Planning motion

Hi all,
I just introduced myself in the intro category and then found the symptoms part of this site. I want to ask about a symptom, to see if anyone else has it in conjunction with vestibular issues, or if anyone recognizes it.

I was hospitalized for almost two weeks, and had hormone-related vestibular dysregulation that my body worked hard to get back into balance from, and I’m still recovering from the second round of vestibular symptoms, caused by my hormones being changed to a very high dose mid-hospitalization.

In the hospital, when I was at my “weakest” (actually it was more like an internal warning not to move, along with dizziness, my muscle strength was there, but lifting my hands was a no-go at times when I was at my worst) I did not move my hands or feet very well unless I was touching something to track/orient along, or someone was touching me. So for instance, if I had an OT there for therapy, and they wanted me to raise my foot, and I was at one of my “weaker” points, I would ask them to touch the foot. Not to lift it–I would do that myself. I would perform the motion if they oriented me to their touch. Once I figured that out, I would sort of “slither” or slide my weakest hand (the one they had an IV in all the dang time) to get it where they wanted it to go. So I would have my hand on the bed and they wanted me to put it on the handle of a walker, for instance. I would ask them to touch the back of the hand, or, I would slide the hand along the bed, touch it to the walker, and slide it up the walker to the handle. The problem was moving through space without something to orient to.

Now at home, doing better gradually, I find I cannot carry my laptop through the house (I can carry smaller objects), but I noticed I can carry a cat. So this means the person or cat I’m touching doesn’t actually even have to be touching the floor. All I need is someone to touch so I feel like I am centered or oriented. My dad asked me if the cat objected to being my grounding rod, and that is what it feels like.

Does anyone else experience anything like this? Is it strictly a psychiatric symptom? I interpreted it somewhat like I interpret my photosensitivity–it’s just too much for my brain to do when it’s trying to work out sensory conflict from the vestibular system. So in the case of tracking and planning motion through space, it just says, let someone or something else do that. My proprioception has been good all along. Anyone have any thoughts?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Hi again. Hmmm, I’m sure some of the others will be able to comment on this from a more informed standpoint when it comes to the biology, but it reminds me of how Joey Remenyi (works with neuroplasticity for chronic dizziness) during her body scan exercise asks you to be particularly mindful of the touch sensation on your skin. I suppose connecting in a tangible way with our surroundings helps us feel more grounded and more aware of our place within them. It makes sense to me that during your severe episode everything was thrown off whack in this way. I also wouldn’t underestimate the comfort of the cat and being able to get a proper grip on its squishy body vs a hard plastic computer!

You poor thing, sounds like such an awful ordeal! Glad to hear you’re doing better gradually.

Hi springerspirit, thank you for being welcoming and for your sympathy, it feels comforting. The particular cat is a very squishy one, with silky long hair. You might be right that being able to orient around her helps more than a flat computer. She’s like a weighted doll, the type where they have some weight in their stuffing in the hind end! :smiley:

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Sounds like a delightful creature! I spend a lot of time cuddling my dog when I’m not well, not that he enjoys that so much! :blush: pets are so grounding.

Hi and welcome. Do very sorry to hear of your sufferings. Not sure what help I can offer. Currently your experience seems way outside of my experience. Despite your detailed description and obvious good observational skills I’m struggling to grasp your situation. In fact I’m sitting here feeling much the same as I did in physics class at school totally lacking in comprehension and not sure exactly what’s meant. From my current interpretation which may be entirely incorrect I am thinking you will need a neurological expert to offer any meanful explanation. Nearest I can equate to is could your (lack of) reaction be in some way linked to a lack of Spatial Awareness, 3D vision or am I way off there. Or maybe some extreme form of Brain fog? Paralysis? No doubt the whole thing is the result of the brain being overloaded and in some way opting out of responding to divert its power elsewhere.

I’d imagine It’s impossible to know whether the walking carrying either the laptop or the cat is the next direct step in reversion towards normal function from the above or just another general step on the journey. I’d suspect the latter so will run this past you to see if it makes any sense. Only you can know. You find balancing easier if you are carrying your cat, who incidentally sounds gorgeous and much like several I’ve had over the years, rather than the laptop. The ability or lack of it to carry objects is a strong indication of our state of functional balance. I need no expert to tell me that. I’ve been proving it myself virtually every day for the last six years. Once our vestibular function is impaired our brain tends to become over reliant on the visual input it receives. Our feet are also relied upon more for balance. People who balance issues tend to lean forwards and look at their feet whilst walking. It’s perfectly possible to walk hugging a cat and keeping an occasional eye on ones feet, not so an open laptop nor a tea tray loaded with hot drinks. Well symptomatic I can almost always still carry two steaming mugs one in each hand. I can never carry those mugs on a tray. It blocks the view of my feet. Could this be the same with you, the cat and the laptop maybe.

If the above makes no sense to you I apologise but as I’ve already said I’m finding it impossible to understand your original dilemma as it’s so far outside my own experience so I must be way off track. Unless of course it’s psychological and it’s just the actual distraction of carrying the cat that’s helping. Some people believe cats have supernatural powers. Much as I love them I’m not one.

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Fascinating. Was this your actual diagnosis? Given to you by what kind of specialist? Not heard this before certainly not in such specific form. Any chance you can elucidate maybe on your other thread as part of your introduction. Others too would I’m sure be very keen to hear. Thanks.

No, this is not an actual diagnosis–except that my dad, who has had many decades of occupational therapy experience, called it “hormone-related vestibular disorder”. I called it dysregulation in my post because I am not sure whether it is so much a disorder as something that I need to adjust to every time the hormonal medication is changed in a big enough way. I’ve been on four different hormonal medications in the last month. In the hospital I saw neurologists, etc. and they did not give me a diagnosis, and I do wonder whether this is supposed to be a psychiatric symptom. On the other hand, nobody is going to diagnose a hormone-related vestibular disorder in the hospital, either. There’s not enough information on it; it’s well-known by people who experience it, frequently observed, but not well-studied. I had an MRI, never had an EEG and I asked to see an ENT but they said I would have to wait for outpatient. Haven’t gotten that set up.

The rest of my symptoms fit vestibular, both during attacks and in the way in which I recover from them. This is the one symptom I can personally interpret as vestibular, but which I haven’t been able to find anyone else experiencing who has any kind of vestibular syndrome, etc. I want to be realistic about separating it from my vestibular symptoms if it is psychiatric. Sorry, this is hard to explain. Sorry if it’s not useful. I thought maybe if someone had experienced it I could find out more about it. Thanks for trying to follow my thoughts.

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She is delightful! I’m glad to hear you have a cuddly dog to help you. :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your input and suggestions. I appreciate any attempt to help me sort this out.

That is also my own guess: that my brain is working so hard to sort out the changed messages from the vestibular system that it doesn’t want to worry about planning motion of my limbs through space. It would make perfect sense to me as a vestibular symptom if I had difficulty with proprioception, but I always know where I’m at, I just don’t move (I mean during the attacks; right now, typing, I would not be able to do this during one of those down times).

However, I also agree with you that psychologically, the cat is a pleasant distraction, I missed her while I was in the hospital, and she may just make me feel good whereas a laptop merely gives me a responsibility to carry something across a room, which isn’t exactly confidence-boosting.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation about the ‘hormone related vestibular disorder’. Makes perfect sense. There are many women on here myself included who could meet that description for sure.

Could be a hard one that separating it out into rigid categories. Good luck with it.

Absolutely no need to apologise. It’s a perfectly good description. It’s just it’s outside my personal experience. However lots of other people will read it over the coming days and a few should respond. There’s every chance somebody else will have had a similar experience and when that other person comes along they will instantly recognise your description. It’s not often a match or near match doesn’t appear.

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The hormonal aspect is something I had not considered. At my age, testosterone production is greatly reduced. I’m wondering if that has an effect on my vestibular system.

As for the cat, there is something about making a connection with another living creature that comforts most of us and settles our nerves.

I have a 10 pound lap dog that makes me feel better when she gets in my lap and just lets me run my hand over her fur.

I’m not so sure about hormones and men wrt to VM/MAV. Women outnumber men here it seems so female hormones might be a factor.

Some women have flushing related to hormones which may have a physiological effect on ears due to vasomotor instability. I’ve linked articles in #research-theories-controversies eg (you need to be Trust Level 2 and above to have access)

Some men get blushing/rosacea but it’s a minority? Anyway we are getting off topic! Better to discuss it in above linked topic.


This happened to me today. I picked up an empty laundry basket, thinking, well, it’s lightweight, and as soon as I had it in front of me I passed it off to my husband because there was no way I could walk while carrying it. As soon as it was out of my field of vision the dizziness resolved fairly quickly. I can carry much heavier objects than that for short periods, so I attribute the trouble with the laundry basket to not being able to see my feet, as you mentioned.

The longer I’m home, the more I think that the help I need in tracking / planning my movements is based in a coping strategy for being forced to move when I’m exhausted. That happened a lot in the hospital–OT or PT would drag me out of bed at my worst times. It wasn’t possible for them to schedule visits to my room when I was more up and had more ability. Then when I got home I still had things I had to do when I was underslept, but in the hospital you basically never get to rest for any extended period of time. So I had my balance issues plus being too tired, I knew I shouldn’t have been moving at all, so my brain just kind of stopped trying to plan my own motion during those times. That is my guess, or at least a partial attempt at explaining it. It has happened a lot less since I’ve been more able to schedule my own sleep. Basically it happens now if I’ve had to do an intricate task requiring a lot of coordination, things I never would have thought take a lot of coordination before I had vestibular symptoms. My recovery after those tasks tends to involve needing a support, and/or reverting to being able to use only one hand at a time instead of coordinating hand movements.

Also, I agree with everyone who said the cat gives me a pleasant distraction. I really appreciate the answers and discussion. Thanks everyone.