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Friday 26 June 2015

Glastonbury Festival June 2015

It's that time of year again and Glastonbury Festival 2015 is already under way.

For nearly twenty five years Glastonbury Festival has supported Green Peace, Oxfam and WaterAid.

The line-up this year includes Florence + The Machine, The Who and Lionel Richie. And, for the first time actor and director Faye Morrison is managing the Banjo Stage right at the heart of the Green Futures Field.

Faye Morrison left with Aniela Zaba
He's behind you...

Wind Power performing Banjo Stage

Antipoet taking the Banjo Stage by storm

Looks like it's going to be a fabulous festival. I for one am looking forward to watching it on BBC tv.

Ellen Dean Recommends

Thursday 11 June 2015

MdDS, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/Visual Stress and Me

In the past few months I have been diagnosed with Anxiety/panic disorder MdDS/Vestibular disorder and Visual Stress when I look at patterns or anything white. Now, where do I start?

Okay, here we go...when I was seven years old I fell off my bicycle and split my head open on a cement slab. I remember being rushed to the doctors and it was fixed. What wasn't known then is that the bump on my head had knocked out my centre of gravity, this was picked up April 2015 by an Ophthalmologist called Ruth Perrott BSc FBCO, of VisionCare Optometry, York. You could say that things became more clear (pardon the pun) to me after my tests and I received the diagnosis. Ruth also tested for Visual Stress/Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. And, yes, it was clear I had this too.

The weird thing is I went through school many years ago with these symptoms and it was never picked up. At the time Visual Stress hadn't been researched. Today, my GP, who is very good and knows all about Visual Stress - and MdDS - said I'd be surprised how many people in the military have it. Sometimes both conditions.

All of my life I've wondered why I had problems with reading a book, or writing in a book that had white pages. The white glares, the print distorts and it affects my eyes, causing eye strain and making my eyes sore and red. Same with a computer screen. It affects my concentration, and I become fatigued and anxious very easily. Although, I can read in bed using a lamp because it's a different light. I started studying with the Open University in January of this year and this was all picked up by their assessor who thought I might be Dyslexic. I was tested for Dyslexia and I'm not Dyslexic. However, sometimes the two are confused because the symptoms can be very similar. So, if you have children who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia maybe have them tested for Visual Stress. It seems that lots of people don't know they have this condition until they start higher education. I certainly didn't know. The reason being, I had studied before and passed many exams including qualifying to become a nurse.

If you follow the links above, and here, read the information it will explain all the symptoms of both Visual Stress and MdDS.

Having Visual Stress means you can't follow routes properly, and you get mixed up with appointments. My family laugh when I turn up to birthday parties a week early, or take the wrong turning when going to visit and end up miles away. I find it hard shopping in supermarkets because the lights affect my eyes. Dull weather makes my eyes blurry. Snow is an absolute pain, but for some reason I can wear shades when out in the snow, where when it's sunny shades don't help. I wear a hat to avoid the sun. When I look at some things i.e. gutters on houses, certain patterns, or a book shelf, they move and become distorted. 

You become fidgety, and anxious, because your eyes aren't giving your brain the correct information to process. Having these symptoms along with MdDS symptoms means you are in double trouble. I always wondered why I felt as though I was off balance when I stepped of an escalator or stepped out of a lift. I was fine when I travelled on rough seas, or in an aeroplane, it was when I disembarked I felt as though I was still moving. I have the same symptoms when I get out of a car, or when I walk too quickly. I'm fine until the motion stops. The MdDS (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome) started when I went on a school cruise at the age of fourteen to Iceland and Noway. Most of the other children were seasick, not me. I was fine. Then the ship docked, we disembarked, and I felt nauseous. It didn't stop, and to this day the same thing happens. 

It's been really awkward having to decline invitations due to having these symptoms and you begin to think you are going mad. You do get some respite, but then it comes back with a vengeance. In the past my GPs thought I was having panic attacks, and I was, because I didn't know what was happening to me. If you are in the middle of nowhere and you have the feeling you are walking on a trampoline, you start to panic. Now I know what the problem is, I try not to panic but it's not that easy. I learned from my GP that the condition causes anxiety and panic disorder. I knew I had a balance problem a few years ago and bought some Fit Flop (not to be confused with Flip Flops) boots and sandals because I thought they would help, and they did. But now, when I wear ordinary shoes, I'm off balance again.

I went on another cruise in the 1990s to the Mediterranean. We sailed across the bay of Biscay in a force seven gale. Yes, I was fine, but many of the passengers and crew had major problems and were so seasick they had to have injections. Our first port of call was Gibraltar; we had been at sea for three days. The moment I stepped ashore, I started to feel seasick. The captain told me it happens to sailers a lot when they have been at sea for a while. He said 'that's why they walk with their legs apart, to keep their balance.'

I thought writing this blog might make people aware of these debilitating conditions. I intend to write a book about both Visual Stress and MdDS in the hope it will help other people. If you, or anyone you know has these symptoms please get in touch with me via email because I'd love to hear your story, and perhaps add it to my book. If you would like to remain anonymous, that's fine.

I believe that a lot of children may have been diagnosed as having Dyslexia, but they may have Visual Stress along with it. Also, a lot of children may have been diagnosed with ADHD something psychologists are now saying doesn't exist, and can be down to vision/ear problems. Plus, the psychologist Leon Eisenberg, admitted before he died that ADHD is a fictitious disease and was intended to generate more profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

Apparently all I need for the Visual Stress is tinted lenses, my colour is turquoise/green. The good thing out of all this is I finally know what is causing my symptoms after all these years. If I hadn't started with OU I might never have known.

Another thing...I wish they would bring back blackboards in colleges because the white board gives me hell. When I look at it I have to cover my eyes, a bit like a vampire lol!

Ellen Dean