VM and mood/anxiety

I was diagnosed with VM over a year ago, i cant remember exactly when because im in an episode right now and my memory is a mess. I also struggle with mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which im sure is common; the thing is i know anxiety makes it worse and vice versa, but its hard to when one starts and the other stops, ie I dont often know when to push back against the anxiety and depression by doing stuff v overdoing it when I’m tired, dizzy, and confused. Its really scary because im 63 and the brain fog - which makes this distinction more confusing- seems to be getting worse.
Do others have experiences like this??

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Hi Harry,
I was only diagnosed with VM last November after almost 5 years struggling with Vertigo and a diagnosis of BPPV with very little relief from physical therapy and the usual RX of Meclezine. Finally found a Neurotologist who diagnosed VM and began the trial and error of other meds. I wouldn’t say I particularly fought depression but definitely anxiety and so far as long as I’m not in an episode the brain fog remains at bay. I’m 74 so have a few years on you!

While I was experimenting with a few meds, on somewhat good days, I started working on adult Lego projects. I know it sounds crazy, my husband and family thought so too, but the focus I needed to do them kind of kept the anxiety at bay for some reason. I couldn’t do them when I was spinning or in the midst of a terrible migraine but if I was just a little dizzy or worried about the next episode they were a nice distraction. It’s just an idea or maybe you could find something similar to distract you and keep your mind occupied elsewhere?

Right now I’m having good luck with Topiramate and just upped dosage from 50 to 75mg because I was having some breakthrough symptoms. Of course one of the side effects is brain fog…wouldn’t you know? Hoping to stave that off because otherwise it seems to be working for the most part for me. Are you on any medications right now?

I’m sorry you’re going through a rough patch. Try to stay positive and I have my fingers crossed the symptoms ease up soon!

The anxiety is real.
My VM vertigo has been unpredictable for over a year.
When I don’t have symptoms, anxiety hits when I go anywhere.
It’s sometimes hard to separate the two.

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Anxiety & depression are horrid.

@DizzyBot according to posts on the forum what are the best ways of dealing with spells of anxiety when they occur?

It seems like anxiety is a common challenge among those dealing with VM. Here are a few strategies shared by users on the forum for managing anxiety spells:

  1. Comprehensive Management: ‘ander454’ suggests that there’s no quick fix for anxiety but recommends several long-term strategies such as counseling, changing job environments, meditation, taking time off, spending more time in nature and with family, and cognitive behavioral therapy. A recommended resource is the book “Feeling Good” by David Burns, which focuses on managing automatic thoughts that cause anxiety. More details can be found here.

  2. Medication and Mindset: ‘Paulus’ emphasizes the importance of focusing on finding the right medication and maintaining a positive attitude. Avoiding stress and overthinking can significantly help manage anxiety. You can read more about this approach here.

  3. Medication and Time: ‘turnitaround’ notes that with time and the right medications, anxiety tends to calm down, indicating that patience and appropriate medical treatment are key. More on this can be found here.

These suggestions highlight the importance of a multifaceted approach, including lifestyle changes, psychological therapy, and possibly medication to manage anxiety effectively.

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I’d add, at the risk of repeating myself that one very good way of dealing with acute anxiety is going for a long walk (hours) amongst nature. Sometimes significantly uncomfortable at first, because of vestibular symptoms, but ultimately helps dissipate the anxiety, so stick with it and force yourself to overcome any trepidation. There’s a very good bet it might also help you towards compensation and thus an overall reduction or elimination of symptoms.

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Harry - The brain fog is scary, particularly for those of us who are older and worried about losing our independence. Mine comes and goes in intensity – some days it’s so bad it affects my speech but on other days I’m just fine. Please speak to your doctors about this. Mine has reassured me that this is not dementia, which is a relief.

I agree that walking in quiet places, is excellent medicine for me. On the advice of my doc I invested in a walking stick and when my symptoms are less than controlled it helps both physically and mentally quite a bit. You might give it a try. I also work in the garden whenever I can. It’s the one place I totally lose myself and focus on my plants, the soil and what they need. Like Lulu recommends, see if you can find an activity that absorbs you but doesn’t take too much brain power. But do let your doctors know you’re struggling – don’t suffer in silence. And don’t hesitate to stop by here for some moral support.

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It is hard to separate the 2!! It can make me a bit crazy! Im going to focus more on anticpating stressors to manage my anxiety better.
Thanks for your input

Hi , thanks for your words…im meeting with a neurologist in q few days, ill probably try a new med like topiramate too.
Funny, i tried Lego to give me something to focus on but i used cheap Chinese knockoffs and pieces were too small and instructions too hard to follow lol…maybe ill give it another go but ill do some drawing probably since im taking a course. Anxiety is so horrible when it hits! Im getting better at managing it but i.need to work on anticipating stress and being more pro-active.
Also keeping easy to eat things on hand specifically for when an episode hits because i suddenly lose all appetite.

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I walk quite a lot, and green time is very important! I have to remind myself of that

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Thanks…yes walking is very important. I have been thinking of swimming but it seems maybe to be too " unbalanced " , if you follow me. I often try to lose myself in cooking…i dont have the benefit of having a garden tho.

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Hi again, for clarification, are we talking about activities for times when we’re fully symtomatic as well as for controlling stress to limit attacks?
I NEVER KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN IM VMing!!
I cant do very much, tv, reading, drawing, cooking etc are all VERY challenging! Mostly i.just sit and watch my mind race…
What do other folks do during an attack?

Harry - When I’m in full blown vertigo I lie in a dark room until the attack stops enough for me to safely move about. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often now that I’m on meds. When I’m having a VM day or week (without vertigo), like you I often cannot read or look at a computer screen.

Crazy as it sounds, I discovered that PBS (which you can stream for free) has many years of Antiques Road Show episodes available and those got me through some very bad times. The shows are mostly people talking about their antiques with no quick camera movements so I can glance at the TV and see the object they are talking about then close my eyes and listen to the discussion. Really helps pass the time. If you can stand just a bit of visual stimulation, find gardening and nature shows to sorta watch. They always speak in soothing voices and the cameras are very slow moving – you get the idea.

I try to move around as soon as I can after an attack. I’ve read that it helps the brain reorient itself in space – don’t know if that’s true but it seems to help me. I start wandering around the house, then go out into the backyard, then finally take a walk in the neighborhood. This might take place over the course of one day or several days, depending on how I’m feeling.

But while I’m in the middle of an attack, I do nothing but lie perfectly still and wait for the spinning to stop. Slow rhythmic breathing (learned from years of yoga practice) helps prevent me from going into panic-mode. If that doesn’t work for you maybe try some meditation music, nature sounds, etc. – whatever helps keep you calm. And again, please talk to your physician about this. It’s a miserable situation, isn’t it?