Level-Up: Part 24

Every Sunday I record my health achievements and discoveries for the week here. To find out why I decided to start doing this, you can read an explanation in the first post of the series here.

Last Sunday I set myself a challenge. I planned on walking to the shops and back every day from Monday to Friday. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I haven’t actually done that yet. It still takes more out of me than I’d like, to walk without anyone to hold on to. Annoyingly, the all-day headache I had on Sunday was the start of a cold. To throw in a pro-wrestling analogy, the goal I’d set myself was like a match against an already tricksy opponent but with some hardcore stipulations thrown on top for good measure. Nothing pushes my balance off more than a little inner-ear congestion.

For the most part, I managed it up until Thursday. I could feel myself getting gradually more tired as the week went on, and there were a few dodgy dizzy moments in shops, but I made it. On Friday I had to stay home all day for a delivery and even though I was aggravated that it never turned up, the break was a relief. With more things to do yesterday I ventured out again, but it didn’t go so well. What’s left of the cold sent my balance all over the place and I had a few pretty scary dizzy spells.

The first happened while standing in Boots looking for something on the shelves. The already wobbly floor suddenly felt like I was walking on jelly. I could feel my body doing a sharp tilt and had to stumble my way out of it so I didn’t fall. I took it as a sign it was time to head for the tills and get out of there. The other intense spell happened stood in the coffee shop queue. Everything around me was swaying so quickly it felt like being on a fairground ride while stood still. It was so unpleasant I could feel the colour draining from my face. I kept my cool, talked and breathed myself through it, and discreetly pawed at the cake display glass for some stability. I considered bolting and just getting myself home, but I stuck it out. Then went home and had a little (big) cry.

These situations and their unpredictability really are frightening. I’ve got the feeling of imbalance and wooziness 24/7, but even after all these years the big ones still really shake me up. Thankfully, being trained how to control at least how I react to them got me home yesterday. There is occasionally the temptation to avoid putting myself in positions where I’m alone and would have to rely on strangers or just my own resolve to get through. But my main goal as I learn to live with my illness is to be independent again. If I shy away from situations that scare me for fear of the bigger dizzy spells and falling over, the illness wins. And I think it’s dictated quite enough of my life already.

As Part 24 of this series marks six months of blogging about my chronic illness journey, it seems appropriate that I should attack it with the spirit of defiance I started with. I may lose a few battles along the way, but I will most definitely win the war.

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