End Result of Meditation Challenge and Caffeine Free Week!!!

Only if it's Decaf tho ;)
Only if it’s Decaf tho 😉

Alright! So Saturday February 23 was officially the end of my Meditation and Caffeine free week! I learned a lot, so I’ll break it down for you. Let’s start with the meditation.

I meditated at different times during the challenge, just to see what I liked best. I tried meditating in the morning, afternoon, and at bedtime.

I found the morning meditation to be really great for starting off a busy day. I would probably recommend it for people who are morning people, and don’t mind getting up a little bit earlier. I found that the morning meditation really helped focus my mind, and it helped give me that little bolt of energy to get my day started. I would probably do a morning meditation if I had a job interview that day, or had something stressful to go to. (I had neither happening this week, but in the future, it’s good to keep in mind).

I also did an afternoon meditation, which happened around 3:30/4pm. The afternoon meditation was amazing! It served as a good pick me up when the afternoon crash came knocking at my door. I sat on my yoga mat and focused on the stillness of my breath for twenty minutes (using a guided tape), and when the meditation was over it was like I’d had a nap! I was able to take my dog out for a little walk and I could carry on the rest of the day without feeling like I was dragging my feet. (Remember, I was on no caffeine, and even though I don’t drink coffee, not being able to have my afternoon tea was a drag).

Towards the end of the challenge I found my favourite time of the day to meditate: bedtime! I find that meditating at bedtime helps to quiet my mind of any stress or worry so I can slip into a restful sleep. For me getting enough sleep is crucial, as I need to ensure that I get enough sleep. Too many nights of tossing and turning and worrying about silly things can cause seizures, simply due to the missed hours of sleep. Here’s a link to a meditation tape similar to what I use. Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vgKzXdwtRE

At first the caffeine free part of the challenge was pretty tough, but during the challenge I just swapped out my regular Green Tea for the decaf version. Eliminating caffeine in conjunction with meditation has increased my energy levels, and my head just feels more clear. I wasn’t anticipating this challenge to lead to long term changes, but I figure I may as well keep with them! If I’m feeling good, why go back to my old habits? I’m sleeping better, I have more energy, and I feel less anxious. I meditated a total of 5 out of 7 days, and drank absolutely zero caffeinated beverages. Mission accomplished? I think so. 😉

Are you trying a similar challenge or have any thoughts? Drop me a line in the comment section below! xox

Update on Meditation and no Caffeine!

Hey guys! Well today is a rainy Sunday, so I have taken the liberty for it to be a lazy Sunday. I woke up feeling pretty refreshed, but for some reason I have fallen into the slump of feeling  pretty tired. Regardless, I stuck to my committment of meditation, and it went well. (I’m not sure if it’s supposed to “go well” but what I’m trying to say is that I did it for the full twenty minutes.) Even though I drink about two to three cups of tea a day, I’m feeling the effects of no caffeine, and even though decafeinated drinks are nice, they’re just not the same! I guess I’m feeling kinda lazy today, but whatever! Maybe I am tired because I am having a lazy day, but maybe the grey weather is just making me feel this way. Hopefully tomorrow is less rainy! Hope you’re enjoying your day! Love you all! xox

Here’s to end your weekend with an inspirational picture. I think it fits where I’m at right now.:) 246537_342468995830064_1534789087_n

Meditation Challenge and Blog Feature!

Hey guys! So I am starting something a little new! First of all, I am starting a Blog Of The Week feature, where I feature a blog  that I already follow, and recommend that you check out! If you are interested in being featured, and would be interested in sharing my blog in return, leave me a message in the comment section below.

hatha_yogaMy first feature is Yoga, Musings, and Life http://mmayuko.wordpress.com/ Where a self described twenty something year old yoga nerd talks about her passion for yoga and muses over life in an introspective and honest manner. There is something about reading her posts that is both calming and eye opening. One of my favourite blog posts is where she talks about getting diagnosed with epilepsy. Even though it is a tough pill to swallow, she sees her diagnosis as something that made her appreciate her yoga even more, and made her want to share it with others and inspire other people. Please check it out! http://mmayuko.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/things-happen/

Keep your eyes peeled for the next feature, as I already have one lined up!

My next exciting piece of news is that I am currently doing a week long challenge of meditation (for 20 minutes), and I am cutting all caffeinated drinks. I mentioned this in one of my more recent blog posts, but when I meditated this past week I slept so well, I figured it was worth pursuing.  The elimination of caffeinated drinks is just to feel better, and see if I can have more natural energy. I am also getting headaches as a side effect  from my new medication, so I am trying to ease off anything that might make them worse.

Saturday February 16 was my first day of the challenge and it’s going pretty well so far! Even though I went to Starbucks today I got a Strawberry smoothie, which was delicious. I then meditated in the afternoon around 4pm, and even though I was completely exhausted when I started, I felt pretty rejuvenated when I was finished! So far so good!  I will continue to check in and let you know how it’s going!

Hope your weekend is going well! Lots of love! xox

I am A Fatigue Fighter: Battling Side Effects of Anti Epileptic Drugs

550131_425393197537643_1221104998_nAs a person living with epilepsy, I not only fight seizures, but I fight fatigue. And I fight fatigue with a mighty vengeance, baby. You’re probably wondering why I’m so fatigued. Well, I’m on a lot of Anti Epileptic Drugs (that’s just a fancy way of saying medication, but I kinda like Anti Epileptic Drugs. It sounds fancy!) and a common side effect of all of them is fatigue. So I can easily have a solid eight hour sleep and still feel tired throughout the day. It’s not the kind of tired where it’s like “Oh, a little coffee could cure this!” It’s the kind of tired where you feel like you could fall into bed and sleep for hours. And hours. And HOURS. But the thing is, sleep does absolutely nothing to fix this side effect. In my opinion, it just makes it worse, because you’re throwing off your sleep cycle even more. I’ve found that the cure for this is constant activity, even if the activity is meditation. So yesterday, I took my theory to the test.

I woke up bright and early to the most obnoxious alarm. I rolled over and turned it off and was somehow meditation_2able to hop out of bed. I had a to-do list to complete so I had to get moving! Usually I stay in my pj’s for about an hour while I eat breakfast in bed and listen to my white noise (as prescribed my biowave feedback doctor) and cruise facebook. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I am telling you my morning routines! Oh well. Anyways, I got dressed, put my laptop on my desk, and opened it up. Since it was Valentine’s Day I sent a little message to my boyfriend, who was already hard at work. Then I said good morning to the ‘rents, and decided to follow through on my New Years goal of meditation. I set up my yoga mat (parallel to my bed) and meditated for twenty minutes! Twenty minutes! Go me!!

Then, to keep the energy levels up, I turned on Songza and listened to this playlist http://songza.com/listen/bigchampagne-s-ultimate-chart-BigChampagne/. There is something about dancing alone in your room that is both liberating and ridiculous. It did its job though! It kept the energy levels up! I remember when I would be studying for exams and I couldn’t take it anymore I would take a little dance break in my room. Ha. It’s funny what memories come back to you. (Gosh, that makes me sound old. That was only a year and a half ago). I’m technically still a student! Just on medical leave!

Since my energy levels were still up, I took my little dog for a little walk. We didn’t go out for long thought because the weather was crapola. We still got it accomplished!

The last thing on my list was to make cupcakes. I figured that since it was Valentine’s Day, it would be a nice thing to do.

cupcakes-on-cupcakes
A random pic

I was talking to my cousin on Facebook a couple of days before, and let me tell you, she is a fabulous baker. She had made a facebook status “Cupcakes In The Oven” and I couldn’t resist commenting. I love cupcakes. There is something about them that are so cute and delicious- needless to say. Since I have gotten in touch with her,  it made me wish that I was with her, baking. So even though we couldn’t bake together (due to distance), she shared the recipe with me so I could try it out myself. I didn’t anticipate the cupcakes to turn out as well as hers, but it was something to do right? Oh my gosh, I must have spent about 2 hours making the cupcakes  and then the frosting. I’m not used to making cupcakes and frosting from scratch!  My dear Cuz-how do you do it?? Do you get sore from standing for so long?

Soo let me tell you. The cupcakes didn’t turn out that great. They could have baked for about ten more minutes. They were baked, but they could have been better. But the activity in general was fun, so that’s what counts! (See link at bottom of page for recipe)

Other than that, I watched so How I Met Your Mother on Netflix-Season 1 “Nothing Good Happens After 2pm” and had a good Skype chat with my boyfriend. By the way, How I Met Your Mother is my new obsession. I watched it when it was popular, but for some reason it’s the perfect show to watch when you just want to watch 22 minutes of TV.

Also, since I had NO caffeine, I had the most amazing sleep ever! I have been having some problems sleeping lately, but I rolled over and fell asleep quite quickly! Maybe it’s the combination of the mediation and the no caffeine! I am having a tea as I write this, but maybe if I keep this up, it will help.

Do you have fatigue as a side effect of medication? Do you have other side effects? I’d love to hear in the comments! Love to you all!

Recipe for Cupcakes: http://cookingwithamy.blogspot.ca/2006/05/strawberry-cupcakes-recipe.html

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100
The cupcakes I made!

I Had a Seizure at an Epilepsy Support Group *palmforehead*

For all my tea junkies-this is my new tea mug! Isn't it cute!
For all my tea junkies-this is my new tea mug! Isn’t he cute!

Hey guys, how are you all doing? I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts! First, before I get into the new post:I have set up an email solely for this blog: lifeatfullvolume@gmail.com, so feel free to email me if you have any questions, comments, or just want to reach out! Don’t be shy! I don’t bite, I pwomise!

I know that my post about what it’s like to have an epileptic seizure received a lot of attention (well from my end of things) so I hope for those of you without seizures, it gave you a really strong sense of what it’s like to have seizures. Most of the seizures we hear about are Grand Mal seizures (also known as Tonic clonic seizures). I have only had maybe three of this type of seizure, (let me knock on wood for good measure) yet I can only imagine what it’s like to have it on a regular basis. However, I feel like my post brought to post the other types of seizures that people with epilepsy experience. When I wrote that post, I was in a pretty good head space, and I was doing pretty well. Seizure wise, I hadn’t had any in about 8 days, which is pretty good! If you want to know more about Grand Mal seizures, click this link: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/seizures/genconvulsive/tonicseizures.cfm.

I went to the Epilepsy Support Group, which was really great. I can’t really tell you much detail about the actual meeting, due to the confidential nature of the group, but at the meeting I was feeling really well. I wasn’t feeling tired or worn out. After the meeting I hung out a bit and talked to some of the members as well as one of the volunteers. I was standing by the doorway, right by the hallway where there were more meeting rooms (our meeting room was closest to the lobby) and I suddenly felt a buzzing feeling inside my chest. When I am with people I don’t very well and I feel a seizure coming on, I have this automatic response to leave the room. It’s like I can’t control it. Well, needless to say, that didn’t go very well. I took one step out of the room and then SPLAT. I did a face plant, and all the pressure went to my left knee. As if I would have a seizure at an Epilepsy Support Group! Everyone knew what to do. People knew not to crowd me, so only some people helped out. Thankfully my Mum was waiting for me in her car outside, so someone went outside and grabbed her, so she was right by my side. Thank god for mums, right?? Once the seizure was over, two people helped me up, and since it was so quiet, I said to the group, “Well that’s a wrap!” We all had a good laugh. It lessened the tension in the room at least. After the seizure, my mum and someone from the support group helped me to my mum’s car, and then my mum drove me home. I probably should have sat in the back seat as I seized on the trip home, but we made it, and my mum tucked me into bed. Basically, this seizure was the catalyst for feeling completely rotten, if I am going to use plain English here.

I went to see my Neurologist the next day and I am starting a new medication soon (Vimpat) which is a relief. Maybe these “Splat” seizures will end soon. (Splat Seizures are my own terminology. Maybe I’ll coin the term!)

This seizure, plus some other stuff thats going on, just made me feel so depressed. I generally feel pretty positive and optimistic about life, but once I processed everything, I couldn’t help but feel the impact of the news that I heard. I couldn’t stop crying, and I couldn’t help but feel alone. I know I’m not alone but you know what? I am only human.

imagesI spent most of my weekend in bed, reading and watching videos. Due to the seizures and the other stuff, I had to miss a weekend long workshop that I was really looking forward to, so that made me really bummed. Thankfully my mum bought me a book while I was in my Epilepsy Support Group Meeting. It’s “The Truth About Style” By Stacy London. I have wanted this book forever, but just never got around to buying it. I read almost all of it in one weekend. If you love What Not to Wear and Stacy London, I would highly recommended it! I have been watching What Not to Wear for years so Stacy London is a role model and fashion icon of sorts for me. Her book  helped take my mind off all the emotional turmoil that was going through my mind. Today, while browsing facebook, I came across something my friend’s little sister had posted. It was a list of positive distractions! Check it out: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_marxrgmoHM1r0mbpqo1_500.jpg Someone had commented: “what is this- a list of how to procrastinate?” Okay, at first glance, maybe it seems like a procrastination list, but if you really need to get your mind off something, it’s a pretty good list. I looked through the list and realized that I already do some of the things! I like to make tea, make to-do lists, think of things that make me happy, and I try to realize that everything will be okay. I can’t say I am actively putting this list to use today, but I will definitely tucking it in my back pocket. I’ve been listening to uplifting music all day. It’s not doing a ton, but more than if I wasn’t listening to anything. My brother once teased me that my room sounded like a club. Haha that memory still makes me laugh. Do you have anything that you use that helps you get your mind off of rotten things?? I would love to hear them! Maybe over time we can compile a Life at Full Volume list! That would be pretty cool!

Anyways, send good vibes my way! The weather is grey and icky here, and there are only so many cups of tea that I can drink. Love you all. xox

Also: The list of  positive distractions comes from this blog: http://inspirinquotes.tumblr.com/
and my friend’s little sister’s blog is this: http://butterflydive.tumblr.com/

What it’s Like to Have an Epileptic Seizure

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100Seizures are terrifying. I realize that this blog is dedicated to epilepsy-a chronic medical condition that is characterized by seizures, but I have never really dedicated an entire post to what it is like to have a seizure. I have talked about the difficulties of going out in public in fear of having a seizure, perceived or imagined stigma, coming to terms with having a chronic illness, what it means to accept a chronic illness, how I have had to alter my life in order to accommodate my seizures, and the list goes on and on.

But as I was tossing and turning in my bed last night, I realized that I have never solely dedicated a post to what it’s really like to have a seizure. No bells and whistles. No comment on the stigma, no fear, just what it feels like in my body. Often people are fascinated as to what it feels like, because I am literally losing control of my body, and I just have to go with it. Well. Here we go.

My seizures are hard to categorize, so when people ask me what type of seizures I have, I can’t give them a clear cut answer. Most people are expecting to hear something like a ‘grand mal seizure’,  because that’s the one that’s most heard of (in movies and such). My seizures don’t fall into that category though, because one of the major characteristics for that type of seizure is losing consciousness and losing control of the bladder, which doesn’t happen to me. My seizures have changed over time, but I can’t put it into a nice little box, unfortunately. I will try my best to explain to you what it feels like in my body to have one.

I have many different symptoms that happen during my seizures, but I will explain to you the ones that stand out most in my mind. I’ll also make up a little made up scenario, just because I’ve had a lot of the same scenarios, over and over again. Let’s say that you and I decide to go and get a coffee. It’s a crisp spring day and we slide into a little booth at the local coffee shop. We’re chit chatting about this and that. You’re telling me about how your boyfriend just got you a beautiful bracelet for your birthday, and of course, I ask you to show it off. I can’t stop blinking though. (This is an aura, which is warning sign of a seizure to come).

In my mind I am thinking about how one Christmas my boyfriend bought me a ton of Christmas presents, which were all amazing, and I open my mouth to speak. My mouth is open but no sound comes out. I have been rendered speechless. This is the beginning of the seizure. At this point I’m too afraid to try speaking. It seems that every time this happens I’m afraid to talk. I don’t know why but I’m afraid as to what will come out. My mouth grows wider and wider. I cannot, for the life of me stop blinking. My left hand starts to grip into really tight fist. My nails are digging in to my palm but I can’t stop it. Oh god I wish I could. My right leg is under the table, but is rigid as can be, and is just sticking out to the side, like it’s no big deal. If someone were to walk by, I might accidentally trip them. My left foot starts to tap just as if I was listening to some cool jams on my iPod. I start to cough. It feels like some saliva went down the wrong pipe. I cough and cough and cough. I hate these kinds of seizures, because I am at maximum risk here. I have a tapping foot, a rigid leg, a clenched fist, and I can’t say anything. Oh, and I am coughing like a mad woman. Thankfully, my seizures only last about 10-15 seconds, but to me they are 10-15 seconds of hell. If I am not in a safe place, such as in bed, or in a comfortable chair, I can do a lot of collateral damage. I have been in positions where I have collapsed to the ground, and hit my head, sprained my ankle, and gotten other bruises. Thankfully during this seizure you noticed right away that I stopped talking and you came and sat next to me, and let me lean on you while my rigid leg did it’s thing and while my tapping foot kept on tapping.

The seizure is finally over. You go and sit back in your spot, and I feel kinda confused for a moment. I find it hard to find my words. It’s as if I’m a shy school girl, about to ask her crush to the school dance. My tongue takes a few moments to realize that it is used to make words, and I am able to slide back into the conversation about boyfriends and nice bracelets. My body feels a little tired, but I try to keep the energy up until I can go home. I have a headache now, and make a mental note to buy some more Advil at the Shoppers Drug Mart before I head home. I still remember what I was going to say- before all the tapping, coughing, and the clenched fist. I tell you about the Christmas presents, but in this setting I don’t feel as excited to tell you about them. I feel drained, as though all the energy has been sucked out of me.

We decide to leave the coffee shop, and we’re walking outside on the sidewalk. You’re a few steps ahead of me, so you don’t see me stop. I suddenly have this feeling shoot through my body. It’s almost like my body has been injected with air. I feel light, and too relaxed. My left leg starts to shake and collapses on me. You turn around and see me trying to grasp at a telephone pole, one with a clenched fist, the other with a relaxed hand. You guide me gently down to the ground. Here we are, on the dirty sidewalk downtown. Two ladies see us and offer us a jacket to put under my head. My friend takes it and puts it under my head while my leg shakes. After the seizure is over you slowly help me up and we sit in an outdoor patio. I cry and cry. You ask me what I’m going to do, and I said I don’t know. I can only cry. I ultimately say that I’ll take the bus. You tell me that I should take a taxi, and I ultimately comply, and you come with me, because you’re so worried. You rush me home, and make sure that I get into my apartment safe and sound, and then turn around because you weren’t expecting this. Neither of us were. It’s hard to prepare for the unexpected.

It was weird getting into that head space of having a seizure, especially since I haven’t had one in almost a week. I think it’s a pretty realistic picture of what it looks and feels like. In a way, writing about my seizures has distanced me from them a little bit, and I feel like I have less of an emotional attachment to each episode. (Seizures are sometimes referred to as episodes). I used to burst out crying every time I had a seizure, because it was so traumatic. Now I find the more I talk about them, and the more I process them, the less traumatic they are to me, and the more becomes simply an episode.

I hope this blog post gave you an understanding as to what it’s like to have a seizure, and will really make you think twice about seizures. They definitely don’t all look the same, and they don’t all feel the same. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Also, shout out to JessRadio who inspired me to share my story of what it’s like to have an actual seizure.