No more spoons, only knives left.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is a form of dysautonomia, or autonomic nervous system dysfunction. It is considered one of the “invisible illnesses”: a chronic illness that has no obvious outward signs, so we LOOK healthy regardless of how we are currently doing. It is one of the many illnesses that is beholden to the Spoon Theory.
I was diagnosed at the age of 23, and like most people with POTS, getting my diagnosis was its own battle. My symptoms came on suddenly and progressed rapidly, causing me to lose my job and have a very difficult time getting a new one. I was passed along by five doctors and ultimately told it was “just stress”, so I had to do my own research. (Note that I had graduated from the business school at the University of Texas; I knew what stress was, and what it did to my body, and that did not include fainting constantly, becoming so dizzy on a regular basis that I had to walk with a cane, and having chest pains and seizures.) I figured out that I probably had dysautonomia, and searched for a specialist that could diagnose me; the only specialists in the state at that time were in Dallas, so my mother drove me up for what we thought was an afternoon appointment and instead turned into a week of observation and tests. The whole experience was completely miserable, but I found my good doctor, and I got my diagnosis.
I was originally put on two medications and 3 GRAMS of salt in pill form per day. My doctor later added physical therapy, and I began working for a holistic health center and exploring alternative treatments. With the PT, good quality vitamins and supplements, and other treatments I was receiving including Reiki and Cranio-Sacral therapy, I was able to get off the prescription medications and reduce the salt tabs to an as-needed basis. And more importantly, I had my mobility and my life back. My symptoms are still there but are vastly reduced and well-managed now.
To read in detail the symptoms associated with POTS, how it is diagnosed, and what it is like to live with it, check out the write-up on the Naughty Little Mast Cells website.
Below are some handy infographics for quick reference: