Frustration / can't look at screens / fatigue

Hi, I'm new to this sort of forum. I suffered an mTBI two and a half years ago and have been trying to cope with post-concussion syndrome symptoms ever since. Things have improved vastly from the few months after the injury in 2012, but I find that, even now, I get severely dizzy and tired (to the point of needing to sleep immediately) if I spend more than say 30 minutes at a time at any type of computer screen. This totally effects my ability to work and is causing so much frustration. Apparently my symptoms weren't considered severe enough by doctors to merit further action but as the dizziness, fatigue, irritability, mood swings and inability to look at screens is still happening years later, I don't really know what to do. Even writing this is making me dizzy. I've been trying to research anything that might help but again, too much screen-time and I'm nauseous and want to sleep. Totally frustrated and feeling very alone. Any suggestions appreciated as it seems everything is done on a computer these days!

11 Replies

  • Glad you found us but sorry you need to join...

    have you spoken to your GP lately about your ongoing problems? While the initial injury may have been considered mild and not requiring further input at the the time, the fact you are still so badly affected years later suggests a review might be in order.

    I have found that when dealing with the computer it helps to have the right lighting in the room in which I am working. I have adjusted all my computer/monitor settings brightness, volume etc and I limit the time I spend looking at the screen. I look away from the screen while I type so to give my brain a break from all the buzzyness of the screen - there is such much micro flickering going on and many people find they are more sensitive to it post injury.

    Some people find using screen filters like those provided to aid people with dyslexia can help while others say it helps to wear headphones while doing computer work...blocking out some of the other distractions around can help by giving the brain one less thing to process and of course taking regular breaks is essential.

    If you haven't already done so lately, go and speak with your GP...and of course you can always give the Headway helpline a call - they may have some useful information to help you.

  • Hi, thank you for your suggestions. I will try to experiment with lighting etc., and contact the GP again. It's been a different doctor every visit and the neuropsych testing records seem to never have reached the surgery but it has been a while since I went back, so I will persevere. Thank you. Best wishes

  • Hi Choc

    i have post concussion syndrome along with post traumatic migraine and similar to yourself cannot use the computer at all so i do sympathise.

    I use my phone for this forum and the internet which im ok with.I've altered the brightness setting on it. I contacted a charity called the Aidis Trust who help people with disabilities for suggestions re screen use etc. They said its to do with the pixels and your eyes and light etc and suggested that i get a retina display i pad because i needed to do business accounts for my 1 1/2 days work(all im up to doing at mo!).I have ,and it is better than using the computer but i still have to pace myself and only use it for say one hour one day a week as it hurts my head and makes me so tired like you say.

    I had a mtbi like yourself in 2013 but the effects of pcs can be horrible cant they and so tiring .Most days i can just flop asleep in an instant like someone has just hypnotized me im so drained.

    Hope that's been of some help anyway. Keep smiling :-)

  • Hi Karen thank you for sharing. A retina display sounds like a good option to try. Wishing you all the best.

  • Hi Choc

    i forgot to say i also wear prescription tinted glasses all the time which helps because im very light sensitive.


  • You're not alone Choc, especially now you've found this site, lot's of lovely, helpful people who have probably been through similar so will be able to share there advice

    First things first is it possible to break up your message please I like so many others have difficulty reading one massive sentence.

    And like U, I think we all suffer when lookin at a screen for too long & do get tired.

    I cope with this by closing my eyes for 1000 secs every few hours, which is about 8 minutes, or I listen t 2 songs if I have the radio on, either / or.

    There have been numerous studies done & they have found that a 6 minute nap & by that I mean closing your eyes & relaxing for 6 minutes improves memory & concentration by about 50%.

    I also have a 20 minute nap in the afternoon which for me & many others works wonders. The optimum is supposedly 26 minutes, but I've always had 20 like the notorious 90s power nap & it definitely works for me.

    It's been pointed out to me that the longer the better, but what that person seems not to take into account is that people who have had a brain / head injury have problems sleeping & relaxing for too long.

    He took his information from the NASA website. Incredibly athletic, seriously fit astronauts. We aren't even like ' normal ' people let alone astronauts, we have had a head injury. Most have problems especially with things like sleeping.

    I for one start having things run through my mind after 20 minutes & if I have much longer wake up feeling like, well let's try n keep this clean, let's just say brown, smelly stuff ;o)

    It's definitely worth giving a go anyway I set my alarm for 20 mins, close my eyes & totally relax. More often than not now I do actually fall asleep but even if U don't, it has similar benefits ;o)

    Anyway I was hoping to read all about what had happened to you but alas no profile. If U get a chance I'm sure I'm not alone in saying it would be great t hear what had happened to you & the problems you are now encountering & if we have had the same experiences & have the knowledge to help ;o)

    One last thing, a reminder really please break up messages cos otherwise it gets confusing & difficult to read - Thanx Xxx

  • Hi Stace

    Thank you for your response.

    I guess I have been feeling quite frustrated with the amount of napping my body seems to need these days, but timing the naps (& accepting they are necessary) sounds like a very good idea - especially the shorter naps literally just to rest my eyes.

    I guess tha main thing with a head injury is accepting whatever has changed and learning to get round it the best we can, isn't it.

    Thank you.

  • I agree with U a 100%, I wish I had come across this site 20years ago & accepted it a long time struggling to be ' normal '

    Taken me a long time, but after 20years I've moved back down South, found this site & have realised I'm not the only one so when all the ' normal ' people have a moan at me for the things that I do (typically saying ' it's not normal ' - my sleep pattern's being a common complaint), I now say to them - I'm not normal.

    Most ' normal ' people haven't died in an accident, most ' normal 'people haven't been in a coma for 5 weeks, most ' normal ' people haven't been in & out of hospital for 7 years, most ' normal ' people aren't bipolar - I'm not normal Nick - accept it, I have, I have problems !!!

    Unfortunately most ' normal ' people aren't willing to accept that it's anything t do with your head injury cos U can't physically see it, it's not like losing a le or owt like that - classic Nick comment ' it was 20 years ago, you can't keep blaming your accident & as I said to him if U lose your leg in an accident it doesn't grow back, you learn to adapt, but it doesn't grow back.

    There are still some things that most people find easy that U can't do. Exactly the same with a brain injury !!!

    Re the nappin btw - what I find works for me is a few hours at night & a timed 20 Minute nap, so if I do fall asleep, I only sleep for a maximum of 20 minutes, & that's sometime between 2 & 4. Also a few 1000second naps when my eyes get tired (especially after writin an essay on here - night night)

    (Nah, I literally lie there with my eyes closed and count to a 1000 or as I do now listen t 2 records & with the commentary in between that's about 8 minutes so...

    And as I've said that does work wonders & as I also said night night, where's that radio ;o)


  • * correction 500 seconds or 2 song for quick naps where it's unlikely U will literally fall asleep ;o)

  • After my TBI [48yrs ago] I was diagnosed as epileptic and was prescribed medication to stop me fitting. [Phenobarbitone and Phenytoin Sodium as I recal]. Stopped taking them and didn't suffer anything for years. Then suddenly after a visit to Specsavers in 2013 where the optician illuminated my retinas to photograph them I had a Petit Mal fit whilst on the train returning home.

    Since that silly cow did that without warning me I've experienced more episodes in the past eighteen months than I had in the preceding forty five years. I now find that over exposure to flat screens like affect me with some regularity - embarrassing because I need to use the PC at work and I've briefly 'shut down' whilst doing some important entries. My colleagues think I'm asleep and I haven't enlightened them otherwise.

    What am I doing about it? I told my GP what had happened and he looked at my notes and said, 'I can prescribe you something to sort this out and send you for tests but I know you won't take the medication.'

    Totally correct he's left the ball in my court and I'm not taking mind bending pills. I know when the thing is coming on, strange metallic taste in my mouth and feeling peaceful. I generally prop myself up and it passes in seconds. Only once was it bad when I fell off a high stool in the kitchen and bruised my face

    If and when I find myself on the deck after a Grande Mal episode with all that entails I'll reconsider my options but as far as I'm concerned I'll just grin and bear it. I hardly watch TV so there's no real problem at home.

    48 years ago the only back-up we had was one visit to the surgeon so he could review his handiwork; given my damage then I was extremely lucky the surgeon was as skilled as he was and I suspect he was fed up with seeing Mods [as we were] who rode without helmets coming in for surgery.

    There was nothing else; I went to work two weeks after being discharged from the hospital and was promptly sacked because I was 'strange.' Couldn't do that today but they [GPO Telephones as it was prior to BT] did me a real favour given my work today.

    The sad thing is that as I'm getting older I now suffer depressions equal to, or worse than that experienced in 1967 after my operation and whilst in recovery. What a b*gger!

    What can I suggest in your case Choc543? Absolutely nothing but 'iforget' has offered decent advice. I write just to let you know you're not alone.

  • Hi there

    Have you got a Headway near you, and do you have a Neurologist. It would be best to see your Neurologist, and he can put you off work, - for years - if necessary.

    I had a TBI back in January 2013, and I have been told I may recover in 5-10 years. We are all different, and our brains have their own way of solving problems.

    Good luck ! 😊😊

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