As a child, I was super inactive. It’s mostly because my mom would sign me up for some kind of activity, and when I wasn’t immediately it’s master, and it my bitch, I would quit. In a dramatic blaze of glory too, I’ll have you know. This happened with everything I tried. Every single kind of dance you can imagine: Ballet, jazz, hip-hop, IRISH and figure skating, skiing, snowboarding, piano, guitar, saxophone.. etc. You get it. I quit all of them, usually around the 3 month mark. Much angst. The concerning part of all that was, I never joined any kind of sport. I wasn’t the sporty kid. I was more so the sit in my room, read, journal and brood, type of kid. As an adult, I blame my lack of joining sports as the single reason I can rarely get up off my ass and also the reason I hate working with a group of people. So, after a time my mom stopped forcing me to join extracurricular activities, and my personality has blossomed into this behemoth of wishy-washy, mostly lazy, can’t-stick-with-anything, hostile over not mastering anything, kind of personality**. (It’s a beautiful life)
As I’ve grown into adulthood, my mother has developed this awesome habit of telling me the cure to all of my ailments is probably exercise. And like most things, she finds it almost funny now to consistently pester me about my sedentary lifestyle.
“Mom I have a headache.”
“You should probably start exercising.”
“Maaaaaaaaaaaa! My belly hurts.”
“Exercise would probably help.”
“My boyfriend and I are fighting.”
“Should probably exercise.”
“I hate my life.”
Rewind. In the summer of last year, I went through some sheeeiiittttt. That’s all you really need to know about it. Don’t get nosey, Jennifer. Since the evening my entire life more or less blew up in my face, I’ve developed something called Pulsatile Tinnitus. (Self-diagnosed, of course.) It’s a super-serious ‘condition’ where I always hear the sound of my heartbeat in my ear. It’s been happening ever since aforementioned evening, and it honestly makes me want to punch holes in walls. I’ve been to my doctor about it, but, to no avail. I believe his exact words were: “Yeah, I have that too! Don’t worry, as your life gets back to normal, and your stress level goes down, it’ll probably go away.” Thanks dipshit. (He’s actually a nice guy, I just like to blame him for the fact that there isn’t really a cure for Tinnitus.)
Fast forward to now. I’ve been suffering in not-so-silence for quite some time. It gets worse at night. Sometimes when it’s really quiet it’s the ONLY thing I can hear. Making me woefully underprepared for marauders and the like. Every once in a while I’ll get vertigo and climbing the stairs out of my dungeon will feel like trying to do a handstand on a sailboat. Sometimes I try to aggressively pop my ears to get rid of it, or shove Q-Tips in them until my ears bleed to try and remove some kind of imaginary blockage. It usually just results with in putting my hands over my ears, knees to chest, rocking in a corner waiting for it to stop. I see dead people, style.
I decided to take my life into my own hands. When I say that, I mean: “I decided to WebMD every single symptom I’ve ever experienced to the point where I’m convinced I have cancer, or the bubonic plague or some kind of combination of them both.” A little research confirmed that the type of Tinnitus I was experiencing (Pulsatile) was often the result of vascular* issues in the body. So a little more digging later, it became apparent to me that this Tinnitus I was experiencing was a symptom of probably a bigger problem. So I put on my lab coat, and my stethoscope and determined that I have …. DUN DUN DUN … Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. (Dramatic right?) Which is characterized by: elevated inter cranial pressure that commonly affects overweight women of young, child bearing age. One of the symptoms is… YOU GUESSED IT… Pulsatile Tinnitus. Move aside Dr. Walsh, I’m doing your job better than you.
So.. I go home to my mothers house stoked to tell her that I’ve officially diagnosed myself, and that I’m now on the path to FULL recovery. Her response is what you’d naturally assume from anyone who gets told by someone that they’ve self-diagnosed on Google. But, I continued on. Great she says to me … so how do you go about treating it?
I rolled my eyes and told her: Exercise.
*Biology not your strong suit? Vascular definition (as confirmed by Google, obv.) is: of, relating to, affecting, or consisting of a vessel or vessels, especially those that carry blood.
**DON’T PANIC. I have parts of myself I like too… sheesh.