How can I help my friend?

My friend has MAV and has had it for almost two years now (she is almost 20). She has become so depressed and cut herself off from all the rest of her friends that I am her only real support system at this time- her parents have no sympathy because they say she looks fine.

I have learned over time that her symptoms include:
Objects moving back and forth in her field of vision
Headaches 24/7
Migraines (Twice a week or so I believe).
Fatigue (She yawns A LOT)

We live in a very small town and the doctor here gave her an MRI looking for a tumor. When he didn’t find one he said “It is all in your head, it will go away in time.” (Later I had some not so nice words to say to him because of the fact he believed she was blowing it out of proportion…)
But her depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation have gotten so extreme that I am afraid that she might do something to harm herself. Is there any advice you could give me medication or diet wise that could possible improve her MAV? I have already been going on daily walks with her and she drinks lots of water…but I don’t know what else to do and I am a little scared. Especially when she just breaks down crying, as if she has almost reached the breaking point.

Hi TaraLee,

Very glad you found mvertigo to help your friend! You’re very clever to have worked this out seeing as there’s no one else around where you are by the sounds of it to help point you in the right direction. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Assure your friend that she is not alone and that there are many others in her shoes –- and they have restored their lives with treatment. Make sure she understands that she can be treated and that there’s a way out of this black hole. Her doctor does not understand the problem and therfore cannot help her, and worse, has left her with a misdiagnosis (“all in her head”). If she knows she can be well again, and you give her this hope, it should help to lift her spirits up quite a bit.

  2. Get her on a migraine diet immediately to see if this can at least reduce her symptoms and give her some breathing space. See the “sticky” thread above and look at the one from Steve Rauch. He goes into dietary advice their and gives a good explanation of what is going on.

  3. I see from your IP address that you live in Oregon. There is a doctor at UCLA (about a 15 hour drive from where you are) who knows this stuff like the back of his hand – named Dr Robert Baloh (UCLA Health: Center for High Quality Health Care Services). I think it would be wise to get her down there to see him, get a diagnosis, and then get onto a treatment.

Her depression and anxiety are very common conditions that accompany this illness. And it can all be sorted out.

Have her read throught this site. I’m sure she will identify and it will help her know she is not alone. All of the symptoms you listed are textbook MAV.

Best … Scott 8)

Can you convince her to come to the forum here herself? I think she would gain much from talking to the others here. I also want to commend you on taking charge of this. Not too many friends would do that!


So I bugged my friend and made her come over here so that she could take a look at this website. I made her a deal that in exchange for forcing me to listen to country next year in our dorm room she had to make a post so here she is!

Hi, my name is Megan and yes TaraLee is blackmailing me but I figured it was way worth it to listen to country instead of rock and I could possible get some help with my problems which the doctor says are all in my head. Currently I don’t have a computer because I am going to sell it at a yardsale coming up to help pay for a future doctor visit so she is letting me use hers since she lives nearbye.

My friend covered most of my symptoms but there are a few that I am not sure are connected with MAV- but you might understad.
symptoms include:
“Objects moving back and forth in her field of vision
Headaches 24/7
Migraines (Twice a week or so I believe).
Fatigue (She yawns A LOT)

-Also it is as if I am standing still but I am almost in a dream like state because everything else it moving and I can’t stop it
-I can’t concentrate enough to read so I skim alot and I have to depend on other people to edit my papers
-I also am really obsessive over weird things now which it totally not my style at all. I use to be really chill and non judgementall but now I am always judging myself and thinking “do I have a brain tumor?” “Am I going crazy?” “Is this all in my head?” “Am I forcing things to move back and forth?” “am I not concentrating hard enough?” "Was that dot on my skin there yesterday? “Is one eye greener than the other”?
-Oh yeah, and my brain feals…fuzzy or something. Like a bunny is stuck up there stopping me from thinking of simpple words
-I also have these things called floaters I believe.

So yeah, I am messed up, broak, and a tad bit suicidal

Hi Megan,

I’m sorry to hear you are not doing well. It seems to me that you have MAV from what you are describing. I suggest taking Scott’s advice and drive to LA where you can see one of the best doctors for this. His office number is (310) 825-5910. Call soon, because it can sometimes take up to a month to get an appointment with him.



Hi Megan,

Everything you wrote can easily be MAV-related. There is nothing unusual in the symptoms you’ve listed. Most people with this feel like their heads are full of “fuzz” or that the world looks surreal, or they cannot concentrate etc. I’ve had all of that. You are obsessing over weird things because of anxiety and depression which causes these sorts of abnormal behaviours. It will go away with treatment.

It’s really time for you to take control and get your life back on track. If you can, make an appt asap to see Dr Baloh and don’t waste any more time on local physicians who likely won’t understand what MAV is.

Good luck and come here any time for help.

Best … Scott 8)

I’m 2 years older than you, so I know this crap is hard to deal with when you’re young, especially with a non-understanding enviroment (parents, doctors etc.). Also, everything you say symptom-wise most here have experienced or are experiencing; the objects moving back and forth thing was the first disturbing thing that happened to me, then the rest came along quickly…

For whatever reason, your doc should definitely give you a migraine prophylactic based on the fact that you have migraine headaches so often alone… But if you can, I think the suggestion made by Scott is great; Dr Baloh is “the man with the plan”, and if you can you should definitely go see him. Just remember this isn’t how it’s going to be forever. I sure had a hard time believing it myself when I was in the pits… With medication, proper eating and sometimes just time, this will go away.

You obviously have a great friend, and that makes all the difference.

  • Mikael

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. This is not an easy illness to deal with, but every doctor that I saw was certain that it does get better with the right treatment. please hang in there, and come visit us here. This site is such a great support. We need it! This illness is very isolating. People, though, DO get better.