Still at sea after several days back on land
August 1, 2019 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I was lucky to go on a multi-day sailing trip with some friends recently. Though this was a few days ago I'm still feeling significant aftereffects, and rather than improving it's almost worse today than it was the first day back on land. This doesn't seem to be about getting land legs back, but instead it's a prevailing sense when I'm stationary that my whole body is still at sea and I have to compensate for phantom motion. What’s going on? How much longer could this continue? Can I do anything about it?

Though the weather was great during the trip, there were often overlapping swells from different directions and on top of that we were frequently heeling over quite a bit when the wind was good.

This was my first time on the open ocean in a small craft. I don’t get motion sickness and I handled the seas well (3 out of our group of 5 did get seasick). My berth was on the side that was often heeling up, so as I slept I had the constant sense that I was going to roll out of bed (there was netting that sort of prevented this). I also spent some time cooking on the galley stove (challenging!) and had to really focus on not toppling into it face-first. Both of these feelings are still pretty strong, in addition to the general compensation for motion that one is constantly doing on a boat.

As I said, it doesn't seem to be a matter of getting my land legs back - when I’m walking around I feel more or less ok. The problem is when i’m stationary, especially when focusing on something like a book or a computer screen or while I’m laying in bed. It feels like my body is still trying to react to forces that aren’t there anymore.
posted by theory to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could be Mal de Debarquement syndrome?
posted by matthewr at 1:01 PM on August 1, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yep, that's disembarkment syndrome. It should go away eventually. It took me a little over a week to get over it after a cruise, but I had no lasting effects after that.
posted by katieinshoes at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had this happen after being on a week-long cruise. It took me a full week to get back to normal. I honestly felt more seasick from the rocking sensation when I was back at work!

The good news is it had never happened before or since and it cleared up by itself, in my case. No idea what caused it. Not saying that's what's going on here, of course.
posted by potrzebie at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2019

This happens to me every year after I spend a week at a lake house where we spend most of the day on the dock, in a kayak, or in the water. For a whole week, I feel like I'm bobbing up and down, or maybe like I'm compensating for bobbing up and down. It goes away after about a week, and I've learned to kind of enjoy it as a little nostalgia for my trip.
posted by gideonfrog at 1:24 PM on August 1, 2019

I get at least partial relief from a periodic decongestant (real pseudoephedrine from the pharmacy counter, preferably) and Bonine (meclizine, which I find preferable for all purposes over Dramamine (diphenhydramine, Benadryl)). The sudafed I take at night and helps clear out inner ear/eustacian issues, and the meclizine during the day reduces the motion sickness I get from that rocking feeling.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:43 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you can ingest some ginger root in any form, that should help. Ginger is well known for helping with vertigo and nausea. It can be fresh or dried, or even in the form of ginger ale, as long as there's actual ginger root in it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:59 PM on August 1, 2019

A friend of mine who goes on cruises told me that you usually feel that way on land for as long as you were on the boat.

I had that feeling after a mildly disastrous cruise on the Norwegian Sea. My experience bore out her rule of thumb.
posted by purple_bird at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I find that having a few alcoholic beverages really helps make this feeling go away.
posted by slateyness at 3:24 PM on August 1, 2019

Irrigating your sinuses can also help. I get this after bumpy flights for a few days.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:55 PM on August 1, 2019

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