Tag Archives: Anxiety

The Ups and Downs of my Life With Epilepsy

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Hey guys! I can’t believe that summer is over already! It feels like July started and now it’s October. The leaves are falling and after a summer of concerning fires, it is finally sprinkling rain. It feels so good to finally wear fall clothes and use an umbrella.

I was let go of my job recently, and I am thinking a lot about life changes. Is it  the field that I want to be in? Am I being hasty? Thankfully I have the most amazing mum, and we are doing a workshop together about questioning our purposes and what we really want to do with life.

I know I have talked about depression on this site before bb’s, but I am worried I am falling into another pit of depression. I keep sleeping into as late as 11pm, and on a bad day, 12pm.  My partner had to convince me to get out of bed today, yet I still brought the duvet cover to our Chez Lounge.

I feel a little empty inside. I hate it when my zest for life is gone. That’s not the normal Sita Gaia. Having a chronic illness goes hand in hand with low mood and mental health issues. Do you have a chronic illness and other low moods or mental health issues??

It is super common for people with epilepsy to experience low mood, depression, and anxiety. Even just stress can trigger a seizure. Lately I have been having facial twitches due to psychological stress. I am concerned about more stress and low mood. Sita Gaia is doing her best though, that’s all I can tell you.

I remember my old Psychologist telling me when I was going through the pits of depression-to get up and leave the house right away. Thanks Mark! So I got up, got dressed, took out the garbage, and walked 3 blocks down to the Starbucks.

I am seeing my doctor tomorrow so hopefully I will get the help I need ASAP.

Lots of love,

Sita & JoJo

 

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Hello. My name is Sita and I am an Epileptic.

facepalm
Hi Sita! I have never had a group of people say that back to me, as I have never introduced myself to a bunch of people like that. This blog is all about talking about the tough stuff. Ripping out the painful parts of your life and examining them. Were certain experiences meant to teach us something? Are we really on a track with a chronic illness? What does a track for someone who is chronically ill look like?

After moving back home when I got my degree, I slept for several months and then spent 7 weeks in hospital to try and figure out what was causing my seizures. I have had extensive testing done on my brain, and as of right now I am not a brain surgery candidate. It is discouraging. When I went to the hospital for 7 weeks last year I thought they would figure everything out and it would be a panacea for all of my seizure troubles.

I am a very extroverted person, and I will talk your ear off. Except when it comes to mentioning my Epilepsy to a potentially new friend. I have told you my experiences with stigma, and the myths that people have about epilepsy. When I tell someone new about my epilepsy, I worry I will be dropped like hot rocks. This has prevented me from continuing to try to make friends. I was also bullied through my entire schooling, except for university.

I refer to authenticity a lot throughout Life in Full Volume. Show your true colours. Tell your story. It’s just scary when you might be dropped like a rock if you are vulnerable.

Lots of love xox

 

All About ME! My Updated Story

11011290_10152736686930776_6025620169844039981_nHey everyone! I am helping out with the American Recall Centre, which is a new site devoted to inspire good health, and providing up-to-date FDA information.They are HON code verified, and focus on patient safety:  http://www.recallcenter.com/resources/

Anyways, as you have probably noticed already, my name is Sita and I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of ten. I’m going to be twenty five in a couple of weeks, just to put it in perspective, (for those of you who don’t know, Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes you to have seizures). When I was a kid, I was pretty much the poster child of someone who lived with well-controlled seizures. My seizures only occurred about twice a year, and even then they were in my sleep and the worst that would happen is that I would wake up with a bloody tongue. I never felt affected by this medical condition; I just felt like I was an ordinary kid who took medication twice a day to help control these mysterious seizures that only presented themselves on a rare occasion. My neurologist (a doctor who deals with epilepsy and other brain disorder conditions) was in awe. I was going to be graduating from high school soon and I was heading off across the country to start university. She seemed to think this was a big deal! At the time I just kind of shrugged my shoulders. Wasn’t everyone expected to graduate high school and go to university? I mean, my parents never said that I had to go to university, but it was something that I wanted, and I didn’t know why it was such a big deal.

Adjusting to university life was a bit of a struggle, as I tried to balance the stress of work and becoming more independent. The seizures still occurred from time to time, but I was never really in serious danger, as they usually always occurred while I was in bed or in my room. Well, except for the time that I did a face plant because I had a seizure while running. Other than that, the ride was pretty smooth.

January of 2012 is when things got out of control. I had a couple of minor seizures, but as the months kept coming more seizures came too. It got to the point where I feared going to school in the event that I would have a seizure and smack my face on the floor. Even worse than the physical harm to my body was the shame and embarrassment I had about the seizures. If you have ever witnessed a seizure, you will know that they look a little bizarre. I started to become very worried, and ultimately became very depressed. At the time I wouldn’t have told you that my anxiety was up the wazoo and I was so far in the depression hole that I couldn’t find a ladder. I was pretty much unaware of both. Even then, I am good at putting on a good face when I have to. I didn’t want to burden anyone. Plus, I figured that I was just a tired out student. I mean, no one wants to get out of bed on a Monday morning, and sometimes it’s sometimes hard to focus in lectures. Also, students are busy, right? We don’t always have time to eat properly, or at all, which is what happened to me as I found myself less hungry for food, and less hungry for the things that used to bring me joy.

I was pretty much in extreme denial. I just saw depression as something that happened to other people. Oh boy, was I wrong. The interesting thing about depression and epilepsy is that they work together in a happy little cycle. The more seizures I had, the more depressed I became, and the continued depression would cause more seizures. I was afraid to go anywhere on my own, even to meet a friend for coffee nearby. The seizures were so unpredictable that they happened at unexpected times, which left me little to no time to get to a safe place.

This left me feeling trapped in my apartment. I hated to make plans with my friends in case I had to bail at the last moment, or I was afraid of having a seizure while I was out. I started to yearn for the days where I could leave my apartment by myself and just go for a walk without any worries. It sounds so trivial, but when I was unable to go anywhere by myself without extreme anxiety, it seemed like a distant life that was no longer mine.

This experience taught me a very valuable lesson. Never take anything for granted. Even though being able to meet up with people and enjoy time with friends sounds so trivial, it is essential for ones well-being. I can’t be alone all the time and I need my friends to help maintain the richness of my life.
Also, I’ve learned that, despite this year, I have it pretty good. Other people who live with epilepsy are unable to work, go to school, or are behind in their schooling. Some people even need to wear head protection all the time to protect them if they fall. Four years later, and I finally see why my neurologist was in awe of my accomplishments.

If there’s anything that i believe in, it’s that I believe that everything happens for a reason. (To a certain extent at least). I think this experience has taught me that I need to live in the moment, which I am working on. This is a key component of mindfulness, which is the idea that you are fully engaged in the moment that you are in, and every moment is ‘now’. I find it hard to be in the ‘now’, but part of me believes that the universe was trying to teach me a lesson when all of this was happening. I can’t skip over parts of my life. I have to live them, no matter what is happening. Additionally, many of these past few months have been very low-key for me, just to improve my health, so I have learned to find meaning in this ‘non-doing’. This means finding meaning in what I’m doing, even if it appears to be non-productive.

My seizures are getting under better control, but I still feel fatigued from all the medications I need to take. Despite all of this though, I managed to receive my Bachelor’s of Social Work degree in 2014, but as of right now I am focusing on writing a book on my experiences of living with epilepsy as a young twenty something year old, plus ultimately getting work in the field of social work. I would find it very rewarding to work with other young children and teens who have epilepsy, but I would be happy to work with people who have other disabilities or mental health issues.

I find that telling this story to people is like ripping off a bandaid. The more I do it, the easier it becomes, and the easier it is to move on and gather strength, regardless of the situation.

Keep fighting the good fight!! xox

How I Lost Myself In My Epilepsy…

…And how I found myself again! YAY!

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100Epilepsy and uncontrolled seizures has taken me on quite the ride in the past couple of years. I have had to go through constant fear of having seizures, not to mention being hyper aware of my body at all times to try and protect myself from an accident. My mood was all over the map; I went from anxiety to depression to a combination of both in one day alone.

After a seizure I often feel tired and sometimes depressed. Both of which are not uncommon for people who have seizures, but it is hard to deal with. I try and fight through fatigue with a vengeance, even if it means doing things a bit slower than most people. I try to work through the depression when it happens, and since it is a side effect of having your brain completely scrambled, it usually un-scrambles, thankfully. As for the anxiety, I have tried to just do things as I have been able to. If it means having my Mom walk me somewhere, then so be it. Better than drowning in my anxiety, right?

But the past couple weeks I have been like Sita x 1000. If you know me in real life then you will know that this is pretty intense and high energy. I have never felt so happy, bubbly and goofy than in the past little while. My Dad even commented that I seem like my old self again, and you know how parents know you better than anyone! (Well, mine at least). It feels great to feel happy and excited about life. I was never going to give up even when my seizures were uncontrolled, but I didn’t feel as excited and full of zest about my future prior to this.
I feel happy and my hyper energy makes me seem like a bit of an idiot, but I swear to god that it has nothing to do with watching too many sitcoms on Netflix. I can’t help it that I like sitcoms and relate to the characters! Since I am in a seizure free period, I am trying to socialize with friends and be as productive as possible. Being active has also made me remember what it’s like to be out and about, which is great!!

I am on a new medication so I think that is helping to control the seizures, but I really hope that I’m not just in a “honeymoon period” of my medication working. I hope this actually does the trick for the long term.

The important part of this post? After a little while I finally feel like my “true self” is shining through. I feel giggly, happy, and just more excited about life in general, despite the seizures.

Hope you’re all doing well! Keep fighting the good fight! xox

Quick and Friendly Monday Update

a-quote-this-27Hey friends! How are you doing today? I just thought I’d give you a quick and friendly update of how things have been going. These past couple of days have been a little tough, but today I took the bus home by myself (instead of getting a ride) and I took my pup out for a walk for longer than 10 minutes! Sounds like no big deal, but when you’re constantly exhausted and anxious it’s a pretty big freakin’ deal! Other than that, I got a card in the mail from one of my good friends in Ontario, which perked me right up! Thank you! You know who you are!

I was also featured in the BC Epilepsy Society Blog. Here is the link if you want to check it out! http://www.bcepilepsy.com/blog/archive/Archive_2014_09_01.aspx

Hope you’re doing well! Love you lots! xox

 

What an Unproductively Exhausting Weekend

WP_000488 (1)Well I can’t believe that it’s 5:45pm on Sunday evening already. The weekend just seemed to fly by! I spent most of my time in bed or on the couch, cuddling with my insanely adorable Chihuahua Pug mix, JoJo. I have been feeling a strong sense of vertigo as well as nausea. I looked up Epilepsy Auras (as discussed in last week’s Epilepsy 101), and both of those are related with seizures as well as anxiety. When I get stressed I tend to hide it from myself and it comes out in forms such as a bad stomach ache, or like I said above, extreme dizziness and nausea. I am also exhausted so I have little will to go out and do anything. Although JoJo and I went out for a nice long walk on Saturday, I just couldn’t do anything today. Anyways, I just wanted to check in and I hope you had a more exciting weekend than I did!

Lots of love! Keep fighting the good fight! xox

Is Your Fear of Success Holding you Back?

DSC_0340Ok, so we all know about the fear of failure. We all sit on the couch watching Netflix instead of attempting to train for that half marathon, because really we’ll probably fail at it. But here’s the kicker- what if we really were successful?? What if we actually made it to that half marathon and kicked ass?? I say that because I have made myself a victim of Epilepsy so many times and it really hasn’t gotten me anywhere. So what’s the point of this little nugget of wisdom? A: don’t make yourself a victim of a situation, and B: why let fear of success hold you back? If you do end up failing, at least you can say you tried.

I also was watching a video with my Mom last week about Dealing with Anxiety through Imagination. Essentially, the premise was that we haven’t been taught much about imagination during school, so we don’t have the mental capacity to believe that things *will* work out, and our fears won’t collapse at our feet in shambles. So, instead of actually falling and having a seizure during a walk, I told myself that *will* make it home successfully and unharmed. I tried this tactic this week and it actually worked!! It was amazing! So I have been trying to think the best and imagine the best possible outcome. Surprisingly it has been amazing. Maybe you should try it!!

In the past week my life has changed monumentally. I have adopted a little chihuahua pug mix and she has brought so much joy and happiness to my life, let alone routine. I now have a set bedtime, set walking times for the dog, and set feeding times for the dog. I also feel less lonely which has really helped a lot with regards to my daily mental health. In addition, I feel like more like a “productive” person in every day life, which has made me reach out for further aspirations, which I would have never bothered with in the past.I recently have firmly decided to get a small volunteer position so I can continue ongoing learning in the field of Social Work. Yesterday I wrote a great cover letter and prepared my resume for a volunteer position that I really hope to get! It would be perfect for my ongoing learning as extensive training is provided, as well as it will be able to utilize my skills such as one on one skills, advocacy, and making referrals. So cross your fingers for me!!

So what are you holding back on, just because you may or may not succeed? A 5km race? A new job? Seeking new friends? I say go ahead and try- the results may just surprise you! 

I hope you are having a fantastic week! Fight the good fight! Love you all! xox