Sunday, 8 April 2012

Vasovagal Attack

Today I had an extremely bad vasovagal attack towards the end of a family luncheon. It's not sure what psychologically triggered the attack but in the past it has always been conversations surrounding medical procedures or discussing complications where things go wrong, discourse surrounding malfunctions of the heart, heart disease, heart failure, arteries etc.

When it comes on, the first sign is a shortness in breath. I feel like I need to breathe more, and when I find it harder to breathe, more panic sets in. The tinnitus in my ears grows stronger and a feeling of cold sweat begins to surge through me in waves. This ultimately leads to intense feelings of nausea and dizziness. There is an overall weakness now in my legs and my body feels very shakey. I need to lay low. Staying upright feeds the nausea. My mind is as sharp as ever and knows what is happening yet my words become mumble jumble, calling to others to help me but it doesn't come out that way. But how can they actually help me when I don't even know what is happening to me exactly or how to be helped.

The Doctors had never really been able to find the answers for my fainting episodes which occurred since childhood and labelled them under the umbrealla of vasovagal - which is often when they can determine it but not how to cure it.

"Please, I need some cold water" I think I said. In the past, with the onset of an attack cold water has sometimes helped me to recover in these situations when I have also felt very dehydrated. Yet this time was different. The water did not seem to revive me or give me any strength needed to withstand the dizziness.

Changes in light and dark began to occur, subtle or patchy flickering.
I lay there on the ground, hoping for it to stop, knowing something bad was happening to me but how could I make it stop? I couldn't. "I must just take whatever is coming to me" I thought. I was losing control, I was heading into tunnel vision, shock, and then I blacked out...


It feels like an intense combination of dying. Like a stroke or a seizure.

Mixed with intense visuals, stars, millions of colourful images flashing rapidly before your eyes.


I wake up with some of these images slowly fading back into reality - the patchy carpet which I have passed out on still slightly undulating. At this point, more oxygen has reached my brain as a result of being flat on the ground. The blood can flow better.

There are tears flowing from my eyes or at least it feels like they are. I'm not sure if I was hallucinating this or not because I have felt the same thing during many LSD experiences in the past where they were actually teardrop hallucinations.

My chest feels like somebody has kicked it in extremely hard. If one imagines a chamber in which my heart is kept, the walls of this chamber feel beaten and bruised.

All I want to do is lie down and go to sleep, I feel so week. In my mind I've made it through, it has passed, it is over! I will live to see another day!

It is not a spiritual moment. It is actually a very mortal moment. I feel I can die, and my body which is designed to survive is desperately searching in my mind to find a way to stay alive. It want's to survive at least mentally, but is fighting something physical inside of me. There is a fight for control here too, and a loss of control. When the body just needs to do what it needs to do, and you have to let it take it's course of action, no matter how right or wrong it is.

I remember reading in Dostoevski's "the Idiot" where a similar feeling occurs to the central character who suffers from epilepsy. MRI scans in previous years showed I did not suffer from epilepsy. But in this particular chapter which Dostoevsky builds up his character has an epileptic fit which almost perfectly matches my own. What is different perhaps is the triggers.

Nevertheless. I think I will try to have an ECG to check for any other heart abnormalities that may have appeared recently.

For the time being I'm weak but well.