This post has been created with doctors in mind…..
I’ve been suffering from vestibular migraines for the past 19 months. We believe in my case it’s a genetic condition, as my mum has also been suffering from dizziness and migraines for the last 35 years.
My treatment is currently Candesartan, to lower my blood pressure and stemetil when I get a dizzy attack. Other than that, I turned my back on the heavier options of epilepsy medication and strong anti-depressants due to the horrific zombie-like side effects and even worse, the amount of support groups I found on Facebook trying to help people that are struggling to come off them. They HAVE been proven to work for some people and others couldn’t cope without them, but personally, I just seem to be too sensitive for them so it’s best for you to try for yourself and make up your own mind.
I recently conducted a poll on the biggest vestibular migraine triggers on one of the largest migraine associated vertigo facebook groups and here are the results.
Over 400 people suffering from this illness voted and the top 3 triggers are anxiety and stress, the weather and hormones. This is SO important as at least 50-60% of us are often fobbed off by our local GPs with ‘you just have anxiety’, when it is actually the illness that CAUSES anxiety due to a weakened vestibular system, constant dizziness and vision/ balance problems.
I did NOT have an anxiety problem before this. I was very active and social, travelling at least 4-5 times a year and I loved to surf whenever possible and had just started climbing.
After a year of suffering from V.M I developed a general anxiety disorder and Insomnia. I am currently seeing an anxiety counsellor in the hope of improving my sleep and soothing this erratic condition. So I was only diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder months AFTER having V.M, NOT before. I find because of my anxiety, if on top of this I am having a stressful time in my work or personal life, it’s my BIGGEST trigger and I have the worst attacks and relapses. Almost like I can only handle so much and once I’m pushed beyond that, my brain just can’t cope!
I also had problems with periods from the age of 14 and was ill every month so again this is definitely one of my triggers alongside cold weather or a change in humidity.
I understand that it would be impossible for doctors to comprehend every possible health condition but in general, we sufferers are likely to know more and have a better understanding than your average G.P. We are the ones living through this. So rather than looking at your P.C and following the general guidelines for medication and giving up on us when you can’t find one that fits, how about looking into it yourself? Within 10 minutes you will gain so much understanding from the facebook groups.
Where am I now?
Just so other sufferers know and to give a little hope, I have found that my symptoms are improving. I seem to get relapses caused by one of my top 3 triggers, stress & anxiety, the weather and hormones but they are becoming less frequent and I seem to bounce back quicker. I put this down to continuingly pushing myself.
At first my symptoms were so bad I couldn’t walk up the stairs by myself and needed help for a few weeks. Gradually I could walk a few hundred metres to my local shop, by holding onto the wall at times. After this came the hardest test. Walking up Hammersmith high street in West London. It took around 5-6 months for my eyes to be able to cope with the bright lights, noise and people but ever so gradually my body started to compensate and my eyesight and balance improved. It took time and effort.
I am NOT one of those naturally highly positive people. I found it impossible to try to stay positive when I felt so terrible, and at my very worst I thought if I had to live through constant dizziness and vertigo attacks for another year then I would rather not live at all. What helped me was simply just ‘getting on with it’. I’m hungry, no one is around to food shop for me so I would HAVE to walk to the supermarket ect.
You CAN recover to some extent, obviously everyone is different, but if I had just sat in the house all day and talked myself out of it, I wouldn’t of had any life at all. I stopped the ‘I Can’t’ and at least TRIED.
It’s time to take control back of our lives and push ourselves wherever possible. Once you achieve a small step, like food shopping on your own, you will find that after, you start to take bigger steps towards your recovery.
It’s likely I will ALWAYS suffer from these symptoms but with hard work and commitment, I hope in another 2 years, I will be 90% back to normal for prolonged periods of time.