Tag Archives: Medication

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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My Identity is Chained to Epilepsy?

unhappy-coffeeHey friends! Happy Labor Day! If you are enjoying this Holiday, thank a Union worker who made this holiday possible.

This past weekend I have been more tired than I have ever been in my life. I ended up sleeping for several days. I have had some of my medications increased, which has increased my fatigue. Coffee is now my best friend. I am going to contact my Neuro’s Nurse tomorrow to express my concerns with her.

Lately though, I feel my identity is chained to my Epilepsy. Over the past few years, I feel as though Epilepsy has become my identity. I am happy to advocate on behalf of people with chronic health issues, but that’s all that I am now. Before my seizures were bad, I used to be a student, a health nut, and I LOVED to dance (specifically Zumba). My seizures have decreased, but that is due to the increase of medications which are making me tired like you might not believe.

I feel like it is easy for a person to lose sight of who they are. In my case, I feel tired all the time and I can’t really talk to others about things that are NOT related to my health.  I love fashion, clothes, and styling outfits. I probably got that from years of watching What Not to Wear. Lots of physical activities I used to do I can’t do anymore. My health has been in limbo for 5 years, which is hard to manage.

I’m in an unhappy place right now. If you have Epilepsy, know you’re not alone. If you are a friend, spouse, sister/brother, etc just try to understand that we can go through these rough times.

Lots of Love,

Sita Gaia xox

I’m Tired and I Know It

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Holy crap, I have started to take Aptiom, a new anti convulsant medication and it has the worst side effects ever. I am headachey, sleepy, tired, and in general just not feeling well.
😦 I am trying my hardest not to bitch about it to people I know, but it’s hard when I am already on so many medications as it is. I have only been on it a week and a little bit, but my body hates it so far.

Have you ever had an adverse side effect to medications? Are you taking this medication as of right now?

Tea and Drugs

elephant journal teaTea and Drugs. Two things that keep me going on a daily basis. Ask anyone: I love my tea. I have a variety of teas and the David’s Tea advent calendar all ready for December. It was a bit of a splurge but I couldn’t help but get it. 24 days of tea!! What could be more wonderful? I like your basic teas, such as Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe. I also love teas from David’s Tea such as Glitter and Gold, Buddha’s Blend, and Forever Nuts. Today after yoga class there was an amazing tea called Vanilla Almond. I loved it! I could have had more, more, more! I love that yoga studios put out tea for you once you are done your class. It is a way of connecting with the other people in the class and to come down from the savasana (meditation). My aunt’s yoga studio served this amazing tea which is also one of my other favourites: it is called Vanilla Honey Bush. I always steep it for about 5 minutes and then let it cool for a bit and it tastes incredible. There is something about the combination of Vanilla and honey that is so appealing. You have probably guessed by now that I really really like Vanilla.

I’m not sure why I am so in love with tea. I also drink lattes, which are a fun and expensive treat. There is something about tea though that brings me down and soothes my soul. I don’t know how I would live without it. I also have a weird relationship with tea. Even though I love tea, I spilled tea all over myself last year during a seizure. Sometimes people ask why do I still drink tea? Because I can’t not drink tea. I have the special Contigo mugs with locks on them so I won’t spill anything on myself, but there is nothing more satisfying than drinking it out of a mug.  If anyone has any issues with what to get me as a gift, anything tea related is usually the answer.

In addition to the tea I also need a cocktail of drugs to keep going. I don’t love the medications like I love the tea, but if it helps keep my seizures under decent control. I hate the taste of the medications if I dry swallow them and it sucks if I accidentally miss a dosage. My brain has become so used to the medications that it doesn’t work the same without them. It’s kind of freaky! My brain needs these drugs to function normally! It can’t just be a normal old brain and function like most people’s. I take more medications now than I did as a kid. I guess it’s because I need such a bizarre combination of medications that I would need more than one type. My hope is to one day be medication free- but I think that is not a realistic wish at all. That’s okay too; sometimes life surprises us and we need to go with the flow.

Love you lots! xox

The Highs and Lows of Seizure Medication

Hey Everyone! I am back! Sorry for the MIA- I have had a lot on my plate.

Personal-Medication

Today I wanted to talk about the highs and lows of seizure medication. As most of you know, there are often side effects that come along with seizure medication. The worst side effect I had was with Vimpat. I experienced extreme dizziness, my gait was completely off and it was hard to see without feeling like the world was whirling around me. I found out later that those extreme side effects were as a result of taking it alongside Carbamazepine. I asked to be taken off of the Vimpat and I don’t experience extreme dizziness anymore. (Thank goodness!)

My medication has also decreased my appetite, which was extremely painful. Although I am not on Topiramate anymore, it was like shoveling food into my mouth simply because I needed the fuel to get through a day. Remember though, this may not happen to you, so please take my experiences with a grain of salt.

medication-interactionMostly though I experience a residual fatigue from my seizure medications. I have talked about this fatigue before; it is as though you always have a a bit of tiredness and there is nothing to make it go away. Coffee doesn’t help much and naps make you even sleepier. Some days though I just seem to be able to spring out of bed and jump from one activity to another with ease. I need to explain to people that I don’t have copious amounts of energy and it’s hard to stay up late partying or do too many social events in a row. I also most definitely cannot do two workout classes in one day.

It is extremely frustrating not having tons of energy, but I guess that’s life and I just need to deal the cards that I was dealt.

Lots of love! 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. 😉

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I am A Fatigue Fighter: Battling Side Effects of Anti Epileptic Drugs

550131_425393197537643_1221104998_nAs a person living with epilepsy, I not only fight seizures, but I fight fatigue. And I fight fatigue with a mighty vengeance, baby. You’re probably wondering why I’m so fatigued. Well, I’m on a lot of Anti Epileptic Drugs (that’s just a fancy way of saying medication, but I kinda like Anti Epileptic Drugs. It sounds fancy!) and a common side effect of all of them is fatigue. So I can easily have a solid eight hour sleep and still feel tired throughout the day. It’s not the kind of tired where it’s like “Oh, a little coffee could cure this!” It’s the kind of tired where you feel like you could fall into bed and sleep for hours. And hours. And HOURS. But the thing is, sleep does absolutely nothing to fix this side effect. In my opinion, it just makes it worse, because you’re throwing off your sleep cycle even more. I’ve found that the cure for this is constant activity, even if the activity is meditation. So yesterday, I took my theory to the test.

I woke up bright and early to the most obnoxious alarm. I rolled over and turned it off and was somehow meditation_2able to hop out of bed. I had a to-do list to complete so I had to get moving! Usually I stay in my pj’s for about an hour while I eat breakfast in bed and listen to my white noise (as prescribed my biowave feedback doctor) and cruise facebook. Oh my gosh I can’t believe I am telling you my morning routines! Oh well. Anyways, I got dressed, put my laptop on my desk, and opened it up. Since it was Valentine’s Day I sent a little message to my boyfriend, who was already hard at work. Then I said good morning to the ‘rents, and decided to follow through on my New Years goal of meditation. I set up my yoga mat (parallel to my bed) and meditated for twenty minutes! Twenty minutes! Go me!!

Then, to keep the energy levels up, I turned on Songza and listened to this playlist http://songza.com/listen/bigchampagne-s-ultimate-chart-BigChampagne/. There is something about dancing alone in your room that is both liberating and ridiculous. It did its job though! It kept the energy levels up! I remember when I would be studying for exams and I couldn’t take it anymore I would take a little dance break in my room. Ha. It’s funny what memories come back to you. (Gosh, that makes me sound old. That was only a year and a half ago). I’m technically still a student! Just on medical leave!

Since my energy levels were still up, I took my little dog for a little walk. We didn’t go out for long thought because the weather was crapola. We still got it accomplished!

The last thing on my list was to make cupcakes. I figured that since it was Valentine’s Day, it would be a nice thing to do.

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A random pic

I was talking to my cousin on Facebook a couple of days before, and let me tell you, she is a fabulous baker. She had made a facebook status “Cupcakes In The Oven” and I couldn’t resist commenting. I love cupcakes. There is something about them that are so cute and delicious- needless to say. Since I have gotten in touch with her,  it made me wish that I was with her, baking. So even though we couldn’t bake together (due to distance), she shared the recipe with me so I could try it out myself. I didn’t anticipate the cupcakes to turn out as well as hers, but it was something to do right? Oh my gosh, I must have spent about 2 hours making the cupcakes  and then the frosting. I’m not used to making cupcakes and frosting from scratch!  My dear Cuz-how do you do it?? Do you get sore from standing for so long?

Soo let me tell you. The cupcakes didn’t turn out that great. They could have baked for about ten more minutes. They were baked, but they could have been better. But the activity in general was fun, so that’s what counts! (See link at bottom of page for recipe)

Other than that, I watched so How I Met Your Mother on Netflix-Season 1 “Nothing Good Happens After 2pm” and had a good Skype chat with my boyfriend. By the way, How I Met Your Mother is my new obsession. I watched it when it was popular, but for some reason it’s the perfect show to watch when you just want to watch 22 minutes of TV.

Also, since I had NO caffeine, I had the most amazing sleep ever! I have been having some problems sleeping lately, but I rolled over and fell asleep quite quickly! Maybe it’s the combination of the mediation and the no caffeine! I am having a tea as I write this, but maybe if I keep this up, it will help.

Do you have fatigue as a side effect of medication? Do you have other side effects? I’d love to hear in the comments! Love to you all!

Recipe for Cupcakes: http://cookingwithamy.blogspot.ca/2006/05/strawberry-cupcakes-recipe.html

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The cupcakes I made!