Marissa version 2.0

Passionate discovery of life lessons…fuels me to blog about my hidden disability!

Thank you for dropping by the blog.

My name is Marissa.

I was a deployment analyst for a major hospital in Southern California before being diagnosed with a debilitating vestibular disorder.

I was soul crushed after this debilitating and unpredictable condition forced me to give up much of what I loved in my former life.

I started this blog with the intention of documenting my life living with a hidden disability. I admit I’m terrified learning to navigate my new world post disability…but I refuse to be derailed!

The blog is teaching me new ways to participate once again and I’m looking forward to sharing what life lessons are keeping my head above water.

5 facts about me that take time to be revealed

1. I’m infatuated with the movie Ghost. “Molly, you in danger girl!”

2. If I could be friends with a Disney character…it would be Cinderella.

3. Easily confused by metaphors.

4.  Prefer crushed ice over ice cubes.

5. I think about sweets more than 5 times a day.

Much love,


  1. Hi Marissa – just listened to your great interview on The Big Web Show. I really appreciated your positive attitude (I was also diagnosed with a chronic disease in my 20s – I’m sorry to hear your illness can’t go into remission like mine has – but I understand about needing alternative working conditions to be comfortable – I’m a graphic designer from home and it’s been a good fit for me). I think you’ll find a lot of caring people in the web design world who will be happy to show you the ropes. :) And, from the questions people tweeted while you were being interviewed, it sounds like maybe you already have a potential niche in the web design world: designing websites or programs to simulate uncommon disorders for web designers/sympathetic friends who want to understand patients’ perspectives. Wishing you the best, Veronica

    • Veronica,

      I am so glad you were able to check out the show! I was a bit nervous, however, Jeffrey and Dan were great helping me stay on track. I am so glad to hear that your chronic condition has gone into remission! That is fantastic. You for sure can understand the struggle. I am also happy to hear that you were able to find a career a graphic design that is allowing you to work from home! That is encouraging to me. I checked out your projects on Dribble and you are talent!:) Please don’t hesitate to stay in contact.

      Much love,

      • Marissa, Thank you for the compliment. :) I’m now following you on Dribbble and look forward to encouraging you!
        God Bless, Veronica
        P.S. – It was nice that you acknowledged God’s blessings in your interview – one good thing about a chronic illness is you realize just how wholly dependent you are on God.

  2. How cruel to try to “terminate” someone as gentle as you as far as that job was concerned. I loved your honest and lovely talk. So glad i stumbled upon it. Love your blog!

    • Some Kid,

      Thank you so much! At the time I was devastated they let me go. I really did love my job. Looking back, it may been the best thing for me. I actually fell down a flight of stairs at work trying to push on with this condition. I was totally in denial. Part of letting go and moving forward was being forced to leave my job. I am so glad you caught the show and thanks for showing love!

      Much love,

  3. Hi Marissa

    It’s Rhiann from the Disabiity Blues, just wanted to congratulate you on a great website, I am so able to relate to your posts as I often find myself having the same feelings and how hard it is living with this condition day in, day out, not being able to work, especially as it no longer takes much before my legs give way due to spastic paraparesis. Loneliness is the worst thing too – friends have come and gone; no longer getting in contact with me, perhaps it’s a lack of understanding and not knowing what to say, still it doesn’t help and often makes me feel as if I’m ‘weird’ or a ‘freak’; which have been called on a few occasions.

    Anyway, just wanted to say what a great and intereting blog!!

    • Rhiann,

      I love ya! You have been very supportive of me. Thank you. We share a special bond. We are going through something we can verbally express to others, yet can’t physically share with many. Since you and I share many of the same limitations, you are not alone! Friends have come and gone in my life as well. I take responsibility and partial blame. I have had a hard time making connections with old friends because I am not the same version of Marissa they once knew. I didn’t give many people the opportunity to befriend the “new” Marissa. There were “friends” on my personal Facebook page that defriended me once I mentioned I was living with a disability. It became really apparent who was going to be supportive and who was not. Yet, all of that shouldn’t keep us from being the best version of our present selves. You have so much to offer. You are a warm, friendly, and welcoming person. You have disabilities, but I personally don’t believe they out way your beautiful abilities! I am here for you if you need me!

      Much love,

  4. Hi Marissa,

    Just listened to the Big Web Show and just wanted to say that it was a great experience. It’s very moving to see how you are able to fight your disease. I just don’t know how you can do it. I now feel like a total jerk for complaining about my ophthalmic migraines !

    Anyways, I wish you the best for your new career path. We have the chance to live in a world where it’s now pretty easy to work from home, especially in the Web Business, and I’m sure you will success.


    • Hello Matthieu,

      I appreciate your comments! I am glad the interview made an impact. You have every right to complain about your migraines, never feel bad about that. No one is exempt from medical issues. Unfortunately, at some point in our lives we will incur some type of medical condition. I fight this disorder because I know I am more than this condition. It may be a part of me, but it won’t define me. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and support! Have a great rest of the week.

      Much love,

  5. Marissa,
    I loved your episode on accessibility options for the those with disability. I have a big heart for teaching those with disabilities how to use technology. While I worked at Apple retail, I came to be known for working and teaching individuals with disabilities. I would love to be of help. I am currently going to school for Mobile Application Development. I was a web developer for about 4.5 years. If I can be a resource, let me know.

    • Hello Craig! I really appreciate you. Thank you so much for showing your support and offering to help. Have an awesome weekend.

      Much love,

  6. Hi Marissa,

    Today I listened to your interview on 5b5’s Big Web Show. Just wanted to say I really appreciate your bravery in being willing to talk publicly about what you are facing– the uncertainty and everything else. With an attitude and ability to articulate like you have, I am sure you will find your right and perfect livelihood (if you haven’t already!). You are inspiration.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I am still a work in progress trying to finding the right and perfect livelihood. I am hopeful I will find my place. Thank you again and have an awesome weekend.

      Much love,

  7. Hi Marissa – just listened to your great interview on The Big Web Show. Like Veronica and yourself, I too was also diagnosed with a chronic disease in my 20s (actually, I was 20). I understand the struggle of not being able to be involved in the web community – meet ups, etc. I’ve been at this since about 1990, so if you ever want to talk about web, feel free to send me an email.

    • Cindy,

      Thank you so much for dropping in! I appreciate you acknowledging the struggle. I would love to pick your brain, so I will for sure shoot you an email. Thanks again. Happy and Merry!

      Much love,

  8. Hi,

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve awarded your blog The Versatile Blogger Award! You may have seen it on other blogs you read. It’s a fun way for people to discover new, or new to them, blogs. As I say in the post, please don’t feel like you have to do the same. No offence will be taken as I know that this isn’t for everyone. I just wanted to spread some award love to other bloggers. If you want to pass on the award to other bloggers, do a post that lists 7 things people may not know about you and give the award to 5 blogs.

    Here’s a link to my post,, and a picture of the award is on my blog so you can add it to your page if you would like.

    Have a great day!

    sunshine and chaos

  9. Marissa,

    I recently discovered your blog and reading about your journey has helped me tremendously. I have been struggling with a vestibular/balance disorder since March 2008. My life pre-March 2008 is no longer. I am slowly learning to accept this disorder and meeting people online who can relate to what I’m going through has been so helpful. I cried while watching your video that you posted (I think) on December 18th. Very often I feel so alone and isolated as very few people understand the challenges associated with this disorder.

    I wanted to ask… one of your posts, you talk about seeing a chiropractor and having your AO adjusted. You did say that your dizziness hasn’t gone away completely but I was curious to know if your imbalance has improved at all since having these adjustments? Do you feel a little better overall?

    As a person with a similar disorder, thank you for being my “voice” and getting this information out. You are making a difference.


  10. Hello Sarah,

    Your response means so much to me! I can completely relate to feeling alone and isolated. Acceptance has been a roller coaster of a 6 year process. I have to come to the understanding that acceptance does not mean giving up. Acceptance has been a great emotional release. The internet has been a huge help in educating myself on vestibular conditions and connecting with people.

    AO adjustments have been a blessing. I believe the adjustments are a release. Our bodies goes through so much living with a vestibular disorder. Living in a constant state of fight or flight our bodies are bound to tense up. I experience chronic disequilibrium ( fish bowl feeling) and moments of vertigo. The dizziness or lightheaded feeling comes and goes. The adjustments are helping my overall quality of life. The adjustments give me the stamina I need to face this brutal condition. It took me some time to locate a chiropractor I feel comfortable with. He is a kind and brilliant man. Don’t hesitate taking time to make sure you find someone knowledgeable and solid.

    You got me teared up with your kind words! We have a bond since we both got teary:) Don’t be a stranger. Let’s connect. My email is . Talk soon.

    Much love,

  11. Pingback: Video Blog: 12 Months, 12 Journey’s, 12 Lessons… | Journey From Disabled To Abled

  12. bg1906 was here! Thanks for all of your support, I’ll check in on you from time to time as well! #Friends

  13. hey,
    i heard your interview on The Big Web Show and admire your attitude and determination. i do not have a disability but i have overcome many psychological obstacles and i am on the education road in search of a new career. one of my big interests is cognitive science and i recently listened to an audiobook called The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.
    it is was discussed a treatment for vestibular damage and i thought that if you have not already heard about it you should check it out, even though i’m not sure if it is available in the US. here is a link to an article on Wikipedia and i think that you can pick up the research from there.

    good luck and good work on the web site and beyond. :)

    • Hey Dylan,

      Thank you for your kind words. Your courage to push through many psychological obstacles is a testament to your inner strength.I am wishing you well on your search for a new career path! Let it be more of an excitement than a stress in your life.

      I had an opportunity to read Norman Dodge’s book. It’s awesome! I wish that Dr. Bach-y-rita will still alive today. I believe he was a true pioneer. The brain-port device they mentioned is not available at this current time. I believe they have scratched the project and are moving on to another type of device. I am hopeful there will be a cure in the future.

      Thanks again for dropping by. You will be in my thoughts, and I am wishing you all the best this life has to offer.

      Much love,

  14. Hi Marissa,

    I just recieved my VEDA Newsletter today and read your aritcle. It really touched my heart and gave ne hope at the same time. I’ve have meniere’s disease and tinnitus.I’ve been on medical leave also and I’m about ready to lose my job and insurance. I also went into a deep depression I’m on depressants & xanxa. You mentioned applying for disability. I haven’t done that yet but have been thinking about it, is it really that much of a demoralizing process ? I read these condition were covered under disability. Just wanted to know what to expect, so I can prepare myself . Thank you for all the positive stories you share, made my day brighter ! Thank you,Marilyn

    • Hello Marilyn,

      Thank you SO much for reaching out. I am sorry this terrible disorder has taken so much from you. You are a fighter and that fighting spirit will serve you well. I am going to shoot you a private email in regard to disability.

      Thanks for making my day brighter. You are rock solid!

      Much love,

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