Ya know that “I’ve Fallen & I Can’t Get Up” joke?
When you have postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS), jokes like that wear thin really, really, REALLY fast.
What is POTS?
Have you ever seen a gyroscope? I had one when I was little and, OK, I’m a nerd, but I played with that sucker for hours! No matter which way you tilted the outside ring, the wheel spinning inside it stayed steady.
Now, this is probably not medically accurate, but thinking about gyroscopes help me understand POTS. Your entire body works to maintain balance, from the molecular level to the mechanical. When you stand up, your body automatically starts making internal adjustments to keep you standing—just like a gyroscope. Your heart rate changes, your blood pressure fluctuates, your inner ears do their balance thing, etc. It’s amazing, really.
It happens without us even thinking about it…. Until it doesn’t.
Most people’s first inkling that they have POTS is a fainting spell. They stand up, their heart starts racing (that’s the tachycardia part), they feel dizzy, and then—BOOM!—down you go!
The first time it happens, it’s embarrassing and weird. When it keeps happening, it’s terrifying and debilitating. You become afraid to go out. What if it happens at the mall? What if I fall, hit my head on something, and no one’s there to help me? Eventually, you become afraid to even move.
Plus, POTS attacks can make you feel sick to your stomach and anxious. It can make your vision blurry and your head all woozy. Having POTS can cause fatigue issues and make it hard for you to concentrate.
In other words, it ain’t fun, y’all!
So, do everyone with POTS a favor and don’t go cracking jokes if you don’t personally have it. Living with a chronic illness is tough enough. Don’t make it harder!
Want to learn even more about POTS? Click here to go to an easy-to-read site based in the UK.