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How to Offer Support to Those Suffering from Vestibular Illness: Top Tips to Keep in Mind


Supporting a loved one with a vestibular illness


If you have a loved one suffering from a vestibular illness you might be wondering how to offer the best support to them during this time ? Based on my own experience the following are the ways in which I felt most supported whilst struggling with this illness.


1.) Remember that your loved one may feel extreme anxiety when vestibular symptoms first appear. It feels very scary and disorientating. You first assume something is seriously wrong given the severity of the symptoms. Many people present to emergency concerned they are having a stroke. After getting the all clear and sent home there is some relief that it is nothing more sinister,but also feels very confusing to still be suffering and not have any answers. It's important here to validate your loved ones experience. Just to hear "I'm sorry you are going through this, it must be very scary and I believe what you are telling me. I'm here for you and we will work through this together" is such a comfort. This validation is so important as many vestibular patients "look" completely fine. It would be very difficult to understand just how distorted their world is right now without experiencing it yourself.


2.) Allow them to rest as much as possible during initial diagnosis. Extreme fatigue comes along with a vestibular disorder as the brain is working over-time to work out what is going on. Doing the cooking, cleaning, washing as much as you can during this stage would be very helpful. Of course part of healing with this disorder is continuing to do things as normal but this comes after the acute stage.


3.) Remember your loved ones world has been tipped upside down. They are frightened, scared, maybe even depressed. Be gentle with them and try to understand life will look differently for awhile as they navigate this new territory.


4.) Read up on your loved ones vestibular diagnosis. This not only helps them but also you to better understand what is going on and how you may be able to support them. This website is very informative.


5.) Be prepared for this to be a long journey. Some people manage to get on top of their illness quite quickly (which we hope for everyone) but others aren't so lucky and will take time to come to terms with, manage and then heal their vestibular illness.



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