Long Overdue Update & Tips On Keeping Your Chin Up!

DSC_0247Update! Holy Crud. I have been away for so long! What happened to the time? Well, now that I think about it, I know what happened to it. This past November I spent a couple weeks in a Neurological Hospital doing extensive testing to find out where in my brain the seizures are coming from. I did so many advanced tests, some of which I had never done before. Although the stay was long, and at times boring, I kept myself occupied by watching shows on Netflix. My new personal faves, by the way are United States of Tara and Raising Hope. Thankfully the hospital had wifi, so I was able to watch them from the comfort of my hospital bed. But I digress. The stay wasn’t all fun. I was monitorized 24/7, and had many seizures. I was hooked up with EEG wires that were attached to my head, and then there was a wire that I connected with a plug in my bed so the EEG techs could see my brainwave activity at all times. Whenever I felt a seizure coming on, I pushed a button that activated a camera so the doctors could see what my seizures were actually like. The seizures weren’t fun, (obviously) but I was so glad that I had so many because it gave the doctors (as well as the rest of the medical team) a good picture of what my epilepsy was like.

Ultimately, the doctors were able to confirm that all of my seizures are epileptic (as there was prior thought that some of them might have been emotionally based), and they were also able to tell me where in my brain the seizures were coming from. This was a huge step for me! I finally felt like I was getting some answers. The doctors also told me that they wanted to do more extensive testing, which would maybe happen sometime next year. In addition to getting this news, I got a change in my medication regime, which so far has been helping! I was exhausted by the time I was finally discharged, but also so happy to be going home. My amazing boyfriend came to see me on my discharge date, and we travelled home together which was comforting, as I still had so much information to process. It was also just nice to have his support, as I had received really amazing news.

That being said, I missed 2 weeks of school, so I was super excited to be back at home and start up my regular University life. This past week has been crazy because I have working really hard to make up my placement hours. (In case you didn’t know, I’m studying Social Work and as part of our program we have to do a fulltime placement in a social work organization for one semester). I love it though, and I feel like I have been learning so much, which is awesome.

Anyways, today I was talking with a friend who’s also in the Social Work program, and we were sharing our experiences with living with a chronic medical condition. Although she doesn’t have epilepsy, we were still able to relate to the challenges of living with our different conditions. One thing that came up in our conversation was how  to maintain a positive attitude, despite feeling ill on a regular basis.
My friend said, “Sita you’re always so positive,  how do you do it?!”  I thought about it for a bit, and then realized that more people might want to know how I keep my chin up, even when shit hits the fan.

Here’s my list of how I keep my chin up:

Use positive self-talk. I have learned to stay positive by using a lot of self-talk. You know that little voice in your head that talks to you? That’s what I mean. Sometimes when days are rough, I try to tell myself that it’s only one day out of my entire life. That helps to put it in perspective because I know that the anxiety, sadness, anger and frustration won’t last forever. It’s my reality in the current moment, but life will change.

Talk to someone else. Whether it’s my mom, boyfriend, friend, or simply sharing my stories on here, it helps me to unload. My feelings are usually validated by the other person, and it feels so much better to have someone say, “It’s okay to be tired; it’s okay to be overwhelmed. Take it easy on yourself and go relax.” Sometimes that validation is all I need to calm down.

Listen to funny podcasts or watch Reality TV. They may not ‘fix’ my situation, but they help to improve my mood and take my mind off of what’s upsetting me.

Look at past Successes. Sometimes when I feel like my future is bleak, I think about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve been able to accomplish. I’ll think: Yay! I have great Social Work experience! I’m working so hard in university and I’m still going despite the challenges.  When I’m going through a stressful period, I’ll remind myself: You’ve done it before so you can do it again. Having my own little mantra helps, and it reminds me that I AM capable of whatever I set my mind to.

Treat Myself. I don’t do this on a super regular basis, but sometimes I’ll get myself a pompous coffee drink, or a little brownie, because they’re things that I enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with a little treat every now and then.

It could be worse. I know it sounds cliché, but in reality the situation could be worse than it is. For example: So, I had a seizure! But hey, at least I wasn’t alone. Or, I had a seizure in public, but at least some amazing kind-hearted people were nearby to help me out.

Talk to a Counsellor. I have talked with a couple counsellors, and by just having someone listen non-judgementally can really help. Counsellors can be great at giving you new ways to cope, and to help you look at the bigger picture.

So I’m obviously not perfect, and not all of these help ALL the time, but they’re worth a shot! I’d love to hear what YOU do to help yourself going in tough situations. Love you all! xox