Fantasy image of a warrior woman with a glowing sword

Balance Awareness Week, 2022: Are You a Vestibular Warrior?

Image by Mark Frost from Pixabay

This week (September 18-24, 2022) is Balance Awareness Week.

Here I’m sharing something I wrote earlier this year. I was going through a particular difficult flare-up with my vestibular issues and found that writing down my thoughts helped to relieve some of the frustration I was feeling.

Another rainy day and the pressure in my ears is intense. My ears are screaming at me. A piercing pain in my left ear and the echoey feeling of a vibration seem to add to the overall feeling of pressure. My head is fuzzy and sore. My neck, fragile and achy. I’m sensitive to noise and light. I know I shouldn’t be sitting at the computer—the light from the screen and my fuzzy head struggling to concentrate isn’t productive. Yet, I keep trying to power through these rainy days.

I used to like being inside on rainy days. That comforting feeling of listening to the sound of rain outside, the elevated volume of cars as they drive past. Enjoying the shelter of home and its comforts. Now, I am just frustrated. Now, rainy days generally mean I am fighting against my vestibular issues. 

My vestibular issues flare up with cerian triggers including stress, tiredness, and salty and sugary foods, but my nemesis is weather changes. A change in barometric pressure and my body seems to go into overdrive. My internal voice is shouting at this frustrating condition, telling it that I will not give up, and I am not going to let it win and take away my day. My two diagnoses-—Vestibular Migraine and Meniere’s Disease—hold hands during these stormy days, bonding with strength, creating an almost impenetrable force. I’m unsure as to which condition is responsible for this awful feeling of pressure in my head and ears. The unsteadiness and stolen words, I can’t seem to find. Fighting the battle is not recommended. The more I fight, the stronger its grasp. But I am stubborn. 

I’m still sitting at my computer. I answer emails, write blogs and work on my articles. I work towards future plans. I can’t allow this condition to take a day of productivity away from me, after it has taken so much. I worry that if I begin to let it take control, the effects will escalate. I worry the more I let it win, the more days there will be like this. I can’t change the weather. I can’t take a pill to make the rain stop or to brighten the skies. 

I know I should be resting, but this worry of it taking the power from me, seizing the high ground, is so strong. There’s no knowing when each flare-up will end—sometimes a day, sometimes weeks. If I start resting now, I may have to rest for weeks. 

Part of me wishes that those around me knew the effort it takes to get through these days. The awful sickening feeling of being trapped inside a body that doesn’t function how I want it to. But then my thoughts think of worse scenarios than this. I know there will be brighter days for me.

I keep fighting and I always will, but sometimes the pressure is too much, and sometimes my brain becomes suffocated by the cloud. Even the most determined warriors have days where they lose the battle and have to rest.

Are you a vestibular warrior? What do you do to help relieve your frustration?

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