Hi Scott & Lynda,
Thanks for sharing your experience Lynda - glad to know that you're at the point where you feel things are good and under control - and I know we will get to that point too. I know exactly what you mean by not knowing at the beginning that the anxiety and brain fog was associated with but separate from the vestibular disorder - I know that I felt I could not tell what was causing what for the longest time and, as with you, how I dealt with it was causing me more psychological stress than accepting it as "normal" part of the vestibular disorder would have. I did, as you seem to have, get to the point where I could distinguish between the physiological symptoms of an "attack" of vertigo and the physiological symptoms of anxiety/panic - and for the most part I am still able to do that on a conscious level - my problem right now (as Scott is experiencing as well) is that these anxiety / panic symptoms are happening before I am fully awake - whether it's triggered by vertigo when I turn over in bed, or by dreams, etc.- the fact is that they have been programmed into my long term memory - and so my body/mind automatically goes there when I am not conscious to suppress it. I realize what's happening as soon as I wake up - but at that point I'm already in the midst of it - and it has been happening so often that I am losing a lot of sleep and feeling pretty dragged out during the day - with more symptoms that are new to me - such as "drop attacks" (I've had 2 now) - so I feel as if I'm going into a downward spiral. I am trying my best to deal with all of this without meds, I prefer CBT and have had success with it, but right now I seem to be "stuck" and I'm not sure how to stop the continuation of feeling like I'm going backwards.
Scott, I cannot honestly answer your question about "rebound anxiety" because I don't know for sure - but I don't think it's the case with Ativan, because I still have the same prescription that I was given two years ago when this thing started - I have not used it very much at all. I tried it again last night, with the same result of going back to sleep more quickly the first time I woke up, but the second time I awoke (~1 1/2 hours later), I felt very, very disoriented - more than usual - and I can only think it's from the Ativan - and it was an awful feeling - I think I really scared my husband because I was just "out of it" - not making any sense and very agitated - so I think I'll consider the Ativan experiment a done deal - and go back to the CBT - I don't know - I'm out of answers. I was given Valium very early on (2 years ago), but I did not like how I felt and I knew it could be very addictive, so I discontinued the prescription. I hope to get some relief soon - I know what you mean by being a little "anxious" about going to bed - and I experienced another "no warning / no vertigo / just hitting the ground" attack today - took my boys to the ski hill ~ 1/2 hour drive from home and fell when I was walking from my vehicle to the chalet (no strong prairie farm girl to catch me this time!). It is such an awful feeling - even though I do not experience vertigo with it, which is a blessing, I guess, but I don't like the thought of adding new experiences to my repertiore at this point.
I think tonight I'll try the warm bath, warm milk, meditation approach - it's a much better "fit" for my personality anyway.
Oh Scott, I do so wish that we weren't sharing this experience, but hopefully between the two of us (& suggestions from others) it'll be behind us soon - and we both know it will get better, but somehow that thought is really difficult to hang onto in the middle of the night! I'm just going to try to remain calm, positive and have patience - here's to you and sweet dreams, Scott... positive vibes... take care...