It took awhile after my vertigo began to subside for me to research what had happened, and what was still happening, to me.
Some of what I read talked about vertigo, and some talked about dizziness, and disorientation. I didn't quibble, I had 'em all. And trying to figure out which symptoms was which was no real help to me.
I read that vertigo was a hallucination of the inner ear. A fascinating phrase, no?
It means that there are a vast number of receptors inside the ear, each of which sends information to the brain as to where you are, what position you're in, are you upright, head tilted, etc. Also where you are in relation to your surroundings -- are you too close to that wall, in danger of bumping into it?
Some of the messages are wonky. Some (thankfully for small favours) are not.So the brain is getting mixed messages.
There are many possible causes for this malfunction. Theories abound, and the bottom line is, very often the cause of a specific case of vertigo is stamped "Unknown". Chalk up one more mystery for my over-all health.
This information, spotty as it was, was a great relief to me, oddly enough. At least now I could understand why there were times (like, all day long) that I felt like I was going to run into things, at the same time that I knew I was not. That I felt like I could not walk down the hallway without my legs collapsing under me, at the same time I knew they would not. That I thought I might drop my glass, at the same time I knew I had it firmly in hand.
So I had contradictory data floating in my swirling brain. Did not help the general ambiance, I'll tell you. But knowing that I was indeed getting messages clearly -- just that they did not all agree, and some of them were wrong -- made me feel better. And, small but real comfort, some of them were accurate, so I was not completely wasted.
As time went on, the messages did not conflict as much. This improvement was unbelievably slow but it was happening and I was thankful for this.
I still don't know what caused this symptom that has dogged me since 2004. I still have it, though it doesn't get in my way most of the time and I have found ways to live with it, and live around it.
Recently I realized that when I am crossing a street, for instance -- particularly when (ahem!) jay-walking -- I am able to do it like the average law-breaker does.
I used to have to stop, when looking both ways for traffic. If I didn't stand still with both feet firmly positioned a good distance apart from each other, I would sway and be in danger of staggering or falling. So I would stop, plant my feet, brace my legs, and sloooowly turn my head one way, take a minute to focus my eyes on the road, then repeat the process in the other direction. The trick was to take my time, and to keep my feet kissing the ground. Then about a three-count, and I could walk across the street.
Had to do that for the last few years. Was just glad it worked.
But lately, I don't have to do that most of the time.
I will get normal yet. At least, I will be able to walk that way again one day.