The past week and a half has been excruciating.
March was difficult enough. Through the tail end of March I allowed the world to get to me, in a way I should’ve never permitted in the first place. Hey. I’m human.
Down in the dumps. Depressive. A general feeling of malaise. Zoning out. Ignoring and escaping.
Luckily, I snapped out of it and started feeling like a million bucks again.
Then, out of the blue, something else occurred which I never saw coming.
Most of my issues in life stem from being trapped within my own mind. Letting external powers calcify in my consciousness and dictate how I live my day to day life. I create prisons in my head. I eventually dig out of the cell, but it takes a while when warranted.
This time around however, while it may have been all in my head, it was a physical situation instead.
My life is fairly routine. I have to abide by a schedule in order to accomplish my goals and get my stuff done. At 2:30 pm, I take the trash outside to the dumpster at work. Pretty much like clockwork. Roughly one hundred feet from the front door across the parking lot. It gives me a chance to escape my office for a minute or two and take a quick break.
Two weeks ago, while abiding to the daily routine, giving myself a moment to stretch my legs and breathe in some fresh cool air, I opened the dumpster lid, tossed the bags inside, closed it tight and proceeded to turn around and walk back to the building.
An activity I do every work day.
The moment I spun around to return to my duties, my balance left my body.
My head tipped to the side as if it was filled with lead and I ended up walking a complete half circle around the parking area. My head was leading me to the right and my legs were moving left. If anyone was watching me at the time, I must have looked the fool. Regaining control was impossible.
I haven’t had alcohol in many years, but at that exact moment, I was “hammered”.
No balance. Vision mostly gone and what I could retain for sight was tunneled out and fuzzy. The building was moving and shifting side to side and appeared to be a mile away and the dirt below my feet was seemingly made of liquid.
I never fell down (knock on wood). I managed to make it to the front door, but from that moment forward, for the next solid week, I was afflicted with full blown Labyrinthitis. I was told it could last for a couple of weeks, but was hoping it wouldn’t take that long.
Absolutely terrifying. I’ve been through some “stuff” in life, but this was by far one of the worst.
No warning. No pain. No sensation of the affliction. Just spontaneous instantaneous overwhelming vertigo that destroyed me for almost two weeks.
I left work and initially didn’t leave my couch for five days.
Even with eyes pressed shut, the dizzy never subsided.
I had to crawl to the outlying rooms in my house and it was minutes before I could struggle to standing. I had to position my head on a pillow in a certain fashion to keep the disorientation at bay. Stair cases stretched up and up and up and I refused to climb or descend the porch. I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t go outside. I couldn’t stand up. I was incapable of driving. The only thing I was capable of, was lying flat on my back and listening to background noise, waiting for it to eventually vanish.
My eyes were closed so often, I was scared to open them. Lying on my side, I’d manage to crack one eyelid and test my surroundings and the window blinds danced around the room, the curtains fluttered without wind and my recliner seemed to be rocking on its own. My alarm would go off and the second my eyes snapped open in response, the television set and the decorations sitting to either side of it was all over the room; the floor, the ceiling. Positioning itself in various spots along the wall and never returning to its original place.
Everything moved, undulated, fluctuated and was out of control. A psychedelic head trip most people would pay for.
On the good days, my home felt like it was tipped to the side. I was forced to hug the walls and grasp the door frames when I attempted to walk from one point to another. I couldn’t watch TV, look at a computer monitor or scroll through anything on my phone. I couldn’t cook a meal and had to be catered to. My world was an unending fun- house mirror around every corner. I attempted to read a book or write something down, and the words were jumbled combinations of incoherent confusion.
At the worst of it, I questioned if life would ever be normal again. I couldn’t ground myself. I couldn’t find my center or balance.
The second week was more tolerable than the first, but the one attempt at reintegrating into work, to try and regain a sense of normalcy, I couldn’t sit and do my job. I stood as straight as a board, eyes wide open, back flat against my office wall as rigid as a statue. Both palms firm to either side of me to ensure I didn’t fly off the floor.
I’ve never experienced anything like it. I hope to never experience it again.
I probably will some day in the future. I can’t guarantee I’ll never have to endure something like that again. Luckily, I know what to expect now and have the key to leaving that hallucinogenic maze of madness.
A co-worker sent me an exercise routine. The instructions were simple and should be done in fifteen minute increments until the dizzy disappears. I applied the technique twice and it all vanished. I rose my head slow, hesitantly fluttered open my eyes and I was magically transformed back to me.
All the wicked vertigo. All the off kilter, tipped to the side, wall grabbing, furniture holding, spinning and spiraling, nausea inducing labyrinth of misery, disappeared as fast as it arrived.
One small key.
I still get a slight bout of disorientation when I look between my feet and stare at one spot for too long, or when I scrub my hair in the shower with my eyes pressed closed, but it is now safe to say, it’s 90% gone back from whence it came. I snapped right back to my life, like I never had it to begin with.
I never would have thought to use that key or seek it out. The way to escape appeared out of nowhere, by a source I didn’t expect. The light peeked through again.
When I escaped to nature a few years back, I was seeking a key I couldn’t find. A different dizzying labyrinth I was forced to navigate. Reality was bringing me down and nature called my name.
On the second day of my escape far far away, I was finally able to see life through a different lens. A personal epiphany of sorts. I found it in me to smile more. What I didn’t know, was I was actually allowing myself to see the walls and halls of the labyrinth surrounding me, as less of a prison, and more of a journey. I was still trapped and wandering aimlessly throughout it, but I found the hidden beauty within the maze. I didn’t have the key to escape it yet. Nancy was the key holder. I just wouldn’t know it until it was almost too late.
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