While I was in grad school, I had as many as five dizzy spells a week. They were so bad that I had to be carried up stairs on multiple occasions and gave up driving. I would have to leave class and lie on the floor of my office, and frequently had to call friends to sub for me in the classes that I taught.
I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and told that there wasn’t any good treatment for it. The disease causes sufferers to eventually lose hearing in at least one ear.
About two years later, the vertigo went almost as quickly as it came. I started a full-time job with regular hours and began driving again. Not long after that, headaches, which I’d had for years, became too strong to ignore. A year later came the correct diagnosis of migraine. At least I wasn’t going to go deaf.
In the last six months, my old friend vertigo has been hanging around. He now stops by only at night. If I lie on my back I can usually fall back asleep, so his visits aren’t too disruptive. Then he broke the rules by showing up yesterday morning.
After two attempts at getting out of bed, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. My headache wasn’t too bad, but I was dizzy. Not even terrible the-world-is-turning-turning-turning kind of dizzy. It was just enough that I couldn’t be up longer than two minutes without becoming nauseated.
I felt so crippled. I know approximately how long and how painful a migraine will be, and I can always pop pills to take the pain down a notch. That lets me feel some amount of control. Lying down and waiting it out is the only treatment for vertigo.
It’s now 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday. The dizziness let up about 7 p.m., but I feel like I have the mental and emotional parts of a migraine hangover. My body is wide awake, my mind is barely working. Little things frustrate me beyond belief. I feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life.
Vertigo could be another manifestation of migraine for me. Or maybe I forgot to take my pills. Some days it’s all too complicated.