09 October 2009

Looking at Stairs

This has me wondering about my reactions to high, unenclosed spaces. The linked article discusses cases where the sight of stairs triggered seizures in some people. Now, it's not the sight of the stairs themselves that triggers my reaction; rather, it's the sense of being unanchored when I'm up high with no support structures in my field of vision. At least, I think that's what's going on.

But it has me wondering. Is vertigo itself a kind of seizure, triggered by a visual cue? Apparently there are cases of epilepsy where the form of the seizure is an intense sensation of vertigo, but that doesn't mean that all vertigo is connected to seizures. The thing that really puzzles me is the way it just disappeared last Friday when I had the cold coming on and was full of cold medication. If it were nothing more than a fear of heights, why would a physical change affect it? Also, I'm much less likely to experience vertigo if I'm up high on a naturally occuring structure, like a rock, or mountainside, or even a cliff face.

Okay, I've been habituating myself to the open staircases, but you expect gradual change from that, not a sudden reversal. It's come back somewhat since then, but not as bad as before. The cold is mostly gone now. I'm sort of wondering if the vertigo will come back full strength when the cold is completely gone.

Hmmm... one other possibility comes to mind. Vertigo can be linked to inner ear problems. Possibly I have these constantly but only notice when I feel unsteady due to external circumstances, and the cold medicine cleared out the inner ears enough that I no longer had problems. I don't know enough to know how plausible that is. *shrugs*

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