I knew something wasn’t right. Even before I had fully woken. The spinning. I kept telling myself it would pass. Just lie there, don’t move. I held on as long as I could until eventually, I had to run.
Just getting to the toilet was a feat in and of itself. I felt drunk. Poisoned. It was like I was on a small boat in a great sea storm. I made it to the toilet—only just. I tried to steady myself as I began to throw up. It was like trying to hit a moving target, the toilet bowl just wouldn’t stay in the same place.
Eventually, I made it to bed after shoulder slamming the wall several times on the way back. I was feeling slightly better from my visit to the moving toilet. My only option now was to try not to move my head. Not.Even.An.Inch. Each time my neck became sore, I would bear the spinning and move, waiting for it to settle again. Naturally, I began to catastrophise. The fear of something terribly wrong. I kept saying to my partner “something is wrong, something is wrong”. This was not normal.
Little did I know, this ‘episode’ was to continue for over four months.
When labels like ‘Tired Working Mum’ don’t help
Looking back, I could see something was coming. My body was giving me warning signs: I was tired, worn out and felt ‘a bit off’. I thought it was simply how you feel sometimes when you’re a working Mum. How many times do we put our symptoms aside, labeling them as Tired Working Mum Disorder? How many times have we had this disorder explained to us by our family, friends or even our GP? “You’re just tired. You’re a working Mum”.
And most importantly, how can we tell when it’s NOT Tired Working Mum Disorder?
I wasn’t pregnant if that’s what you’re thinking! Turns out I had vertigo. It took a few conversations with some of my colleagues from our wellness practice to bring my awareness to my condition. It was like a lightbulb moment. “Oh my gosh, of course”.
Immediately I criticised myself by asking “how could I let this happen?”, “how did I not see it?”. Followed by giving myself no time to work through it— I wanted it gone and it was up to me to demonstrate to my clients how swiftly I could clear it. Ha! My ego was in full throttle and my head was steering the ship (an excellent recipe for making things worse).
What is vertigo?
Let me just pause for a moment and clarify vertigo for those of you who may not have come across it before. Vertigo is described as dizziness, or the false sensation of spinning. You could be perfectly still, yet inside your head you feel you’re spinning. If you do try to move it can trigger vertigo. It can be accompanied by nausea and in severe cases, vomiting. It can be short-term or like me, last for months. Trying to get dressed can be fun, taking my top off would feel like someone bounced the earth beneath me. Often, I couldn’t close my eyes as it felt like a rollercoaster in the dark. Anyway, back to my story…
(image thanks for VeDA vestibular.org)
Sitting here now I can tell you that my story has a happy ending. I worked through my vertigo. So, what did I learn from my time with vertigo? Through the next section of the Flawed Healer Series, I’m going to explore how working through an ailment can lead you to an even better place than prior to being unwell. And finally, I’ll share with you my top tips for healing vertigo.
The best way out is through
Straight up: often the way your body speaks to you and what it’s trying to say is quite obvious; almost literal. The metaphor becomes a direct line from the body, rather than an intricate spiral.
You don’t have to be an expert to apply emotional, mental or spiritual understanding to the messages of your body. Truly!
There are some incredibly useful teachers on the topic of mind-body connection, such as: Carolyn Myss, Louise Hay, Evette Rose and Annette Noontil. For centuries, healing traditions have studied and practised the mind-body-energy connection. From Traditional Chinese Medicine to Ayurvedic Medicine and the Yogic Chakras, all have been fundamental in the health and wellness of our people, our Earth and its inhabitants. Many of these teachers have been my guides throughout my life and career. I’ve always been drawn to exploring a deeper understanding of pain, discomfort or disharmony. Or simply put— what my body is trying to tell me, and with this insight, how I can heal myself.
And that’s the point— rather than a band-aid approach, learning the messages of the body gives you a way forward and the knowledge to perhaps prevent anything further in the future. It helps you get to know your body and the signs for when you’re not being just a tired working Mum.
As a kinesiologist, I spend my days talking to my client’s body through their energy system and muscles. What I’ve come to see quite clearly through both ancient and modern healing traditions is that there’s immense value in thinking literally. Read how I do this in When Your Body Is Speaking To You, Try This.
And as always, my friends — you don’t have to do it alone. xkp