11 Symptoms Of Vagus Nerve Dysfunction

11 Symptoms Of Vagus Nerve Dysfunction

Something many people have, but few people know about.
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Not many people really know what the vagus nerve is so first, let me explain that. The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body that regulates the gut and also affects the cardiovascular, immune, endocrine and respiratory systems. That means it's a pretty major nerve in the human body. So when that nerve is dysfunctional, you can imagine it can have some pretty ridiculous side effects.

This past autumn, I figured out that my vagus nerve is, somehow, dysfunctional. And it turns out that a lot of people have a dysfunctional vagus nerve. When you struggle with vagus nerve dysfunction, you can be perfectly healthy for a long time, catch a cold or hit a wall, and then your body will take months to recover. I got so sick that I didn't have the energy to even get out of bed for days and probably would have withered away if my mom didn't bring me food. Living with vagus nerve dysfunction is something that you have to learn to live with because there is no cure. So if you have a friend with a dysfunction vagus nerve, please try and understand them and read through these common symptoms that come with it.


1. Chronic Nausea

Unfortunately, this means there isn't a lot that seems appetizing to eat.


2. Weight Loss

Due to not wanting to eat from the nausea, you can lose significant weight. At my worst, I unintentionally lost 15 lbs. in about three weeks.


3. Weight Gain

Most likely due to chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.


4. Bradycardia and Tachycardia

Otherwise known as decreased heart rate and increased heart rate, respectfully. This can make simple things like walking or standing for longer periods of time difficult.


5. IBS

Constant stomach pains and nausea generally means constantly feeling uncomfortable.


6. Depression

Not only just because it's connected to your brain, but always feeling down and sick definitely takes a toll on your mental health.


7. Anxiety

I still sometimes get panic attacks at the thought of leaving the house because I might have a terrible dizzy spell in public again.


8. Chronic Inflammation

It just sucks.


9. Chronic Fatigue

There's a difference between feeling tired all the time because you're a college student and feeling tired all the time because your body is sick.


10. Heartburn

All I have to say is no thank you.


11. Dizziness/Fainting

We try our best to not stand up too fast because that'll make it worse.


While there isn't a cure for vagus nerve dysfunction, there are a lot of things we can do to manage it. Some of us take medications for our mental health and nausea. Yoga is always great for increasing our muscle function. And massive intake of salt and water is vital (we drink a lot of Gatorade). But that doesn't mean that we don't have bad days. So try your best to be there for your friends with dysfunctional vagus nerves. Instead of always suggesting to go out, maybe just ask if you can bring over a lot of Gatorade and salty snacks and binge Netflix. It will be greatly appreciated.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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My Stance On ADD/ADHD Medication, As Someone With A Diagnosis

Medication for ADD/ADHD children is such a controversial subject. Each parent has their opinion on it and people should respect that, it's their child, but a the same time I think that the child should also have an opinion on the matter. After all, it is their life that is being affected.

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I wasn't formally diagnosed with ADD until my junior year of high school. I wasn't diagnosed earlier because until then, there was no need to. When I was younger my mom always kept me in check, she helped my study and stay on track in school so there was no need to get tested or put on medication. As I got older she realized I needed to start being more independent so she started backing off, as the more she backed off the worse my grades were.

Up until this point in my life, I was always on the A or A/B honor roll for school and I think after realizing I had C's on my report card, this disorder became real. From the summer after sophomore year through the first semester of my junior year, my mom tried every holistic treatment she could find. We tried essential oils, vitamins, supplements, you name it we tried it. While these holistic treatments sometimes did make a small difference, they just weren't making a big enough difference. I don't blame my mom for wanting to try more natural ways to treat me, I actually think it was a great idea. I know some people with ADD/ADHD who swear by essential oils or natural supplements, unfortunately, it just wasn't working for me. When it came down to it, my mom and I discussed putting me on medicine, she was skeptical but ultimately it was my decision.

After starting on Adderall my life changed drastically. I never even realized just how bad off I was until starting the medication. By the start of my Senior year, my grades were back up, I had gotten a raise at work, and was running and/or a member of 4 different clubs at school. Getting the right treatment for ADD/ADHD helped me reach my full potential. While I am glad I decided to start medication, it's not for everyone. I have been on both Adderall and Vyvanse and there are side effects to both. Now I know people who have little to no side effects from either medication and I know people who do. I personally experienced multiple side effects, but this was all before finding the right dosage of the right medication for me. I now have little to no side effects and I live my life just like everyone else.

I know parents only want the best for their children, but at some point, you have to let them decide for themselves. I know medication is not the answer for everyone, but it doesn't hurt to try. The difference it made in my life was incredible, and I hope that more parents out there consider letting their ADD/ADHD children at least try medication.

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