“Off” Days

On Wednesday I saw a GP who swapped out my anxiety med from Sertraline to Citalopram and on Friday another GP swapped one of my BP meds from Doxazosin to BP Losartan. I’ve started to take all three at night and for two days the nausea and lightheadedness has been much better - even had a little dance to The Pet Shop Boys at Glastonbury last night.

Then today I’ve got a really fuzzy head that feels too heavy to hold up. I forced myself to go for a daily walk (trying to each day) but I feel really off.

Is it normal to have these ‘off’ days? Is it part of the stroke fatigue and is it usual to be up and down? The heavy head feeling kind of scared me a bit - has anyone else felt this especially in the early weeks of recovery?

Thanks for listening folks it does help just to get things ‘out’ sometimes :pray:

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It is very normal to feel fuzzy headed in the early weeks after a stroke. In my case it was “early months”. I still feel fuzzy headed some days, and it’s been almost 4 years. Likewise with the stroke fatigue. I still have days where I feel almost as I did pre-stroke, and I think I’m fully healed, then I’ll have a day where I am extremely tired. Also, it took me many months to adjust to the new medications I had to take. So, some of what you’re experiencing could be due to your body trying to adjust to all the changes. Since the beginning, though, things have gotten progressively better. But it has taken a long itme. We have all gone through somewhat different, and yet very similar, experiences with having a stroke. So, we’re glad to bend an ear, and answer any questions you might have as best we can. Hope you feel better soon. :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:Jeanne


Good to hear swapping your meds has helped improve things for you.
The heavy / fuzzy head feeling is part of the stroke i’d say. I had it pretty constantly for first 4 - 5 months. It’s less frequent now but I still get it especially when I am fatigued. I’m sure it’ll improve as time goes on for you.

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if you can get a phone appointment I would mention the changes (both positive and negative) after the medication changes, just so that the GPs are aware, but the fuzzy head feeling probably is part of the Stroke.

I am 10 months in to this and have times when I feel almost OK and then WHAM fatigue and dizziness kick in. I have just had a lovely couple of days visiting relatives, chatting to people I haven’t seen for ages, travelling the length of the country (as a passenger I’ll admit) and felt fine on getting back and now, today I it has caught up with me and I have had to spend a couple of hours “watching” the tennis

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Hi. After six years I still get down days and rarely get days when I feel ‘the old me’. I have learned to accept the down days as part of the territory. Take care.

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I also take Citalopram but i do take in the afternoon.
yes this fuzzy, heavy, numb head is so unexplainable.
living with it from last 3 and half years.

i do like to wear hair band the cloth one. it helps keeps my head/brain at its place.

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@DDMH, I am a year and a half post stroke. I am taking Citalopram (10mg), it took me six weeks to adjust to the meds but everyone is different. My experience post-stroke was brain fog for the first six months, and regular fatigue days where I could only just function in and out of bed. I am still limited in my functionality, although the brain fog has lifted. I hit brick walls if I overdo it or have a busy week and then I need a rest day. Heavy headed fatigue is fairly persistent. Sometimes, I forget myself and then it all comes crashing down.

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Hi folks. It was helpful hearing your common problems. I have helt likr i should be over it nearly 6 months. But tiredness, dizziness and breathing problems a real pain in the last fortnight. The heat clearly makes things worse. I went back. To work after 3 months and been working for around 5 weeks. Then got stressed at work and BP shot up. Never gone up like that since the stroke. Aphasia kicks in when stressed. But the fatigue is overwhelming.

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@prufrock welcome to the forum. You’ve done well getting back to work after 3 months. Make sure you look after yourself though. 3 months is very early & stress & high BP are stroke risk factors & need to be kept under control. Be kind to yourself sounds like your body is telling you you need to rest.
Best wishes
Ann x

Thanks so much. I feel guilty a lot of the time about taking leave and alsi survivor guilt given my stroke could have been worse. Aphasia lasted a little over a month. But weakness persisted.

Yeah. Feels bad doesn’t it and my wife cannot experience it. The citalipram change will also kick in. But that subsides in itself. I hate the beta blockers personally. Got 8 drugs vying for a each other to compete a crap day.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about any of it. Strokes come in all shapes & sizes but that doesn’t make yours any less an event. Everything you describe are normal stroke effects & take time to recover from. You’ve had a brain injury & the brain needs to rest so you can recover. I had a “minor” stroke but some of my ongoing symptoms (8 months on) feel anything but minor. Try not to compare to others as everyone is starting from a different place on their recovery journey. Just look after yourself, health far more Important than work.

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Lovely reply. It means a lot to hear from people who have had a stroke. It gives perspective. I hope you are bearing up. Enjoy the cooler nights ahead


You’re doing great, to be back at work. I am 4 years post stroke, and I still feel tired. The heat does make things worse. My blood pressure went up after my stroke., too. I think a lot of it was the stress of the whole experience. Also, since my stoke, I seem to react to things more, and negatives really take their toll more than they used to. Do you have to work? Maybe more rest time would be helpful. Try to minimize stress as much as possible. Your brain is still in the healing stages, so you need lots of rest. :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:Jeanne


Just wondered if anyone has found a.way of helping the ‘fuzzy’ head effect? I’m still getting this after my post 28 days ago and realise it pretty much coincides with my starting Citalopram just 5 days before (after switching from Sertraline). I didn’t have it immediately after my stroke at all.

I’m tempted to take a Co-Codamol just to see if it helps but I’m a bit scared :scream:

I know it can be a symptom of anxiety too.

@DDMH I had a fuzzy head for months after my stroke & still get it when I’m fatigued. I’m not taking citalopram so I know it isn’t that. Worth checking with your GP though as if it is your meds they can hopefully sort it for you. I take paracetamol for my headaches rather than cocodamol.

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Shwmae @DDMH, not sure about the fuzzy head effect? Is it a kind of brain fog? I had a terrible run of six weeks before Citalopram settled into my system. It was a fretful time and then it settled down. If it’s anxiety related, SSRIs can increase anxiety while the brain makes the adjustment for the medication. Some people have very few symptoms but I do know that Citalopram is particularly effective with anxiety and panic attacks (that’s why I chose it).

Hi Rups thank you for your response.

I’ve been looking on a Citalopram support forum and my symptoms seem to match what quite a lot of people experience. I’m waking really early with heightened anxiety and can’t get back to sleep, the fuzzy head is like a ‘thick’ head, not quite a headache but almost, like if you had a head cold. I feel a bit woozy and often feel nauseous.

Does this reflect the side effects you experienced in any way? I’m just concerned that they don’t seem to be any better after five weeks.

As you’ll have seen from my previous ramblings I also experienced side effects from my BP meds so I’m wondering if I’m just rubbish with drugs!

Maybe @DDMH, I’ve always been rubbish with drugs and wasn’t taking any meds before stroke save Lorazepam for the odd panic attack. Ten tablets would last me a year. I didn’t even do paracetamol as never had headaches. I had nausea, and sometimes would wake at 3 am with surreal anxiety. Proper anxiety as like I have never felt ever before in my life. It took me six weeks or perhaps a few more for side affects to go away. I was almost bedridden for that whole period. I can’t remember what my head was like, it was about six months post stroke, so one has to factor in post stroke symptoms as well. What I know is that I didn’t feel well at all, and then it just eased off. Quite miraculously. I was only on 20mg of the stuff, and still remain on that dosage. I don’t think I need to go any higher. I think, you can chat to your GP or better still, a mental health GP. I think every surgery has one, it might be over the phone. However, during this time, pampering policy rules … so plenty of comforting things to get you by. Aromatherapy can help, music, and plenty of distraction.

If you are aware of what the drug is doing, it can also help your brain rationalise the process.


This might not help everyone but I have found it useful prior to my stroke for anxiety. On you tube the Paul McKenna channel has a number of videos and two of these cover being happy but there are a number of others.
Hope this is ok to post this. First time through I was very alert as wasnt at all sure what to expect but second time much more relaxed. Headphones on lying down and drifted off part way through and awoke at the end. You need half an hour on your own.
If nothing else it might help you switch off for a bit