar would take this feeling away only for few minutes and then it always returned almost immediately.

Unsuccessful attempts:

For me, this situation was a life-style threat. I make money from computers, I'm a family man providing for family and paying mortgage and this could be a "disability" for what I am good at. I started to look for a remedy online and made appointments with different doctors. I changed my diet, renewed my glasses, took many types of pills including vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements and nootropics; only few were a bit helpful.

Most of articles and researches about similar symptoms are focused on an irrelevant root cause such as Anxiety, Depression, Migraine, Attention deficit disorder (ADD) or See Sick Syndrome (SSS).
No I don't have any of the above. No one can persuade me that I have depression or anxiety. I won't let a physician decide what psychological disorder I might have just because the arrogant lazy and careless doctor wants to hypothesise it.

After 11 months of trial and error, I can tell you what exactly helped me and what did not. So if you have exactly same problem as I used to have, and if you don't have other health problems like anxiety , depression, SSS or ADD, then don't waste your money and time over all the nonsense you find in web. Don't turn to a lab rat and pay money to doctors who don't even understand what your problem is. Try my solutions first and then go forward to your own journey with my wishes of best of luck.

For example, I didn't see any benefit from Modafinil, Caffeine, Noopept, Huperzine, Racetams, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Bacopa monnieri (Brahma),  Physical activities, Yoga and relaxing  music or meditation freaky noises. I'm not saying that they are not good at all, I mean they didn't fix this particular problem but they might be useful for other purposes. Anyway, I found some solutions that you might find useful below.

The Cure:

Before going forward, I want to give you a name for this symptom. As per my understanding, its name is: Mental Fatigue. Your brain is a machine and like all other machines it gets fragile and inaccurate while being under restless tension and stress. Forget about all the myths saying "Brain is the only machine that gets stronger by work", respect your brain, give it time to process buffered data and put reserved cells at work. It's not like "breaking through it" by keep the stress going on. You must change your habits now.

The Four Steps of Recovery:

1- Pay Your Sleep Debt:  40% Improvement

Speaking of myself, I used to sleep around 9 hours a day since I was a kid. I had to decrease this number to average of 7 hours last year because of my job, online school and family. It was a little hard at beginning, but I eventually coped with short sleep hours with a some help of extra caffeine. Anyway, the effects of this change was gradual sleep deprivation and fatigue.
This is the most important part of the healing process: Do yourself a favor and use a whole weekend to sleep as much as you can, like 10-12 hours for three days in a row. Take some sleep-aid pills if needed, use ear buds, darken your rooms and enjoy the comfortness of your bed while the AC keeps you comfortably warm or cold. Don't let your pets or kids make you feel guilty because you are trying to recover yourself to be a better dad as well.
Then after that weekend, sleep enough every night. I sleep 8 hours a day now and when I don't, I feel the same feeling coming again. Yes, you can not kill the beast forever but you can tranquilize it by keep this prevention routine. You will start feeling less and less head pressure after a week.

2- Consume more Oxygen:  30% Improvement

I found that whatever this sickness is, it gets much better with deep breaths. Try to change you breathing habit, breathe more and deeper. You will figure how it helps you when you keep your deep breathes going for few minutes. I'm not sure but I assume breathing pure oxygen every now an then should have the same impact.

3-Avoid Eye Strains: 20% Improvement

One thing you should consider as a trouble maker if you spend lots of hours in front of monitors, is the eye strains. Eye strains can lead to headache and the make your situation worse while struggling with mental fatigue. There are some methods to reduce the effects of computer screen on eye. You need to try them as much as you can:

  • Decrease your screen brightness to the lowest and most comfortable level. Right now, you are staring at rectangular lamp that we call a LED screen, don't let this name confuses you; your eyes are not evolved for non-stop intense light input, especially the blue light that you barely find in nature. Use dark themes for your windows, as I used in this blog.  Finally, change your monitors light temperature to below 6000K. There are some tools like f.lux that are very helpful in pampering your eyes.
  • Change your glasses to an anti-glare one. Avoid glares on the screen and any shiny objects near it that might distract you.
  • I found this article very useful. Read it carefully.

3- Brain Supplements: 10% Improvement

Following supplements helped me a lot to get rid of the problem. Please take them at your own risk and consult your doctor before doing so.

  • Gingko Biloba Extract (I take one in morning and one around noon)
  • Rhodiola Rosea root extract (same as above)
  • Multivitamin and Mineral (everyday with my breakfast)
  • Omega 3 (1000mg per day)
  • Sesame seed (chew 2-3 table spoons during the day)
Also try to eat more protein and less sugar. Have fewer drinks but consume lots of water everyday.

My last advise is have some Tylenol (Generic name: Acetaminophen or Paracetamol) ready to use. Only take them when you know that would be a hard day ahead. 


I hope this could be helpful for you. I'm sure if your head pressure problem is like what I had, you will feel healed within two weeks. If it didn't happen, do not hesitate to have a serious checkups and look for professional help.



20 comments:

  1. Very interesting thanks ! i spend a lot of time on laptop (work!) stress and pressure are ongoing... i guess this could be what i have rather than something more sinister!

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  2. Thanks i had this problem before and i already met a lot of specialists. End up they concluded it was anxiety. The "strange" feeling just gone after two weeks andnow its come again. And i noticed it happened after i too focusing on my tv screen for long hours due playing game. I will try your method first then we'll see.

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  3. Had the same pressure feeling for 18 months, work on dual screen 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Had enough. Thanks for the info. Rest helps, as you suggested. Started the other things you mentioned to see if it helps.

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  4. I gotta tell you,I am so relieved to hear that so many of you are feeling the same things that I have been.There is very little that I don't do on a computer and all of a sudden I can barely be in front of it for an hr. I empathize with the occurrence of having a work project that required crazy hours for about 7 straight days and then the breakdown began.Doctor diagnosed it as vertigo.�� I'm absolutely trying this Thank you so much for sharing.

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  6. Great job and dead on. Thanks for sharing. I would like to suggest a neck wrap as well. The gel or rice wraps you can microwave. The muscles in the neck get sore, leading to headaches, eye aches, you name it. Stretch, bend, take a break each hour and jump, touch your toes! Dont be a slave to the screen.

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  7. Absolute spot on with every point, thank you very much for this blog and that you decided to write it down and share your information!

    I can confirm that every cure in this blog is effectively reducing the symptoms gradually but I recommend to do 7 sleep cycles for 2 weeks, then 6 cycles for another 2 weeks, then 5 cycles until fully recovered. If no changes in the first 2 weeks, please rely on medical expertise and see a specialist doctor.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this really nice and informative post,.
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  9. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to try these steps and hope for the best. Cheers!

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  10. I must say it's an interesting and really nice share,
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  11. thank you for this. I am a software engineer grad student with a recent career change to technology (coming from retail) so I am constantly putting pressure on myself. I think these symptoms are dead on. I would work on power points get this weird head pressure to the point that I can not even function anymore. I go lie down for 10 minutes..poof! head pressure is gone. I return to computer work and the head pressure return. Funny this is if I were to watch something on the internet leisurely or watch tv, I do not have them but when it is concentrated work on the computer screen that is when it appears. It is debilitating and annoying. It is end of semester so maybe my heightened stress is kicking it up in high gear. Anyhoo..thanks for the insightful post and suggestions. Will do!

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  12. Wow, thank you for sharing. It would happen at work if I really was doing a lot of computer work, or at home playing MMO games. My symptoms were like a mild non spinning vertigo, a bit nausea and wanted to put my head down and rest (if I did I would almost go to sleep). If I ate more protein it helped. Drinking lots of water helped also. I am going to try the herbal stuff and doing the 10-12 hour 3 day weekend sleeps.
    But really thanks. I thought perhaps I had an inner ear issue beginning, or my eye glasses were the reason, but deep inside I knew it was something else.

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  13. I'm glad I am not the only one. I have been constantly scouring the internet, trying to find out what's going on with my head. It definitely makes sense that my Brian is experiencing fatigue. I spend 7-10 hours on a screen during work on top of mobile phone use and gaming. What's helped me is taking breaks every two hours, by just closing my eyes and taking my eyes of the computer screen. Also being conscious of what I call "hitting the wall" which is continuing to stay on task when your mental sharpness and ability to think fluidly has decreased. The best way to describe "the wall" is when your start making very rare mistakes like: constantly making typo errors, forgetting things you do routinely or it takes time to recall your routine that you usually do effortlessly. I really appreciate this post I am going to look into some of the vitamins and share my feedback. Thanks -ewess

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. You're common sense approach speaks truth to my ears. This strange sensation in my head seems very similar to yours. I will try your suggestions, especially the sleep.

    Thank You again & God bless you!

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