I am – it seems – one of the rarer male cases.
I have specific memories of exactly what happened at the time I suddenly started to experience symptoms. It all started one night two years ago while out doing my pizza delivery job, which I have now quit! It was a busy night, and I suddenly noticed a rocking/swaying sensation, or as if walking on a mattress, or being on a boat. This came on suddenly and has been exactly the same ever since. About a week previous to this, I had a (non-vehicular) whiplash incident in which, due to my raised anxiety, my neck jerked backwards in an unnatural way. (I do have an elevated level of anxiety but don’t take any medication for it, or any other medications.) Along with the onset of imbalance, I also experienced neck discomfort for about one year.
When I was twelve years old (I’m 33 now) after a long car journey, I had the motion symptoms for about a minute, which scared the life out of me. I’ve always had problems with my inner ears; the ENT said there is nothing wrong with my ears but I have chronic ear pain.
I want to stress that I experience no other symptoms at all, no dizziness, confusion, etc., but the symptoms do definitely get worse the more anxious I am. I find when I feel completely at ease the symptoms almost disappear, or happen just once in a while, but when I am among a crowd and feel slightly uneasy, the symptoms are far, far worse.
I mostly get symptoms while standing but if I have a had a stressful day or am feeling particularly run down or anxious, when I lie down and move my legs just slightly I get a distorted feeling of motion. I have noticed that sometimes when I get symptoms my eyes distort, too.
I have seen an ENT but my doctor was the one to suggest possible MdDS. After searching the Internet, I felt that MdDS was most likely because, along with others, I have found that when I am out riding my bike or in a car the symptoms completely subside.
I remained unemployed for a while, looking for a job with no prolonged standing where I could sit down, but I’ve have recently started doing a driving job again. And I have become a much less anxious person. The symptoms haven’t changed at all. But I have found that because I am less anxious when I have a busy evening, I feel that in some way I can ‘train’ my way back into completely controlling the symptoms. In some way it feels like the driving is actually helping me to recover my centre of gravity. Also when I wake up in the mornings and am relaxed I feel like it’s not really there. When I force my body around to do things (like washing up for example, which really exacerbates symptoms) it’s a lot worse, but when I am fully relaxed and doing something I enjoy which in no way makes me nervous (like walking in the forest) I can feel quite fine.
I hope my experience helps others.
Age at onset: 31