My body is far from normal, though. Each day I struggle to do simple tasks such as waking up, eating, dressing, showering, walking around a small apartment, thinking, and folding laundry. I can usually get those things done, but it is very hard. Some days I cannot do all of those things. There are days when I fight my body just to wake up. One of the major problems is that my blood does not flow like it should. My brain does not always get the oxygen that it needs, which then causes more problems!
Sometimes my circulation is poor while I'm lying down, but it is always poor when I am sitting or standing. When I stand up the veins in my legs don't constrict to keep blood flowing back up my legs and to my heart and brain. Instead, a good portion of my blood pools in the lower half of my body. When I stand up my heartrate immediately increases to 120 or 150 to try compensate for the lack of vasoconstriction (constriction blood vessels) in my legs. After a few minutes my heart rate cannot continue to compensate, and my blood pressure drops. At this point I get extremely nauseated, dizzy, weak, and I can't think clearly. This only takes 10 minutes.
Today I'm going to show you some pictures that will help you to see a small part of what is wrong with my autonomic nervous system. These are pictures of my feet while lying down and then while standing. You can see them turning purple because of the blood pooling in them. After only two minutes of standing, my ankles become half an inch bigger around. Because the blood pooling goes all the way up to my waist, that's a lot of blood that doesn't make it back up to my heart and my brain.
Here are my pictures of POTS. POTS, by the way, stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. That means that I have a significantly elevated heart rate upon standing, plus the accompanying symptoms that go along with POTS. POTS is a type of dysautonomia.