Diary of a dizzy blonde

So this is a phrase used a lot about blondes, but it actually perfectly describes me. Not because I’m dizzy, as in a bit thick lol, I actually have a 2.1 business degree don’t you know 😉 But I have battled with dizziness for nearly two years now.

Dizziness is a symptom of lots of different triggers. A few years ago my 7 year relationship fizzled out. It was amicable and nothing major happened to cause it but it meant selling our gorgeous house and obviously some upheaval, it wasn’t easy but it was for the best long term. My best friend and I hopped on a plane to Ibiza for my first girly single holiday since my teens. We were so excited!!! On the first day of sunbathing we went to get some food and I came over really faint, I rushed to the toilets and literally couldn’t stand up. I hadn’t even eaten my bloody food!! I managed to get back to the hotel and just thought I’d sleep it off. Long story cut short a few trips to the doctors and a lot of euros later I spent the entire holiday in my room 😦 Thank god my friend was so supportive and didn’t once make me feel bad for ruining our holiday. Love that girl.

I’ve had different diagnoses, stress, heat stroke, dehydration etc. I didn’t believe any of these, I didn’t even feel stressed?!?! So I became doctor google and after chatting to others that had similar experiences I looked into vertigo. When I got home I went to the doctors and they agreed. The first doctor gave me tablets and sent me off home. It just got worse and worse. I just resigned myself to the fact this wasn’t going to go away.

After about a year I started to feel a bit better. It was manageable. I truly believe it was triggered by the flight. As I’d flown before though I hoped it was a one off. I booked another holiday to Egypt and off I went. All was fine until the first day again on the beach. I started to feel really dizzy!!! There was a doctors at the hotel and he again thought it was due to the heat. They put me on a drip and sent me back to my room. I could hardly stand up. That night I had tried to eat out at a restaurant but half way through I got really hot and I knew I was going to faint, I got up and just collapsed. The staff were amazing and held cold compresses to my head, messing my flipping hair up in the process though lol!!! It’s my worst nightmare, looking stupid in public! I get really embarrassed! I got some medication for vertigo and managed to sit outside in the shade some days, but it did ruin it again. When I returned home I changed doctors and again self diagnosed on google. I found one story of a girl that was exactly the same as mine. Literally word for word. She had Labyrinthitis. Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that causes the labyrinth (a delicate structure deep inside your ear) to become inflamed. The doctor I now had was an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT). This is a doctor who specialises in hearing and balance disorders. He was really good and sent me for MRI’s, ECG’s, Physiotherapy etc etc. Thankfully the tests were all fine. Any form of vertigo is so difficult to treat, it usually goes away by itself, but oh no not for me!!

It’s a difficult one as I look normal, well I hope I do ha ha, I don’t look ill, but it still effects me every single day! Some days are worse than others and it can get me really down as it’s so frustrating!! I try and remain positive as I’ve got so much to be thankful for and there’s worse illnesses to have. The other issue is it can effect you psychology, you panic in busy public places and you start to feel anxious it’s going to happen again. I can’t go anywhere involving heights and I really struggle with cinemas, theatres and busy restaurants. I had a really funny turn at the cinema once, but as I’m so self conscious about looking stupid in public I sat through the entire film with my eyes closed rather than have to get up and collapse in front of everyone!! I’ve had acupuncture, a bit of CBT and I’ve even tried hypnotherapy.

The only thing that seemed to help a bit is vestibular rehabilitation, also called vestibular rehabilitation training or VRT. I had some with the hospital, but they were awful, they really didn’t have a clue. I accidentally, after having some personal training, met a guy who owned the studio who specialised in dizziness. I couldn’t believe it!!! He did loads of different tests and concluded he felt the left side of my brain, the cerebellum, was weaker than the right, he said it’s like training a weaker muscle, we needed to work it harder through different exercise to get it stronger. Your ears and eyes along with the brain all help you balance, when I close my eyes my brain goes crazy and my eyes go wild darting around all over the place. Scary.

The only issue with these exercises and any form of VRT is that you have to do it numerous times a day, every day and it makes you feel worse! The results are extremely slow and sporadic, so it’s really hard to stay motivated. I was starting to feel better but recently it’s not been great again!! Back to doing the exercises for me. He also advised me to get more sleep, as I’d got in a really bad sleep pattern and drink less alcohol, lol that was more of a challenge!! When I drink now it effects me ten times worse than before as I’m already starting off dizzy!!

The pressure of flying in my ears could of been the trigger or it could be just a spooky co incidence. After researching it I’ve bought some ear plugs, called ear planes and I’m desperate to try and go away again. I’m looking to try a short flight to Barcelona, I’ve been to Brussels via the euro tunnel and although my ears did pop, which panicked me, overall I was ok. My bf is fab at keeping me calm when I feel funny, so I’m really hoping we can have an enjoyable holiday.

My weight has been massively effected by all this. Before Ibiza I was the slimmest I’ve ever been!! I was running and tbh after my break up I’d not been eating a lot! Even size 8’s were lose. Some doctors think when you go through emotional stress it can come out in so many ways, it’s strange as although I was obviously upset it was for the best long term and nothing happened, we just lost our way and drifted apart. I was really upset about having to sell our house though, so it was a big change. As I was stuck in my hotel for a whole week I just comfort ate!! I went totally in to sod it mode. I scoffed pizzas, chocolate bars, ice creams, kebabs, Chinese and whatever else I could get my hands on. I felt like a rebellious child. Obviously it tasted nice, but it made me feel even worse!! I put a lot of the weight I’d lost back on and more. When I got home I couldn’t exercise either so I just lost my way. It got to the stage where none of my gorgeous clothes I’d bought fitted me anymore and I’d have to do the jeans dance to get them on lol.

I gradually started to reintroduce exercise and managed to get out of the bad habits I’d got in to. I’m no where near what I weighed at my lowest, but if I’m honest that wasn’t healthy anyway. It was strangely addictive though and I can totally see how people can A. Get eating disorders through getting addicted to feeling skinny and controlling food and also the total opposite B. Why people binge and binge when they feel low. Neither of which I’d ever want controlling me. It was an interesting insight in to both extremes though.

I’ve cracked the weight loss thing and got control over food over 14 years ago when I found my beloved Slimming World. Now I need to crack this, I won’t let it beat me!!

If anyone has had anything similar and can offer any advise I’d pretty much try anything!!!

Thanks for reading xxx

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12 responses

  1. I’ve suffered from dizziness since I had my son 7 years ago so can totally empathise. I struggle on elevators, in lifts, even just looking up to the sky or rolling over in bed can make my head spin 😦 Had mri’s, tests, been told it’s anxiety. No one can seem to give me an answer! So nice to know your not alone xx

    • Oh really, poor you 😦 horrible isn’t it!! I’m exactly the same in lifts, escalators etc. have you looked at vertigo? Sounds like it could be that too? So frustrating when you can’t get an answer isn’t it xx

  2. Hi Nikki. First blog of yours I’ve read. Your Instagram is really inspiring 🙂 so cheers me dears!

    I had real trouble with terrible dizziness a couple of years ago. It lasted for about six months, and even now it still rears it’s ugly head sometimes. I went back and forth from GP to hospital. I remember walking through Tesco pushing a trolley and thinking, if I wasn’t gripping on to this bloody trolley I’d be sprawled out on the floor! Lol.

    I was sent for investigations under Neurology. I had an MRI scan, which was clear, and lots of balance/reflex tests. My mum has always suffered with terrible migraines (largely down to hormones/periods) and so has my sister. The Consultant suggested that I was actually having a rare form of migraine – I don’t always necessarily have pain, but just mega dizziness. She told me to cut out cheese, red wine, chocolate, caffeine… Everything a love lol! (Good for SW though) which I have cut down on in general… Not entirely though. If u feel it coming on I avoid these things plus other booze. She also prescribed Propranolol for me to take twice a day. I took them every day to start with, but then we agreed that I would just take them as soon as I felt it coming on to try to nip it in the bud. It really helped a lot.

    I know how it feels to struggle with dizziness and how tricky it can be getting the right advice. May not be that helpful for your dizziness but sometimes you just need all suggestions going!!

    Hope you have a great holiday 🙂

    Jen

  3. Hi Nikki, My Mum suffered for years with vertigo as a result of ear problems and apart from medication her consultant advised complete caffeine free so decaf tea and coffee and for you no cola etc that has caffeine in it. It definitely improved. Also as well as ear plugs drinking water or sucking something sugar free on take off and landing … Or boat! X

  4. My daughter has ear-planes and we used them in may to go to Greece. She had an operation on her ears this year and I was so worried she would be in pain.
    They seemed to work. No popping, no pain, no pressure build up. I was pleased!

  5. That is scarily me at its worst i couldn’t watch tv or listen to fast music. The Stemetil tablets they gave me for anti-sickness actually made the dizziness worse. Im going to become a google doctor and get out of my “whats the point of trying to be healthy if i end up feeling like this all the time”. Thanks for the advice x

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