Christina Archer is a hobby artist who enjoys painting and mixed media arts as a form of relaxation and meditation. This painting, titled Infinite Waves, expresses her life with Mal de Débarquement Syndrome. The strong symbolism allows those living with MdDS to find commonality and validation for their own feelings. Christina shared her painting with the 6,500 members of the MdDS Foundation Facebook support community but feels it is necessary for the medical and general public to be informed of the impact the syndrome can have on the lives of those who live with it.
She works as a Personal Support Worker at a long term care home for the aged, but a river cruise in June 2022 was a life changer. “Eight months ago, I went on a beautiful 4-day houseboat cruise down the Trent Severn River in Ontario, Canada. When I stepped off that boat, my brain did not step off the boat. This ailment, MdDS, has changed my life to be debilitating.” It affects her at work because of balance issues, foggy brain and headaches. But she finds she is better off to continue to work and keep moving than to stay home on the couch or bed. It has affected other hobbies such as kayaking and other social activities like loud music and crowds of people. She sometimes finds it hard to carry on conversations due to brain fog and swaying and bobbing in the brain. She has tried many forms of treatment, none of which have had any or lasting effects.
This is a painting I created trying to convey how I feel with the swaying and bobbing, gravitational pull and foggy brain.
Many who have this syndrome report to feel like they are walking on trampolines. I feel this and the floating feeling, yet I also feel a strong gravitational pull down to my right. Hence the anchor. Hair/waves may make you feel a little off balance to help others feel what we with this disembarkment syndrome feel, plus the black and white stripes depict vestibular therapy used to help alleviate symptoms. I feel like I am a prisoner to this syndrome since there is no known cure. Hence the ball and chain tied to a boat dock. I hope to raise awareness, hope for more research to help find a definitive cure.”