When experiencing symptoms of Meniere’s disease or when first diagnosed it is often quite a shock. You may feel overwhelmed and not sure what is happening or how you will manage.
Often it seems like your world is spinning out of control and it is not easy to accept that life as you knew it has changed. You are not alone. With help and support from health professionals, family, friends and Meniere’s Australia, you can learn to live confidently with Meniere’s.
Now that you have a diagnosis you can take steps to understand Meniere’s disease and learn to manage your symptoms and life. You can regain control.
Coming to terms with diagnosis
Right now you will be feeling a raft of different emotions – relieved to know why you have been so dizzy and sick. Happy to know that you are not going crazy with the noises in your head! You may be scared about how what this means for the future or simply don’t want to accept that this is really happening.
The symptoms of this condition can impact on all facets of your life including employment, family relationships, sporting and social activities. This in turn can undermine your psychological well-being - your confidence, self-esteem and sense of independence.
Most people diagnosed with Meniere's move back and forth through different emotional stages as they adjust and come to terms with their condition. All of these emotions are normal and are part of the journey to accepting that Meniere’s is a part of you. Although it is hard to believe right now – you will be able to have a happy and fulfilling life with Meniere’s.
Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is well known for developing a multi-staged adjustment model to identify and understand the range of emotions experienced during a grieving process. The stages are just as relevant to the emotional and psychological impact that may occur with a diagnosis of Meniere’s disease. The stages include:
- Resolution and Acceptance
It is important to talk – share how you are feeling with family and friends. You can also contact Meniere’s Australia and talk to other people who also have Meniere’s. It is easy to see negatives everywhere and sometimes sharing gives you a different perspective.
Share the load - It may seem like there is far too much to learn and so many changes you need to make all at once. When you are feeling unwell it is hard to gather your energy to deal with the changes you need to make so share the load with your family and friends. They will be only too happy to help you.
Manage your stress levels - Emotional or physical stress can result in fluid retention in your body. This can make Meniere's symptoms worse or act as a trigger for attacks of vertigo. It’s vital that you manage your stress levels. We have several information resources that can help you with stress management. You can call into the Meniere’s Information and Resource Centre and browse through our extensive library.
Our on-line Catalogue section lists a selection of items available by category.A library mail order service is available for members. Your local Library is likely to have lots of information on this topic too.
Get advice - Until the mechanism is understood and a cure is found, you have Meniere’s for life. Minimising the damage to the hearing and balance mechanism is vitally important. The good news is that you can immediately help control your symptoms by addressing life style issues such as stress management and a low salt diet.
Your Meniere’s experience is unique and your needs will vary depending on where you are in regards to the different stages of Meniere’s. A team approach is a good approach and may include some or all of the following health professionals:
- General Practitioner
- ENT Specialist
Educate yourself – If you know what you are dealing with you can be prepared.
Our free information pack is a good place to start!
One of your first steps in managing Meniere's is to learn as much as you can about the Meniere’s and the various ways you can manage it. The information below provides a starting point.
Medical professionals can provide you with more detailed medical information about the nature and likely progression of the disease. They can also advise you on suitable management strategies and medication options.
Talking to other people with Meniere's can help answer many questions. Contacting and joining support groups such as Meniere's Australia can help put you in touch with others in the same boat.
Attend a Meniere’s meeting, research reputable health sites or continue to get ongoing information and support via membership of Meniere’s Australia.
There are many different treatment options available.