Hi Lauren (and Gloria! - I'm dropping you a note on the other thread as soon as I send this off...
This has to be one of the most incredibly frustrating conditions to deal with! I TOTALLY understand the difficulty you are facing in terms of getting back to work. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to put my job(counseling/teaching) on hold, and began to ease back into it very slowly. (I came down with VN 13 months ago, and was literally housebound for a couple of those months.) Teaching was hard, because not only did I have to contend with the massive brain fog (it was hard to think clearly!), but being up in front of a class was very hard - interacting with them was SO challenging. I found I did better if I could lean on something so that the disequilibrium wasn't too distracting. (Trying to stand up, not fall down and keep my thoughts straight and get the material covered was REALLY a challenge at first. Now I can teach and totally forget that I have a vestibular dysfunction.)
Last May I couldn't even walk into a grocery store or a dept. store, Target, Costco, etc., without feeling like I was going to drop to the ground. I thought I was going crazy. After doing some "hunting" around on this website, as well as other sources online, I found out that that is not an uncommon side effect of vestibular disorders. The visual impact was one of the hardest aspects of VN for me. I couldn't stand to be on the freeway as a passenger, much less even think of driving. I just thought my life, as I once knew it, was officially OVER.
I started VRT in May 2005, when I was officially diagnosed, and kept reading as many people's experiences as I could, learning from what worked for them, etc. I literally had my friends take me into the hardest places for me to handle, if only to walk down one or two aisles - as much as I could tolerate, since I'd read that that was one way to get the brain to relearn what it needed to. I fought hard... and it was harder than anyone who's never struggled with this could ever know.
I had even read (maybe on this board) about one person who wasn't able to drive at all - it was suggested that she go sit in the car, then drive it around the block, just to get the feeling back. I went out and did exactly that that day! It was so hard, but once I did it, I saw that I could do it again, and a bit farther. It's hard for me to believe that last June I could barely stand to get on the freeway for just a couple of miles.... and now I can make the 1+ hour trip into LA (during rush hour) with absolutely no problems whatsoever.
Can you explain what you're feeling when you do try to go out alone? Is your counselor and/or VR therapist working with you on how to take steps forward? What are your worst symptoms, and what aspect of your previous job makes you the most nervous?
I just thought I'd share my story with you to let you know that it is possible to go back to a life you didn't think you'd ever see again after a vestibular injury. Every day is still not easy and effortless, like we remember our "past" lives - I still struggle with symtpoms, the visual symptoms have lessened dramatically, but I still fight the spinny disquilibrium - some days are really, really hard and I go through all my appointments fighting nausea. (When it's unbareable, I take 2.5 mg. Valium, which seems to nip the symptoms in the bud very quickly.) But I'm seeing an increasing number of days that aren't as bad as before... and after viewing the video clip where the dr. says recovery can take up to 2 years, I figure I'm doing OK.
Isn't it great to be able to have people here who know the struggles of this invisible misery? I can't explain what it felt like when I first discovered this site and realized that I wasn't alone in this. Just as others cheered me on, celebrating each small victory I experienced, so we will be cheering you
on each step of the way back as you work towards getting back to work....