After a good, long old chat with TeeCee, and after reading Nub’s thread a while back on ‘Stress: A kill or cure?’ http://mvertigo.cloudapp.net/t/stress-kill-or-cure/5533 , I have really got to thinking about stress and it’s strong relationship with MAV/VM.
I think we all know that a lot of us seemed to have suffered either a steady build up of stress over a period of time or a suddenly stressful situation as a pre-cursor to the “BIG BANG” that kicked off our dizziness.
I know this isn’t the case for all of us so I’d like to run a poll to see how many of us suffered a stressful situation as a pre-cursor but I’m not sure how?
Nevertheless… I’ve often wondered why if our brains can suddenly switch dizziness and vestibular migraine activity on, one day, seemingly turning us from steady people to dizzy, spinny people with balance problems, why can’t our brain suddenly switch it off?
In trying to find an answer, I wondered if, (particularly for those of us who were suffering a prolonged period of stress in the run up to getting hit with this MAV crap, and more importantly, those of us who continue to find themselves ‘stressed out’ now), whether avoiding all stress in our daily lives now, and today, would allow our brains to reset and take us back to how they once used to be- i.e still, steady, balanced and dizzy-free.
It goes hand in hand, of course, that we are going to feel stressed BECAUSE we have this illness. However, if we can eradicate as much stress as possible, perhaps it’s possible to get back to good health?
Obviously I’m not scientist, but my thoughts here are that in the run up to developing MAV, adrenaline was pumped up, panic and anxiety were raised, for any of us who were stressed out or generally, had/have that kind of personality/character, we were constantly in the ‘fight or flight mode’. For me, I had dealt with a boyfriend having many scary seizures, ambulances, hospital stays. I was literally on the edge of my seat, worried sick.
Combined with my job, which is at a very much lower level, but similarly, fight or flight, what I would describe as, sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to fire fight the incoming problems whilst also juggling many things- probably much the same as many other people here- in fact, how does anyone stay sane as a parent!!! … It stands to reason that the adrenal glands were working on over time and it wasn’t healthy.
Whilst thinking about this Friday night, as well as Saturday on the Eurostar over to Paris, I experienced my first 85% dizzy free day in a long time.
Guess what it coincided with? Being away from home. I was in Paris. I knew I had 2 days of doing whatever I wanted to. No demands on my time. Nothing to worry about. I felt slightly dizzy after spending 8 hours walking around the city, 3 hours of which were under flouro lights in department stores- but I knew that would happen. The next time I felt significantly dizzy was Monday, when I got lost in the office building, trapped between doors and had to call someone to come and rescue me! My heart rate physically went up, I started to panic, and BAM, back to the ‘usual’ level of dizziness I have at home 24/7.
I figure that I’m fine on holiday because I am not stressing. Even when I don’t think I’m stressing, I must be. How on earth do I over ride my subconscious??? Can anyone tell me? It seems that the only way I can do it at the moment, is to literally travel to a different country. And that’s not feasible or practical.
I guess we can start with the practical easy proactive things- mediation classes, taking time out to have a bath, read a book. My counsellor recommended ‘mindfulness’. It sounded a little like a bunch of mumbo jumbo at first, but actually finding 10 mins (how ironic) to sit down, listen and absorb, and think about it in relation to this latest lightbulb moment for me, actually makes sense. 10 minutes of no internet, no phone, no book, no nothing. Just stillness. She told me the NHS actually have a course on how to be mindful. Check this out:
Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes
The little things may start at least to chip away… and are a place to make a start. But I can’t help but think somethign more drastic has to take place here.
Instinctivley, getting wound up as a reaction, tense and agitated is what I do. It’s a natural reaction for me. So how do you stop yourself from that split second “No, that is not a productive response… Instead, I want to respond like this…” It’s so hard.
Even on Saturday in the queue for the Eurostar a woman behind me moved to another queue at the same time as me. She then said loudly to her partner behind us, “We’d get there quicker if some people didn’t push in”… It took every single ounce of willpower for me not to turn round and make a sarcastic remark to her. This is exactly what I would have done under any other circumstance, but I had the conversation with Tony in my head and instead I acknowledged what I wanted to do but didn’t do it. It wasn’t a massive achievement, but it was a little one. Though it does illustrate how much of a struggle it will be to actually change a personality that is ingrained.
As well as perhaps personality and traits being changed, I really think job changes may also need to be looked at. As much as we don’t want to acknowledge this.
Is it perhaps better to change jobs or indeed take a break if possible, to rest, recouperate and get better? Don’t see it as a failure, or a step backwards- see it as a step towards getting better.
I think that’s really important.
I know I for one, would rather feel better than feel like this. Maybe I need to put myself into a different environment in order to feel healthier?
Perhaps it’s similar for others. It’s just so hard to know what to do for the best. And it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
I’d really be interested to hear other people’s opinions on stress, particularly stress as a perpetuator to this illness- I truely don’t believe I will get better until I somehow- GOD KNOWS HOW- manage to eradicate stress and become a calmer person- that is key. I think that will then unlock the cure. More so than a diet, or any pills.
I have to also say I do understand what you say Nubs, about not feeling the dizzies when dealing with loads of stuff- being busy. When my best friend died 4 months into me getting hit with this stuff- I had a few basically dizzy free weeks. I didn’t really question why at the time- I wasn’t think about dizziness. And I suppose that was the answer- I was thinking about things- I was in another world.
I do think that when you’re busy or under more pressure, the brain can often snap into coping mode and actually carry you through- to some extent and you end up realising you can cope with more than you thought. That combined with the fact that as someone else said, when you’re busy with other things, you tend to focus less on being dizzy- that really happens with me when I go shopping (in shops with ok lighting!). It’s one of the reasons I got obsessed with charity shops and car boot sales- I am too focused on sniffing out the bargains that I don’t often feel dizzy unless it’s unbearably horrendous or… until I stop shopping. It leads other people to think I might be making it up… ‘Oh, she’s ok shopping’… But I don’t let these people bother me.
No one knows what it’s like to be a dizzy unless they’ve been a dizzy.
Well, this has ended up being a bloody long post. If you’ve got to the end, thanks and sorry. It just started pouring out.
Looking forward to hearing everyone’s views on stress.
On that note, I’m off for a lavender infused bath and to chant ommmmmmmmmmmmm.
Love to all xx