When I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, I thought my life was over.
I was only 24 years old.
After six months of suffering, I finally knew what was wrong with me and it wasn’t going away any time soon. By all accounts, it was going to get worse…much worse. It was a dark time.
The doctor was supposed to make me better, but hadn’t helped at all. I felt my hopes and dreams evaporate. I was hanging on by a thread.
But today, I live a very different kind of life. I still have Meniere’s disease, but I’ve found countless ways to cope and improve my symptoms.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, I want you to understand one thing, right now: there is so much hope. Meniere’s disease will not define you.
I know how scary it is. I know how overwhelmed you feel. And I know how much you’re suffering.
But as bad everything seems right now, there’s hope. I wish someone had told me that in the beginning.
I wrote this post to help you get started in the right direction.
One of the biggest challenges that people with Meniere’s disease face early on is a lack of information.
Most people leave their doctors office and take to Google for answers. But everything they find conflicts with everything else they find, and it’s all terrifying. It establishes terrible expectations, paralyzing them with fear.
Instead, I believe it’s better to understand what is still within your control and take action.
My approach to Meniere’s disease starts with a 3-step strategy:
- Find a great doctor to coordinate your treatment and prescribe necessary medications
- Temporarily make the lifestyle changes known to improve Meniere’s disease symptoms
- Track your lifestyle, environment, diet, and symptoms to identify your symptom triggers
How to find a great doctor:
Having a great doctor to coordinate your treatment can make all the difference in the world. It’s the most important first step you can take. Even if you like the doctor who diagnosed you, I encourage you to follow the steps outlined in these two posts to find a second opinion.
Temporarily make the lifestyle changes that can help with Meniere’s disease:
There are many lifestyle changes known to improve Meniere’s disease symptoms. You’ve probably heard the basics, like cutting out caffeine and lowering sodium intake. But there is a lot more that you can do, especially early on.
First and foremost, this allows you to eliminate many of the common Meniere’s disease triggers. Your symptoms may seem to strike at random, but they’re usually triggered by some external factor in your environment. Everyone experiences this differently, but by temporarily eliminating all the common triggers, you have a better chance of improvement.
Also, many of these lifestyle changes will improve your overall level of health. Your body will be able to direct more of its energy and resources towards coping with Meniere’s disease.
Finding your triggers:
The lifestyle changes can be extremely helpful early on, but it’s also important for you to identify your unique triggers. Triggers vary from person to person, and understanding how specific things affect you is a crucial step in coping with Meniere’s disease.
The best way to find your triggers is to track various aspects of your lifestyle, environment, diet, and symptoms to look for patterns. You may not be able to avoid all your triggers, but this kind of knowledge is extremely powerful to have.
Once you have a handle on the basics, there is a lot more that you can do to improve. But to avoid overwhelming you, I’m going to focus on two goals: educating your friends and family to build a solid foundation of support and overcoming fear and anxiety.
Explaining Meniere’s disease to your family and friends:
Meniere’s disease can be a very isolating condition because it’s invisible, and most people have never heard of it. But when your family and friends understand what you’re going through, they can support you in a way that actually makes a difference.
I wrote these posts to help them understand. Share them with your friends and family:
Coping with the overwhelming fear of Meniere’s disease:
When you live with Meniere’s disease, there is this constant, crippling sense of fear of anxiety. When vertigo can strike at any moment, it can be hard to even leave the house.
But just because you have Meniere’s disease doesn’t mean you can’t go out and enjoy life. These two posts can help you conquer the fear:
Bookmark these lists:
These are two of the most important pieces of content I’ve ever created. They’re comprehensive lists of organizations, tools, books, nonprofits, online support groups, and so much more. Take a look and bookmark them for future reference.
I know how confusing and difficult everything probably seems right now. I remember it like it was yesterday. But it’s not the life sentence that it appears.
You have a long, challenging road ahead of you.
But there is so much hope. You are not powerless to improve your situation.
I’m here to tell you that your life isn’t over, not by a long shot.
Meniere’s disease will never define you. It cannot and will not ever be bigger than your dreams.
Want to learn more?
I tried to limit the number of links I included in this post because I know it’s a lot to take in.
But there’s so much more to learn! And that’s a good thing.
Once you’ve had a chance to read through all the links I’ve mentioned here, I encourage you browse through my other blog posts. I’ve published more than 100 long-form articles, filled with coping strategies, motivational insights, tools, and so much more, all freely available for you to explore.
But if you’d like a more easily digestible, structured approach to my Meniere’s disease strategy, I’ve also written a book: