A Life Unbalanced

I usually keep my posts to things like sewing, gardening, walking, my general hobbies and interests, but as it was Balance Awareness Week last week I decided to share another part of my life, not for sympathy, just to spread awareness and understanding. There’s worse things to have in life, I know my limits and on the whole I live within them.

BAW 2019 logo with Fiona Flamingo

I have no balance, easy to say, but not so easy for others to understand the impact of this. Balance comes from three things, vision, leg muscles and ears, if one is hampered, such as in the dark, the other two can manage. My ears don’t do anything for my balance, they don’t pass on any messages to my brain, no one knows why. This means I only have my vision and my leg muscles to keep me upright. It also means my brain doesn’t compensate for head movement, so it’s a bit like living in a hand held video camera.

I made a short (90 second) video which I’ve just put on Youtube, here’s the link, this is pretty much how I see things – everything has a bit of a wobble!

How does this impact on me, I can’t focus on things when I’m walking, faces – I will walk straight past someone I know in the street, signs at the railway station, shelves at the supermarket – I can’t scan the shelves as I’m walking down a supermarket aisle.

I need a visual horizon, take that away in a crowd and I’m pretty unsteady, darkness can obviously do that, but so can brilliant sunshine. Taking a photo, it narrows your visual horizon – my walking buddy knows to watch me when I’m taking a photo as I don’t realise I’m falling. People with no balance classically fall like a tree, as there’s no awareness until it’s too late.

Stairs or steep paths are scary if there’s no handrail, anything that’s not just straight forward walking I need two to three points of contact – a bit like a rock climber, two feet and a hand, so when I lift one foot up I still have two points of contact! It may just be a finger touching against a wall, it just gives me a point of contact. Round the garden I have metal canes in strategic places in the beds, they look ornamental, but I call them my wobble sticks, it’s just something to hold on to. When I’m out walking in the countryside I always use two walking poles and I’m careful which paths I take.

Hopefully this gives everyone a better idea of the issues people have with balance problems. As they say, worse things happen at sea πŸ™‚

So as you see, sewing, quilting and embroidery are perfect hobbies for me!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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50 Responses to A Life Unbalanced

  1. endrickwater says:

    Thank you for posting this. My balance gets worse as I get older — not entirely sure I actually trust my muscles nowadays — but that’s just age. This is a whole different thing. Your ‘wobble sticks’ are ingenious and you should be very proud that the strategies you’ve adopted allow you to do the things you love to do. I will read about your hikes and gardening now with a new level of respect, that’s for sure.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. After reading this I am even more impressed with all that you achieve!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. nanacathy2 says:

    I shall have a new appreciation of balance, one of the things you just take for granted. Thank you for raising my awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never knew about this. Thank you for this post. Not only am I full of admiration for how you manage your balance issues, but it makes me wonder how many people have these hidden conditions and how much misunderstanding they must meet.
    My granddaughter has several eye conditions which means she often bumps into things and people, but no-one would know she has these conditions. Until they were diagnosed she met with all sorts of problems at school and with her peers. She too has developed all sorts of coping strategies – for instance, she listens to things with an acuteness that is remarkable.
    Thank you, I will now try to be much more empathetic to anyone approaching things differently.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Susie Q says:

    I too have a new appreciation for balance. I have no hearing and thus am short one part of balance. Now know why I want a hand rail and to go slow…. it is not “old” but the missing sense that is doing this to my life. The you tube did not have CC. Was there no sound? or does that box need to be checked when uploading. Church has started to you tube services. Some have cc which I can then listen to and others do not. If I complain to enough people the cc often “appears”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. claire93 says:

    goodness me! I felt quite seasick watching the video! it must be a real challenge for you to go out and about every day!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have certainly learned to cope. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with Carole! I am most impressed with all that you do considering all of you challenges. Thank you for posting about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. katechiconi says:

    I have a much lesser problem with balance than you do, and I do admire your coping strategy. Mine is due to loss of sensation in my feet due to neuropathy after chemo, and is particularly hazardous when I wear shoes and socks. Not a big surprise that I’m in bare feet most of the time, and fortunately the climate allows it! I don’t know how you manage in hiking boots, don’t your feet feel out of touch with the ground?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Margaret! I agree with the other comments…I am more impressed than I was before! I hope to be more alert to those around me. I love the wobble stick idea, and the fact that you don’t let a handicap keep you from doing the things that you want to do! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t laugh. I have always had a bit of a problem with downhill steep slopes and pavements inclined to slope towards the kerbside. In older years this is amplified…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. wybrow1966 says:

    This was something that I was completely unaware of. An interesting post, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for sharing your perspective and challenges. While watching your video I truly got sick to my stomach as the good Lord gave me “Motion Sickness” which I’ve learned the triggers to avoid. The main one is to watch the horizon, but with it being so shaky, that was impossible. So it’s a good thing both difficulties don’t live in the same body, lol!
    I too find I need balance in my life but in the term of quality time for me and my priorities. BALANCE is my word for 2019 and making me a priority with my schedules and hobbies. An especially important factor when considering my DH had a heart transplant last year and his declining health was always and still is forefront in our lives not to mention sharing the lives of our family and their priorities.
    Thanks again for being open and bringing awareness to a subtle challenge for some.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I too appreciate all your sewing skills in a new light. This Balance Awareness? Is it the same thing as people who suffer from vertigo – I think very similar if not the same and it can be very crippling. Thank you for sharing this. ( your video threw my balance off)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. tialys says:

    I had no idea about this condition – thank you for enlightening us. The video made me feel quite woozy. Have you had the condition since birth?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Avril Baxter says:

    I ha not heard of that condition before and it mus have taken a lot of getting used to. Since I had a hip replacement I do prefer to have something to hold on to, particularly on stairs but I have just put it down to old age.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. magpiesue says:

    Like the others, I wasn’t aware of this condition. Thanks for enlightening us. I won’t be watching your video however, as I don’t want to take a chance on making myself ill! You’ve done well in adapting to your circumstances – as we all must at some point in our lives. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  18. anne54 says:

    Thank you for giving us this insight, Margaret. I admire your hikes even more, knowing the extra challenge. As Wild Daffodil says there must be so many hidden conditions that are misunderstood by others.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. kathyreeves says:

    Margaret thank you for sharing this condition and the challenges you face with us. I am even more impressed with your hiking trips now that I understand this more fully.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Prue Batten says:

    Margaret, such a great video and it truly gets it in a nutshell. Thanks so much for that.
    And you are right, not many folk understand the inherent difficulties.
    I may have told you before, but I’ve lost 100% of my right side balance owing to a ‘vestibular event’ which put me in hospital for a week. It was very sudden. I had to have 3 months intensive physio to train my brain to adjust my left side balance to cope with the right side loss (similar to stroke rehab). If I’m having an off day, it’s just like your video. I can no longer cope with flashing lights at concerts, pure darkness, heights and even flying is risky as it can cause a vertigo reaction.
    I used to run for exercise but that stopped as it is like your video and very disorienting. I now go to ballet to make my left brain balance-train, and I swim and kayak and still go out in the family boat. But on the ocean, I’m unable to go out of the forecast is for winds over 10-12 knots and a swell for obvious reasons.
    But one adapts. The hardest thing is trying to explain it to others. They just don’t get the disability. I did suggest that they turn round and round in a circle about 10 times and then try and stand straight.
    Keep trucking, my friend. You’re an inspiration with the way you stay upright!!! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      Hi Prue, thanks for sharing your experience, I’m amazed you can swim – I can’t as if I accidently go under, I can’t tell which way is up! Ballet sounds a good choice as it’s all about the inner core – I’m trying to find a pilates class for the same reason. Flashing lights, darkness and heights are a problem for me too, though I still go up stepladders to decorate – but I’ll only use one set of ladders which has a high bar across the top I can lean my knee against – that third point of contact.
      It is just so hard to explain, even more so how it impacts on other things, like a supermarket shop! My walking buddy is brilliant, she understands what I struggle with and how to help.
      Thanks again for sharing it – I’ve never actually met anyone with the same issues – we’re a rarity πŸ™‚

      Like

      • Prue Batten says:

        Margaret, when I first lost my balance, my physiotherapist would send me into a supermarket and I would be required to look left right, left right quite quickly. It was awful to be honest and really tiring, but eventually my brain remembered where things were and I now make a beeline for those shelves. But if I’m in an unknown supermarket, it’s quite hard. So too is crossing a busy road (left right, left right – makes me dizzy) and I always have to use a proper crossing or hold onto husband’s arm.
        Swimming is lovely but I rarely swim over my depth anymore. Kayaking is more difficult because I can’t get out at the end without falling over. Everyone’s used to seeing me face-plant in the water now! πŸ™‚
        When it all happened, I never thought my life would be normal again, but the brain is an amazing organ, as you’ve discovered, and my life is as normal as the next person’s. You’re very lucky though, that you have a good walking buddy who understands. Have a great week and keep your wonderful posts coming!

        Like

  21. KerryCan says:

    Wow–you’ve really adapted so well to this condition and not let it keep you from doing what you love!

    Like

  22. mandycurrie says:

    Hello Margaret, I’m now in total awe of you. Your walking is inspiring even without the problem you have. I have balance issues but put it down to age, I’ve never been able to ride a bike, I often get sea sickness and motion sickness in the car, even on short journeys. But you garden and do so much in life. My admiration is total. I’ve been trying to overcome a serious pain issue for a long time and have all but given up and find my life narrowing. Now I’m inspired again to keep on trying. Thank you for a most interesting post. Kind regards Mandy xx

    Like

  23. mandycurrie says:

    Hello Margaret, I’m totally in awe of you. How you manage hiking, walking in town and gardening. I’ve been having trouble with a serious pain condition for years now and had almost given up. But your post has inspired me to keep on try. I can’t ride a bike, often get dizzy, and reach out to hold something when I’m walking, I often walk with a stick because of it. You manage your condition so well. It has also made me aware of hidden disabilities. Thank you for a most interesting and inspiring post. Kind regards Mandy xx

    Like

  24. Steph says:

    Wow, you are amazing to have done the walking you have! My balance (and coordination) are Not Good. After a bad bushwalking experience with lots of rockhopping in the Northern Territory I really lost confidence, then tried and failed in my efforts to improve on tricky walks at home. You give me hope.

    Like

  25. I feel for you ! I have Meniere’s which means that if you have fullness in your ears, loss of hearing, Vertigo, and Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus). I control it as much as I can with no sugar or sodium. When I get an attack it can be devastating. So I do not eat out and watch foods. I am getting ready to have Cataract surgery the next 2 weeks – I have worried if having the eyes done a week apart if it will trigger Vertigo, etc. Hoping all will go well!

    You do a great job in coping and yes as we get older our little problems tend to get worse! Keep on trucking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      Hi, it’s interesting how sugar and salt affect it, I do worry about my eyesight as I know what a huge impact problems have – my opticians are used to me popping down for a quick check because I’m worried about something!

      Like

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