The first kind is related to Meniere's Disease, in which fluid builds up in your inner ear, and either the fluid itself or the neurotoxins that trigger the fluid buildup cause your balance center to go wonky and your eyes start twitching, creating the sensation that you are spinning.
The second kind is positional. It is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). And in that lovely condition, you somehow manage to get teeny calcium crystals out of your inner ear and into your semicircular canal. The problem there is that these crystals are part of the system that tells you where you are in space. These crystals tell your brain where up and down are, or where gravity is pulling on you. The semicircular canals are at right angles to one another and they help you sense back/front and side/side movements. But when you get the up/down crystals into the canals that are supposed to sense front/back and side/side, they mess up your whole balance system.
But it wasn't just bad luck that caused me to have two vertigo types at once: apparently the Meniere's can make you more susceptible to BPPV.
Interestingly, I not only had two kinds of vertigo, but had two kinds of nystagmus, the eye twitching that creates the sensation of spinning (even when your eyes are closed). In the first kind, the twitching pulls the eye to the left or right, which makes you feel as if you are spinning like an ice skater. The other kind is torsional. In this kind it is as if there is a skewer through the pupil of your eye and it is being twisted, like the turning of a key. Subjectively, that creates the sensation that you are pivoting around your bellybutton, turning clockwise or counterclockwise.
The good news is that the BPPV has a very simple and pretty reliable cure. It is a kind of exercise called the Epley maneuver, which is designed to shake the crystals back into your head where they belong. In it, you deliberately lie down with your head in the position that makes you spin. Then you wait for the spinning to stop, then slowly turn your head to the other side, wait for the spinning to stop again, then roll all the way over onto the good side, wait for any spinning to stop, then sit up.
Friends have described it as being like their child's toy with a marble inside a transparent, three-dimensional maze. You turn the toy in different dimensions to move the marble to the goal.
Well, the doctor said it would probably take five days (five repetitions of the Epley) to get rid of the vertigo, but the nurse said two weeks. By that time I had been dizzy for two months, so I would have been happy if it had taken the full two weeks. As it turned out, I finally got up the nerve to deliberately make myself spin, did the Epley once, and the next time I did it I had no spinning at all. So one treatment did the trick.
If any of you experience the BPPV or suspect you have it, notice which side makes you spin. In mine, rolling over and lying on my right side made me spin. Tilting my head way up/back or tilting over to the right made me spin. So it was my right side that I needed to focus on in the Epley. That is what the doctors call your "affected side." It is something you can do at home and there are lots of good videos online that show you how to do it. The most important thing is to know which side is your affected side.
Having said that, I hope none of you ever need this advice. Happy August all!