As we embark on another year, I've been thinking about what I want most for this space in the next year. My mission continues to be to provide Vestibular Warriors with a holistic toolkit to own their wellness. Vestibular conditions have the ability to make us feel entirely powerless; therefore, this space is meant to do the exact opposite. I want to empower you to create your wellness and give you the resources to thrive. I've been journeying with the vestibular stuff for the last three+ years and I've gone from sinking in constant overwhelming symptoms to experiencing symptoms quite minimally, with most days being symptom-free.
I'm so damn grateful for that. Gratitude does not even express how I feel about the fact that most days I live in a balanced grounded state.
There was a time that I didn’t talk about my vestibular something, and now I can’t shut up about it. I wrote Uncovering Bliss: A Journey with a Vestibular Condition & Beyond to provide love and light to other Vestibular Warriors. It's an honest account of what it felt like to be in the midst of a vestibular condition. I want others to know they are not alone in the storm. I know it made a difference in my life when I was trudging through the darkness, symptoms attacking my mind and body, having people like you who just understood how it felt.
As I think back over the last three+ years and my journey with vestibular neuritis and vestibular migraines, I thought it would be helpful to share a few things that have helped me most in the storm. In particular, I want to share things that I had power over. Of course this is such a personal journey so what helps me might not be the ticket for you, but I think that these things can provide a Vestibular Warrior the opportunity to feel better, while elevating wellness.
These days my objective is to not have a vestibular migraine attack. At one point when I was in the darkness of 24/7 symptoms, my goal was to get through the day with as few bumps as possible. The first year I could not make sense of the vestibular neuritis symptoms vs. vestibular migraine attacks. It was soul-crushing chaos. I was in my version of survival mode at that time. When I was at my beginning, all I wanted was to hear stories of people breaking through the vestibular symptom chaos. It's still something that fills my heart up and I know that I have to put my wellness as a top priority to stay on top of VM, rather than sinking beneath it.
If you're interested in learning more about my journey, I encourage you to visit my Most Frequently Asked Questions page.
And now let's jump into the goodness! Note that the things I discuss are still a large part of my wellness routine.
Life: My Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
The physical therapist I saw in the first few months after it hit was the first person to say the words "vestibular neuritis" to me. She actually mentioned labyrinthitis first and I put the pieces together that I most likely had vestibular neuritis (which involves no hearing changes). In the early weeks upon Googling my symptoms I landed on a number of YouTube videos of people performing exercises to basically retrain their bodies after a vestibular condition hit. Similar exercises were given to me from my physical therapist. Although I could act normal on the outside, inside I felt insanely off kilter, unbalanced, disconnected from my body and as if I was floating- always floating.
Looking back I can very clearly see that the fact that I pushed through my normal life from the beginning (minus the first week) helped me tremendously. It saved me on many levels. Going through life became my own personal version of VRT. In my case it was super intense going through the motions of my life (going to work, grocery shopping, going out in the world, keeping up with my baby and toddler).
It felt awful. I need a new word for awful because it felt impossible every moment for months and months until it started to get easier. Without knowing it, I was helping my body learn to move again in the world and find a balanced state. I think many do this with vestibular therapy and that's why I mention it. My real life of version of vestibular therapy every moment of every day was my ticket to finding my balance once again; although, at that time I was in pure survival mode.
[I talk a lot more about journeying with my vestibular condition, healing and eventually thriving on YouTube (Vestibular Warrior channel)]
Vestibular Migraine Diet [my vegan version]
If you have a diagnosis, that's awesome. Congrats. If you don't, I'm sending love and light your way and I know how that goes. I self diagnosed myself long before a doctor slapped a label on my vestibular condition (21 months in by the way). The first neurologist that I saw offered me no answers. The internet was more helpful, but that only increased my panic. As time went on, I cared less about the fact that I didn't have a diagnosis and more about healing. I just wanted to find myself in the storm of my vestibular something.
Because I didn't have a diagnosis, my goal from the start was just to help my body heal and find its natural grounded state. The first thing I looked at was my diet. November marked my 10-year anniversary of embracing a vegan diet and it has been such an incredible gift in my life. That being said, I had a lot to learn when it came to the Migraine Diet and how it could help me.
The first thing that I did was read Heal Your Headache (and I think you should too!) which gave me a base knowledge on the why/what of the Migraine Diet. The book talks about common food triggers for migraine sufferers and how food can push us over our threshold, which plays a part in why we have episodes/attacks (whatever you like to call them).
I was very open to giving diet shifts a whirl because it was something I could control, and I'm a fan of that. The trick was making it work within my plant-based framework. At twenty-one years old, a vegan diet changed my life in a really big way. It released my mind and body of so much negativity and quite literally gave me my glow. It helped me uncover myself and learn to look at my body with love. A decade later and in the throes of a heaving vestibular something, I did not want to break vegan; although, it was something I considered (I talk more about that in my book). Ultimately I knew that saying goodbye to vegan was not the answer.
The below is the diet I followed strictly for a period of six months. I still stick to it for the most part, but I admit chocolate does make an almost daily appearance these days.
Supplements for Health
I was not supplementing consistently when my vestibular something hit. I wanted to help my body on a deeper level, so I started doing my research. I was introduced to the doTERRA Lifelong Vitality Pack and after reading about the properties/goal of the supplements, I jumped on board. I have been taking these supplements [the vegan version] for the last three+ years and I probably will my entire life. I talk about these three supplements in depth in my Vestibular Warrior e-book, but I've included the basic details below.
You can get these supplements: here.
Alpha CRS+ Cellular Vitality Complex: contains powerful polyphenols that protect cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA, mitochondria, and other critical cell structures [Note on POLYPHENOLS: A class of antioxidant molecules that provide numerous longevity health benefits including powerful antioxidant protection against free-radical damage to cellular DNA, mitochondria, and other critical cell structures.]
vEO Mega: Provides a unique blend of essential fatty acids that are so important to our diet but delivers them from plant and algae-based sources. A single daily dose of vEO Mega provides 1,200 mg of botanical omegas with 555 mg of ALA from flax seed oil and Incha Inchi oil, 100 mg of DHA from algae, 20 mg of GLA from borage oil, and a varied blend of other plant-sourced essential fatty acids.
Microplex VMz: A balanced formula of essential vitamins and bioavailable minerals carefully formulated to provide optimal levels of key micronutrients that support energy and immune functions.
The do-TERRA® Lifelong Vitality Program includes these antioxidant and energy cofactors:
-Acetyl-L-Carnitine: Helps shuttle fatty acids into mitochondria for energy production
-Alpha Lipoic Acid: Supports the production of ATP and acts as a powerful antioxidant in mitochondria
-Coenzyme Q10: Important coenzyme for energy production; supports heart health
-Quercetin: Provides powerful polyphenol antioxidant protection in mitochondria and other cell structures
-Resveratrol: Polyphenol found in red wine; supports healthy mitochonodrial biogenesis
-Vitamins and Minerals: Essential cofactors of energy production in cells
-Essential Fatty Acids: Required for cell growth; supports healthy cellular function
I also added in a high-quality probiotic supplement for gut health. The majority of our immune system resides in the gut and I knew mine needed a heck of a lot of love. I take PB Assist+ and recommend it to all Vestibular Warriors.
PB Assist+: a proprietary formula of pre-biotic fiber and six strains of probiotic microorganisms in a unique doublelayer vegetable capsule. It delivers 6 billion CFUs of active probiotic cultures and soluble pre-biotic FOS (fructooligosaccharides) that encourage friendly bacterial growth.
Pure Essential Oils for Support
I talk a lot about oils around here! I use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils as a part of my pro-active natural treatment and they are a source of light in my life. I also share my favorite oils for Vestibular Warriors as well as my go-to routine if symptoms heighten. I started using pure plant oils a month into the vestibular stuff and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, but I wanted holistic support. I was receiving no help from doctors and I wanted to feel like I was doing something to elevate my wellness and support my body in healing. A dear friend helped me get set up with oils and I never looked back. They continue to be my main natural toolkit to support my health each and every day.
Movement for Vestibular Migraine Support
I didn't embrace exercise until around a year in. At that time, I believe I had healed mostly from vestibular neuritis, but was stuck in a cycle of vestibular migraines. I felt ready to help my body find ground with movement and I was ready to take the step into exercise. I started slowww. In my book I talk about discovering Kait Hurley's move + meditate workouts. I had never meditated before and yoga was also relatively new to me. I felt so unstable when I started the workouts but over days, weeks and months I started to find ground within my body and gain strength. It was empowering and it was around this time (15 months in) that I started to feel like I was coming back to life. I certainly had more progress to make, but I was making strides because of these workouts and it felt fantastic.
I started running again 19 months in and it truly brought me back to life. It built the confidence that had been dampened along the way. I still love to run, but prefer more yoga-type workouts these days.
I share these things because they were within my control and that alone gave me some relief. I had the power to make strides in my wellness. There are absolutely other things that helped along the way (connecting with others, mindset, craniosacral + chiropractic work, foam rolling, and later a migraine medication (which was the hammer to finish the job)- visit the Vestibular Warrior Wellness Hub for more holistic goodness), but my life "VRT", nourishing diet, oils and supplements were an important step in my healing. They continue to be a driver in my glowing wellness.
I hope that you found this post helpful and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out.