• Kalen Clark

Dizziness Treatments and Coping Skills




In September of 2019 I was in a store and became overwhelmed with a sense of disorientation. I felt very off balance suddenly. It was so random and completely terrifying. That moment marked the beginning of a battle with my vestibular disorder.





There were months of confusion, anxiety and testing. Was it a heart problem? Anxiety? Meniere's Disease?


I felt fuzzy-headed all the time, sometimes my eyes were "glitchy", and everything felt tilted and out of balance. It was miserable.


Finally a doctor prescribed physical therapy. My physical therapist pushed for a test called a VNG. And THAT was when we found the answer. My left ear has nerve damage, most likely caused by a viral illness.


So... after suffering through this ordeal for some time, I wanted to talk about a few things that have helped me, in case you're someone just now discovering that something has gone wrong with your vestibular system!





Physical Therapy

It was months before they finally recommended a physical therapist trained in vestibular disorders for me, but I'm glad I kept advocating for myself. The gaze stabilization, balance practices, and other exercises have helped my brain form new pathways and brought big relief. The key is consistency because it doesn't work overnight.


Seated and slow yoga has also helped me. Moving your body feels like the worst thing when you have these sensations, but it is crucial.



Daily Devotionals

Feeling negative and out of control can really feed vestibular disorders.

I needed something every day to start me in a positive mindset instead of waking up dreading another day of dizziness. Devotionals help me focus, and keep me optimistic. They check destructive thoughts and begin the day more purposefully.



Walks Outside


In the beginning of all this, I took very small, shuffling steps because I felt unsteady. Now I can walk pretty regularly! One of the best ways to do that was walking outside. It felt uncomfortable and always flared my symptoms up, but I knew I had to do it. Do it every day if possible!



Sleep


Tiredness is one of the biggest things that aggravates this condition. I try to stay on a routine of going to sleep near the same time every night and no naps! I feel worse after naps. Guard sleep as if it's medication you must take daily. Do NOT underestimate it's power to heal you.



Water


Start your morning with a cup of water, before anything else. When you feel symptoms more than usual, drink a glass of water. When you are hungry for a snack, drink a cup of water first. Avoid caffeine completely. Even a small amount of dehydration can augment symptoms, so 8 glasses a day is a good goal.



Support and Inspiration


Be so very careful about Facebook and Youtube. While there are some uplifting stories of healing, there are also a lot of people in a negative mindset (and I get it, because this is HARD) and anxiety and hopelessness do NOT help vestibular disorders.


Search for "Vestibular Disorder Success Stories" on Youtube. Allow others to inspire and encourage you. They've walked a similar road and are getting better or 100% healed!



Talk Therapy


Anxiety and vestibular disorders unfortunately go hand in hand and one causes the other. It is a vicious cycle. Talk therapy is effective in research studies at reducing stress and anxiety, and it can be life changing to have someone positive in your corner keeping you focused on healing! Sometimes it can take 1 or 2 therapists to find the right fit, don't give up! I go every 2-3 weeks.



I know you can do this. There are still days when I feel discouraged because healing from vestibular disorders is not a linear process. There are some frustrating setbacks.


But you CAN heal! I know I have experienced a huuuuge reduction in my symptoms and finally feel hopeful about the future.


Make the decision today to get better and commit to it. Your peace is worth fighting for and you can do this!



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