The Vestibular Migraine Community
Please read our welcome post and user support wiki!

You just described the past 13 years of my life


#21

Thenukes i am just like your aunt I refused to believe this was stress or anxiety for so many years and still do to some degree. When my Valium does nothing to help I think it’s my ear or migraine. It’s just so strange to think that your mind could cause something this bad even when you think you have your mind together. Sorry I reached the limit of messages I could send on my first day LoL I wasn’t ignoring you.


#22

GetBetter the rotational chair was not bad I was at one of my worst days when I took the ride if you are used to being off balance it’s not bad it’s actually worse for people without any issues.


#23

Wow…ok thanks for letting me know.


#24

You said Effexor helped you, how long did it take for you to notice it working? Did you have any side effects from it? I took the first one today.


#25

I noticed effects pretty quickly within a day or two. But I saw more consistent days around month 3.

My mav has morphed a lot while on it. Now I have a toppling backward kind of sensation.


#26

I have a falling forward feeling now which I’ve Never had. It seems like it’s doing that for me also. I’ve been horrible for about a month now just won’t let up. I took 12.5 mg of the Effexor this morning and I’m not sure if it was just anxiety of taking something different again but seemed like it was a bit hard to breathe, but my off balance let up a bit about 3 hours after.


#27

Flutters,

That was a great post. Agree completely. The majority of us with chronic or recurring conditions need to spend a lot of time on mental approach, mindset, messaging issues. Not to mention, life stress management… personality management.

Again, I may not make many friends here (or anywhere) saying this… but I think the vast majority of us who have these conditions have them largely because of underlying emotional/behavioral/stress-anxiety factors that led us to a lifetime of poor management and stress/anxiety either directly caused these conditions… or allowed for the gene expression to do so.

Dr. Sarno talked about huge studies that showed almost half of the people X-ray’d in a study had spinal/disc abnormalities in their back. (“Bulging disc” etc) It turned out that only a few of them complained about any pain. Yet, if one goes to the doctor WITH pain… the doc will x-ray and blame a bulging disc for any pain you may have.

It’s a very tricky topic because people think you’re calling them “crazy.” It took me a while to truly accept what stress/anxiety could produce. I truly believe emotional facotrs are at the core of so much of what peopel deal with… IN PARTICULAR with these elusive, hard to pin down - hard to track ongoing conditions.

*Again - this is not to say pain isn’t pain. Pain is pain. Pain is real, regardless of the source… and conditions exist… but this doesn’t mean that condition didn’t have a different genesis.

Starting with the psychological is an inarguable point IMO. Why? Because no matter WHAT condition arises in life (and they will) … mindset is going to be a huge factor in recovery.

Anyway, it’s an interesitng topic. Perhaps one for another thread some time. I wonder how many around here have looked into the work of Dr. Sarno, Shubiner, read books by Claire Weekes, etc.

Be well.


#28

I’m going to vehemently disagree with this statement.

There is a very intimate relationship between the inner ear and vestibular processing in the brain and a direct link to anxiety when there is a vestibular crisis (its part of your instinctual survival mechanism to keep you alive!)

If you injure your inner ear, for example, or compromise your vestibular system in some other way you will cause yourself neurological impact. (the severity of which I can personally attest having injured mine! Migraines, the lot).

A physical injury to your balance sense is nothing to do with how you are as an emotional person and no amount of positive thinking is going to resolve such a physical insult in the short term.

Root cause in a lot of cases is nothing to do with mindset.

No doubt that they do have a bearing though and part of recovery of even a physical injury would be to try and control your anxiety response to help limit symptoms, but it won’t fix the root cause. That’s why doctors refer you to psychotherapy including mindfulness as you have to retrain your reactions.


#29

Dizzyforever,

The falling and wobly feelings are proabbly #1 or #2 symptom for stress disorder. Polls of those with anxiety disorder always show it to be in the top 3. (Panic attakcs, dizziness, insomnia, etc.) It’s good to rule things out, I’m doing that myself after a bout of issues after weight lifting. However, it’s also helpful to be truly educated as to the effects of stress/anxiety (particularly long term) on our symptoms. I recommend Jim Folk at anxiety centre’s work for that particualr aspect.

Worry is an incredible stressor on the body. Stress hormones are massively powerful.

Also, just a thought… when we use explosive language and adjectives like “HORRIBLE!” and things of that nature… our minds cue on that. We send messages to our brain with the language we choose.

You can choose to say the last month has been:

HORRIBLE! THE WORST EVER! HELL ON EARTH!

Or you could possibly choose:

Diffiuclt. A challenge. A trying time… but one you plan to work through and overcome.

Certainly some things can be “horrible”… my last 6 weeks have really been bad a lot of the time. But, I managed, and had a few laughs in that stretch as well.

I think we with anxiety disorder develop habits of sensational language because we do feel bad, and we feel like conveying that to others in extreme langauge will make them understand… sympathize… maybe even help or save us? It’s a common thing we do.

Just an observation, but slowly starting to make the concious choice to use more measured language might help settle your mind just enough to allow you more peace in your day, even days when things aren’t perfect. I’ve spent almost a decade reprogramming and learning to live better. So, it’s a work in progress for all of us.


#30

I think we can maybe moderate this language a bit. Both Bryan (@thenukes) and James (@turnitaround) and I’m guessing Helen (@Onandon03) will argue causation. I agree, James, this is NOT all down to anxiety and stress management. But, I’m right there with Bryan on the role of stress management. Our mental and physical health are intimately connected. One affects the other. Work to pull down stress and learn to strengthen your emotional responses because that in turn can help reduce your physical symptoms or the perception of the severity of those symptoms. Our perception is how we define our reality. 8 days of violent spinning vertigo isn’t caused by anxiety, but it is anxiety inducing. The strategy, after knowing the pattern, is to know it’s temporary. We’re running a marathon. Our symptoms morph as the miles pass. That’s the strategy, knowing things change helps us get thru the present crisis.


#31

I would argue the complete opposite is also possible, an actually probably quite a usual occurrence. Probably goes undiagnosed too. I’ve discussed that possibility with a psychotherapist friend - that there are people walking around who think they have an anxiety disorder but in actual fact they have a vestibular injury!

A vestibular condition could give you an anxiety disorder.


#32

Agreed totally wholeheartedly with James.

Wouldn’t imagine mindset is the root cause of many MAV cases. Agreed, MAV must have a cause. It’s result of trauma to the balance system, maybe through RTA, migraine itself, whatever. Anxiety, depression comes later, the result of the seemingly hopelessness of the condition maybe. It can and will aggravate the MAV but cause it. Wouldn’t think so, not in most cases. Of course, it’s listed as a contributory factor for the development of PPPD but PPPD is a different thing, if indeed you believe in PPPD.


#33

Emily, as per my previous post, totally agree with developing coping strategies which help to deal with the anxiety to limit impact … no argument there!


#34

I know you are shooting the breeze here to some extent, and beginning to develop a mental model of your condition to help you cope. I get that.

I did the same. And my model changed a lot in the first 1 to 2 years of being sick. I have since refined it to a hairs width.

I bet I’m close to being more informed about the anatomy of the inner ear than most first line doctors. I even caught my consultant out at last visit, but I don’t claim to know more.

But there are some real realities we have to deal with here and its not going to help the longterm prognosis of vestibular patients if we don’t keep the science at the forefront of our minds.

A lot of arguments have occurred on this site when different people’s mental models of their illness come into conflict. That’s unfortunate but will re-occur as long as there is an element of doubt in the underlying science.

I would urge everyone to keep an open mind and consider all the complex variety of circumstances which may cause people to get sick with MAV. Its definitely a variety of causes, but the underlying aetiology is bound to have some commonality because we are all human and share the same anatomy, if not always the same circumstances and condition.


#35

TurnItAround,

It’s funny, because the enthusiasm you show in your answer… is the same enthusiasm many who have overcome simialr disorders using alternate approaches would show. Again, this is why I say… we all choose our belief sets and some people simply will never be pusehd off of theirs, and that’s fine. I’m not here to do anything other than share my experiences, learn from others… and maybe open a mind or two along the way.

No one is doubting science.

But it’s a maze of a discussion. There are credible doctors out there I can point you to who believe cancer may develop from partially emotional sources in some cases.

This is why it’s deeper than saying it’s ALWAYS science and nuts and bolts, or it’s ALWAYS just stress-induced.

To keep an open mind, as you put it… allows for the notion that even seemingly mechanical issues… as pointed out in the bulging disc study may have alternate interpretations.

My wife works in medicine (cardio) and she sees many controversial diagnoses of things they can actually SEE on an MRI. She deals with real structural issues all day long… saves lives… and is a big believer in that beyond mechanical.

This isn’t to say direct trauma doesn’t cause direct issues. But in the field of migraines, there is a lot of debate out there as to the genesis/origin/reasons for longevity, etc.

The good news is, no one will change my mind and no one will change yours. :slight_smile: So there’s no need to argue.

But suffice to say… it’s accurate to say that anxiety can WORSEN symptoms. It’s also accurate to say that it can cause them, and potentially trigger underlying condtions many never knew they had.

Science doesn’t even know what the appendix does. We can’t even measure serotonin in a living brain.

The possibilities are vast, and to shut either science or psychology down with absolutes, IMO… is misguided.


#36

Yes, so long as you consider ‘by how much’, ‘to what extent’

I can agree with your statement, all these things are true.

When my inner ear hydrops was developing I used to get dizzy at moments of stress. This had never happened before in my life. It had made me more sensitive to stress. This can probably be explained physiologically very easily (a brief increase in CSF pressure for example, when you get stressed), though i’m not convinced ANYONE in science has observed this phenomenon nor written a convincing explanation of it in a journal.

Also, if you read the science there is an influence of the hormone ADH on the inner ear regulation. This is a very important insight and it may suggest a potential additional option for treatment of hydrops. This is written up on hydrops.info if you are interested.

Yes agree with you, medicine has a loooong way to go!


#37

I’m suspicious dizzy might not require an inner ear component. Brain chemistry could suffice, which is influenced by hormones. Anxiety causes dizziness without an underlying mechanical issue. I’ve watched it in my husband’s panic disorder for years. Except for occasional panic attacks (which he’s largely learned to control through cognitive techniques), the man is right as rain. Throw adrenaline or cortisol into my mix and I can barely stand.


#38

Well we know you can get dizzy when drunk. Not sure if science has determined whether or not the inner ear is involved during inebriation …


#39

‘Little birds is the nest must agree or else they will fall out’. …

Very nearly typed ‘we’re all in the same boat’, but, with the constant rocking, perhaps not the best analogy.

Distraction is a very good form with which to reduce anxiety, I’ve found.


#40

I agree anxiety definitely is going to exacerbate symptoms, heck they may even bring on a few more symptoms or at least be a catalyst to additional symptoms, but in my situation, it’s not coincidental that things for me started going downhill after the incident I had in the soccer game. I firmly believe had i not gone to that game, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now, had James not tried to clean out the ear with the shower head, he wouldn’t be in this position now etc. Mindsey plays a huge role sure, but it’s not the initial cause of underlying issue in most cases