What to Do When Your Brain Insists You’re Always on a Boat – Facts So Romantic

Zvonimir Orec via Shutterstock

Last July, Chris Perry went on an Alaskan cruise with her family to celebrate her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. When she boarded the massive Norwegian Sun cruise ship, she felt “a little woozy and weird” from the boat’s gentle rocking, she remembers, but the sensation quickly faded. Perry didn’t feel seasick at all during the rest of the cruise, and spent a happy week marveling at the glaciers. But while standing in the Anchorage airport to catch her flight home to San Francisco, she suddenly felt the ground moving under her, undulating with the gentle rhythm of waves.

Many people have experienced this sensation after getting off a boat; they may sway or stagger until their vestibular system re-adapts to stationary ground and they get their “land legs” back. For most people, the feeling vanishes within minutes or hours. But in rare cases, and for mysterious reasons, the illusion persists for months or even years. Perry is one of those unlucky ones, a sufferer from the disorder rather poetically dubbed Mal de Debarquement syndrome.

Perry has felt the world bobbing beneath her feet for nearly four months now. She also had the…
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