Leave of absence from work?

Hi, I’m new to this forum. I was recently diagnosed with MAV by my ENT doc. I have a history of migraines diagnosed in my late twenties and was on nortriptiline (spelling?) until I got pregnant with my oldest. Around the same time I began to experience dizziness and was diagnosed with BPPV, but at that time my doc never connected the two. My headaches went away after my oldest was born but the dizziness continued on and off, helped greatly by VRT. About 2 months ago, however, the dizziness returned with a vengeance and is now to the point where most days I have it all the time.
I was wondering how other people here have handled working with this condition. I work at a large, crowded junior high school. It’s a place constantly filled with bright lights, activity and noise from the kids but also bells ringing all day, etc. I’ve had to miss quite a bit of school this fall and most days I am there I feel really lousy. I’m noticing that on a lot of the days that I arrive migraine-free that I develop symptoms within and hour or so of arriving. I believe something at work is triggering my symptoms. I’m really having a hard time and worried that my students are missing out on educational continuity as they’ve had many different subs on the days I’ve been gone. My husband thinks I should take a leave of absence and I’m getting desperate enough to seriously consider it, even though I really hate to have to do it. My principal thinks my students are better off if I am there, even if it’s only some of the time. But he doesn’t really get how lousy I feel. Has anybody else here had to take a leave or even quit their job because of MAV? I could really use some advice.


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Hi Kate - I sympathize with the position you are in! Working with this illness is pure hell. I’m not sure about your history - have you tried the MAV diet? It greatly helped me at the beginning of this illness and may help you continue to work. It took a few weeks to kick in for me, but it enabled me to work at the time, although my work environment was different - 100% computer based, in an office, so didn’t have as much noise and didn’t have to ‘perform’ for kids - could fake it at a computer if needed!

Do you have a good, understanding doctor? Have you tried any other meds than Nortriptyline? If you have tried the MAV diet and it hasn’t helped, it may be worth trying a drug to see if it helps your symptoms.

There is nothing wrong with taking a leave of absence. I believe there are many of us on the boards who are unable to work. I’ve had this for over two years and had 7 months off towards the beginning of the illness after I couldn’t work at a computer without being sick every thirty minutes, then discovered the MAV diet which allowed me to return to work for 7 months. Unfortunately, the diet alone didn’t work by itself for long enough, and I’ve been off work now for another 7 months trying to find the magic combo of meds that work. I really wish I could work. I’m bored at home and feel like a complete failure at times and feel like people judge me - I look healthy (although I look like a drunk walking down the street!) - but I know I can’t handle work as I still can’t be on the computer for longer than 30 minutes without getting ill and can’t travel and still have the lovely 3-4 days a month where I can still barely stand up (gotta love women’s hormones!). Basically, you know what’s best. If you don’t feel like you can do your job and feel like taking some time of to sort yourself will help, do it. Your health is most important.

Good luck!


Thanks, Jennifer. Your post is very encouraging. No, I have not yet tried the MAV diet but I ordered the 123 Book I,ve read so much about yesterday. Meanwhile, my doc has me trying 180 mg extended release verapamil once a day, but so far it is not working. I’m supposed to call him with an update after 2weeks, which is soon.

Hi Kate,

I’m a high school teacher and at first I thought there was no way I’d be able to keep working in such stressful circumstances. The diet and then the meds. made a huge difference. I’ve also had to learn how to let things go, so I don’t stress out as much. I went being dizzy and crying every single day to working every day with just a few migraine moments (auras, dizziness), some which incapacitated me for a couple of hours; the kids were wonderfully cooperative at those times. Like you, I was thinking of the possibility of taking a leave of absence, but now I think I’m OK to work. Give yourself a few weeks to see how you feel and then do what’s best for you and your health. Best wishes for you to get well soon.

I had no choice in the matter; can’t work with chronic rotational vertigo which is what I had to start with. Then additional symptoms such as the severe brain fog (I couldn’t even remember what day it was) and the fact that I couldn’t walk straight to save my life. Or get out of bed for more than a few hours.

But even if you are not that bad? I say take a leave. Get your doc to sign you off & get disability. It is not good for us to work when we are this sick. We have the so-called ‘work ethic’ that tells us we should feel guilty if we aren’t there and it’s just baloney. Your health is more important.

I have been off over 10 months, made a try at going back full time & it blew up all of my symptoms it was horrible. Now I will go back 1/2 time in a few days.

One of the reasons for such a long absence is, I trialled 4 different meds to no avail. Some people hit the jackpot on their first med, and are off a shorter amount of time.

Other people don’t understand how bad this is. I have had to deal with that, it stinks I know but they’ll get over it.

Take things slowly, take care of yourself.

Just my opinion :slight_smile:



I went on medical leave for 6 months. I went back part time over the summer and struggled horribly. Most of my symptoms are better but I have a 100 percent computer based job. My job pretty much forced me to go back to full time last September or take an unpaid leave of absence. I’m not bad enough right now to be on a full fledge leave of absense but not good enough be working full time. When I was at my worst I didn’t really have a choice. I had to be on leave. Personally I feel I should not be working full time right now but being forced to. I can’t make my performance standards because I cannot stand to look at the computer. I offically got put on a verbal warning for attendance Friday and I’m about to get put on one for my performace. But back to you, If you have the support and need to, there is nothing wrong with taking a leave of absense.


I took 4.5months off work when I got hit with the big bang. Gp thought it was Labs, went to ENT, went to neuro… Got onto medication and diet, started to get better…

I say take the leave and use it to destress, relax, learn about the condition and yourself, and mostly get well. I would say most importantly, use the time to get on the drugs. Because you may experience side effects and it’ll be better to be off work to deal with them, rather than having to deal with MAV PLUS drug effects at work…Hopefully by the time you go back to work you’ll be better placed to handle the triggers that work is exposing you too.


I would say it would be very wise to take some time off just to get yourself feeling stronger. I tried to keep going and ended up losing my dream job as a result, I’ve not been unwell with MAV for 4 months and have only just got the meds to try, so fingers crossed i can get back to some kind of work soon!