You Inspire Me: Friends Who Have Made a Difference

I feel like I haven’t spoken much about inspiring people in my life in awhile, so I figured I would write a little post about it. I have written about this friend before, but she has made such a positive impact in my life that I thought she deserved another post. Also, all of my friends are special, and I am going to write more posts about people who have helped me. So, to those who know me, don’t think you’re not special to me!

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My friend Allie* instills the confidence in me to be who I really am. I don’t think she really knows this, but I look up to her because she is so true to herself. I feel that I could shave my head and she would say that I look hot. She has always been there for me, even though we have busy schedules and can’t always hang out, she can always take a phone call or listen to whatever crisis that I happen to be going through. Now that I am back home visiting my family for the summer, I miss her more than ever. I feel so special to be considered one of her closest friends. I say this because she has so many friends and so many people want to hang out with her and be with her. I feel like I did nothing special but just lived my life, and yet she considers me to be special and an inspiration in return. ALL of my friends are special to me and have varying qualities that I appreciate, yet I just thought I would write a few words about Allie again. She has cheered me on through my final year in university, and cheered the loudest when I crossed the stage at my convocation (graduation for university). It felt so amazing to have so many people cheering for me, especially since they knew I went through the semester from hell as my mom likes to call it. Once again, thanks Allie. I miss ya tons and I’ll see you soon.

Love you all! xox

dr seuss

*Name has been changed to protect identity

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I Don’t Look Sick: Inspiring Words of Wisdom from Others with Chronic Illness

Hey Friends! How are you doing lately? I saw this page today and I thought many could relate and or benefit from it. I didn’t write it, but I love it. It’s called “I Don’t Look Sick”. 

The graphic is originally from this site:

“I don’t look sick”. Please share this brilliant graphic from Donnee Spencer telling us about life with an invisible illness

What do you think about it??!

Love you all! xox

5 Tips For Better Seizure Management

Healthy Life Next ExitSo I was recently looking back on my childhood and youth, and I was trying to remember what I did to manage my seizures. Man, I make myself sound SO old! My childhood and youth weren’t actually that long ago! Anyways, now that I have done some memory retrieval I have come up with a list of Five Tips for better Seizure management. They may seem obvious, but when you are out of a routine, or are new to seizures I think they could come in really handy.

  1. Get Lots of Sleep!
    I cannot stress this one enough! It is SO important! Being in a regular routine of getting up and going to sleep at a certain time really helps your body to be in a proper sleeping cycle. I remember when I was back in middle and high school I would get up at the same time and then generally always go to bed at the same time, unless if there was a special school event that was happening. Lack of sleep is a major trigger of seizures for me, so this habit really helped to keep them on the down low.

  2. Eat Regularly
    food quoteThis tip may seem like a “no duh” tip, but I have found that eating three square meals a day plus snacks really helps. When I have not eaten in a while (which I am guilty of) is sometimes when I feel symptoms. This tip makes so much sense: lack of food+ lack of energy=fatigue and sometimes seizures. Planning out your meals can be a useful way to avoid this. When I was cooking for myself I usually made huge dishes of something, such as a vegetarian lasagna, to name one. I would put each individual slice into a Ziploc tupperware container and kept some of it in the fridge and some of it in the freezer. When I came home after a long day I didn’t have to spend extra time making food because it was already done! I just popped it into the microwave and added a salad. Easy as pie! I also sometimes keep protein bars on me in case I feel extremely fatigued when I’m out and about during the day. I find that helps to keep me going until the next meal. 

  3. Exercise Regularly

    EF2087Before my seizures relapsed a few years ago, I worked out at the gym at least four days a week, plus dance and running classes at The Running Room. Exercise served as a way for me to get rid of all my stressors, plus I was able to just enjoy some “me time” while listening to my ipod. Even though I am slowly getting back into dance classes, I try to go for a walk 4-7 times a week. Walking as exercise is so undervalued and has so many health benefits! Don’t under appreciate walking as a form of exercise!

  4. Spread out Your Activities
    Peanut-Butter-Jelly-Sandwich-Options-KidsThis one can be hard to do, and difficult to master. I kind of see it like this: when you put some peanut butter on a piece of toast, you don’t want all of it right in the middle. You want to make sure that you smooth it out all over the bread so its equally distributed. If fatigue and over exhaustion are seizure triggers for you, try to equally balance your work and social life. I try to avoid having a bunch of social engagements all in one night. I get tired easily, so going from party to party is a likelihood for disaster. My ideal week would look like this: go to work 8:30-4:30, have selected days that I go to work out classes and go for walks on the days that I don`t, have a few days where I see friends, and have a day or two all to myself doing chores and errands and or just lazing around with my boyfriend. Does that make sense? I’m not trying to do everything possible in one week, and in some cases I just need to say ‘no’. I have been told that I am “gregariously introverted”, so basically I love to socialize, yet I love being by myself and don’t get bored in my own company. Don’t feel silly about turning down social engagements! If your friends know and care about your seizures, they will understand. Health always comes first.

  5. Take your Medications Regularly

    It is super super important to take your prescribed medications regularly. When I was kid I used a little medication holder. As I’ve gotten older I stopped using it, but am going back to it due to poor memory and an incident of taking too many meds. Not fun at all!! I would 100% recommend using a dose it, so that way you know that you have taken your medication or not. Setting daily alarms can also help for you to remember to take your medication. Even if you are “feeling better” still take your medication. It means that the medication is working and going off of it could have severe consequences. Going off of medication is something that you can discuss with your neurologist, but never EVER do it own your accord.

I hope these tips have been useful! Feel free to leave a comment or even ask if I have any more tips for seizure management! I am pretty sure that I have more than 5 up my sleeve. 😉

scrabble healthy life

Seizures and Mental Health; A Twisty Road

keep-talking-about-mental-health greenSo I haven’t talked about this at all on my blog. Mostly because I was embarrassed and had internalized stigma about it. Well, here goes:

    When I went home in 2013 to take a year off from university, my neurologist had diagnosed me as having both epileptic seizures as well as emotionally based seizures, which are otherwise known as Psychogenic Epileptic seizures (PNES). PNES is defined as “attacks that may look like epileptic seizures, but are not caused by abnormal brain electrical discharges. They are a manifestation of psychological distress. Frequently, patients with PNES may look like they are experiencing generalized convulsions similar to tonic clonic seizures with falling and shaking.” (http://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/3/truth-about-psychogenic-nonepileptic-seizures)

     People are scared to talk about mental health issues due to fear of being stigmatized, or shunned. Not to mention there is so much misunderstand about various mental health issues and sometimes people only believe the stereotypes that they hear about. How would people respond to me if I told them that some of my seizures were responses to psychological distress? Would they be more likely to steer away from me or would they embrace it with open arms? My mind told me that it was definitely the former, not the latter. Our society places a huge value on being autonomous and independent. Being hit with a double whammy of some form of mental health issue on top of a chronic condition was enough to make me weary of others reactions, so I avoided talking about it. Having epilepsy in and of itself is hard enough, so adding one more stigma to the list wasn’t something that I was pumped about.

     I stopped blogging for awhile after that because I was worried that a future employer would find this post and see me as ‘unstable’ and even less desirable as a candidate for a potential job. What does this say about mental health in our society?!

      Hello My Name Is I have been extremely depressed before, and during that period of my life I could barely crawl out of bed. I was having ongoing seizures, was still in classes, and I found that I was able to make it through to Wednesday but then I completely crashed. I stopped going to the gym, and my zest for life in general was gone. Life was meaningless. I cried everyday for a week, yet I convinced myself that I was just having ‘a bad day’. Except a ‘Bad Day’ meant every day. A bad day my ass!! Something’s going on if your energy plummets and you feel sad and have to leave class early due to constant crying. My mom was worried that I would drop out of classes. I just pushed and pushed through it but could I just ‘snap out of it’? (A common myth of people with depression). NO! It was like I had fallen down a hole and was stuck without a ladder.

       Thankfully this depression did not last forever, and although I indignantly refused Anti Depressants, I managed to heal. I’m not totally sure how, but I got through. It wasn’t a question of “snapping out of it”, but over time I felt more like myself. I am more of my usual bubbly self who dances in her room to dance tunes and smiles while walking down the street. Sounds corny, I know but my life is a little corny sometimes. Even my parents could tell over the phone how much better I sounded. Parents are weird like that, hey?

      Anyways, let’s fast forward to November 2013. I did extensive testing to find out more about my seizures, and the doctors concluded that ALL of my seizures were electrically based. So essentially I didn’t have Psychogenic Epilepsy seizures as well as epileptic ones. I was relieved about this, but that’s not the point of this post. I wanted to shed light on how having a double whammy of a diagnosis (Epilepsy and emotionally based seizures) could have really shifted my life around.

      I know for sure that if I truly had a diagnosis of emotionally based seizures only my closest friends and family would know about it. I consider myself to be very open and compassionate towards others mental health issues, even though I have no idea what it’s like to live with it. On the other hand, I am pretty tough on myself and it would probably take a long time to accept it. Exercising compassion towards yourself is difficult, as you know who you are and who you want to be. If you are not who you want to be it can be sometimes be frustrating, difficult, and even infuriating.

     Essentially. I wish there was less stigma about mental health issues in our society so people would actually feel comfortable talking about it. I find that talking about important things that I’m going through really helps me to process how I feel about it. I also wish that mental health issues wouldn’t get thrown around as a joke, like “Oh I’m so OCD today or I’m so Bipolar today.” Some people really struggle and it is not okay to make light of it. Depending on where you live, it can be even difficult to access the health care that you need, or perhaps your family doesn’t believe in mental health issues and are not even willing to help. Can you imagine that? Maybe you already know what I mean, I don’t know. I am sure there are people in the world who are comfortable with talking about their mental health issue, which is amazing. I just wish that it was safer for people to disclose. If my diagnosis of emotionally based seizures was true, I know I could talk the talk, but it would be a hell of a journey to walk the walk. Love you all! xox

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