Emma - Discovering Balance Through Yoga

Diagnosis: Vestibular Migraine

My journey with Vestibular Migraine and how it has changed my life for the better!

I’d just returned from the trip of a lifetime to Australia and went straight back into work as a school teacher. I’d been feeling a little run down and had been having some odd symptoms of dizziness and light-headedness. A few weeks later my world turned upside down. As I was sat at my desk one day I was hit with a tidal wave of symptoms: dizziness, vertigo, head pain, visual problems, blocked ears, light/sound sensitivity, and nausea.

That day in 2018 was followed by months of being house-bound, unable to go anywhere alone, and feeling extremely unwell. I had to leave my teaching job, I no longer had a social life, and basically everything that I thought made me ‘me’ had been taken away. It was the lowest I’ve felt in my entire life. I felt hopeless about my future and how I would ever be able to function as the old ‘Emma’ again. I was terrified about what was happening to my body and couldn’t see past how I was feeling.

Four years on and there have been hospital appointments, tests, medication trials, holistic therapies, elimination diets, and therapy, to name a few. I have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at this condition, and it was a great relief in 2019 when I finally got the diagnosis of vestibular migraine and could really start focusing on my recovery.

I have made some enormous changes to my lifestyle since 2018, and when I think back I barely recognize my old life. I now work part-time for an educational company online and I am also a yoga teacher. I was proud to qualify as a yoga teacher at the end of last year. This has been a huge part of my recovery and acceptance in where I am currently at with my health. I have recently started to focus on yoga for chronic illness and vestibular disorders and hope to develop this more in the coming months.

So for anyone reading, I’d like this to be a story of positivity and hope. Vestibular migraine forced me to leave a job that I was very stressed and overwhelmed in. It made me transform my diet, exercise, and lifestyle to one that makes me feel healthy and happy, and it has allowed me to meet some amazing people. I have tackled my anxiety head on, worked on myself, and I have an immense gratitude for life and all of the opportunities that have come into my path since. I may not be the old ‘Emma’ anymore but that’s okay, because the new Emma is happy, grateful, and excited about the future.

My top tips!

If you are struggling in the depths of vestibular migraine right now, the things that helped me the most have been:

  • Connecting with others on the same journey through social media
  • Being open to trying new treatment options
  • Regular holistic massages
  • Yoga and gentle exercise- keep the body moving!
  • Meditation
  • Getting between 7-8 hours sleep a night
  • Recognising food triggers
  • Sunglasses/tinted glasses and/or a baseball cap
  • Therapy
  • Challenging myself to do things out of my comfort zone

Follow Emma on Instagram: @emmaleighyoga.