At the beginning of my vestibular journey, I was not good at opening up, I would avoid talking about my disorders to people, particularly strangers. That was until my CBT Therapist convinced me to open up more, talk more about my struggles. If I am having a bad day, say I am having a bad day, instead of saying I AM FINE THANKS!
Most of my friends know about my vestibular disorders and limitations to a certain degree, although they will never know fully what its like to live with day in day out. However it is comforting knowing that they know and I can be open about it and if we go out for an evening and I have a funny turn, they understand that is just part and parcel of me!
However meeting strangers is an interesting one. Up until recently I have not really opened up to strangers at all, I did not see the point in getting into it as to try and explain it in simple language and in a short sentence is hard. However I have now learnt that telling strangers right at the beginning is important. I am not talking about opening up to people I pass on the streets! I mean, when I meet new people face to face eg on an evening out mainly.
The reason behind my thinking is, if I open up to them early on in the evening, its less pressure on me. I do not have to battle through the evening hoping that I do not have a funny turn and if I do, how will I explain it in midst dizzy/vertigo/panic attack! Or my husband is left to explain it. Instead, if they know from the beginning, if something happens, its not such a shock to them. Instead of them thinking I am a total weirdo if something does happen and they did not know a thing!
One example of this was just the other night. I met some lovely new friends on a night out in London, people that I will be connected with to going forward, so in this case its important they know the real ME right from the start. I was very apprehensive about the evening as I had not been out for a while and the last big evening out I had with friends ended in a very early night due to a funny turn in a restaurant because of the lighting. To say I was nervous was an understatement, the once confident party goer, who did not batter an eyelid before going out, found myself pacing my hotel room for hours before the clock struck 6pm! After a dab and inhalation of frankincense oil and a bath, I felt a tiny bit more at ease.
Bless my husband, as he had chosen restaurants and bars that were low lit, however although the bar we met at 6pm was dark, there were some annoying lamps on the table and also some bright little lights under the bar facing me. So I moved the light off the table and hid it and asked one of the girls to swap over with me so I did not have to face the bar! Bingo! After a few introductions, everyone was ordering their drinks, mine was a water as normal! It is funny looking at peoples faces when you order a water on an evening out! So that was my cue! So I proceeded to tell them the reason behind my tame drink. The first reaction of one person was, I have never heard of vestibular, what is it? Another person said Oh my friend has vertigo its awful and another person said I have migraines, suffered for years, they are so awful. I always find it fascinating what people say back to me, someone will always know someone else who has a vestibular symptom of some kind!
After breaking the news about my disorders, I could get on with my evening as best I could. Although its never without anxiety, or worry about what might happen if I am to encounter any triggers. But I am pleased to say I went through the evening with minimal symptoms and was able to really have fun and yes I can have fun without alcohol, I do not need it to have fun! he he!
I think the more we talk about our disorders the better, who cares if people get bored with hearing about them or do not understand them. If it helps you by talking about it, then all the better. This is why I feel CBT really helps vestibular sufferers as its talking therapy.
So I would be fascinated to hear from my followers or anyone who is reading this, are you open about your disorder to strangers or non strangers? (does not have to be vestibular conditions! can be any condition).
Thanks for reading!