Yesterday marked 3 years to the day since my world started spinning thanks to Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis, so I figured it was worth an update for those of you who pass by this site.
Looking back, while it sucked to experience this, I consider myself lucky based on:
- the degree of injury
- the length of recovery
- the positive change the experience brought to my life
Let’s be clear, at the time it sucked immensely, and I went through a few dark “why me?” days, but with the benefit of hindsight I’m now in a position where I almost consider the experience a blessing. And I do mean almost. I really would have preferred to learn these lessons some less …. life threatening way. But hey, it certainly made life interesting!
The degree of injury
Labyrinthitis can rob you of your hearing. Many people completely lose their hearing in one, or sometimes both ears. I am very lucky that I only had a mild case of Labyrinthitis, and the only ongoing change for me has been a noticeable increase in tinnitus.
Vestibular neuritis took away my ability to
- walk down the street without assistance
- be vertical without shaking
and a few other things I won’t go into, suffice to say that I think the only way anyone can truly understand how much it sucks is to experience it. But don’t do that.
Seriously, you don’t want to do that.
To be at a point now where I can ride a motorcycle any day, is something I’ll always be grateful for.
The LENGTH of REcOVERY
A lot of the medical literature available online says that the effects of labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis should “only last for a couple of weeks”. Clearly the people writing these documents have not experienced the illness or reached out to the online communities of affected people. Even my own GP said “ah, you should be right in a week or two”.
I consider myself lucky in that it only took 3 months of rehab to get my balance back. A lot of people report the experience taking years to recover from. And by recover I’m talking specifically about vestibular neuritis and my ability to balance. Unfortunately I have not read of anyone recovering from hearing loss after Labyrinthitis.
The positive change
Yes, there has been a positive impact on my life from this experience.
I had a lot of opportunity to contemplate the value of time while I was in hospital, and I’ve tried to make most moments count since then. In the past 3 years I have
- 99% recovered from vestibular neuritis
- learnt self-hypnosis to recover from panic attacks and PTSD caused by the initial onset
- completed a Diploma of Clinical Hypnosis and Strategic Psychotherapy, which has helped me understand myself and heal others
- rediscovered my love for music, motorcycles, photography, and just being alive each day
So while I wouldn’t ever recommend waiting until you have a serious illness to start appreciating each day, I am grateful that I now see the whole thing as an overall positive experience.
If you’re currently suffering from labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis, rest assured that things should eventually get better.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your recovery!