Anchors Aweigh: Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

Imagine lying down to go to sleep after a day of boating.  You know you aren’t on a boat anymore, but you feel as if your body is still rocking and bobbing with the waves. Typically, it clears up the next morning. But imagine if it didn’t. That feeling sticks around, just as strong as it was when you were on the boat.  

You feel imaginary waves moving you back and forth, bobbing up and down, forward and back, pitching and rolling, every single day. All day long.  Walking, running, standing, sitting… if you aren’t in a vehicle, you feel the imaginary waves.

And now you actually start to see the whole world bobbing and rocking.  The scene in front of you rocks back and forth, up and down, all day long.  You know it isn’t really moving. It can’t be, right? Your eyes seem out of focus and out of sync with the movements of your head.  

Close your eyes, and you’ll quickly realize you have no idea where your body is in space. You can’t walk a few steps or even stay standing with your eyes closed.  

It doesn’t even stop in your sleep.  You wake up in the middle of the night after dreaming of boating on rough seas, only to realize you are lying completely still in your bed.

The only relief you get is riding in a vehicle. Back on a boat, you feel almost completely normal.

When solidly on land, you feel seasick.  Your head hurts constantly. You can’t handle bright lights.  It is hard to concentrate. Your mind feels foggy. You sleep all the time.  When you aren’t sleeping you wish you were sleeping.

You start to panic.  How do you know what is moving and what isn’t?  How do you walk when the ground looks like it is moving underneath you? How do you do normal things when nothing feels normal?  

Will it ever stop?  I don’t know.  I am still waiting to get my land legs. This is my true, literal, actual (although sometimes unbelievable) experience living with Mal de Debarquement Syndrome.  

August 2018 239
My brain liked this boat ride so much, it never left!

Check out this video I made to help you understand the visual symptoms.  You will see the swaying (left to right), bobbing (up and down), and rocking (forward and back, slightly up and to the right) motions similar to what I experience.  If you have MdDS, please beware that this video may trigger symptoms.

Here it is:  Video: Mal de Debarquement Syndrome Visual Experience

Want more information about how it all began?  Check back soon for my next post about the onset of my MdDS.

If you have MdDS, how does this compare to your symptoms and experience?  Let me know in the comments below!

For more information and facts about MdDS, please visit the following links:

MdDS Foundation

MdDS Symptoms – Mount Sinai

Web MD Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

If you are looking for a way to help, please consider donating to the MdDS foundation:

5 thoughts on “Anchors Aweigh: Mal de Debarquement Syndrome

  1. I’ve had this since 2009. Fortunately my symptoms come and go. When I’m having a bad day it can be off the scale or mild. Never know if the oceans going to be angry or calm. I’ve been to New York to seek help from Dr Dai and Sergei, Neurologist who are at least trying to find an answer. The treatment helps but didn’t take it away! I don’t take any medication anymore! The meds helped at first but then wore off and I’m not increaseing MG so I went off them! I’m praying one day my brain will find dry land forever! Stay super hydrated, get enough sleep, and continue to try and stay positive! It’s not always easy!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: