One of the reasons I decided to write a blog was to talk about my journey re-gaining my life while having vertigo. I know what causes my vertigo (damage to my vestibular nerve) and I know that it is not going to get better unless something new comes along. So what’s a gal to do? Get to know her dizziness and begin to structure her life around it. These 3 beginning steps are just one part of my personal journey to having a life- even with vertigo.
1. Know your triggers – By knowing what is going to set off your vertigo or make it worse is one of the first steps to moving forward. Triggers for me include moving quickly up or down or side to side, looking down at my keyboard and up again, stop and go traffic, quick starts and stops, yoga, walking on uneven ground, grocery stores and many more. Finding out what triggers your vertigo is NOT a fun thing to do, you basically learn by doing something wrong and suffering the consequence. But the only way past something is by going through it – so we have to go through as a step on the path to a better future. My suggestion is to keep track of all these things as they happen so that you can avoid the triggers in the future.
2. Know your limitations – Limitations and triggers go hand in hand for the most part. You set limits on certain things or actions so that they won’t trigger your symptoms. For instance walking on uneven ground is a trigger for me, but I know from testing myself, I can do it for a small amount of time and it actually helps my brain adapt. So for me it has a limitation that can lead to triggering a problem. But other things like dancing are a true limitation for me, I can’t do it at all. Once you get to know yourself better,you can determine how and when you have to limit an action or activity or even food to keep yourself in the best possible place. What I like about limitations is that they can be changed or adapted as you move forward with your life.
3. Know when to hold or when to fold – this is my tribute to Kenny Rogers. But truthfully sometimes it just doesn’t pay to keep holding on to something that just isn’t healthy for you – even if you love it. Dancing was that for me. While I wanted to hold on, for my own health and well being, I just had to let it go. I keep hoping someday I will work myself back to enough stability to dance again – but I can’t put life on hold waiting for that day. Hold or fold can also be important on days when you are feeling bad. At some point you need to decide if you are going to hold steady and go about your day or fold and go back to bed. Again this is about your well being – not what anyone else thinks. Remember folding because this vertigo thing is kicking your ass is nothing to feel bad about – it is often necessary to get to a better place. Having the knowledge and wisdom about yourself and your illness will make the choice easier for you in the long run. And maybe a bit happier too.
These may seem fairly simple, but I consider them a starting point for coming to terms with your own dizzy. I suggest journaling this information as you learn it. Not only does it help you keep track of what’s going on with your body, it can be helpful when you are talking to your medical professional about your vertigo. By looking your vertigo in the face and truly seeing it, you are gaining power over it and its control of your life. And who among us doesn’t want some of that control back?
(Disclaimer – I am not a therapist in any way shape or form. I am just a sufferer sharing what is helping me. Always do what works best for you!)