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Laurie’s Story

Laurie’s Story – My PPPD Journey


On 7th May 2024 I went to bed as normal. It was a Sunday night, it had been an ordinary weekend, and I was feeling well. My husband left about 2am that morning to go to Sicily with work. He is a military officer, so this was not unusual for us.

On awakening the next morning, I was instantly hit with a type of dizziness, an unsteadiness, and this was where it all began.


Five weeks before this sudden onset, we had moved a long way for my husband’s employment. I wasn’t sad about this; we were all very excited. Before the move my husband was posted away for six months. I sold our property, co-ordinated the move, secured a new job, applied for school places, continued working a stressful job, looked after our children independently, and my relationship with my immediate family members had totally broken down under traumatic circumstances a few months before this. On reflection, I was balancing a lot of big things and have now accepted that I was experiencing an inordinate amount of stress and anxiety during this period.


The sudden onset of symptoms started only three weeks into my new job. Over the next three weeks other symptoms began to appear. The dizziness was permanently present. It wasn’t a spinning sensation, it was like being on a boat, that sensation of movement. I couldn’t feel my legs when I walked, and I couldn’t feel any weight through my body when I was sat down.

My eyes became incredibly heavy, my head felt heavy, and I was chronically tired. My vision appeared to be distorted. I felt like my eyes were flickering behind my eyelids and I couldn’t look at screens. I was struggling to recall and retain information and I felt incredibly overwhelmed in busy environments. I just couldn’t concentrate at all.

The final straw was when I reversed into a colleague’s car at work. I became very confused, very frightened, and totally unable to help myself as I didn’t know what I was treating. I rang in sick at work for the first time in my sixteen years of being a nurse. I had never previously suffered with any type of mental health problems or anxiety to the point it had stopped me doing anything. I was outgoing, sociable, highly motivated, a larger than life character.


Following the car accident, I attended my GP and I was diagnosed with vestibular neuritis. Under normal circumstances this should settle within a few weeks, my symptoms did not settle, they became increasingly worse. I became very nervous and I couldn’t bear being in noisy, busy, or brightly lit environments. I was referred to the hospital. My CT scan and bloods were normal. My MRI was clear, and I was referred to a neurologist who diagnosed me with PPPD.


Having a diagnosis meant that I could now begin to help myself. My neurologist explained that if I could understand the condition, I would have a better chance of recovery. This one sentence was so powerful and remained consistently in my thoughts throughout my recovery. I started researching PPPD and I put a plan into action.

However, the most powerful action that had the greatest impact for me was to ignore the PPPD. Do not pay it any attention, do not feed it, do not let it control you, do not let it take one more moment of your precious life.

Yes, I know this is scary. I felt totally out of my depth initially. But once you feel in control, and you are in the right mindset to recover, you can achieve it.

I am one year into my symptoms now and the truth is that they are still very present. I am continually mindful about the things that I do, but I know I am safe. I know they are just big feelings and nothing bad is actually going to happen.


In the last six months I have returned to work as a community nurse. I am driving again. I have been quad biking, parasailing, hiking, to the gym, on a pushbike, and most importantly, I am able to be a wife and a mother again. In the beginning , all of these things appeared impossible for me to achieve. I now find happiness and joy in something every single day because I have changed the way I view PPPD.

I have accepted that I may have to live with PPPD, and that’s OK, because I hold the key to controlling it. Do not allow it to define you. Find the strength within you to live your life the way that you want to, not the way that PPPD dictates you must.

Good luck on this journey.