Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vertigo

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.

11 comments:

Jamie Reese said...

SO well put! Glad your vertigo is getting better.

Nomads By Nature said...

I'm glad you are beginning to feel better. I've never had physical vertigo, but did experience bed spins once and I am not a fan. The emotional vertigo a loss creates is too true. We lost two young, bright Peace Corps volunteers in Mozambique to a car accident a couple years back. Everything about the blue skies, the sea breezes, and life continue around seemed so removed and painfully sharp edged. One family that came for the memorial described it as having the world shift under their feet and causing them to walk and move and seem completely off balance and disoriented with how to proceed forward. I think of them often even though I never knew them, really. I've never met you IRL but I do feel a connection to you, your family and your Jack. Thank you for continuing to share him and your journey through grief. It is an honor to help you bear a small part of this burden - even if it just through a comment like this, reading your wise reflections from across the globe. You have puts scary feelings into words which makes them smaller and a bit easier to walk through. You and your writing are a gift, Anna - a gift before Jack's accident, not just after. I am so sorry for your loss, all this time later, and hope your gift is helping you heal both types of vertigo. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

This might seem extremely off topic (actually it is) but I wonder if you've thought about Justin Bieber since he went off the rails. Would be curious on your take. Because I hear the 11 year old daughter of a friend say "now that he's a bad person," and I have to say I really cringed. His behavior is not good recently but good God, I feel like the cards were so stacked against him. This poor kid was thrust into the limelight as a 11 or 12 year old kid (kiss of death!) and more or less handed over to managers and agents (not working in his best interest) and then much later courted by a father he had never known and craved a relationship with (And who was a very bad influence). This kid has grown up in a culture where you can't trust anyone because everyone wants something from you and money is the end-all be-all. I don't love this kid and yet my heart goes out to him. He's trapped in a lonely lonely world. (I won't be offended if you don't publish this, it's just something I've been thinking about and I associated it with a few blogs of yours a couple years ago). Love.

Anonymous said...

I had a friend with severe vertigo. She went to a natural chiropractor who helped immensely.

Alison said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better, dear Anna.
xoxo

Common Household Mom said...

I could see how vertigo is an apt metaphor for the wrenching change you had in your life. My heart aches for you.

I do hope and pray that your vertigo has subsided. I suffer occasionally from vertigo, and it is lousy. It is possible to have treatments with a physical therapist who is trained to treat "benign positional paroxysmal vertigo." It worked for me. But the vertigo can return any time for no known reason.

Kim Court said...

You write so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this. And good luck with the vertigo.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna, Your blog reminds us that this part of life is both beautiful and tragic and you are a testament to everyone that has experienced tragedy yet decides to push themselves to follow the light instead of the dark. Every day that goes by you actually get closer to Jack rather than farther away and one day when your soul leaves your body, you will never feel vertigo or shingles or tragedy again. Just peace, joy, beauty and paradise...

Andrea Mowery said...

So glad that your vertigo is better, Anna - it really can be debilitating. I love the way you compared it to the changed way the world looked after Jack died. Beautifully expressed.

Deb Werrlein said...

"I felt extra vulnerable, as if I'd somehow stepped outside but forgotten my skin" Anna, this is such an exquisite description of grief. I'm so glad you describe it in the past tense (although I have no doubt it still rears its terrible head).

I've been away from blogging. Having fun catching up. looking forward to your book release! :)

Anonymous said...

Just browsing. Found your blog through Momastery. My mother has Meniere's Disease, a symptom of which is vertigo. It started out as an once-to-twice a year occurrence, and over the course of fifteen years or so progresses to several times a week. She could barely recover from one bout before being hit with another. That being said, there are many things that cause vertigo. Just something to keep in your back pocket should it not be a passing thing.