Finding the right balance….

Back when I was under VRT (Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy) for Vestibular Neuritis, I was very new to vestibular disorders so was finding my feet with it all. I remember my therapist banging on to me about finding the right balance. All I was interested in at the time was the exercises she was doing with me and kind of ignored her to begin with when she raised this topic. Looking back I SO know what she meant!

She used to say to me on MANY occasions  “You need to find the right balance, you need to not do too little and not do too much.” At the time I did not really understand what she meant, I was just doing what I could do to survive and get me through the day, my natural instinct. When I had a bad turn I used to think, I better sit down and ride this out and not do anything for a while and then to the other extreme when I was feeling ok, I would do as much as possible and be manically busy, as I was so behind with everything as had been sitting around trying to ride it out!!!

It became apparent, as time went on, that if I sat down for too long I would get more dizzy then if I did too much I would feel dreadful the next day! I could not win! Her repetitive statement soon started filtering through to my consciousness. Could she be right? Should I be finding the right balance!?! How the hell do I do that, where do I start?!!

Well I can tell you, it has taken a long time to get it through to my brain! But eventually I did start to learn what the right balance was. I found that sitting for longer then 20 minutes was not good for my brain, I had to keep moving to give it a chance to compensate for the misbalance signals my right ear was throwing at it. It made sense, of course if I am sitting around and not moving my body, my brain has no way of re-training itself? Similarly I found that if I did loads in one day eg working, washing, cleaning, walking etc I would really suffer the next day, like a activity overload hangover, almost as if I had been on the sauce all day! It was all too much for my brain to cope with!

Think of it like a traffic jam, a bottle neck, imagine the cars are thoughts, signals, processes, too many of them going to your brain from different parts of your body, which gets it very overloaded very quickly and very clogged up. Resulting in tension headaches, more dizziness, anxiousness and stress!

Not only was my Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapist saying this to me, but my Vestibular Migraine consultant was also chanting this line, I was getting it from both sides of the audiology department! At the beginning I was thinking, well, surely that is just a typical thing to say to a vestibular patient, part of their training, part of the process blah blah blah. However now I know there is so much more behind it! Even my new consultant bangs on about it!

So to find the right balance it certainly was a bit of trial and error! Probably one of the most difficult things I have had to try and fathom out. I am a person who likes being very busy! I am a stubborn individual who did not want to do too little that was for sure!

So its been very hard to try and reign myself in! It is so easy when you are having a GOOD day, to do TOO MUCH. Similarly very easy to do TOO LITTLE if you are having a BAD DAY. You need to find a happy medium. I knew that I firstly had to address my computer usage, I used to be on it day and night! Unavoidable really when you use a computer for work so much and being a business owner, I do not clock off at 5pm! My consultant advised me to be on it for 10 minute intervals only and then have a 5 minute break and go and do something else. Mmmmmmm what a hassle! Having to stop every 10 minutes when you are working on something! Anyway eventually I did listen and try and do that.

I also slowly learnt to find out how much I could do regarding housework and other activities at home and externally. Bite size pieces and spacing things out rather then doing things for hours on end in one go eg having set days/hours to do certain things. Also its about being mindful of certain things like head and body movements, not doing things too quickly or too slowly, having the lights at a medium level rather then being not too bright and not too dim. Also with food, if you have vestibular migraines, you are not meant to get too hungry! I found that I was bad if I got too hungry and also if I was too full!

All this might seem obvious to people but when you have a vestibular condition it can be very confusing as to what to do for the best. I always think its really best to listen to your body and you know what your limit is. I have spent a long time trying to simplify things in my life, not just with my food but with exercise and all the activities mentioned above. Also to simplify things mentally, means your brain does not get so clogged up!

However despite all this training I have been through, I still am like a naughty rebellious child and revert back to my bad ways. I still do too much some days, then I suffer, I still do too little (sitting on my chair for hours on end on a computer doing work). I do have to be very disciplined and make sure I have the will power to stay on track with this as its a fundamental part of having GOOD days rather than BAD ones. What does help me is having the support around me to keep me on track, my colleague at work, my husband and parents (and some close friends too!) constantly remind me to not do too much or too little. Knowing that they understand this important element to my condition means so much and is very comforting.

I would love to hear from other vestibular sufferers on this subject and how you cope with finding the RIGHT BALANCE, your HAPPY MEDIUM. Are you good at it or are you just finding your feet with it? Or is this all new to you?

Thanks for reading my blog!

Lara x


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