Brain just shutting down, zombie state - Desperate for help.

Posted , 25 users are following.

I have been back and forth to doctors for many years now with what I initially described as fatigue, inability to concentrate, brain fog, blocked ear, strange uncharacteristic mood swings + a whole host of other little things like sudden chills, body aches and pains, frequent diarrhea etc

Now I have never had any luck with any of the doctors I've seen but to be truly honest I only have myself to blame. I've been frightfully bad at explaining and zoning in at what the main issues are and instead just name a myriad of symptoms. I've had a full blood planel which came back negative.

Now after thorough analysis I can at least rule out many things. It is NOT depression or anxiety, but when my symptoms strike they can exasperate my problems. It is not ADD inattentive type, however the reactions I get lead to almost identical symptoms. I tested negative for celiac and a whole host of other conditions. I seem to react to everything. I often feel the fog attaching itself to my brain and the brain switching off 5 minutes after eating a normal sized meal

What is happening is that I am in a nearly perpetual state of brain fog. I would call it a zombie state. Everyday, the level of the spaciness varies continually as I react to everything I consume - literally everything. I'm very wary about driving and will only drive when feeling near 90% ok. When it completely lifts , which happens most days for an hour or so, I am my old self again. Happy go-lucky, able to take things in with ease, focussed and motivated. And my memory recall suddenly comes back.

Now this evening for example, I was going about my day with what I would call mild spaciness. Everything a little slower than I would like but not debillitating enough to stop me getting on. I popped to the chemist to buy some sudafed as I had decided to see if it would help lift my spaciness as I had read positive comments regarding pseudoephedrine. I took it at 7.45 then sat down to watch University Challenge at 8. All was fine but as I sat there I started to feel the fog build. It got stronger and stronger and eventually I spent the last 20 minutes of the show staring blankly at the screen, unable to take anything in. Zilch. Just constant blank staring which I would pull myself out of every 5 or so seconds for it to just happen again. I felt nothing, no emotion, no connection, yet not tired. Just a complete sedation of my brain like I'd taken a whole bunch of Valium pills (i've never taken any so just guessing what it feels like!) 

The zombie state was too much so I decided to get away and have a lie down. After about half an hour, I Iiterally felt the fog disappearing, the brain switching back on, the mental energy slowly coming back.

This reaction happens all the time. I've never found consistent triggers but have found that any mild substance (caffeine, alcohol) definitely brings it on, as well as medium sized meals.

Now the only thing I've ever felt lift the brain fog is an almost fasting state. I am however borderline underweight despite consuming a good 2500 calories a day. I've never been able to gain weight and the one week I cut my calories in half I lost a stone immediately. However I was starting to feel like a proper person for the first time in many, many years.

Does anyone have any ideas what is going on? It's almost as if my brain is unable to tolerate anything. I've recently given up caffeine as I've had debilitating brain fog and spaciness after a single cup of tea. 

My doctor suggested Narcolepsy when I told him about waking up unrefreshed most mornings, fall asleep at the click of my fingers, and feeling whacked and like a zombie for no reason, but I really don't think that is causing the weird reactions and terrible zoning out most times of the day. He referred me to a Neurologist but the NHS waiting times are 6 months and I can't really afford to go private and spend £250 on a consultation unless I'm sure the neurologist will provide answers, as I currently jobless due to battling each day through the haziness.

My life is falling apart and although I am starting to spot more and more strange reactions, I'm not managing to find any concrete answers.


5 likes, 38 replies

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38 Replies

  • Posted

    Pernacious anaemia. Have you had a b12 blood test?  If so, do you know the level and also folate levels?
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  • Posted

    Thanks for youre reply. Yeah I've had B12 and folate levels tested as I too thought this could be the case. My folate levels were bang in the range and my B12 was 400mg/dl...
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    • Posted

      Chris and to others, no one should have to tolerate living like this.

      First off I would have a sleep study done.

      B12 should actually be ABOVE 500. Google it. This is little known but B12 is usually best absorbed by the methyl version of B12 and can be good as the shot. This is vital. It's cheap too. (In fact, i would take all the b vites if you can tolerate them)

      I would also lookup joseph cohen self hacked. (He has kind of a complicated layout but a very good understanding about pesky brain fog and or sleep related issues)

      * l-thenanine can be good for alertness without jitters.

      Remove gluten. You may need to give it 30 days to notice a difference.

      Consider getting a good water filter. A good one is from clearly filtered for removing garbage others won't. But any filter is a start.

      All these little things add up. Especially, when the issue isn't healing quickly or persists.

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  • Posted

    Chris, this sounds awful!  Sorry you are having such problems.

    There are numerous natural supplements that can help "brain fog".  I myself started taking Niacinamide (the amide form of vitamin B3) a little over a month ago.  This has definitely helped.  I take two 500 mg capsules per day, with meals.  Be sure to get the "amide" form instead of pure Niacin, because the latter will make you turn red as a beet on occasion (I've had this happen twice - it's very embarrassing when you're in public, but no such problem with Niacinamide).

    Not sure if this is a factor, but I would suggest not watching television.  There's nothing but garbage on anyway, so you aren't missing anything!  I stopped watching TV many years ago, mainly because I thought it was inducing a hypnotic, zombie-like state in me.

    Try the Niacinamide and see if that doesn't help.  Good luck!

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    • Posted

      I barely watch any tv anymore because of this but the zombie state exists in everything I do. I walk around the shops forgetting everything I went in for, I'm having a real difficulty driving, I am zoning out constantly during conversations.


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  • Posted

    I'm now wondering if I am suffering from some form of epilepsy.

    Any thoughts?

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  • Posted


    Sorry to hear that you are going through this battle. I went through years of "brain fog" that turned out to be narcolepsy. I didn't think narcolepsy and neither did my doctors from the time I was 16 (first time mentioning it to my primary doctor) until 22, when a neighbor started joking around about it.

    Not to say a narcolepsy dx would be much help because there is no cure, just masking symptoms with pretty expensive stimulant medications. Some adhd meds, like ritalin or adderall are more affordable and also typically used for treatment.

    Back in college, I didn't drink because I would be the one getting poked at and made fun of for passing out, but half the time I was still half awake mentally. My drinking turned to shots made with red bull. No amount of caffeine will make me avoid my fog, and actually, it just makes me go into more bizarre dreams. I often put off eating lunch because the fog always hits me after lunch, even on stimulants.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is not to rule it out. The way it is portrayed in the movies is exaggerated and a nice chunk of what makes it to the news are the more extreme cases too. I haven't fallen while bowling, and only fell asleep once eating at the table. Happened to be dessert after Thanksgiving Dinner when I was pregnant. The zombie mode where everything is happening around you, you may feel stuck and things sometimes seem morphed or surreal is sleep paralysis. The fog and time gaps, where I was doing stuff but have to retrace it, are times of automatic behavior. That is my zombie mode. My sleep paralysis is coffin mode because I feel stuck.

    This is my personal experience and just want you to not rule it out (especially is you are in the uk and had the h1n1 vaccine and symptoms showed up within the months or year following).

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  • Posted

    i had very similiar symptoms, it had to do with my thyroid.
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  • Posted

    I had a similar thing with the brain fog and zoning out. I had some blood works done and my vitamin D was way below the normal range. Anyway I was obviously then put on some vitamin D capsules and have never gotten the fog or zoning out again
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    • Posted

      I didn't even see your comment, I just posted about vitamin D. Low vitamin D hit me extra hard last year but I had been suffering for years not knowing why. Chris' symptoms sound like Vitamin D but who knows..worth checking out. Good thing they caught that for you. Took years for a doctor to think to check. I never finished all this pills, almost but never got rechecked. Now I need more pills I think, my muscles burn so bad when I use them like I worket out too hard but I haven't done anything. Can't think. sad.

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    • Posted

      Hi just an update on my brain fog thing. I was actually having a mental breakdown and it took me a long while to realise it. I went and saw a Chinese medicine practitioner for my hand rash and she picked it up through my pulse on my wrist. I did go to my doctor but I was just prescribed cortisone and while it helped momentarily it all just flared right back up after I stopped using it so I figured it was simply masking my symptoms not addressing the cause. I was also worried what it'd do to me in the long run. I can't stress it enough but I have never felt better mentally and physically. I did research a good one to go to as I was paranoid about ending up with a dodgy one. I thought I'd share my experience if you ever felt like trying alternative medicine.

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  • Posted


    Some aspects of your condition sound like what I endured - somehow - for 10 months. I have a possible cure below, 

    Your comment about not driving unless you were 90% - I know what you mean.  When I was in a fog I noticed that I I would need a LOT of energy to concentrate - say 8 on a scale of 1-10.  So I could drive 5 or so miles but boy would I have to focus.

    Like your fog, mine would occasionally lift for a day and I would rush to see a movie befor the fog descended the next day.

    Also like you, I have unrefreshed sleep.  I don't think this is related to the brain for - I could be wrong. 

    I found showering to be an Olympic event.  I would have to divide it into 3 parts.  After each part I would lie in bed for a little while so that I could recharge before expending lots of mental enerty to finish showering. 

    Then energy to concentrate was an 8 - today it is a 1.

    I went to the hospital with a different problem - a crushing headache - unbearable pain.

    I was given 2 medications:

    1. Adderall 10mg 2x day - morning and 1pm

            This is probaly the medication that fixed the brain fog.

    2.  Gabapentin 800mg 3x day

             This is probably the medication that addressed the headache

    But maybe both are needed for brain fog.

    PLEASE consult with a doctor - this medication may be inappropreate for your situation.  But MAYBE it will help you.

    My brain fog was so awful - for example I couldn't read - that I threatned suicide to my psychiatrist and my therapist if they didn't fix my brain fog by the end of 2016.

    The hospital I went to performed 2 miracles - they cured the brain fog and they cured the headache.

    I am very grateful

    Warm, warm regards - I hope this helps you.



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    • Posted

      Hi Joe -

      I'm not sure if you will see this because this post is so old.

      I'm wondering if you would please share if you also had anxiety or depression?

      My son got diagnosed with depression 5 years ago, he has been taking prozac, a very low dose for 5 year and everything was fine until about 4 months ago. They have been trying to get his medication right, but still have not! He didn't return to college this semester. He is suffering greatly and I dont' know what to do.

      Now he has the constant brain fog, feeling like a zombie, dizziness etc. He can barely leave the house. I've been to psychiatrists, psycholigists, nuerologists, etc. The psychiatrist keeps saying "to hang in there" as the medicine is going to take time. But my son, who was FINE several months ago is losing home. He can't stand living this way. Thank you! Angie

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