Autism

POTS

No, no. Not that kind of pot. I have a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome which is a fancy way of saying when I stand up or sit down, I pass out because my blood pressure shoots down and my heart rate shoots up. Fun, huh? It’s most likely related to my autism because of how fucked up my neurological system is. In conjunction with POTS, I also have nerve damage in my legs, which affects the blood flow, which makes me very dizzy when I have to walk up stairs. Also related is my sneezing syncope, which means I pass out when I sneeze. I also pass out when I’m in a stress position, like crouching down. Sometimes I play a game with myself when I am looking for things in my kitchen. It’s called, Can I Find The Object Before I Pass Out. We have a good time here in my vessel.

I was diagnosed with POTS when I was 18. I kept passing out at the library when I was bending up and down to shelve books. Unfortunately, my parents thought I was lying to get attention since they never personally saw me pass out, so it took a while for me to actually get diagnosed. I had to do a bunch of tests, including sticking needles all over my legs to find the nerve damage and the official worst medical test of my life: the turntable test.

With POTS, I have days where I can’t even get out of bed. On those days, I get really dizzy, even when I’m lying down. I’m extremely lucky that this happens only every 3 months, usually around the change of the seasons. For some people with POTS, not being able to get out of bed is the norm. There really is no way to treat POTS. Beta blockers help some people as well as making sure you stay hydrated and eat lots of salt. Usually, though, you just have to take it one day at a time.

My POTS has for sure gotten better the older I’ve got. Nowadays, I might have a POTS attack that causes me to be bedridden maybe twice a year. I still get really dizzy and lightheaded when I change positions or sneeze, which sucks, but I’m pretty used to it at this point. This was a very scary diagnosis to receive and to live with, at first. Now, it’s become part of my everyday life.

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