Young Woman Depicts Her Experience with MdDS Through Her Art 

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.

painting of what MdDS feels like
INFINITE WAVES “This art piece conveys symbols of what this neuro disorder is about. Bringing awareness in hopes of a cure.”

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.

photo of a woman in Autumn
Christina Archer is a hobby artist who enjoys painting and mixed media arts. She lives in Ontario, Canada.
The MdDS Foundation appreciates Christina’s effort to bring awareness to the dire need for more researcher interest. For more information, our website provides resources for professionals and lay people, links to the consensus definition from the Barany Society, ICD code, an interactive symptom severity scale and blog. Updates are published to as they arise.


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  1. Christina Archer

    Thanks Jennifer! That is a great idea expressing ourselves through art! Can’t wait to see your art when you are finished! Cool you are from Holland. Both my parents are from Holland.

  2. Jennifer

    Hi Kristina, your painting is perfectly showing the daily despair to all of us suffering from this awful desease. I’m a hobby painter as well. This inspires me to do something similar to show the world that treatment of MdDS needs more attention as the continued suffering can be extremely severe. Painting is one of the best remedies for me too as it helps me somewhat having my mind in a different place for a while. It reduces the constant motion a bit while painting. I believe this has to do with calming the mind, for as far if that is possible.
    Maybe we can motivate other MdDS patients to make a painting, drawing, picture or anything else as well. Doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced artist, photographer or not. And it is not an idea of a contest or whatsoever of course.
    As it’s very hard to bring it under words so this might be an idea to express ourselves in a different way so that others can make more awareness and being able to show a better picture of this syndrome.
    I am from Holland. I will make a painting as well and will show it once it’s ready.

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

    1. MdDS Foundation

      We think this is a terrific idea, Jennifer. It would be such a powerful message that we are not so rare, that we must not suffer unseen. June is Awareness Month for MdDS. How wonderful would it be to share the artwork of brave MdDS warriors all month long? We can’t wait to see your painting!

  3. Christina Archer

    Thank you Toni. Yes it is difficult for others and even health professionals to understand our true symptoms and sensations. I’m sorry to hear of your 18 years with this monster. You are a true warrior.

  4. Christina Archer

    Thank you. Yes! Here’s hoping for all of us to finally have our lives back.

  5. Christina, I also have MdDS and tried to depict it in a first painting I did early in my diagnosis. I am about to try it again. More realistic and with better skills, I hope. I have had MdDS after a cruise for almost 8 years. I don’t have to tell you how much it has affected my life.

  6. Toni Doi

    Very good post. Sometimes describing the sensations and their effect is difficult at best. The painting is a great rendering. Also, she has adeptly put into words what it takes forever for me to convey, (for me, over 18 years BTW)

  7. Shellie Antey-Thompson

    Well done Christina!!! You capture it beautifully. Here’s hoping and praying that we can all be free of this ball and chain someday!

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