Hello Darkness My Old Friend

I’ve been struggling for several months now.

photo credit – cgn images

The symptoms of Meniere’s Disease and Chiari Malformation seem to be getting the best of me as of late. I keep telling myself that the vertigo is always worse in the fall and winter months. I wholeheartedly believe that this recent onset coupled with relentless attacks of vertigo can be attributed to the unstable barometric pressure this time of year.

BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! I can try to rationalize it until the cows come home but the cold hard truth is that I am broken. Broken with no fix.

I consider myself to have a pretty strong constitution about me. I try to stay positive. I try to “be still and know.” I try to stay tough.

Today, I started taking an antidepressant.

The past few months, I’ve slowly lost my sparkle. I can’t shake the sadness.

I taught school for many years. Prior to and during those years, I raised two amazing humans. I’ve always felt that I’ve had a purpose. Today, I don’t.

I visited with my ENT this week and she cried with me. She told me I was the worst case of Meniere’s she had ever seen. She went on to say that Meniere’s Diseases alone is truly depressing and debilitating, add to that Chiari and well, you have a recipe for disaster, emotionally.

These two illnesses have robbed me of my independence. I think said robbing is the hardest pill to swallow, so to speak.

I honestly don’t remember a day when the back of my head didn’t feel like it was going to explode. I can’t tell you the last time the roaring in my left ear was nonexistent.  Recalling a day that has passed in which my spine doesn’t feel like lava is running through it is near impossible.  I am physically tough, however. I have a very high pain tolerance. I can handle those things.

I am having a very hard time, however, mentally coping with the parting of my independence.

Driving has halted on rainy days. The movement of the windshield wipers provoke vertigo attacks.

Driving on the freeway has been put on hiatus. The movement of the cars brings on vertigo attacks.

Anxiety regarding driving is suffocating me.

Going to the grocery store has halted. Walking down the aisle and seeing items of the shelf in my periphery spurs vertigo attacks. I was at Kroger earlier this week and had an attack. Came out of nowhere. The manager wanted to call an ambulance.

Anxiety surrounding having an attack in public is suffocating me.

Substitute teaching has been put on hold. The movement from the kids and classroom noise pokes the vertigo beast.

Not having a purpose is suffocating me.

Fishing in my kayak. I don’t think I need to explain that one.

I tell you all of these things not for your pity or condolences. I tell you these things because many of you reading have dealt with or are dealing with sadness or depression.

It took my several weeks to get to a point where I could even mutter the words, I think I need medication. Why was that so hard?

Those of you that have been following my ramblings know that I am no stranger to mental illness or depression. Observing my mother for the past 25 years has my sister and I scared to death. We jokingly, not jokingly ask, when is it going to hit us?!  If I am predisposed to depression, add to that two debilitating illnesses and well, holy crap.

I pray. I know that God can help me get through this. My faith is not wavering.

I also know that it is what it is. Life is messy. Life isn’t perfect. Life can just suck sometimes.

Many of you  deal with sadness and depression for other reasons. Some of you are dealing with darkness that I can’t fathom. Some of you may be dealing with sadness such as mine. Whatever the circumstance, know that you aren’t alone. Don’t be scared to share your story. Someone may need to hear it.

The shame is not in being depressed. The shame is in not getting help.







  1. A powerful ending Julie. I agree wholeheartedly on the getting help part. It took me too long to admit I was depressed then another too long until I cried to my family doc in desperation of help. You do have a purpose. It comes loud and clear through your writing. I am praying for you before I sleep.

      • Thanks. It is so true though. Knowing you have a problem and not doing anything about it is selfish. I don’t want that to be my legacy. Thanks for your kind words always.

      • Indeed Julie! It’s very true. We know there’s something off, we just put off, unfortunately until we don’t have the strength to ignore it any longer. You’re going to have a phenomenal legacy friend, don’t let that worry you a bit! As for anything, talking to someone, admiring there’s a problem – or possible problem and seeking professional help, is showing ourselves a great amount of love! We should do that more often. 😊🙏🏽

    • Thank for for reminding me that my ramblings have purpose. I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I’m hoping that changes here directly. Thank you for your continued support. I appreciate it more than you know.

      • I know what that’s like, Chiari has a way of doing that so effortlessly. If it wasn’t because I have set posts on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Fridays, there would be no posts written for weeks! That helps to give me the extra push to write, to get Chiari out of my mind even for just a few minutes.
        Your ramblings are loved! Haha! We need to ramble and unwind, get all that build up off our heads – literally! You don’t have to write a long post, choose a quote from online that has touched you, it’ll give you that extra motivation to write. 😊🙏🏽
        Likewise Julie, my dearest Chiari sister in Christ❣️

  2. ❤️😭🙏🏻
    There is a LIGHT at the end of the “tunnel” and one day, sweet friend, you will not have to deal with this! Hang on to that promise God has given us as you struggle through so many things at once:
    Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

  3. I think back to our first conversation in a crowded lunch room and the instant connection I felt with you. Getting the help you need is the first step to getting better. I know that’s cliche but I hope you know it’s from the heart. Praying for you my friend.

    • Thanks Kim. It’s crazy how much has changed in a year, is it not? I thought CCS was going to be my forever home until I retired from teaching. Little did I know. Thanks for the prayers. Hope all is well.

  4. Miss you! Been wondering how you are. This depression is a state of mind for now. It is an event. It is not a lifelong, inherited thing. You’ve been hit some tough blows last few months so naturally you’re sad, down and depressed. Not because of any other reason. I know the fear of it being like your mom…but it’s not. I think you’re great, optimistic and enthusiastic.

  5. Oh Julie! I think maybe saying this to myself too, you are doing the very best that you can! I also have a high tolerance for pain, and I deal with my chronic pain due to Chiari – like you, as ‘best’ that I can. But the worst is the mental pain. I began therapy last year, every two weeks, soon after started I medication for depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. Me depressed, with anxiety?! But I’m so young! Yes, that’s what people want to think of me. But I am made of flesh and blood, and it was the moment that my therapist diagnosed me that I was on track to helping myself – mentally. You’re helping yourself with medication, and I’m so incredibly happy that you are. We all deserve to feel as good as we can, inside and out, physically and mentally. 😊🙏🏽 Some of us have the help of doctors, while others don’t, either way, it’s ok.

  6. I have also had that fear and thought that is the way it is going to be for me because of my dad dealing with it- I hear it all to often from others 😞
    BUT GOD!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️
    Take comfort in the prayers being said by friends, strangers and loved ones ❤️

  7. I suffered from Meniere’s desease for a long time. I am familiar with the symptoms you describe. I became a recluse as I couldn’t stand noise or people. I use to walk around as if totally drunk on alcohol. My children were young at the time, it was very hard but God was my strength through it all. It’s great to read that your faith is not wavering, that you know God can help you through this and that you pray. You are more than a conqueror, continue to hold on fast to your faith and pray continually. Never give up. I am adding my prayers to yours.

  8. Oh how depression can come in many sizes and hit like a ton of bricks. I love you girl and will relentlessly harass you so that you know you are not alone! I miss seeing your face daily as you are my ray of corgi sunshine! Love ya

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