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The Brain Fairy at Work – Odd Sensations After a Brain Injury

by Linda W. Arms

After a brain injury there are many strange sensations in our head and body.    For me, the sensations began a few hours after my injury and have slowly decreased in intensity and frequency over the last years.   Sometimes, lying awake at night, I would notice these and be afraid because I felt that no one really knew what was going on up there in my brain.   Science still refers to the brain as the “last frontier”.    I felt I was in a strange, mystifying state where that “brain fairy” was doing its work that others did not understand.

I expect everyone with a brain injury has different sensations.   I’ve noticed from reading others’ experiences there seem to be some similarities.   How many of you felt the same things I did?

  • Flip-flops or butterflies in my head – it actually felt like there was a movement up there, sort of like waves, very strange.   It was not pleasant.  Sometimes very intense. I couldn’t do much of anything when this was going on.   The first hours after I got up in the morning were especially bad.   Sometimes I would just sit in a comfortable chair with my head back and let the “brain fairy” do her dance.   I could not stop it.   Nothing would stop it.
  • Bursts of light – during the many hours each day where I would be sleeping – before falling asleep or waking, there would be little bursts of light when my eyes were closed.   I’m not really sure if I saw these with my eyes or if it was just a sensation in my brain.   Again, very strange, very mysterious.   Almost like shooting stars.
  • Pains in my head – obviously my head hurt from the physical trauma but there were odd shots of pain in different places in my head.   Very quick.
  • Tingling, prickling and numbness – this was a rather obnoxious sensation I had in different parts of my body.   I would feel it in my face, my head, my hands and feet.
  • Slideshow at super speed – this is strange, I know.   As I woke, with my eyes still closed, I would see a bunch of unrelated pictures that would speed through my head.   It was like someone was running a slideshow in my brain but very fast.   I could not really focus on the picture but I could tell it was a person, or a scene or something.   I mentioned this to many of my medical providers.   Finally, one doctor said it was something called hypnagogic hallucinations.
  • Creepy crawlies – when I was very tired, usually in the evening, my entire being felt totally discombobulated, everything throughout my body felt unsynchronized.   It was a physical and mental sensation.  It was a disturbing sensation that was made worse by sounds and light.  There would be a throbbing in different parts of my body that was not in the same rhythm as the throbbing in another part of my body at the same time. I wanted to curl up into a tight little ball and be thrown down a dark hole were nothing could disturb me.

Thank goodness these things have faded.   They still come back sometimes but not to the degree they where in the early years.   Does any of this sound familiar to you?




4 Responses to “The Brain Fairy at Work – Odd Sensations After a Brain Injury

  1. Katherine

    Thank you, this is what I am currently dealing with. I am going on four weeks post injury. I am having head and facial numbness also, any else experience this?

  2. What a coincidence, I have experienced some of these also. Thanks for the link to that different type of hallucination.

  3. It’s not just sensations. There are just so many strange experiences. About 5 or 6 weeks ago the depression and fatigue lifted mysteriously. It’s still gone. But now I’m even more aware of my focusing trouble. And focusing for very long leaves me feeling as though my head is swelling or pressurized. — It is nice to be able to speak of our own unique experiences. It’s been almost a year and a half since my accident, but only now have I thought to seek out blogs about this. I’m glad that I did!

  4. Tracy

    hi im Tracy I suffered a sah almost 2 yrs ago now and had 3 more annurisms coiled and like you I suffer with really strange sensations too they come from nowhere sometimes and other times when I am over tiered or not slepl well as is often the case, the feeling in my head is like hot syrup flowing down the inside of my forehead makes my eyes really heavy I get the flashes of light when my eyes are closed and strange headaches in different parts of my head .
    I also get like a numbness in my hands and feet and now a strange tingle and heavy feeling in the top of my left arm which is ever so uncomfortable . I try not to put everything down to my brain injury but there things definitely are I am sure .

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