Tag Archives: mental-health

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

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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

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

depression-in-her-eyes
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

How I am Learning to Let Go of Perfectionism

Hey friends!! I hope you have been having a great week!! For some reason I am really tired this week. I am definitely not my usual peppy self, which kinda sucks.

I am imperfectSo I don’t usually let this cat out of the bag, but I am a perfectionist. You must be thinking “Her room must be spotless with everything in its place!” Hardly the case though, I have clothes everywhere, and I hate making my bed. So, from looking at my room you would never guess that I am a perfectionist. The clutter of my room simply represents the stress and of my mind.

I only really started to realize that I am a perfectionist in my first year of university. For some reason it was virtually impossible to start working on an essay if I didn’t have “the perfect opening line.” It basically looked like procrastination, but essentially I just couldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was going to be perfect. I forced myself to work on assignments and essays despite not having the “perfect opener” but it was a struggle, and people knew that I was generally always in the library, and if not I was in the gym, burning off all the stress.

I have become to realize how paralyzing perfectionism was. Only within this year I realized that I needed to get more information about it, and how I could deal with it. So, thankfully I found out that Perfectionism is tied to anxiety. Oh yay! How fun. If you have perfectionistic tendencies like I do, you are searching for some form of control. Being this way has kept me up at night because- I kid you not- I had this thought: “Oh my god I am so not perfect because a perfect person wouldn’t be a perfectionist!”

For a quick overview, you might be considered a perfectionist if you answer yes to any of these questions:

Do I have trouble meeting my own standards?
Do I often feel frustrated, depressed, anxious or angry while trying to meet my standards?
Have I been told that my standards are too high?
Do my standards get in the way? For example, do they make it difficult for me to meet deadlines, finish a task, trust others, or do anything spontaneously?  (Anxiety BC)

Sadly, I answered yes to ALL of these questions. I also was concerned about spelling ‘spontaneously’ correctly.

sometimes its toughYou see, the rational side of my mind thinks that perfection is kinda boring, yet the emotional side of my mind has latched on to the idea that it is the only way to be. It is also difficult being a perfectionist and having a chronic illness, because I can’t do things “the way everyone else does.” F that, right? Because we all have our own journey. It makes me think about people with other chronic illnesses, such as MS, and whether their chronic illness exacerbates their perfectionism? Or how wide spread this is? Is Perfectionism an issue with people who have chronic illnesses?

courtesy of yoganonomous
courtesy of yoganonomous

Anyways, I have started what is called “exposure therapy.” I don’t see a doctor for this, but I do things like have my boyfriend tell me that he thinks I’m perfect (I freaked the F out the first time he told me, and he genuinely meant it), put a typo or spelling mistake in an email, or show up to an event late. I have also bought a worry journal, so I have one little book where I can put all my crap and worries about the world. Realistically, I can figure out a way around them, but a worry is a worry for a reason.

What do you think about this?? Are you a perfectionist? Do you know one?

Lots of love! Stay imperfect!! xox

PS Yes it took me forever to write this!! It had to be “perfect”!

How I’ve Learned That I’m Never Really Alone

depression

Hey friends. Okay I am going to be brutally honest. This week has been rough. I found myself in bed on Monday feeling so depressed that I needed to talk to someone. Of course, this depression washes over me at the most inconvenient of times. It was 12:30am where I was, and some of my best friends were in another province and in a deep slumber at 3:30 in the morning. There was no the fuck way I was going to call them that late.
So I thought. My parents were asleep (and I am sure they would have talked to me), yet  I didn’t want to wake them. I thought of who I could call in my area that wouldn’t mind talking to me so late.

One of my bestest friends currently has a very bad cold and an ear infection. I felt so bad about calling her, but I knew she would understand. We talked for maybe over half an hour, and she told me that I could call her at any time. No matter where she was, and if she got a missed call from me while she was working, she would message me right away.

Feeling less alone when you are trying to pull yourself out of mental health issues (ie depression) helps soooo much.If you are ever in that situation, try to think of a friend you can call, or your area’s crisis line. Thank you, dear friend. You are helping to pull me out of the quicksand that is depression. With Epilepsy, I am at a higher risk of developing mental health issues (just a fact, not playing the victim card) so I really appreciate all the support I get.

Please, please please keep my story in mind if you find  yourself in a tough position.

Love you all! Keep fighting the fight! xox

2015: Bring it On, I’m Ready

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100So I can’t believe that it’s already the end of the year. I know I say this every year, but somehow this year feels different. So much has happened this year so it took some time to wrap my head around all of it. You have been there to hear about most of it. One thing that I must start with though is that my New Year’s Goals List was far too long. God I’m ambitious! Among it was to graduate university, (duh) get a great social work job, get a tattoo, write daily in my journal, use my gratitude jar and exercise regularly- just to name a few.

I realized something important though. Through all the ups and downs of 2014 I achieved something that was extremely difficult in 2012-2013. I became part of civilization again. Now, if you are someone who is able to leave your house everyday, go to work and participate in social gatherings, it doesn’t really occur to you. You just go through the motions and ups and downs of your experiences. I know what that’s like because I have been there too. But when your anxiety is so high that you can only operate within certain perametres of your environment, life feels scary and everything feels like a threat. I was scared to try things outside my comfort zone, because there was always the hypothetical seizure looming on my back. One of my good friends got me to go to an exercise class with her, which was huge. The shame I felt surrounding having seizures seemed to grow like a tumor  and I was so afraid of what people would think or say. I was so appreciative of my friend’s relentlessness, and although it sounds like an odd thing to say but sometimes you need your friends to give you a little shove in the right direction. I also went boxing day shopping this year which I definitely would not have done in the past few years. Progress, progress, progress.

The support that I felt from my friends and family was huge, and I felt it whether through text, call, email or face to face. Its presence did not go unnoticed.

I am writing this on December 30, and I realized something about myself with this Epilepsy. Although I have a network of friends and I was able to graduate, I still had a dull feeling of depression residing within me. (Otherwise known as dysthymia). I had forgotten who I was. I was Epilepsy and  Epilepsy was me. I had nothing going on but trips to the hospital, doctor, and constant medication changes. As 2014 rolled on and I returned home after graduation, it seemed like I was having a mid-life crisis, which is a little jarring for a 24 year old.

My time at the Epilepsy Hospital was disappointing, as no new information was found despite invasive and extensive testing. I began to wonder if I could ever be ‘fixed’ (like a crappy old computer or something). I know everyone at the hospital is still working on my case, but perhaps I went into the whole situation with higher hopes than I should have. Epilepsy can be complicated, and in my case sometimes there is no known reason as to why a person has seizures. Accepting that facet of my life has been very difficult. However, not to jinx anything but my new medication seems to be working which is a major bonus.

However, to be totally candid 2014 has been disappointing. I know my seizures have decreased but it is what it is. I hope 2015 is better. I’m sorry, I just can’t be optimistic 24/7.

On the other hand, here are 5 awesome things that happened this year:
1. Graduating from University
2. The opportunity for extensive testing at the Neurological Hospital
3. I was able to see my cousins for the first time in years
4. I adopted my dog
5. My medication is working for the time being

I am going to send you off with a quote that my friend posted on facebook. It uplifted me and I realized how badly I needed to see it. She managed to sum up what I wanted to say in almost 1000 words. Here are her words of wisdom:

“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.. Bring it on 2015, I’m ready.” – A close friend

Love you all! xox