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  • Writer's pictureLauren Morris


Can you like something and not like something or be happy and sad at the same time? Seeing others succeed and be happy for them while being upset that you failed? Opposites being experienced at once.

This is duality.

It’s been a month dealing with my vestibular event. Every night I go to bed thinking “perhaps tomorrow will be the day when my ears have healed and I’ll wake up feeling fine”. Then early morning approaches and I awake to the whooshing sound that I’ve learned is actually tinnitus and signals that I’m indeed not healed. It’s another day of navigating this brand new world.

There are a lot of emotions and sometimes it’s indescribable. Frustration, sadness, grief, loss, exasperation, anger, and maybe hope? There’s duality in this experience. The terrible and “looking at the bright side”.

I’ve questioned whether there can be both and after a full month of living with this illness, the answer is yes. In fact, there has to be for me otherwise the alternative is to be completely absorbed in how difficult all of this is to live on a daily basis.

Gratitude and a positive mindset can have positive effects on your brain and it can help when things are really tough. It doesn’t mean things don’t get tough. In fact, for me, things have been very dark and difficult.

Sitting in these feelings is difficult. It sucks to feel sucky! Thing is to really heal or move forward, processing and dealing with these feelings is important and necessary.

Given the circumstances and experiences of my life, I tend to compartmentalize these feelings and push past them because there are so many other expectations I need to step up and do. Children, illnesses, developmental disabilities, running a business, and so on have meant little time to sit in bad feelings.

This forced hiatus in my life has made me explore and see how this approach even if the only option at the time has taken an emotional toll. In fact, that’s a positive outcome on a negative situation. I am able to take the time to recognize I’ve not truly dealt with “bad” feelings. Of course, now I’m dealing with all this and it’s hard.

It’s one duality I’m experiencing.

The other is how much I hate what I’m going through while also being grateful for the support I’m receiving. I’m learning I can be grateful and open to receiving love and support while also being devastated, frustrated, and exhausted with my situation.

I can say “it could be worse” and in the same breath think how awful I feel and how tired I am of never feeling good! The duality of seeing the progress I’ve made and also mourning how much I have lost. A month ago I could not hold my head up and barely walk to the bathroom. Now I’m able to move about my house, shower, make some meals, walk around the block with assistance, and when feeling strong spend several hours upright doing embroidery, reading, and other crafts. That is true progress. It also makes me sad, very sad.

I don’t know who I am right now and yes, it’s an opportunity to explore that question but it’s being forced on me versus having the choice to explore this in my own time. The duality I think we all experience.

I think it’s important to recognize the duality that lives in all of us. In fact, I bet we’ve all been living with this for quite some time. I know I’ve experienced it often.

Excited for parents who have kids hitting milestones while knowing I’ll never experience them. Friends finding success while I’m being told no. Opposite ends of the spectrum happening simultaneously.

In other words, being human.


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