I’ve mentioned vestibular neuritis before, but what’s interesting is that as I live with this condition, that isn’t life-threatening but is lifestyle-threatening, I think about how blessed I am to have this as my most serious physical disadvantage.
Information about motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation is provided by the vestibular system which detects gravity (being upright) and linear (side to side) movement. This neuritis means that my vestibular nerve—bundles of fibers sending information to the brain about balance—is shot. (This is, obviously, my really pedestrian description)
What happens is that I feel like I’m going to fall (sometimes I do), I get a “metallic taste” in my mouth (how do I know what metal tastes like?), the world starts spinning around, my eyes flicker rapidly (sometimes with yellow “orbs” as the sideshow), I become nauseated, really cold or hot, and have to find a way to lie immobile until it passes.
Adversity to Advantage
As I’ve adapted to a different way of walking through day-to-day life, I’ve become more grateful for the things I am able to do.
Sure, there’s adversity:
• at an amusement park, I’ll sit out on almost all rides
• as a car passenger, I get dizzy if the driver takes a curve too fast
• I can’t flip my head over to practice many yoga moves (I never was a yoga master)
• it’s tough to walk on bridges
• if I bend down too quickly or lean the “wrong way”, I can be out of commission for an entire day
So, where’s the advantage? Well, in spite of adjusting to a different way of walking through life (literally and figuratively), I’m able to step back and observe how precious all the physical abilities I do have are—integrating how I’d like to live with how I have to live. Too often, we take an awful lot for granted until it’s taken away.
When this condition first became part of my life, and I didn’t know why, it was scary! Falling, somewhat regularly is alarming, and I got hurt—physically but also emotionally. So, once I was aware of why this was happening, I had to reframe by:
reviewing—what I did in the past that caused me to fall
renewing—belief in my brain’s ability to keep my body upright most of the time
rethinking—how I move through space
redirecting—my focus to all I am able to do
Still, I’m constantly falling down; not necessarily the dramatic falling where I crash to the floor; it’s the falling that’s a regular part of life—the feelings of not being enough, the getting stuck in the pain caused by others, the resistance to truly believing that I matter.
But then there’s this intangible something that wraps around me—even in my less-than-ness, even in my failure, even in my falling down. I know that’s the love of God, and, I hear Robert Dufford’s lyrics:
You shall cross the barren desert
But you shall not die of thirst
You shall wander far in safety
Though you do not know the way
You shall speak your words in foreign lands
And all will understand…
Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow me
And I will give you rest
©2019 peace full home®/intentional living
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