21 Things Only People Who Experience Vertigo Understand


1. It’s possible to become extraordinarily nauseated while standing completely still on a hard wood floor.

2. Vertigo is so much more than dizziness. Dizziness makes you feel slightly faint. Vertigo makes it seem as if the ground beneath you and the surrounding walls and the entire world hate you. Your environment conspires against the clump of particles constituting your body, making it seem like the planet is spinning way too fast at the wrong axis so that everything goes from super sharp to blurry in one nauseating instant.

3. Most people will assume you’re joking when you tell them you have vertigo, maybe because the cool name sounds more like a video game than an ailment. “Like the Hitchcock movie?” they’ll say, way too excitedly.

4. But it’s okay, because you don’t want other people’s sympathy. All you want is some degree of reassurance that the room you’re standing in won’t start spinning spontaneously any time in the next few minutes.

5. During sudden bouts, sitting on and/or collapsing to the floor often seems like the best idea, no matter where you are.

6. Closing your eyes doesn’t necessarily stop the spinning, but you do it anyway because shutting your eyelids is one of the few bodily functions still within your control.

7. Fixating on one point kind of helps, but it’s also really hard, which is depressing.

8. Sometimes, there’s nothing scarier than flipping your head over to wrap your hair in a towel after showering.

9. The shower rod has saved you from slipping and hitting your head on the bathroom counter and/or bathtub several times. But it’s also made you cry because you can’t believe you’ve had to grasp it to prevent yourself from falling, which seems like such an old person thing to do.

10. It can be equally terrifying to shift from sleeping on one side to the other in the middle of the night.

11. Boats, trampolines, and roller blades are all terrible ideas.

12. Wearing high heels on the wrong day is an actual death sentence.

13. You know from repeated, futile visits to medical professionals that your sense of balance is determined by three separate systems (inner ear, vision, brain), but that it’s virtually impossible to determine exactly how or why you’ve been robbed of your ability to stand up without wanting to vomit every so often.

14. The vertigo should subside over time, the doctors assure you, but they don’t know when, exactly, and they can’t make any guarantees, of course.

15. You take comfort in the fact that your symptoms are probably benign. BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), caused by displaced calcium deposits in the inner ear, is relatively common.

16. But Googling proves that a tumor or a stroke might just be at the root of your problem, too.

17. Unwilling to give into the idea of the chronic spins or any serious condition, you self diagnose as overtired, overstressed, and/or dehydrated.

18. You also watch a few Youtube videos demonstrating the Epley Maneuver, which supposedly helps realign the thingys in your ear that may or may not be out of whack. The exercises make you feel stupid and they don’t really seem to help, but you do them anyway.

19. Exasperated, you hypothesize that triggering the spells might just make the vertigo disappear altogether, which seems as sound a theory as any physician has. So you flip your head over quicker than a head banger tripping on acid—and then definitely regret it.

20. Just when drinking a gallon of water daily and getting enough rest seem to be working their magic, you nearly fall on your face after one abrupt move of the head.

21. Even once the symptoms fade, you tend to move about a bit more cautiously, always fearful that any sudden gesture might set you back. Your navigation strategy is way more like an 80-year-old’s than it should be. But you’re not dead!