If you look closely, if I look closely, beyond the casted film, amidst the flicker of flowers, hovering in a shadowed corner where light may yet still fall, I am there still. I am waiting still. Hopeful still,  not only to reconnect with those vital parts of me, the parts I truly loved, the parts which have been lost to me for too long, but also to discover that the work I have done in the interim, the endless struggle towards personal, interpersonal, and spiritual growth will be reflected in the glow of a new, a better self, a faith in a self I have tended with utmost care and respect.

I began Brainzaps in 2008, with a short post on ‘brain shivers.’  I have recently updated the post as 11 years ago the term ‘brain zaps” was not that well documented as a byproduct of withdrawal from psycho-pharmaceuticals. Today, there is more of a consensus that the condition is common and most probably caused by a disruption in GABA levels.

My psychological bottom occurred in 1994, eleven years into my sobriety, after all alternative treatments had failed. By that time, I had been battling insomnia for a month, had extreme anxiety, and delusional thinking.  My primary care doctor put me on Imipramine and Ativan and referred me to my first psychiatrist.  My first sixteen years of treatment consisted of various psycho-pharmaceutical cocktails and weekly therapy with a psychiatrist. My initial diagnosis was psychotic depression and borderline personality disorder.

I began Brainzaps to chronicle my journey when I parted ways with my psychiatrist to begin working with a therapist who practices integrative medicine and psychotherapy. At that point I was on a cocktail of medications, which included over 400 mg. of Effexor XR.

Over the years, the most popular page on this site has been my writing about my ongoing battle to get off Effexor:  Effexor XR and Memory Loss. The comments from people of all ages from all walks of life on the devastation this drug has had on their cognition has been astonishing.  I’ve done my best to respond with limited information and personal suggestions.

Probably the most interesting thing which has happened in the field of mental health since I began this journey towards wholeness has been that the concepts I explored so many years ago about neuroplasticity and the ability to reconstruct an undamaged inner world have became a mainstream belief.

Here are some highlights from the blog.








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  1. Well anti depressants aren’t the only culprit in causing the dreaded “brain zaps” or “zingers”. People who smoke or eat medical or non medical marijuana, aka weed, dope, mary jane, my lover, etc….also get brain zaps. No joke. Happens mostly when they have consumed way too much mary jane, or have smoked a big bowl of pure indica. Now that can give some some serious brain zaps and jolts, especially right before or as person is trying to fall asleep. medical marijuana has definately caused brain zaps and jolts in quite a few people.

  2. I used to love getting high with mates and on my own too, no ill effects just calming really, however recently i have had any good effects i just feel anxious (i have a pre-existing anxiety problem) and also can experience incredible painful ‘brain zaps, shivers’ when i think of anything negative, its like my brain punishes itself out of my control. As you can imagine i have stopped smoking. I believe that it has much to do with your level of confidence, if you have insecurity’s the weed can really take advantage…

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