I've been dealing with vertigo for about two weeks now. First come the bed spins, the whoosh in my ears and my stomach when I try to sit up, and then, once upright, the strange, loopy way of looking at the world.
I wonder, why do the trees lunge and dip for me, when I suspect they are still standing at attention for others?
Mid-way into the second week, I begin to feel so much better. Driving is okay. My balance returns. It is a relief to feel almost like myself again, to know the vertigo is a temporary affliction that leaves me pretty much clinging to my bed during the regular end of the school year craziness-- so that's kind of a win.
In some ways, the vertigo took me back to the early days of shock and grief.
Back then, there was a real sense that the world I was looking at was a different one than others saw. I remember the leaves on the trees being so astounding clear and individualized, and the sky so alarmingly blue, that I felt extra vulnerable, as if I'd somehow stepped outside but forgotten my skin. People and things moved all around me, but felt separated from me, as if we were all running smoothly on conveyor belts, turning this way and that, like the maid in the Jetsons. I craved connection, and stability, and the way things were before.
My house and yard looked exactly the same, as did my pretty little town, but a growing awareness that something horrific had happened, right here, made it all feel seem off-kilter and sinister. The old world of school, and work, and kids, and church ceased to exist in a flash, in a moment. The new upside down one, of learning how to outlive a precious child, flashed its skewed existence at me day after day until I could begin to get my bearings.
It would take months and months of living with a profound sense of vulnerability and disorientation for me to begin to feel a little better. Of course it was a new self that emerged, standing not-quite-upright as before, but stable enough to face the challenges ahead as the future spun before me in a new, unwanted direction.