Tag Archives: Depression

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

Dear Epilepsy: Am I Down Because of You?

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Hey Friends,

In the midst of October, as the weather changes and gets cooler, the days are shorter, I feel myself starting to feel less motivated and excited about life. Why is this? Maybe because it’s colder, and less time is spent outside?

I really don’t understand though. I will be very excited and motivated about something before I fall asleep, but in the morning it is hard to wake up and get going. Last night I had exciting plans to coordinate teaching Seizure First Aid with my old high school, and it got to be so late today that the school is closed.

Does my mental health have anything to do with my Epilepsy? Or is it separate? November is a hard month for me because in November of 2014 the Neurological Hospital told me that the results to all the testing I had done was inconclusive. That really sucked and took me a long time to get over it. I know it is not November yet, but it is often the hardest month for me. Ironically, it is also Epilepsy Awareness month! Hah.

So I am not sure if this is a short term thing, or ongoing, but I thought I would tell you where I am at.

Lots of love,
Sita Gaia xox

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

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

 

Clicking in My Cowboy Boots and Feeling Exhausted

IMAG0537Hey everyone! I hope you had a great weekend! If you were working then BOO! Sorry to hear.

This past weekend was the screening of a mental health doc that I took part in with five other youths, over a three month period. I was very anxious to see it, because although I had watched it before there is a part with me at the end that is very intense. I wasn’t sure how my boyfriend, friend, and family would respond. It was a very exhausting experience, because I and the other youths (we were actually all young adults, but whatever) were asked questions and there was ongoing applause which made me feel uncomfortable. It felt weird for being commended for being so authentic, when all that happened (in my mind) was that I was horribly miserable and depressed for months.

I finally gave in to anti depressants (or “happy pills” as I like to call them) and once they kicked in I stopped feeling so unmotivated and stopped beating myself up over things that I couldn’t control. The epilepsy is something that I beat myself up about because despite having Refractory Epilepsy, I feel like I shouldn’t be living at home, have a job, and be doing all the other things that I consider a “successful” person to be. I need to stop comparing myself to my past self, and focus on life, day by day. I think about things that I am grateful for-  such as my little JoJo is curled up on my bed with me which is really nice. I also have an amazing family, boyfriend, and friends. I also have you, because you have taken time out of your day to read my life experiences.

Unfortunately I will not be able to share the mental health doc with a link on here, as the filmer wants to submit the documentary to different film festivals. I never really thought about how my face would be an example of mental health, and that people in other cities, provinces, or even the US could see it. I look like a totally different person today, because in the documentary I looked very pale and tired. I don’t look so pale and tired these days, which is a nice feeling. Not just for aesthetic reasons, but it isn’t fun walking around with ginormous bags under your eyes and it seems as though you can barely function. Thankfully I can function, and click down the street in my cowboy boots, so that seems like an accomplishment. Wait! It IS an accomplishment! Woo go me! Hopefully the documentary will be accepted for different film festivals, and I would be very happy for the filmer and producer if that is the case.

IMAG0557_1What else is up?! It is almost November!!! You know what that means! Epilepsy Awareness month!! I got part of my bangs dyed purple just for the occasion, and I am hosting an Epilepsy Awareness party. I have to live with it 24/7, so to educate people about it is a great feeling. I am very passionate about being an Epilepsy Advocate, so I am always happy to share info with people and continue to spread the word that it is tough to live with.

Are you doing anything for Epilepsy Awareness in November? Are you touched by mental health issues or know someone who is?? Let me know!

lots of love! xox

Coming Out of The Depression Closet

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So this is not an easy post for me to write at all. If you know me in real life, you will understand why, but the majority of you don`t so I will give you a quick run-down. I am a perfectionist, too hard on myself, and nothing is ever good enough in terms of my own achievements. (Well sometimes they are, but they feel short lasting and I must always strive for better). I also disregard my achievements and say they’re “not a big deal”.

Okay let`s keep that in mind. The short of it is this: I am depressed. I know there is a huge stigma in our culture surrounding depression, and it is not talked about very much. Well I am going to take my ax and burst down the wall of stigma and along with many other internet bloggers, I am joining the conversation of mental health.

I’ve learned that through my experiences with depression, different people have different ideas of what depression means or looks like. People who are struggling with depression are often mislabeled as unmotivated, and lazy, to name a few. This isn’t conducive to the healing of people with depression because calling a person with depression unmotivated  will feel even more unmotivated to do something that needs to be done. Honestly, some people with depression wake up in the morning and have zero clue why they feel shitty. People might ask- did something bad happen? Are you okay? Well maybe nothing really “bad” happened, and there is no straight explanation to their mood. People who are depressed don’t want to be depressed. If they could, they would “snap out of it” in a second. It”s not that easy though.  Like I said, depression isn’t all about feeling sad. It’s about lack of concentration, increased or decreased appetite, sleeping too much or too little, and unexplained aches and pains.

Check out this info graphic from buzzfeed to illustrate what I mean http://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/depression-101-yo

I have been great at wearing masks in the past- and to be 100% honest, I still wear masks from time to time. When I say I wear a mask, I essentially mean that I have been severely depressed but you would just think I was the most chipper person you knew. It`s a drag being depressed, and I don`t like dragging others through the mud of depression with me. Some people can see through my facade of upbeat moods and smiling. One thing about depression though- people are not always sad. There is a whole host of emotions that happen when someone experiences depression. Some of them are very heavy emotions such as guilt. Try carting guilt around with you every single day. It gets tiring. My depression goes in direct correlation with my Epilepsy, which is most likely because they are not well controlled.

With my Epilepsy, I have experienced depression on and off ever since 2011. It hasn’t been fun, but I just wanted to tell you.It is very hard to describe how I feel. I forget to eat lunch. Always. I sleep too much, and I have little triggers that can set me into a melt down. I have depression. I am working very hard to get better. Feeling better seems like an exceptional plan.

Love you lots xox

Rant Time!! Change is Needed in The Way we See Seizure Free Days!

Hey folks! Okay, rant time.

grumpy bear-753475

I have been part of the “epilepsy community” for the past four years now (prior to that I never needed support for it) and I have noticed one prominent, bulging thing: people mark their seizure milestones of a couple months, years, etc.

I think that this is great, because if you have serious seizures to the point where you can barely go anywhere, this is a huge milestone. You have a new life! There are many young children who have uncontrolled seizures, so when I see the 3 year or 3 month milestone poster for a little girl or boy on my Facebook, it makes my heart melt with joy. I just hope for them that they continue in that direction.

But here’s the thing with me. If I am let’s say, one month seizure free but then have one bad day of 5 seizures, does that mean I have to start from scratch? I have talked to my health professionals, and they have deemed me pretty healthy because I am out and about living my life with ease. Yes. I still can’t work. See below.

So could we perhaps in some cases focus on the quality of our lives rather than the number of seizure free days? As a true hard perfectionist (not fun I guarantee you) I feel like I have “failed” my health when I have a bad day. So I would really really like it if people got on board with the idea of quality of living versus the number of days. I am sick of counting days, I lose track, and people always get disappointed when I say I was a month seizure free then had a bad day. I also feel depressed from the seizures. So let’s try something new.

Rant over.

Love you all!! xox