Blank mind / altered mental state, lack of thoughts and visual imagination (aphantasia) caused by TBI and psychtropic meds

Hi everyone

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind and thoughtful replies to my previous post. Everyone on this community is so kind and helpful, the support is fantastic and there's a real morale boosting spirit here, which has boosted my mood. Thank you :-)

Since my head injury last year, and my subsequent drug induced movement disorder (tardive dyskinesia), I have been feeling cognitive, emotional and Parkinsonian / dyskinetic effects from it all, including blank mind/fewer thoughts, inability to plan and think, sluggish thinking, reduced imagination and inner world (no 'mind's eye' aka aphantasia), difficulty initiating movement and inhibited feeling when carrying out physical tasks ('Parkinsonian' effects), alongside involuntary orofacial / buccalingual movements and choreatic / athetotic movements too.

I'm serious when I say that the head injury and post concussion syndrome set off a cascade of these cognitive effects, and once my brain fog had dissipated, the brain damage (it seemed to me) was exacerbated by the neuroleptic. I genuinely feel like I've had some kind of frontal lobe chemical lobotomy and that my mind is in a constant state of 'blankness', devoid of any emotional feeling. I feel very flat most of the time and don't seem to react or feel anything towards any situation etc. It's like the emotional dampening of the drugs have damaged my brain in such a way that I am left 'empty' and unable to feel anything at all.

Has anyone else every had this? Will it ever go away? Can the brain recover from such damage, from both a head injury and drugs? :-(

6 Replies

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  • Hi, you are certainly going through the mill with all that is going on I am not surprised that you feel "in my words thick mind fog" That is how I felt when I had my accident. If you think of your mind as a jigsaw puzzle that was once a nice picture which due to your injury has scrambled the puzzle into pieces which needs assembling again that is your brain.

    I am also sure that the medication you are on maybe needs your doctor to check to see if they are helping or hindering your progress. When you see him /her next show your email to them and they will hopefully understand how you are feeling? And hopefully help you.

    Try to centre your thoughts on something positive also something small a picture or a object which helps you to smile and try to think positively.

    It's baby steps which as adults we find hard to do.

    Maybe keep a diary that will show you how much progress you are making, sometimes it is two steps up and one down but by keeping a daily diary you might see a pattern

    I hope it helps Take Great Care Loads of Love Liz xx

    I also hope today will be better than yesterday xx

  • Uhmm not quite as serious but I feel similar.im very angry lots of rage.i suffered an non aneurysmal SAH but already had cervical dystonia ( treated wi that Botox injections in neck ) I did so much before - in a band, artist, lecturer, writer. It's been a month I feel like doing nothing . I move as slow as a snail out and about but keep telling myself I can 'snap out of it and walk fast'. When I go I feel dizzy, nauseas like I'll fall over! Thanks for NooNooHead1981 ! I'm so irritable and antagonist. U should also add I was managing PTSD from childhood trauma and am hyper vigilant !

    It's all go !!

  • It's quite likely that your mood change is a result of your brain injuries. Many of us here have experienced massive personality changes and/or dampening of emotions since our BIs, and have had to learn coping strategies to curb the more negative aspects of the resultant behaviour.

    But certain meds can also cause lowering of libido, loss of enthusiasm, and general lethargy, so you might want to take a look at side effects of any meds you've been taking which coincide with the time of your BI.

    Cat xx

  • I also have emotional flatness, mental blankness, executive dysfunction (that's the inability to plan), and something close to aphantasia. It's not the drugs with me, as I was never given any. So yes, brain injury can do those things.

    As to whether it will go, there are many factors in that. Age, severity, time since injury, what strategies you're carrying out. Are you in a programme for neuro rehab, occupational therapy or anything similar? The blank "mind's eye" suggests neuro-optometric rehab might help, especially if you have other visual symptoms. Anecdotally, I've seen brain training apps like Lumosity recommended.

    Lia

  • Had to look it up to double check but if you are saying that you have no visuals then I too have that in my box of gifts as a result of my BI .

    We discovered it when they were trying to teach me strategies (I have no short term memory) and they said when you can't find the word you want, picture the object in your mind and describe it/talk around it until you get the word you need... and I came up totally blank... no visuals.

    I have only ever met one other person who has this following their BI. For me if I can't actually see something in front of me then it effectively does not exist... The same was true for my friend (the other person I met) we had so many similarities it was only natural he and I would be friends...albeit rather scatty ones ;)

    For me it has not improved (nor has my memory or any of the other gifts my BI brought along) but I have learned to live with it/them.

    I have the cognitive effects you describe without the physical aspects. I felt a total disconnect in the early years but gradually that has improved some. I know that I exist within my own little bubble of the here and now and I am sometimes aware that I do not react as before... I'm not always aware though as the effects of the BI seems to protect me . Every so often I experience moments of pure clarity and the reality of my situation come crashing in around me... I just ride it out and it passes.

    If you take a lot of meds it is always worth getting them reviewed to make sure they are not contributing to the problems you experience... but mine was not drug related at all and pure BI.

    WE are all different and so your experiences may be very different. Finding a way to manage what you have will definitely help.... keeping a journal if you can is really helpful to spot the teeny changes you may otherwise overlook.

    As humans we are always evolving anyway so you will not always be in the same place...and there is no way of predicting what the future holds.

    Boy I hope at least some of that makes sense because my brain is now fried LOL

  • I find that there are a lot of times when I sincerely hope my brain injury hasn't completely changed me as a person forever. Every day, I am acutely aware of my reduced abilities to express myself, and as a copywriter and journalist who was previously very high functioning (and, even though I say so myself, intelligent), it has been tough coming to terms with what I consider to be a reduction in my natural abilities and talents. Devastated doesn't even begin to describe it...

    I know that a lot of the time, injury can heal and the neuroplasticity of the brain gives me hope that someday I will be able to enjoy some of my former talents. I guess with the aphantasia and lack of mind's eye, I may be lucky and it may come back... equally with the dyskinesia and involuntary movements, I may learn to live with them or they may eventually move into remission and reduce in intensity.

    Having seen a lot of similar stories of this site, and especially other forum users who have lost previous talents and abilities, it makes me realise that I am not alone. I would hope for all of us that we are able to obtain some degree of functioning as before, and that we can all adapt to the things that a brain injury has thrown at us.

    I am slowly learning to take each day at a time, and immerse myself in activities that take my mind off (quite literally) itself. This means connecting with others, especially children, recognising that I still have talents elsewhere, and ensuring I look after my health in all other areas as best I can. And it means feeling happy with the little things like a smile from my daughter or a coffee with a friend. I have had a lot of pleasure from doing socially engaging activities too, as well as lots of CBT and therapy, and my next step will be to ask about possibly seeing a neuropsychologist for an evaluation too.