When I was first diagnosed with bilateral Ménière’s disease by my doctor at Duke he told me two things that will always stick with me, “Ménière’s is one of the worst disease you can have that won’t kill you.” and its “a disease of random punishment.” He compared Ménière’s attacks to living in a war zone, you know that you will be under fire at some point you just don’t know when.
Having a disease that makes you feel as if you could be attacked at any moment causes a lot of psychological distress. A study conducted by Dr Kirby and Professor Yardley at the University of South Hampton found that those with Ménière’s Disease have a much higher incidence of post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), health anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty to distress than non-sufferers.
Nearly one in eight people with Ménière’s were found to meet the criteria for full PTSD, compared to the general population where just one in sixty has PTSD. The high levels found in Ménière’s sufferers are comparable with those found among people who have suffered a stroke, heart attack or heart surgery.
I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. I’ve known this for a while but it has never been as apparent as it has been the past month. For the past month I’ve had very little vertigo. The vertigo I have had has been minor and only lasted for a very short period of time. Most days I’ve been vertigo free, but I haven’t been able to enjoy these days. I am constantly expecting an attack at any moment. I’m on edge, jumpy, irritable, anxious, argumentative…. I try so hard to enjoy the good days I have and put the bad days in the past, but that doesn’t seem to be working recently. I have been taking advantage of this good spell a little but I’m on guard all the time, waiting for the ax to fall. Waiting for that next vertigo attack. Sometimes I deal with this much better than other times. Right now, I’m a nervous wreck.
I found a test on line that ask many of the same questions my doctor asked me to get my diagnosis. If you feel you might have PTSD you might want to take this test and then take your findings to your doctor to discuss it. PTSD Test
additional reading and helpful sites:
- Meniere’s Society – Self Management/Anxiety and Stress
- Abstract of one of Kirby and Yardley’s studies
- Balancing Everything Out – a publication by Meniere’s.org
- Meniere’s Disease – Don’t Blame the Patient