Developed a Fear Over the years

Hi Everybody,

I have had the MAV like symptoms for 17 years. Prior to this condition I used to travel quite a bit by myself having very little difficulty experiencing all the stimuli at the airports…on the plane…the stress of getting a rental car, finding a parking space at the airport to leave my car…(all the things required when travelling by plane). I just don’t feel confident and/or comfortable travelling by myself anymore. Not that I can’t do it…but it can be overwhelming for me so I’d rather have someone travel with me. Always concerned …what if the motion increases and I’m not able to cope with all the stimuli and my head feeling very fuzzy or tense? Fear that I might not quite understand customer service representatives at the airport or rental car stations. What if for some reason some vertigo like symptoms begin? It’s a fear that has creeped up on me over the years.

Has anyone else had similar concerns when travelling?


Most definitely Joe. I don’t travel as widely as you do, in fact I only travel locally and even that is very restricted and even doing that I can feel fearful on bad days. And even on better days, the fear of “what if …” is always lurking.


Joe: I know exactly how you feel. I used to be so out-going, spontaneously and always ready and willing to go anywhere or do anything. Now I am hesitant to even make plans because I never know how I am going to feel. I now have plans to travel to Key West, Florida in November and I am already anxious about it but I am tired of not making plans to do things, I am tired of sitting on the couch while life goes on without me so I agreed to this trip. I think the more you do the less anxious you become and the more you will do i n the future.

Joe - I have flown several times since being ill. It is VERY difficult. The hardest part is waiting is the airport - waiting in lines, and walking through the airport. It m akes me very sad that an activity that used to be so effortless is now torture. The experience on the airplane itself isn’t terrible for me, but the rest is awful. I feel for you.

Brenda, Joan & lisa,

Thanks for your honest input. Lisa…it is so true what you said…that what use to be so effortless (traveling) is now difficult in various ways. When i’m on the Plane i don’t have as much problem…its like you said…at the Airport…the Crowds, Checking your baggage, etc are BIG Issues for me. If i travel with someone the anxiety and fear is much, much less. My hope in the future is that someday i can get reach a comfort zone again and travel by myself like i use to do.


Yes, its difficult, I think its all the thinking you have to do and the sorting out, really difficult when you are dizzy. I wouldnt dream of going on my own. If you go with someone, hopefully, they can take over and you can just follow. When I was in Spain last year I had a full blown 24 hour severe vertigo attack, was on the bed, watching the world spin and panicking how I would fly back. Fortunately my husband said, “dont panic it will make it worse, if we cant fly back tomorrow, then, we cant”. This helped me relax. I managed to get to the airport feeling dizzy and sick, luckily the full blown attack had subsided. Was very relieved to get home. I am now thinking of going again, so, amazingly, it hasnt put me off!


Hey Christine,

You made a really good point (regarding traveling) in that it’s all the Thinking you have to do and the more Stimula makes it more stressful. Not only is dealing with Airports not easy but driving into towns or cities that i’m not familar with is not exactly a slice of cake. It’s like i have to drive to a certain destination a number of times before i get comfortable. My navigations skills were not the best prior to MAV and now they are worse.


Hi Joe,
Yes I too suffer with this problem I call it “sensory input overload”.
From what I hear most people with equilibrium /vestibular problems have this type of problem.
Our brain is often overloaded with information our bodies normally take for granted, like not having to concentrate where we walk ie (maneuvering corners in our own home) ect:
My Effexor has diminished most of it.

Our inner ear is only “one” of our balancing systems our sight /skin / feet, and other body parts that help our balance, so if one or more of these systems are out of whack, then our brain try’s to overcompensate, causing problems.
For instance, if a person starts to loose some of the lower end of hearing the brain “takes over” and makes these sounds louder, unfortunately problems can occur due to “ too much overcompensation” of the brain, so that the sound then becomes too sharp, causing us to become oversensitive to the sound.
I believe this is what our brains have done, so things like , hearing / sight/ and other input becomes too much to take in.

I hope I’m making sense here.
**I was reading from the MDds site a while ago , and a lady sent in this. :smiley: **

**Hi All,

I have been looking into something called sensory integration for my
daughter who has very mild behavioral issues, and I have stumbled upon
a treatment that I intuitively believe could possibly be of great help
to people with MDDs (My sister has had MDDS for 17 years and so I have
made it my life’s goal to try and find a cure, so please let me know
what you think of the following). Sensory Integration covers a lot of
ground, and I have mostly heard about it with respect to people who
have issues with ADD of ADHD. But I recently came across something
that I have never heard of before called Sensory Defensiveness. To be
brief, when a person is not processing information from the visual,
auditory or vestibular systems properly he/she sometimes starts to
show signs of something called sensory defensiveness which means they
start avoiding different things to keep their internal systems less
stressed. The most extreme version of sensory defensiveness would be
someone with autism. As I looked over the list of things that people
with sensory defensiveness avoid, I started to see a pattern that
reminded me of MDD. For example, florescent lights, malls, crowded or
noisy situations, the list goes on and on and contains almost
everything that I have read from the email list that people with MDD
avoid. It started me thinking that maybe MDDS is another extreme
version of sensory defensiveness where the brain gets locked into a
pattern that is a kind of short circuit of the sensory input.

So, in researching this for my daughter I have come across something
called the Sensory Learning Institute which you can check out here:


This woman Mary Bolles has set up a series of these institutes around
the country, and even though you may think they deal only with
children from the website, I have talked with the people at the
institute and they deal with people of all ages. What they do is a
very short term intensive treatment that lasts for 12 days in a row,
followed by a home based treatment of 18 days that is monitored.
Apparently they have had great success with a variety sensory and
brain disorders – including stroke, alzheimers, etc. I have not yet
asked them about MDDS – but I wonder if they have even heard of it.
I am going to be visiting the Boulder based institute tomorrow and
speaking with Mary Bolles herself.

I wanted to know if anyone has tried this kind of treatment before?

If you would like to understand more about sensory defensiveness,
there is an excellent book called “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too
Tight” by Sharon Heller that gives a really clear picture of what this
is all about.

Hi Jen,

Thank you so much for that information! It makes a lot of sense, in a round about way the doctor told me that this is maybe what I’m doing, He prescribed Zoloft for me to take with the propranolol. I have to admit that it has crossed my mind that I had retrained my brain by avoiding things slowly but surely when having headaches, brain fog, earaches, and minor dizzy spells. It’s so difficult to not to avoid things when you know they are going to make you sick. I wonder if that type of therapy would work for MAV though seems like too much stimulis would just make it worse, I think I’ll try the slow but steady route.