Dizzy/disorientated/off balanced constantly

Hi, I'm new here and its my first post on any kind of forum. I guess I'm looking for someone, anyone to say 'I feel the same and you are not alone'. I've been struggling with this off balanced, disorientated, feeling and fear of passing out among other symptoms for over a year now where its been pretty much a daily struggle. From memory it really started to take a turn when I went skiing for a week, I felt ok on the slope, apart from my nerves if I went too fast or too high, but then as the evening went on I would start feeling this swaying like I was still going down the mountain which intensified when I laid down and tried to fall asleep, I would even dream I was still skiing. I also started to get more sensitive to car journeys and going out on boats where it would sometimes take me a couple of days to feel balanced again. Then one day it came and never really left. Some days are better than others and I find working on computers and being in the office the worst although in a weird way sometimes safer and less lonely as there are people around me if I did pass out. I also feel more sensitive to loud noises and busy places, I used to love flying but now I fear it in case I have an attack and I can't get away or get emergency help. I feel quite uncomfortable around some friends now when I used to enjoy their company, through no fault of their own but I feel like I'm not myself anymore, just trying to keep my head above water, focus and not panic while I sit there. I used to be so active and always the one arranging and planning the next social activity or trip, now I only feel safe when I'm at home laying down or heading home and I avoid making plans. I get a tight chest and throat, headaches, some trouble sleeping, waking with intense worry, needing the toilet constantly, upset stomach, shaking, jelly legs, emotional and sensitive, trouble focusing and feeling exhausted. I've convinced myself there is something seriously wrong and that I'm dying but I've been to see several doctors and specialists, test after test but no one can find anything medically wrong with me, sometimes I wish (its terrible I know) for a diagnoses of some sort just so I know its not all in my head or I'm going crazy. Just wish I could go back to how I used to be. Sorry for the long post but I'm feeling quite frustrated, scared and hopeless.

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22 Replies

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  • I feel exactly like you with pretty much all the same symptoms. I have been feeling like this for the last six months. Before January I was an active and happy person. Are you on any meds or doing therapy? I am trying both, I am doing a little better but def not where I would like to be, I have to go back to work Monday ( been out for 4 months) and I am really dreading it! You are not alone and I am convinced we will get better it's just such a long process!

  • Hi Noemikahle, thank you for your msg. I'm sorry to hear you are also experiencing the same symptoms, I'm not on any medication, I was too scared to try any because of the potential side effects and with the chance of becoming dependent but I think it's good to try as different things work for different people. I have tried chinese medicine as I'm currently living in China and also experimenting with essential oils which I think both have helped. I've also taken up yoga and trying to do some more gentle exercises as it's hard when you feel so unstable. It's always daunting going back to work but you can do this I'm sure, sometimes I find it helps to do a few things I did before although it feels different but just not so isolating, take your time and day by day we can beat this :)

  • Have had this myself several times have you had your ears checked ! Mine was build up of fluid in middle ear was given sturgeon tablets they are used for travel sickness.but really worked on the spinning sensation I was getting ever time I turned over in bed.Not nice

  • Hi Jessiejakes, thank you for the advise. I had been to an ears, nose and throat specialist and a neurologist but nothing showed up except a slight hearing loss in one of my ears which they said shouldn't affect my balance. I will keep in mind the about the travel sickness tablets and also see if the bracelets work. Hope you are now feeling better.

  • Hi yes I haven't had it for a long while now.but I do get a bit off balance now and then but that is caused by arthritis/tension in neck so have been doing some excersises physio gave me to do to keep neck/muscles from stiffening up.but do try the sturgeon they are very good.

  • My Chinese medicine doctor said I had a blockage in my neck which he thought was causing the off balance but wasn't really sure what he meant and although the massage and acupuncture helped my strength I still had the same unsteady feelings and sore neck/tension headaches. Can tense muscles in the neck cause this off balance feelings?

  • HVM98, Yes tense muscles in the neck can cause an off balance feeling. I had that for many years. Because of holding all my stress as well as keeping my balance, I developed cervical disc problems as well as mild stenosis. The off balance went away but I need to be careful about looking up or looking down which can again cause that dizzyheaded feeling.

  • Oh wow, did this make you feel off balanced all the time? I started to notice that I would feel worse after hanging out the washing or looking down at my phone. Did you find normal back and neck massages helped or need someone more specialised?

  • Exactly the same feeling HVM98 as you have when neck is in up or down position. Physical therapy was a great benefit but also using heat patches or hot towels to relax the muscles after a stressful day. Message would be good.

  • Thanks Agora1, will give them a go 👍🏻

  • Spot on with your answer agora1 the physio told me my neck muscles were so tight and stiff due to neck tension,after doing the exercises on a daily basis it has really helped to keep muscles in the neck a lot more supple.when you have anxiety we tend to hold tension in shoulders.

  • HVM98, all your symptoms have the markings of intense anxiety. Considering that you have had multiple tests and have seen several doctors and specialist, it points in that direction. Have they ever diagnosed you with Anxiety? If so, there is help. I know you are scared, frustrated BUT never feel hopeless. There are answers. Sometimes it takes short term medication and therapy that can help break this cycle of fear that you have been in for over a year.

    As it is not addressed, your world tends to get smaller and smaller due to the fear of it happening again at an inopportune time. None of us want to feel the embarrassment of what anxiety can due to us. So the fear of that alone keeps us in a constant state of anxiety.

    Using this forum can be a great start in finding the comfort and understanding you need. Keep an open mind to what others have done or used in helping themselves with their anxiety. When taking that first step forward in helping yourself, it's always nice to know we are not alone in this. I wish you well. Looking forward to seeing you on the forum.

  • Hi Agora, thank you for your msg. My doctor has suggested it might be anxiety and I had been prescribed some xanex but I haven't tried it or been properly diagnosed as such. Already I am feeling some comfort and relief from reading other people's comments and posts, it really helps to write some feelings down and realise you are not alone, thanks again for the support and advise.

  • HVM98, you say you wish for a diagnosis of some sort. Well here it is, I'm no doctor but I recognise anxiety disorder when I see it and all those symptoms you mention are the classic symptoms of anxiety. That is why the medics can't find anything and they nevet will. Because anxiety doesn't show up on an x-ray or CT scan.

    Your principle concern is the fear of passing out. Have you in fact ever passed out? Of course you haven't, you are stressing yourself out with worry about something that has never happened and never will. And all those other bad feelings, no they don't mean you're going to die or go crazy or collapse. Anxiety doesn't have the power to do things like that because although it's very good at imitating genuine illnesses anxiety is in fact a fraud, a fake and a confidence trickster. You are worrying yourself half to death over something that is just a glitch in your nervous system.

    What's happened to you is this. For sone reason only you can work out you have been subject to some kind of stress or worry for quite some time. Eventually your nervous system starts to protest, it becomes over sensitised and in this state starts playing all those tricks on you that you know only too well.

    If you can decide what got you into this state in the first place and protect yourself from further stress and worry that would be good. But it's gone beyond that now, you yourself are generating the fear, introspection and worry that isvkeeping your nerves sensitised. So what to do?

    Now you know how anxiety works and its limitations you should feel somereassurance. You're not going to pass out or die or become one if those crazies who stand on street corners and shout at the traffic. That must be a relief. But how do you return your over sensitised nervous system to normal and regain your quiet mind?

    The answer is to do the exact opposite of what you're doing at the moment. Instead of fighting the anxiety and continually testing yourself (which only causes more tension and stress and prolongs nervous sensitivity) you must learn to Accept the bad feelings for the moment and carry on as normal. By accepting the symptoms without generating extra fear you allow your nerves to return to normal in time. After all, you now know that those bad feelings are all fake. So when you feel them coming just ket every muscle in your body go limp and relax and let the bad feeling rush past you even as a turbulent wave dashes against a rock and goes past it. Yes, you are that rock. Or as some people do, breathe in slowly, hold it for 7 secobds then let the breath out slowly. This has a natural tranquilising effect.

    So cultivate the ability to Accept the bad feelings for the moment and in the process rob them of the fuel of fear and before long you will become one of that merry band hopefully travelling the Yellow Brick Road to Recovery.

  • Thank you Jeff, after reading some of the comments and posts from other people I think you are right, I just couldn't believe how the unbalanced/dizziness could be all the time without it being something more serious. I also feel some relief from putting some of my feelings down on paper as such and hope this can help me accept it and beat it, thanks again.

  • Very good explanation of anxiety and how it can mimic all sorts of health problems anxiety can be so disabilitating until you take control of it.but thank you for explaining it so well.I'm sure it will help a lot of people.

  • OMG! that's pretty much the same as me, i've those same symptoms for well over a year now, on and off each and everyday. Everyday at some point I feel unsteady and off balance, I know i'm not going to fall over but that what it feels like. Always exhausted, minor headaches, shaking inside and out, bowel problems and so on.....it is truly horrible, I don't want to go out anywhere, my appetite is really poor, I only eat lunch daily as I'm too tired at night to get up and cook dinner etc. I'm also on no meds, trying to battle it without drugs etc, I love a few beers at night that really calms me down, I don't go overboard just that nice relaxed feeling.

    It does sound like you have an anxiety disorder but i'm no doctor, have you tried seeing a holistic doctor, sometimes they make more sense that other GP's? Good luck to you!

  • Thanks for your advise dunc and sorry to hear you are experiencing the same symptoms, it's reassuring in a way to know we are not alone but scary all the same. I was trying to go the more natural route, chinese medicine, essential oils, yoga and meditation, diet changes, all of which I think helps but just a slow process, some days I start to feel a bit better and then bam, I start feeling worse again, it's like, hey you, don't get too excited, i'm still here!

    For the food I try to cook one meal but enough for 4 so I then freeze the remaining, this really helps as it's quite an effort to cook when you feel so exhausted and especially when you are just cooking for yourself but you really need to try and eat more than lunch if you can, I lost my appetite a few months ago and felt so awful and weak, was on a real downward spiral, that's when I started more intense Chinese medicine and making vegetable soups, contains lots of nutrients but again you can make a big batch and then freeze the rest, I would also blend it altogether so it had an even, thicker consistency. I also try to cut out caffeine and sugar when I can as I got quite jittery after having them. Good luck to you too!

  • Been dealing with the same thing for four years look at my post and see if you can relate as well

  • Hi Ashley, thank you for your msg and sorry to see you have been struggling with this feeling for 4 years, it's horrible and terrifying! I can totally relate to your feelings and frustration, I wish I could just turn back the clock. Would give anything to go back to how I felt before. Are you still on meds?

  • Yes I am but it on the full mg as I was before I'm thinking about going back to my full amount because this isn't working

  • I hope you start feeling better and stronger each day

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