Category Archives: Mental Health

4 Reasons Why Self Care is Hard

Hey bb’s!
I am sure you have heard about self-care, (especially if you have a form of chronic illness), and have been told to practice self-care. In my Social Work degree, the idea of self-care was beaten into us. But what is it? It is the way of taking care of yourself when you need down time or are feeling symptoms due to your illness. (ie Seizures, exhaustion, flare up, hard to walk, etc.)
self care.jpg1.You Feel Selfish
Taking time for yourself to recharge or just tell your partner or friends that you cannot do much one day feels crappy. It feels weird sometimes to say “Hey I can’t come out and meet you because I had a really bad sleep and pushing myself would be too much.” I am lucky that my fiancee is super supportive and understands that some days I can’t do too much.

2.You Miss out On Social Events
Sometimes when you need some good self care time, also happens to clash with social events that you were looking forward to. This year I missed my own birthday party due to Psychogenic Non Epileptic Seizures. I was super bummed because the majority of people were actually attending! It was for the best though, and thankfully it wasn’t on my actual birthday.

3.Sometimes you don’t know *how* to self-care
Prior to getting many seizures, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what is in my self-care toolkit. (Stay tuned to find out what they are!) It can be difficult to figure out what the best self care options are best for you. For a person with a chronic illness, it can vary greatly, as everyone has different abilities. Going for a short walk might be good for me but not so good for a person with arthritis who is experiencing a flare up.

4. Your Self-Care can seem “lazy”
if You need to rest in your home without doing much, it can feel like you’re being “lazy”. As a person who never, ever wants to be called or labelled as lazy, this is a very hard one for me. When I legitimately need down time, I wish I could have done more around the house, and it makes me feel bad when I haven’t pulled my weight when my fiancee comes home. Although she understands, I am very hard on myself, which drives me crazy.

I’m having a self care day, so I have been thinking about this a lot. I’ll be posting about my own personal self-care toolkit soon so stay tuned!

Love,
Sita Gaia xox

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Sita Gaia VS. Anxiety

Hey bb’s,

Stressed-out-anxious-woman-980x654I overbooked my schedule this week and now I am exhausted. That caused two seizures so now I am too anxious to leave the house. This is so shitty when it gets like that. I had plans to see my mum and get pedicures for an early mother’s day gift, see a friend who is going back to the UK forever on Saturday, and help my fiancee with groceries.

Let’s say one thing: sometimes I go into overdrive and feel I need to be as “productive” as a person without a chronic illness. That’s what fucks me over and I still haven’t learned the lesson, but sometimes I still feel the need to do try harder and harder.

Honestly, all I wanted to do was see Melissa McCarthy’s new movie tonight and chill. Yas I love her, as she is fucking hilarious.  I rewatch her really old show (that, let’s be really is problematic) Mike and Molly because it’s funny.

I hate the anxiety that comes with epilepsy. Yes there are tons of things that can combat it, such as meditation (and I meditate daily), but it’s a reality. I know that. It pisses me off. I hate staying at home all day as I at least like walking down three blocks to the Starbucks but it makes me anxious, and my fiancee anxious. Yeah, I know that dwelling on it doesn’t help, but I’m not happy with how my day is turning out.

Lots of love,

Sita Gaia

Sita Gaia VS. Exercise

Hey bb’s,

18268368_10154392609790776_7290771774937748565_nWoohoo it is almost summer! Finally done with the hybernating!
I have been feeling a bit down today but I had some errands around the house to do so I did them because I knew that would help. I have gone on and off being a couch potato as TV is one of the major things that calm my stress and anxiety. I remember coming home from high school in Grade 12 and Oprah was on and i felt my stress melt away as I stretched out on the couch.
In university I went to the gym 5 days a week and did Zumba on Monday nights and sometimes even Sunday mornings! I was a bit of a gym rat, and going to the gym relaxed my stress from school and relationship issues. At 21, it became difficult to go to the gym due to my uncontrolled seizures and decided that yoga would ultimately be my workout. I love yoga, but I missed that satisfaction of a sweaty workout.

Today I was looking at the photos that I put up, and one of them was of just me that my friend took in my other friend’s Jeep See above.. We were all headed to the beach and I looked so happy. “What happened to that Sita Gaia?!” I asked out loud. I quickly decided to actually use my fitness clothes that were sitting there, and I popped on my headphones and snapback. Let me tell you: running after a long time was hard and I am sure I was huffing and puffing but that’s okay! I came home and since it was SO hot out, I pointed the oscillating fan in front of me as I did more full body exercises. I feel more like myself now and my low mood has been replaced with serotonin. It’s fucking fantastic! Sure, I won’t be able to do this everyday, but this is literally a step in the right direction!!

Love,
Sita & Jojo

The Holly hell of The Holidays

Hey bb’s,

Holiday season is upon us! I love the holidays, despite that where I live we rarely get a white Christmas, it is still fun to put up your tree, buy gifts, and write Christmas cards.

I asked WeYou're invited to anfor  addresses for so many Christmas cards, and since  we are living strange and worrisome times, multiple friends asked why I could have their mailing address. Is sending Christmas cards that old school?! I guess so.

Since I have made multiple big changes in my life and I am still adjusting- my neuropsychiatrist told me I am not allowed to work. He told me I need to relax more, and I had to ask him what he meant by “relax”. I am not a relaxer by nature- I love gallivanting around, seeing friends, being in Starbucks, making new plans and cleaning the house. (OK it’s an apartment but it’s easier to clean than when I was living with my parents.). I also love Fri-dates and Satur-dates with my fiancee. It has been hard to relax, as I got all of my Christmas shopping done and sent out a million Christmas Cards. (OK only ten lol).

Like anything, there is always a downside to Christmas. My epileptologist told me that Christmas is the biggest time where his patients have seizures. Last year I was out with seizures for 5 days after Christmas day. I find it exhausting to do two back to back things on one weekend, and as much as I love my family, too much family time can be too much! Despite being an extrovert by nature, I get sleepy earlier than most people. I am grateful that I am in a family that understands when I need a nap. My fiancee also wants to make sure that I am not “over doing it” so for that I am eternally grateful.

If you have a personal friend or family member in your life with a chronic illness, or even mental health issues, please be mindful that we are doing the best we can. We don’t have tonnes of energy, and sometimes pain, or  feeling overwhelmed gets to the best of us. The best gift you could give us is kindness and understanding that we are sometimes extra tired. If we have to miss out on something, such as due to having too many seizures, we don’t mean to.

Lots of love,
Sita & Jojo

P.S. Yup that’s the tackyaf tree that me and fiancee have. It was my idea, of course 😉

My Biggest F*cking Aha Moment

Today I had the biggest fucking aha moment. I was standing in the kitchen with my mum, after a dinner that my dad had prepared.

I have been going through a rough patch recently, with constant low mood, which has put a damper on my every day quality of living. On some days it is an accomplishment if I make the 15 minute walk to the Starbucks near my house. The depression feels like it eats me alive sometimes…and although I don’t lie in bed and cry, my body feels numb. I can’t feel anything. I tell people that the mental health aspect of the epilepsy is harder to deal with than the epilepsy itself. I have burnt myself with hot tea due to a seizure. No problem. I was able to rise from the ashes like a phoenix with four months of bandage changes, and a period of time on morphine and Tylenol Arthritis. The physical pain was awful, but I could still get through my every day life.

I have gone into a tail spin when I saw that a peer has gotten their Master’s degree in Social Work. As I told my mum so many times, “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” I wasn’t supposed to have my diagnosis changed to Refractory epilepsy. I was supposed to be normal, able to go out without worrying about what people will think when I ask for the disability seat, and not feel like my soul is drowning in depression on the really bad days. You can tell it’s been a bad time when you see me in the same outfit multiple days in a row, or when I need to put clothes on the floor near my bed so I can easily reach them when I have zero motivation to do anything.

Regardless, while we were in the kitchen, my mum put her hands on my shoulders and said “You are doing so, so, well. For someone in your situation, I am so impressed.” I was flabbergasted. What? I was doing well? ME!? On the days that I hide under my covers? The fact that I am not independent? “Yes,” my mum said. “You still get out there and socialize, and you ask for help when you need it. You could just be in a hole, but you make the effort not to be.

WOAH. My mum is right. I could just hide and be in my own little world. I’m not though! I am taking a pre-requisite at a community college, am an active co-organizer of a queer women’s Meet Up group, see friends, practice yoga, ask for help when I need it,  and spend time with my family….to name a few things.

Holy shit guys, I’m not letting life pass me by! I am living it- chronic illness and all!! I am not a failure!!

Love,
Sita and JoJo xox

The Isolation of Epilepsy

chronic-illness
Hey friends,

I hope you had a good weekend. My weekend was off and on. It started on Friday when I found out that there were cuts being made to the Epilepsy Clinic I go to and that my psychologist won’t be there anymore. I hugged him, and left his office absolutely devastated. It was a weird mix between devastation and seething anger. It was a stormy day, so I sat in the Starbucks attached to the clinic for awhile, and then braved the cold of the storm.

I  soon realized that my anger distracted me- I ended up taking the wrong bus and then hopped off and went into a Chapters (aka Barnes and Noble). I picked up Brene Brown’s newest book, Rising Strong, and then hopped on ANOTHER wrong bus. GOOD HEAVENS!

I finally hopped on to the Skytrain and found that all of my pent up emotion was starting to come out in small seizure like bursts. I was sitting down next to a dude, and then I leaned to my left ON TO HIM and started to seize. It was a short seizure, and I embarrassedly explained to him that I have seizures. Thankfully he took it well.

That evening was a mess of more seizures. Today I lay in bed on a Sunday evening, where I slept soundly until 3pm. Today I have not left my house. Now one thing is very clear to me: Epilepsy is one hell of an isolating condition.

It is easy to not leave your house in fear of a seizure. This is for injury or for fear of embarrassment. To look like a fool. An outcast. You look ridiculous. All of that attention was not warranted when you toppled over. You just want to be normal in the world.
Even if you WANT to be part of the camaraderie that life has to offer, you might be too ill to jump up and join in. I am an extraverted person, so this can be very hard to take. I miss my friends. I stand by the river and watch.

This. This is the Isolation of Epilepsy.

Learning to Embrace Being an Inspiration

Hey friends! I hope you are doing well wherever you are in the world. I have been having an exhilarating week ever since TedxStanleyPark. (I will have my video up as soon as it is out!)

While I was walking my dog this evening,  I was thinking about what it means to be an inspiration and my struggle with accepting this fact. This was potentially evoked by the fact that I won an Alumni Award from my middle school that I will be accepting at the end of the month. When I was first told that I was the recipient of the Alumni Award I didn’t really know why.

When I think about the past and resisting the idea of being an inspiration, I constantly didn’t want to be seen as inspiring because I was just a “normal person” trying to get through her life. I almost resented being called an inspiration because it made me feel even more different than my peers and friends. As an Epileptic (or PWE) it is easy to feel “different” because my neurotransmitters sometimes misfire, or don’t fire when they are supposed to. (If we are going to get technical here).

After Tedx, I realized that it’s OKAY for me to embrace being an inspiration to other people. I was talking to my friend Debra the other day, and she so eloquently put it that I have not let my Epilepsy define me, and I am not going through life as a “Broken person”. I am still persisting, despite my challenges. Yeah sometimes life sucks, and I have been struck with deep depression in the past. This past week I received a bracelet from my friend that said “my story isn’t over yet” with the semicolon symbol. Not everyone knows this, but Project Semicolon is now a pretty well known symbol for to remember people who have died by suicide, and to bring light to depression, addiction, and self-harm. I want to cry when I look at my bracelet, because it reminds me how far I have come. (Thank you Rikarux and Ryan).
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Inspiration has several definitions. They are:
“Something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create; a force or influence that inspires someone”

“A person, place, experience, etc. that makes someone want to do something”

“A good idea”

So as we can see there are multiple meanings to what an inspiration is. Now that I look back on my past with wide eyes, and to my future with excitement fluttering in my tummy, I can say hell ya. I am an inspiration ❤

SIta's bracelet