An Epic of Dizziness (Part 3)

Journal entry  from July 27, 2011:

 I’m feeling a little better tonight. I’m more alert and present.  My focus and cognitive functioning seems better.  It’s almost like a cloud has lifted and the brain fog I was feeling is gone. I didn’t feel any movement when laying down to go to sleep last night, which was great.  Reading and using the computer is easier too.  I hate having to sleep on the couch, but for some reason I feel much more secure there.  I can prop my head up on the big  pillows and tuck myself into the corner.  I’m much less likely to roll over or fall off the couch this way.  Our bed seems so high up.  What if I fell off at night?  As much as I dislike sleeping on the couch, for now it will have to do.   

My appointment with the physical therapist was moved up by a week due to my persistent calling.  A one week wait didn’t seem so bad. It’s certainly better than two weeks!  Since I was feeling a bit better, I used some of my time to research the different causes of dizziness.  I found a great website with a forum called  What I read on the site comforted me, yet terrified me at the same time.  I watched a video posted on the site about a girl and she shared her personal ordeal with Labyrinthitis, or Labs, as it is called for short. I sat and wept while watching it.  As bad as I felt, my experience seemed to pale in comparison to hers. I cried tears not only for her, but for myself as I wondered what I might possibly face in the future. Would my symptoms get worse?  I was learning a lot reading the message boards and saw that there were many things that could cause dizziness.  All the symptoms were like pieces of a puzzle that I was trying to solve.  I was playing doctor, yet I was the patient.  As I read the stories of others suffering from dizziness and correlating symptoms, I thought of the statement, “God will never give you more than you can bear”.  I struggled with that thought, I still believed it, yet a sliver of doubt began to taunt my mind. I thought of Jesus as He bore death on the cross and the agony He endured.  If you’ve ever.seen the movie “The Passion of The Christ,” you know what sort of torture Christ went through to redeem us.  I thought of people who had suffered some really bad  and unexplainable things- things that don’t seem fair or right. A scripture (2 Corinthians 12:9) comforted me: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”.  I asked myself  “What is God asking me to bear”? “What is the purpose of this “? I knew that this was testing my level of trust in God and also my faith in who He says He is, and all that He promises to those that are believers in His word. I’d either trust Him or I wouldn’t; this is where the rubber was meeting the road.

The next few days were a mixture of good and bad.  There were times I felt like I was being pulled towards my right side, as if a weight or magnet were pulling me over.  I never fell, nor was it noticeable to others, yet I felt it internally. Sometimes when I would be on the computer the computer and desk would be moving forward and backwards and my eyes would hardly be able to focus.  I’d have to turn it off.  I went walking quite often not only for exercise, but to keep my spirits up, most of the time it felt like I was swaying when I walked, yet I had a normal gait to anyone that would have observed me. If I stood still and closed my eyes I would feel a backwards pull.  I didn’t do that very often!  I’d also noticed something new, a feeling of fullness mostly in my right ear and occasionally in my left. It felt plugged up.  This feeling would come and go.

I didn’t really go many places for a few days, I was almost becoming housebound.  The fear of what would happen out in public stayed in my mind.  I’d read about so many horror stories that I didn’t know what to think at this time.  I did decide I wanted to go to church.  I wasn’t going to let fear and the devil keep me from going; besides, I really needed to hear God’s word.  His promises became something I clung to even more so than ever before.  Unfortunately, my experience at church wasn’t good.  Everything felt different.  It was like a strange place to me, a place I’d never been or one that had morphed into something different. My perception of my surroundings were so changed the sights,sounds, lighting, everything that usually brought such happiness, joy and peace were making me very uncomfortable.  Of course, it wasn’t my church that made me feel this way, it was the BPPV or whatever I had that caused me to feel this way!  I’m usually in choir, but I was certainly not ready  to be up in front of hundreds of people at this point.  Our family decided to sit near the back.  I needed to be by a door in case I had to make a quick exit.  What if I had a huge spinning attack and fell on the floor and vomited in front of the whole congregation?  How embarrassing would that be!  Our sanctuary is laid out like a lot of churches.  The floor slightly angles down to where the platform or alter is.  I could now feel that slight angle much more magnified.  I felt as if I were leaning forward, and as my eyes scanned across the assembly of people it was overwhelming to my senses.  Strangely, when we stood up to sing our praises to the Lord I felt somewhat better.  When it was time for our Pastor to preach I had a hard time focusing on him.  He looked blurry, it was like I needed glasses, and I felt mental fatigue and brain fog set in. My hands were clammy and I grasped the pew trying to hold myself together.  My anxiety level was at a 10!.  Having read the message boards on I learned that with dizzy disorders anxiety is one of the symptoms that often accompany those suffering with dizziness. Having made it through the service, my family and I slipped out the back door quickly so as not to have to talk to anyone.  People were praying for me, that I knew, but I just couldn’t talk to anyone at this time.  I  wanted to get home.  At least there I didn’t have such severe symptoms, and who doesn’t want to be home when your sick? There’s nothing like having your own bathroom for those types of emergencies. 

When I got home my anxiety level went from a 10 to a 6.  I wondered if I’d ever be able to get back to choir.  Singing is my passion and singing for the Lord is an absolute joy to me.  I wondered if I’d feel the peace and joy that I’d always felt at church before, instead of anxiety and sensory overload that I was experiencing.  I was pretty depressed the next day.  My life was like a seesaw.  You probably remember them being in neighborhood parks.  Basically a seesaw is a plank where each end would seat a child and you would take turns pushing off the ground to raise the other side up.  It was always so much fun!  You go up and down, up and down.  That’s how the each day and even each moment of each day was for me.  I was up when my symptoms weren’t too bad and down when they were.  Part of the problem was the pattern of this illness. Every time I’d been sick before healing would follow a general course. I’d  get sick and gradually the symptoms would reach a peak and then finally fade away.  Case closed!  I couldn’t understand why I’d feel better and have times of almost feeling normal for a few hours or a day only to feel completely different later.  Wrapping my mind around it was almost impossible.  

I went ahead and rescheduled my appointment with an Orthopedic Doctor in the meantime so that I could have my arm and shoulder checked.  I was having limited mobility. I could barely reach back past my hip and raising my arm to reach things on upper shelves wasn’t quite like it had been.  I had to stand on my tippy toes to get stuff and not because I’m short. So I waited for two different Doctors appointments.  Had I prayed for patience or perseverance?  Maybe they are the same? 

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An Epic of Dizziness (Part 3) by Melissa Jo Elliott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Fear Friend Or Foe??

Fear ye Fear ye??  Fear is a complex emotion.  It is our friend , but mostly our enemy.  Fear has been experienced by humans throughout history.  Without getting into debate about when the origin of life started…well, I’ll just say I’m a Creationist.  I believe God created us, and we did not evolve, and that the beginning of history corresponds to the Bible. I will say that fear has probably evolved since life first started in the Garden of Eden.  That which we fear  has changed from the times of our “Hunter Gatherer” beginnings. Mostly what we humans feared were things like being attacked by a wild beast, such as a bear, wolf or probably another human.  We all know that murder isn’t something new as Cain murdered his brother Abel in Genesis. We as humans have always experienced what they call the “Fight or Flight” response to fear.  Basically this is when our nervous system tells us to get going and fast!  Danger is imminent. The experience of fear isn’t a new thing, but it has changed. Or I should say grown in types. Yes there is the original fear, If you’re in the woods and a big bear is chasing you, or someone points a gun at you. Your going to experience this “Fight or Flight” feeling.  That’s the healthy kind of fear we have.  It gives us  energy, helps us run, and protect ourselves.  I’m going to talk some about the unhealthy fear that we all have experienced from time to time.  For some it is a daily thing and they live with what is called a “Fee-Floating Fear“.  I really feel for people experiencing this as their bodies react as if under attack for unknown reasons. If  a person perceives something as threatening or dangerous their bodies go into this “Fight or Flight” response. I have experienced fear and anxiety before, although not the free-floating type. That is why I decided to blog this.  I’ve had to overcome fear & anxiety in regards to particular things in my own life.  I have had to deal with fear of performing, and for the most part God has delivered me from this a few years ago.  I’m sure you’ve heard people say or maybe have seen surveys that people fear public speaking more than death.  They are probably not exaggerating.  There are so many different phobias & fears now that they have several books about all of them…just check out Amazon. I just did out of curiosity.. There’s fear of spiders, dying, the dark, heights, being alone.  People are just filled with fear. This includes Christians and non-Christians alike. These fears really do limit you.  The physical reactions in your body can include, breathlessness, rapid heat rate, clammy palms – it goes on and on.

Jesus tells us many times in scripture, “Fear not for I am with thee“. God wants to release us from the bondage of fear. This is the unhealthy type of fear that holds you back from living the abundant life  you have in Christ. Scripture tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Fear keeps you confined or limited. God wants you to be free of these chains.  Living in fear is like living with chains and that is bondage.  Jesus says He wants us to be free of that yoke.  He tells us “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 (NLV). As Christians, Satan wants to keep us bound in fear.  He does that by telling us we’re not good enough, or that we don’t have the skills to do something, we can’t handle a situation.  He works by infiltrating our minds with negative thoughts.  Jesus calls the devil “The Father of Lies”(John 8:44). Satan is crafty and since God owns your soul, if you’ve accepted Him as Lord and Savior,  Satan will work to try to make you an ineffectual Christian. C.S. Lewis‘s book “The ScrewTape Letters” is a great read about how the devil works with his host of demons to plot against a Christian man.  I have read this book and have also read it in a lighter  comic book version  which was very enlightening.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had to overcome fear, especially when I first started out singing as a soloist at church.  Can you believe that I have had thoughts such as,”What will other people think about me? I’ll  make a fool of myself!  I’m not good enough!  I’ve never done a solo before so why start now! I’m too old for this… It goes on and on.  As I type it out now it sounds ridiculous.  Maybe I’m crazy to fess up to some of these private thoughts that I’ve had in the past, but I can’t help but think that just maybe someone out there in cyber space needs to know that they’re not the only ones dealing with these defeating, self-limiting thoughts that  come from feelings of fear and lies from the Devil himself.  Don’t get me wrong, you do have to know that God is calling you to do something.  We’ve all watched American Idol probably once or twice.  Clearly some people are under the illusion that they can sing. The Devil can set up illusions in our minds as well ,so this takes discernment and prayer. Pray for confirmation from the Lord and others in your church.  You don’t have to be the next best thing to sliced bread in the area that you need to step out into, but if God has truly called you to do it you should.  I say I’ve overcome these type of thoughts and fears, because God has done and continues to do a renewing work on my mind. Scripture tells us ” Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:12). Okay, I’ll admit this, I don’t want to sound contradictory, but sometimes those thoughts crop up again and I chalk it up to the fact that Satan still tries to play mind games with me. It doesn’t last long though, because I’ve been filled with Gods truth and this is what spiritual warfare is all about. It takes time for God to conform our minds and it’s only through His word and the Holy Spirit that it can happen.  We can’t do it ourselves.  Also, it’s a life long learning.  We are forever the student of the Lord. It will continue until we are with Him in Heaven.  Real victory started for me when I began to step out in “Faith” and kept doing it, consistently, little by little. Through those small acts of obedience God has proven that He was and is with me! I’ve learned to trust Him. Breaking through the walls of fear keeps my faith muscles activated.  God is pleased and He is Faithful to me! With whatever God is calling you to do, music related or not just realize this. You may not be the best, but you’re probably not the worst at whatever the task is. Besides God wants people to serve Him that don’t think they can do it all on their own. When we lean on His power, strength and help, God is glorified, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, It was Him enabling us, because we in ourselves are weak.  Replace the self-defeating thought such as, I’m a nobody and an unknown with nothing to offer, with the empowering truth that you are a child of God!  You are a Son and I am Daughter of the King of Kings!  How great is that!  “Tell yourself, I’m not scared, nervous or anxious, but I’m excited!  I get to do this for the Lord”.  Every time you press through the wall of fear, God meets you on the other side. He just wants you to act in Faith and Trust Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Courage is not feeling fearless, it is acting despite fear! So I guess I’m a courageous girl.  I hope this encourages you to step out in whatever God is laying on your heart to do.  Take it one day at a time and God will make a way.  The song I recorded titled “I Know How To Fly” really spoke to me and that was why I wanted to title the CD with that title.  The lyrics made me think about how I’ve had things to overcome, times of doubt & fear, yet God was with me and helped me to rise above! He brought me through! Don’t let Satan rob you of the abundant life and your service to our Lord.  We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.  He gives victory and it’s already been won.  God never tells us that we won’t have scary or hard times, or even that life is fair, but He tells us we’re not alone.  I don’t know about you, but for me that’s pure comfort.