vestibular dysfunction

Navigating Mental Health Through Shifting Diagnoses

Life often surprises us with unforeseen challenges, ones that demand mental health resilience and a steadfast spirit. Yesterday’s visit to the neuro-ophthalmologist flipped my recovery journey on its head. Brightest lights in my eyes, visually loud contraptions to peer through, and red and white sizzling as I stared into what felt like a distorted TV screen. It was exhausting.

The verdict? Surprise! My visual system appears just fine. Sounds like good news, right? Well, on the flip side, it’s a curious mix of emotions. There’s no clarity on what’s amiss, and that’s unsettling.

I’ve been referred to a neurotologist, specializing in vestibular balance disorders. You might wonder, “What in the world is a neurotologist?” Trust me; I wondered too and so did all the receptionists I called today at medical facilities. It’s akin to an ENT doctor, focusing on ears, noses, and throats. A trip down memory lane takes me back to my childhood visits to “the ear, nose, and throat guy” at least once a year when I started replying to my mom, “huh? what?” because I couldn’t hear her properly.

The search for a neurotologist was a maze; no one seemed to know what or where they were. Eventually, I found some in Medstar Health categorized as otolaryngologists (I’m practicing that word!), who might just have the expertise I need. They are sub-categorized as neurotologists. Fingers crossed for some clarity in this confusing journey!

Now, let’s talk about how I felt yesterday and this morning. Sadness hit me like a ton of bricks. Feeling lost, frustrated, and struggling to face the world, I almost retreated under the covers. But guess what pulled me out? My two furry puppies and little moments of joy—like picking out a new scarf for Autumn at PetSmart!

Mental health took center stage. It’s tough when doctors can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. I feared that no one would believe me, which triggered emotions of sadness, hopelessness, and a fear of being unheard. But here’s my reminder that I’m not alone. None of us are. Sharing this on my podcast and blog is my way of reminding us all of that truth.

It’s natural to feel sad and frustrated during these uncertain times. So, today, I took small steps—reaching out to stroke communities and seeking advice, acknowledging that my journey is shared by many.

My recovery mantra involves mindfulness, hobbies, staying connected, and advocating for my health. It’s not about the destination; it’s about this intricate journey of self-discovery and resilience. I’m growing, learning, and leaning into my support networks every day.

Thank you for being here and lending me your ears—well, eyes in this case. Your presence fuels my resolve. Tomorrow’s another day, another opportunity.