Coping

How to Manage an Acute Attack

Lie down on a firm surface.
Stay as motionless as possible and try to keep your eyes open and fixed on a stationary object. Some are more comfortable closing their eyes and retiring to a quiet, dark room.
Do not try to drink or sip water because you may vomit.
When the spinning sensation passes, get up SLOWLY.
Rest or sleep for several hours.
If vomiting persists and you are unable to take fluids for longer than 24 hours, call your doctor.

At night, be sure to have a night-light on as you will be relying more on vision to help maintain your balance if an attack occurs.
Make sure that the path to the bathroom is free of throw rugs, furniture, and other obstructions.

Keep your prescriptions for vestibular and nausea suppressant medication filled and in a specific location in your medicine cabinet.

If vomiting persists and you are unable to take fluids for longer than 24 hours (12 hours for children), contact your doctor. He/she can prescribe nausea medication, and/or vestibular suppressant medication. He/she may wish to see you or even admit you to the hospital if you are dehydrated.

Stages We Go Through With a Chronic Disease or Condition

  • Shock and Denial

Shock, when initially diagnosed because it takes you by surprise and hearing
that there is no known cause and no cure are harsh words to hear. Why me, why now?
What did I do to cause this? You feel stunned, immobilized.

Denial when you continue to think you can fix it by your own drive or
resolve to overcome the disease by efforts to find out the cause, when in reality,
you are really finding your own triggers. Many will blindly follow others in a
drive to find the cause and others will continually make sweeping statements and
analyze things to the point of immobilizing themselves and often others in their
quest to find the cause for themselves.

  • Emotional Release or Pangs of Grief and Distress

The feeling you get when you think no one cares and you are alone. Anger that
your life is compromised and you can no longer function the way you once did.
You feel helpless because things are out of your control. This is a time when
you are desperate and seeking help and knowing that you may not find it and
the medications, treatments, surgical procedures are not working in a way that
you expected them to. The major pity parties and maybe even some more denial
(refusal to believe what is going on) fits in this area, certainly frustration is here too.

(Include other emotional issues you have here.) This is often a time when we rush
to do things that are quite drastic even when we have been told that eventually
things fine a spot to level off.

  • Panic

The feeling that you don’t know what to do next and learning how to cope and
manage things that are overwhelming you and you don’t know which way to turn,
what to do next. Doing the simplest things turn into major frustration and
confusion and thinking rationally becomes impossible.

I think this is when we are still grasping at straws trying to find the “magic” that
will make us well or at least control the monster we are living with.
The Meds, the injections, the surgery, and trying to decide what approach we want to take become a major task.

  • Which shall I try?
  • What do I do feeling?
  • Where do I go for help and understanding?
  • Why is this working for others and not working for me?

This is a time that talking to others often leads us down a path of again attempting
to find answers that may now exist. We are vulnerable and easily confused by others
who suffer a similar complaint. We need to face the fact that no two people will
respond exactly the same to medication or treatment and we need to temper and make
our own judgments about what is really helping and what isnít and work more with
our Dr. while still listening to others in a support group.

  • Guilt

Is when you realize that you cannot do all that you used to do and your life has
changed and especially when having to go on disability. You feel guilt for not
pulling your weight, for placing burdens on others that once you were able to handle.
Your lifestyle is changing and it is out of your control.

I speak for myself when I say: (I lived the guilt stage for at least a year.
Guilt when you no longer able to participate in social things the way you used to, etc.
The guilt others inflict on you (and you allow it) when they tell you that you look fine
and what is your problem and are you still not feeling well and how are you now that
you aren’t working, are things getting better? You will feel like you are constantly
defending yourself and attempting to validating yourself to others. (Gosh I hated that!)
Trying to prove that I still COULD do it all and feeling bad when I no longer was able.

  • Hostility, Anger, and more Frustration

Could also go here again. Why me, why now? There is a feeling of total lack of control
over what is happening and anger that you no longer can do what you used to do quite well.
The inability to make yourself understood or to understand others. We have anger at
those who don’t understand and don’t seem to care. We feel angry at ourselves for
our own feelings.

  • Inability to resume a normal life

Because what was a normal life is no longer possible. Everything has changed. Your life is upside down. The helplessness and hopelessness you sometimes feel. You are still trying to prove that you can function the way you once did and can’t or not able to. You can’t see anything positive in your future. You are too focused on the things you are not able to do.

  • Acceptance, when you finally “get it”

Nothing will ever return to the way it once was. You recognize that the way it used to be and the way things are now have changed. You need to rethink how you do things and learn to accept help from others and admit your own limitations. You can accept the dizzy days, the vertigo, the hearing loss, the inability to function normally, and all else that goes with it.

  • Hope

Is when you see a new way of living emerging and you are content with yourself and happy and can move forward but on a different path from the one you were on. You make accommodations and set short goals and realize that they may never bear fruit and you are flexible enough to accept that. You realize that there is still life in you and you just are living it differently. You begin to focus on what you are able to do and not on what you can’t/not able to do.

I have seen many people going through these phases of shock to finally acceptance and hope. I think that we see a lot of anger and hostility at times. I just say to myself that this is all part of the process. This is how I feel about the phases we go through, living with a chronic disease.
I hope it helps others.

Remember that we are all individual in the way we handle things and when we see anger, pity, guilt, that this is all part of the process before we can learn to accept our changed life and live with it and refocus on what we have that we are able to do.

Some of us pass through stages over and over again or get locked in one stage longer than someone else. We all pass through at different speeds and that is fine. YOU are okay. This is NORMAL.

It was only when I was able to look back on the path I had traveled that I saw where I had been. I remember writing this and giving it to my Dr. to let him know what I thought about how this affected me. He and his nurse said they had made that observation themselves about different patients they treated. I think he was happy to see that I had finally reached the hope stage because I was a terrible patient when I was in the denial, anger, and pity stages.

I wanted things to change, I wanted answers and I wanted to feel better Ė immediately!

Joyce L. White

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Page last modified on November 29, 2007

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