Tag Archives: Anxiety

The Most Pervasive Problems with Epilepsy and Mental Health

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Hey bb’s!

How was your weekend?? I hope you weren’t working all weekend! I got to spend some time with my Boo and we got her some “non work clothes” for the weekends. It was fun! She got some super cute work out clothes and some chill clothes for around the house. She works so damn hard, she totally deserves it! Also, I was nominated for two categories in the WEGO health awards!! Click here to nominate me!

I wanted to write about emotions regarding seizures. At first I thought, “Hey this will be a piece of cake!” I totally get what it’s like to have emotion shifts after seizures, but after doing some more extensive research, I realized I was in way over my head.

Sadness after seizures is more detailed than I thought of it to be. Through my research, it  brought up feelings that sometimes pop up throughout everyday life, and memories of feeling sad after a seizure. Regardless, I am going to break up the sections of  Emotions before a seizure, After a seizure, and Medication & Genes.

Before a Seizure
Some people with epilepsy can feel irritable, anxious, or depressed up to days or weeks before the actual seizure occurs. I know that for me, I definitely feel depressed before a seizure occurs. Although it is tricky; I need to always assess these feelings and see if it’s an episode of depression coming on, or just an aura.
In addition, your neurologist or epileptologist may have told you that stress, lack of sleep, memory problems, and low self esteem lead to a higher risk of seizures. All of these combined can contribute to poor mental health, which could trigger a seizure, or is especially felt after a seizure.

After a Seizure
Lack of memory of what happened during the seizure can trigger sad feelings. This past Friday, I had four black-out seizures which made me very sad and  overwhelmed.
Not knowing what happened can be very concerning.  Additionally, if you do not have a good support network, having seizures can be very difficult. I am lucky in that I have a strong support network of my Boo, my nuclear family, and friends. If a person doesn’t have that support network, it can make having seizures that much more difficult. This also ties into a work/life situation. Sometimes having a seizure can make you recall that you are not able to work, do not have good support systems, and are alone.

Medication and Genes
A side effect of your anti epileptic drugs may cause depression and or anxiety. I checked all of my medication and common side effects do not cause depression or anxiety for me. I take Clobozam, Tegretol, Mysoline, and Cypralex. I do experience lack of appetite from my medication. Although if you have genes of family members with depression or anxiety you are more likely to have depressive episodes and or anxiety.
My mum experiences depression (less so these days) so I believe that was genetically passed down to me. I am also very hard on myself, so that really doesn’t help. I don’t solely blame my genes for depression, as I do have other factors going on, such as being unable to work.

I definitely have low periods, and I am working harder to express my emotions and let myself cry when I need to. It is very hard because I have been told for a long time that I am very strong, which I interpreted as being able to handle anything. I also interpreted that as not showing too much emotion, which has been bad for my overall well being. I am lucky that I have people to talk to, and especially people whom I know love me unconditionally plus friends with chronic illnesses.

I need to find more support groups in my area, that deal solely with epilepsy. I know there is one in my area, but I just need some courage to go.

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

What I Want my Amazing Health Team to Know

SpoonsFirst off, I have an amazing health team to help treat my Refractory Epilepsy.     I have a top notch epileptologist, Vagus Nerve Specialist who comes in from out of town once a month, an epilepsy nurse who is fantastic, a neuropsychiatrist who I see every 6 months, and a psychologist who I see once a month. Plus I would like to add my family and friends. Whew! What an amazing  team!

Although my epileptic seizures are under pretty good control now (HALLELUJAH!) there are things I need my team to know.  Epilepsy is not just seizures.  Epilepsy now for me means counting my spoons ever so carefully. If you don’t know what the spoon theory is, check it out here: the spoon theory.

I always need to make sure that I don’t over-book my agenda. If I have appointments that week, I really can’t over socialize. I also need to  make sure I have time to help my fiancee around the house and grocery shop on the weekends.

So, health team, I need you to know that I struggle with anxiety and depression, despite the fact that my seizures are much better controlled. I need to opt out of things last minute if I am feeling exhausted. I am doing my absolute best, but sometimes that means combating the depression or anxiety that looms over my head on a regular basis.  Just because the seizures are gone, there are still things that I need to work with. Don’t pity me, I just need you to know.  I am a chronic illness warrior, so I keep fighting the good fight.

Thank you for doing all of the amazing work that you do! I couldn’t get through it without all of you!!

Love,
Sita Gaia

Have You Fallen Into the Depression Trap?

Halle-f*ing-luah! I made it out of the house! I have been struggling a lot with depression again as it has decided to loom it’s ugly head.
If you have never had any depressive episodes, first of all knock on wood immediately. In my talking with my mental health crap, everyone experiences it very differently.
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My depression is like a wet towel. It’s not cold, but very heavy. I mean, have you ever tried carrying around a sopping wet towel? Not too comfortable. At the same time, I don’t feel super happy or sad. I just can’t really feel anything. Ask me to meet you somewhere last minute? Forget it. It is very hard carrying my body around- and I think people feel this regardless of their weight.

My depression is a bit of a trickster. It tells me that no one likes me, and someone is ignoring me on purpose. It tells me I am alone, when in fact I have an amazing fiancee who works her ass off, parents who couldn’t be more supportive, and a brother who lends support from afar. I have friends who check in with me, and cousins I can talk to, plus extended family.

My friend Ty has been through the same stuff as I am going through, and when I was struggling to put on my shoes he said “I always know that I’ll feel better when I leave”. A mantra that I used in university popped into my head “I’ve done it before so I can do it again”. Like that, I managed to pop my feet into my ever so stylish if Kate Spade and Keds had a baby shoes, and grabbed the keys.  Oh My GOD! I made it! I probably sat there on the couch for ten minutes trying to decide whether to go out. I wanted the stimulation of other people being around, so naturally doing my writing in a coffee shop seemed ideal.

The world was a bit grey and gloomy out, but I was so proud to walk down the street. I just knew I wasn’t able to lie on the couch the rest of the day. (Even though my fiancee offered to get my blister pack, I wanted to take that task out of her day).

I know this will pass, and since I have been there before I know that for sure. So if you’re struggling, try and see a doctor (even a walk-in clinic) if you are able, and try to challenge yourself to what seems like the biggest barrier.

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

 

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

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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