Wellness Wednesday: Vertigo, Anxiety, Meditation and the Mind by Jonathan Brewer

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Vertigo is a very unpleasant spinning sensation that people can feel even if they are not moving. Dizziness is a feeling of movement or motion a person might feel often described as feeling unsteady. There a many possible causes, most of them are associated with inner ear problems.

Vertigo, Anxiety, Meditation and the Changing of the Mind Set

What is Vertigo and Dizziness?

My name is Jonathan and I live in Florida, but I grew up in the U.K. 

For 25 years my life was full of fear, anxiety and dread.  I have Vertigo due to inner ear damage. For 29 years I have been battling with an enemy I can do nothing about or so I thought.

My world changed when meditation entered my life in a quite unexpected way.

It began in May 1990. I was 15 years old at that time and in my penultimate year at school. I had a virus that struck down me for 2 weeks. After the virus was gone, I was left with an awful feeling of dizziness and vertigo that I’ve had ever since.

My head constantly feels like it’s swimming, as if I’m bobbing up and down in the sea unable to stop. It is often accompanied by the most frightening attacks of vertigo that I can’t control.

At first, it was a hard battle getting my doctor to believe me. He put it down to anxiety and panic attacks.

Over the years, with the help of my parents, we pushed to see one specialist after another. All the time having to cope with dizziness and vertigo.

My Anxiety Was Ignored

During that time something else was happening too. My anxiety increased tremendously.

It was 9 years before I was given a confirmed diagnosis. I was in my mid 20’s. By this time my anxiety had severely grown out of control. I was so busy perseverating about the vertigo. I neglected the anxiety. But anxiety is one of the biggest triggers of vertigo.

I was so determined to try and find a “cure” for the vertigo so badly, instead of accepting it and trying to live. Any treatments I had for it didn’t work. 

I tried to live my life the best way I could. I was still living with my parents and would for a long time.

The vertigo was still there, but the anxiety consumed me. I withdrew into a feeling of depression, self-pity and self- loathing. I was also carrying around so much anger and self-hate with me too. The thought of suicide had occasionally entered my mind. I’m not sure how long I felt like this and lived this way.

Then at the age of 40, something happened to me that would change my life forever.

I met my wife.

A Changing Life

It was Christmas 2015 and I had been playing an online game called Farmville 2: Country Escape for almost a year. In the game you can join what are called Co-ops. These are farming communities that you can join when you play the game.

Patti was another member of our Co-op. We made a strong connection while playing. You can text with other people in the game and we started to do that a lot.

I discovered that she lived in Florida while I was in the U.K. There is a 5-hour time difference between the two places. We would start to text chat when she got home from work even though it was after midnight for me.

Within a few months we were talking on the phone.

We discovered that we both had our own problems with anxiety.

Over time Patti taught me some things that would go on to help me. She taught me Transcendental meditation, how to live in the moment, to let go of my fear and not to be defined by my vertigo disability.

Each one of these things would help me immensely.

The Benefits of Meditation

The meditation was hard at first. But after continually doing it for a few weeks, I slowly started to notice a difference.

I became less anxious than usual. My heart palpitations got better. I felt calmer and more confident overall. The vertigo, although still frightening, was easier to cope with.

I began walking around with a spring in my step. The anxiety was still there, but I was able to cope with it much better too. 

I meditated twice a day for 20 minutes. Then I began to meditate when I felt anxious. I found this time so peaceful. All the noise and commentary in my head disappeared.  

I started to smile naturally, and my world of doom and gloom was fading. The anger that I had felt for so long also started to vanish.

Meditation was having a wonderful effect.  Even if I thought I had a bad meditation session Patti reminded me that all sessions are worth the time.

Changing my Mind Set

I also learned how to be mindful when I met Patti.  It reminds me of the saying, “Smell the flowers” or “Watch the butterfly”.  Being mindful meant paying attention to what was happening in front of me. 

My anxiety and vertigo were still there but it was under more control than ever before.

I’m calmer now, more at peace with myself. I still have anxiety and I probably always will as long as I have this vertigo. Vertigo can be very frightening but I know the worst spells will pass.

From feeling rock bottom to the top of the world in just a few years.

After 29 years I have a life now. I have a wife and a step daughter too. I am the happiest I have ever been.

I’m proof that life can change if you too are willing take control of it yourself.

The benefits of meditation are numerous.

Changing my mind set is also an important thing that I learned. Now I am mindful of what is happening in front of me. Being mindful helped me do things and visit places I never thought I would do.

Don’t think about the past. The past is gone. You can’t change it. 

Don’t worry about the future because it hasn’t happened yet. Just think about what is happening right now, at this present moment.

I’m so happy that Patti came into my life. My very well being has improved dramatically. 

I sometimes find myself contemplating the past. I ask myself, ‘did all of it really happen, was it all a dream and was I really like that?’

Changing my mind set and Meditation changed my life for the better. I hope my story helps you understand how meditating and practicing mindfulness can be a positive in your life.

About the Author

Jonathan Brewer is 44 years old and lives in Florida, but grew up in the U.K. He has had vertigo for 29 years. He writes a blog about vertigo and its effects and he wants to reach out and connect with others who also have live with vertigo and its effects.


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