Since heatstroke in January, I’ve lost so many skills: hearing sounds and music, tremor and loss of coordination that I’d lost confidence in myself to do the most basic things. I was seeing double vision for a time there, it also changed parts of my personality, affected my social skills – I know because I’ve told some really bad jokes.
When my brain swelled from the inflammation, the neurons got squashed and my sense of balance was put off centre.
I constantly feel dizzy, like I’m gonna fall flat on my face. My eyes and ears aren’t talking to my brain and telling me which way is up, so I’d be looking at the ground so not to trip over. A little walk of 50m was a challenge. For anyone that’s experienced vertigo knows how debilitating and inconvenient it can be.
Spinning around is distressing, I can never get a sense of where I was. I’d be constantly tired because my brain is lost in the jumble of wires, trying desperately to make the right connections for standing. On Remembrance Day, I was at Westfield, 1100am the last post started playing, everyone stood for the minute silence, I stopped but my head kept going round and round, and I said to my sister, no disrespect but I’m gonna have to find a seat or lean up against a wall otherwise I’m gonna spin out.
As a child, I loved swings and flipping and tumbling. My sense of balance was an outlet for expression and fun. As an acrobatic gymnast I loved doing handstands on people’s shoulders and when I swim in the ocean, the best times are being tumbled by the waves. Now this is not available to me and I’m so sad. I don’t feel like myself anymore.I’ve lost sense of who I am. Lost a part of me.
I always knew the brain was ‘amazing’ but never really thought much about the squishy thing in my head. I know it’s capable of so many things, and brain is driving force for so many things like those motivational slogans, “Being the best version of yourself is largely mental…”
It wasn’t until I’ve lost brain capacity that I’ve really understood, our experience of the world is largely mental, cause it’s the control centre.
I’m scared of not having balance . A few months ago, trip to beach, from car to beach is a few 100 metre, did not make it, I had to lie down on the ground with my cheek on the grass, shut my eyes, “stop spinning, please please go away” Randomly a friend of mine walked past, Sarah what are you doing down there? Having a nap?
Willing to Try
I am fighting for my life, the life I had and want to get back, I am willing to try anything.
me: “what controls balance”
google: vestibular system is the place in the ear that controls balance and keeps us upright
me: “reset vestibular system”
google: rocking chair
Apparently, doctors were prescribing rocking chairs since 1850’s as therapy from back pain, surgery and anxiety. And even NASA use it for their astronauts to literally rock them back to earth, after they lost all sense of balance after months in space.
At the same time, found a therapy which similarly corrects balance by stimulating the vestibular system called Isodynamics. The machine spins you round on a 360 degree, each time increasing the angle and retraining the brain to balance itself.
Throw Everything At It
In my fashion of “throw everything at it”, I also try this treatment along with the rocking chair. At first I felt dizzy, sick and exhausted as my brain can’t find itself in space. After four sessions, I feel more centred and balanced, less tired from always falling forward. And I’m able to walk easier and without staring at the ground.
I’m fascinated to see if this would help. I felt strangely silly cause it’s a fun.
And cause I’m so determined, I’ll rock rock rock until I’m recovered.
Thanks for listening