I was only 17 years old when something weird started happening to my body. I would get dizzy or pass out on a regular basis. I would get so nauseous that it seemed impossible to even move. I would spend hours just laying in my room with the light off because my body felt like it was 1,000 pounds, and I couldn't shake the feeling no matter what I did. I just had to wait for it to pass. 

One day, I was sitting through a mediocre high school lecture when the room started to spin. I remember someone holding my arm as I walked to the school office to call my mom so that I could go home. That same day, I was misdiagnosed with Vertigo and assured that I would be back to normal in only a few short weeks.

A few weeks later, I still wasn’t okay. Nothing had changed. I still couldn’t make it through an entire cheerleading practice without crying on the floor while someone tried to shove pretzels down my throat (“Lindz, you need the calories.”) because I was 100% sure that I was dying 

tea, beer
Lindsey Fries

The following weeks, I was poked and prodded. I had cried in front of far too many strangers. I had spent a majority of my time getting aggravated in waiting rooms. I had so many blood tests run, I was pretty sure I was going to run out. I had a stress test done, and it was pretty much the worst experience of my life.  

Finally, several doctors’ visits later, I was finally diagnosed with hypotension.  WebMD defines hypotension as a medical term for low blood pressure. Low blood pressure is considered to be less than 90/60.  This was something very odd for a teenager to have.

 I had my answer. There really was something wrong with me. I wasn’t just pushing myself too hard. It had nothing to do with calories. It was an actual answer, but it didn’t make me feel any less confused.

With this diagnosis came the question, “Why is this happening to me?” 

The following weeks were just as painful. I had so many tests run to figure out why my blood pressure was so low. The doctor’s first thought was that there must be a leak in one of the ventricles of my heart. Okay, that was terrifying.

Luckily, I didn’t have to live with that thought for very long before they found that there was no leak. Not so luckily, that meant that I still didn’t have my answer. I still didn’t know why this was happening. 

They never found out why my blood pressure drops so suddenly. The best that they could give me was that this just happened. It was just going to happen, and it was just going to happen randomly.

Of course, I was medicated. I was to take a tiny white pill three times a day. It was the most inconvenient thing. I had alarms set on my phone for noon and four to assure that I wouldn’t forget. Because, if I forgot, I would go back to feeling like my life was slowly being drained from my body. 

Eventually, I got used to popping the pills so regularly. I got used to having to drink my body weight in water. I got used to having to sit out some at cheerleading practice. I got used to it.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll ever really be okay with it. I mean, how can I be okay with something that I still don’t understand? 

How can I be okay with still getting dizzy or fainting without warning? How I can I be okay with sleeping with my very own blood pressure cuff next to my bed?

The worst part is, however, when people tell me that I must be relieved. To them, hypotension sounds like a great problem to have. Sure, the medicine made me not hungry, which made me lose weight. I don’t have to worry about my sodium intake or having a heart attack. They tell me that they wish they could have that kind of security. 

I just wish that I didn’t pass out all of the time.