Tag Archives: Social Work

Learning How to Carve my Path with a Disability

Hey bb’s!

sleepy pugHow are you doing? I am feeling confused lately, as I am trying to learn how to carve my path while living with a disability.

When I was younger and filled with more zest, I imagined doing my undergrad, and then going to a renowned university for my Master’s. I would be that person sitting in the chair with her own private practice. I would be the person with the Master’s of Social Work. Not quite Brene Brown level, but still, higher up.

Regardless, I did manage to graduate with my Undergraduate of Social Work, with a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. If you haven’t noticed, Academics is very important to me and my family. My brother recently received his PhD, and his very serious girlfriend is working on hers as well as my cousin. I am not comparing myself to my cousin and my “sister” (that’s what I call my brother’s serious girlfriend), but I always saw myself going further academically.

Currently, I am disappointed with myself. Owch. That was hard to type. I have been told since forever that I am always too hard on myself, and that my standards for myself are too high. Isn’t it better to have standards that are too high versus too low? If I was happy playing video games while on disability, wouldn’t that be disappointing?!

I am currently unable to work as I have had too many serious life changes, so I need to adapt to them. I have always seen myself as a social worker, but part of me wishes I went to school for Marketing in Business. Since the crash of the economy, going back to school is not an option, plus I am not sure I can even swing it with being fatigued constantly. (Unless I sit in Starbucks all day and get free refills on coffee from my gold card).

My mom has told me since I was a teen “You’re going to carve your own path”. I did not yet have the wisdom to fully understand what she meant, but I always kept that in my back pocket.

I guess I am going to have to come up with a new path, which is hard because I have had one path in mind since I was 12.  Please can you help? Have you ever been in this situation?


Sita & Jojo


I’m a 27 Year Old Woman who Still Doesn’t know what the f*ck to Do

confused girl


Hey guys! I am back! A little tired, yet I have wanted to talk about this topic for awhile. Without knowing me, just based off of the title? Would people call me lazy? Yup. Am I?

I had my plan all figured out when I was ten, and picked up that month’s edition of TIME magazine. I am in the generation that over diagnosed its’ students with ADHD. Autism was still new and neurologists/behavioral psychologists were still investigating it. This edition of TIME magazine profiled an 8 year old boy, who, (my ten year old brain understood) that he perceived and interacted with the world in a different way than I did.  I was fascinated. From then on, I decided to become a social worker to work with individuals on the Autism spectrum.

I have been able to work with individuals on the spectrum (Asperger’s, before it was removed from the DSM IV). The students I worked with taught me so much, and I hope that I taught them a thing or two. This was my driving force to obtain my degree in social work.

But then my seizures came back, hard core. I graduated in 2014, but was still sure I would be able to work with Young Adults with Autism. My dream job was to work in a group home, but with all the requirements of a Class 5 driver’s license, that left me out of the running for many job opportunities.
I don’t know if I still have that social worker edge to me. I have considered becoming an Addictions Counselor, a Registered Massage Therapist becoming an aestheticism, public speaker, writer…..dare I say more??  Someone told me that she had a hard time figuring out her purpose…but when she did it all clicked into place….and that it would be the same for me, too.

I’m still lost….and nothing is clicking yet. Hopefully with the Vagus Nerve Stimulator coming up this week I will have more energy and zest for my passion (whatever that is!)

Happy Canada Day and Early July 4 for my friends in the States.

Lots of love,
Sita & JoJo

PS I have only had ONE cold brew since quitting coffee!

My Amazing Conversation about Shame

Hey friends,

picture-of-me-1I know I put Life at Full Volume on hiatus, but that’s because when I was looking back at my most recent blog posts, it was all about Epilepsy. I didn’t see Sita Gaia there anymore. This blog is called Life at Full Volume, but seriously, it was Life on Mute. It was Life on Sad. 😦 I just have a diagnosis, and it is not WHO I am.

Truth be told, I have been drowning in Epilepsy. Between Doctor’s appointments, feeling ill, and picking up medications, I was sinking deeper and deeper.

I’m not here to tell you that I am cured, and it’s something I am working on. I do, however, want to share with you something that I love to do. I LOVE having deep, vulnerable conversations. Let me share with you something that happened recently.

I have been reading Brene Brown’s book “I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t)”. She goes in depth with her research about shame. Shame is a very heavy emotion to carry around, and everyone experiences shame in a different way. Brene Brown talks about “Speaking Shame”- the closer we are to NOT speaking shame, we have a tendency to act out or shut down. The closer we are to speaking it we express how we feel and ask for what we need.

I have a good friend who also has Epilepsy, but her epilepsy is different than mine. I always felt shame when she told me about the newest project she was working on or some new endeavour she was involved in. Prior to reading about this, I would shut down and sometimes act out. I told her in an honest conversation that I felt shame when we talked about her work, because I felt like I wasn’t measuring up. (Ridiculous, right?!) When I told her that, she explained to me that she felt shame about some things too. (WOAH, right?!) . It wasn’t a heroic act- let me tell you this. I finally had the courage to address something that I was noticing in my life.We were really able to get our hands dirty and have this open conversation about shame. In the end? I felt SO much better about our friendship and I have already noticed a shift.

I LIVE for these types of conversations. I feel like I have the strength and courage to be able to talk about things that mean something to me. Thus, I will also attract people who feel the same way. This is partly why I did my degree in Social Work- because I am not scared to wade into uncharted territories and see what will happen.

Expect LESS posts about Epilepsy in the future and more about me. It’s gonna be a good time.

Lots of love,
Sita Gaia &JoJo xox


That Awkward Moment When People Ask Me What I do for Work


Hey friends! How are you doing?? I hope you have sunny weather, depending on where you are in the world. It has definitely been heating up where I am.

So, whatever your disability is, I am sure you can relate to this in some respect. I am currently not working, and wherever I go people ask me what I do for my job. Why, people, why?! Why are we so obsessed about work and jobs? I guess it’s because we spend five days a week, 40 hours (or more! Or less, depending on whether it’s full time or part time) at our jobs. Our jobs sometimes become our lives. We can become immersed in our work.

I can get that. People go into their professions and are highly passionate about it. I have friends who are in an interesting melange of professions: IT, Social Work, Counselling, Environmental Engineering, Midwifery, Business and so on and so forth. I don’t think my friends just stumbled on to their professions and decided to roll with it. They found something amazing and interesting about that profession that made them want to pursue a career in it. I totally believe that having passion for your work (whatever it is!) is key for enjoying it, and constantly challenging yourself. So, since I am not quite healthy enough to work full time, it can be awkward in these social situations. I have thought long and hard about what to say when someone says “What do you do??”

I tell them I am working towards a Masters in Social Work, and would ultimately like to work with individuals with disabilities. I tell them about my interest in Women and Gender Studies. It is not something I am doing right now, but they are all truths. I will be better, so I will be able to fulfill these dreams and goals. This isn’t wishful thinking, honey. I am already getting better! My resilience has gotten me far, as well as my sheer determination to never give up.

So will I have another awkward conversation like this again? Probably. Is that okay? Absolutely. It’s only awkward if you make it so.

Living a True and Authentic Life

Some things happen for a reason. Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint why they happen, but they just do.

enlightened heartPart of the reason why I started this blog was to connect with others who have Epilepsy, so I wouldn’t feel lost in my journey to wellness. I felt like I was the only one who was going through the challenges of living with Epilepsy. Boy, oh Boy was I wrong! Not only have I made connections with people who have Epilepsy, but with people who have other (dis)abilities. (I use the term ‘disability’ loosely). I received comments from people encouraging me to keep writing blog posts. Comments that also made me feel less alone in my experience of living with Epilepsy.

Now, to digress a little, when I was ten years old I picked up an issue of Time magazine. That month’s issue was about a little boy who was living with on the Autism Spectrum. As I eagerly read each page, I became more and more fascinated. There were people who perceived and communicated with the world the world that was different from the way I did!  This fascination quickly turned into a passion. I wanted to help those with “different” abilities. (I say different loosely here. I believe we all have something valuable to contribute). At the mere age of ten I didn’t have the words to express what this role was. I finally settled on the word ‘counselor’, because it was a word I understood to fit with my future goals.

Now, after graduating from university with a Bachelor’s of Social Work degree, I have the words and knowledge to be able to express what my ten year old self couldn’t articulate. After many positions working with people with (dis)abilities, I have learned a couple of troubling things. In some cases, some individuals with physical (dis)abilities have told me about the social isolation that they have experienced, solely because of their (dis)ability. Additionally, I have learned that people with (dis)abilities often do not have the same opportunities as those without (dis)abilities. I find these two things alone to be deeply troubling.

10672202_10153505184896808_7147273148797630415_nSo, in part of my own personal work and volunteer experiences, and in addition to the outpouring of support that I have received on this blog, I feel that it is my calling to be an advocate for people of various (dis)abilities. Perhaps an advocate for people with just Epilepsy.
I have learned that I am not alone in my experience with Epilepsy, and because of that I feel that I have a voice that could be of use to others with (dis)abilities. I have the personal experience and compassion, as well as the hands on learning and experience that would help me in this position. Through these past two years, I have come to the conclusion that I could not see myself doing anything else. How *could* I see myself doing anything else? I have received so much help, and it pains me to think of those who are suffering and cannot access the assistance that they need.

So this is my way of living an Authentic Life. Helping others since I care, and I am so grateful for the help that I have received. Additionally, if I could help people with (dis) abilities who need the assistance to end their pain and find a way for them to live meaningful lives, that would be golden.

So, those are my thoughts on living my own true and Authentic Life. The future looks good.

Why My Strong and Positive Energy Doesn’t Always Last Forever

OITNB newEven the strongest and most positive of people will have their breaking points. As mentioned earlier, I have always been told how strong of a person I am, despite the fact that I didn’t fully understand what my friends, family members and even professors meant when they told me this. Consequentially, I only gained a sense of my own strength once I feel it’s shiny surface finally start to crack and shatter at my feet in a million little shards.

I have also been told how positive and cheerful of a person I am.  I’m an extrovert! I love meeting new people and savouring moments with old friends. If you know me in real life you know that I love to talk on the phone, go grab a coffee, go for a walk, etc etc. I wanna hear about everything that’s going on in your life! Having that connection with my friends gives me a real sense of purpose-and that I have friends in my life who care about what I’m going through.

its not who you areThis weekend has been tough though. On Sunday I had 15 seizures (due to reduced meds, which was safe to do since I am in a hospital and I am surrounded by nurses.This was also prescribed by my neurologist).  The seizures seem to be continuing into Monday morning, and even though I was just given Ativan through an IV, my mood has dropped significantly. Having excessive amounts of seizures is exhausting, and can make you feel like you are not autonomous enough to do the things you want to. Additionally, seizures just seem to suck me into a dark cloud of sadness. I don’t know why. It’s just the way my brain is working.

funny-win-story-even-after-all-this-time-the-sun-never-says-to-the-earth-you-owe-me-look-what-happens-with-a-love-like-that-it-lights-the-whole-sky-hafizEven though I was able to acquire my Bachelor of Social Work degree, I still have friends who are out and about working amazing jobs, living with roomies, and involved with partners. Having uncontrolled seizures isn’t my fault!! Some days I feel like such a terribly unaccomplished person. I can’t help it if I am high achieving! It’s hard to not compare yourself to your friends and younger family members, such as cousins.  I honestly feel like the next few years of my life will consist of living in and out the hospital, but I really hope that it is not the case. I have hopes and dreams for the future. I want to become bilingual, study my Masters of Social Work at McGill University, and find my dream job in Montreal. I am itching to move and learn and meet new friends. I try to keep this at the top of my mind when I feel down, but every once in awhile my shiny exterior has to crack and the flood gates will burst.

So I guess that’s where I’m at now. Feeling discouraged, sad, and encompassed in the dark cloud that I dub post-ictal sadness. (For you non epileptics, Post-Ictal means “after a seizure”). I think I should have a conversation with The Universe soon, and make sure that I will ultimately receive treatment and that it will work. Living in hospitals forever doesn’t jive with me. 😉

Can you relate with any of these feelings? Do you feel “behind” in your life due to seizures? Worry that your son/daughter/brother/sister feel the same way? Send positive vibes my way! lots of love! xox

Woes of Unemployment

stuck in a rutSo I think I forgot to mention a crucial milestone in my past few posts. I have graduated from my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work!!! All my hard work finally paid off. Now I have to deal with the fact that I’m a: no longer a student, and b:since I am not a student I need to look for employment. Yikes. Looking for jobs is tough, and since they can be scarce and competition can be stiff it’s hard not to get discouraged. I’ve been looking online as well as doing some networking with organizations that I would be interested in working for. So far it’s been going well, although today was an exception. Instead of writing an essay of thoughts I decided to write a train of thought poem of how my networking session went today. I haven’t written much poetry in awhile so hold on to your seats.

Woes of Unemployment

Today’s meeting didn’t go
so well.
Or maybe it did
I’m not sure
I got flustered when I got lost

Those were the most vague
Directions ever

The lady didn’t seem very
It’s a small company
don’t hire often
Felt discouraged.

Got my shoes wet and muddy for a 20 minute
What was the point?
You have to work to find a job. No  one
will just hand it to  you
This is part of the process. You need
to put yourself out there
What kind of work am I even
qualified for?
Why do so many jobs require a driver’s license?
So unfair.

Stop whining you mofo
Whinging just takes up breath
Maybe I’ll get an interview for
one of the jobs I’ve applied for?!

Maybe I’ll be the exception to the
rule of not getting hired to the first
job I applied for.
Graduating is so stressful!
I wish I could have eased into it.

You’re seeing friends and feeling better
so that’s important
Your health is improving!
You are exercising!!!
You are strong.

Just keep carving your path
Sometimes certain things happen for a

You are like a tea bag in hot water
Just add that zest of Sita to these
tough times.
You are not alone
Friends and family love

You perform well in interviews
Everyone goes through tough times
Just breathe.
Remove that guilt
Pat yourself on the motherfuckin’ back
You have gotten through so much
so keep at it

Hug every day
Dance like no one gives a shit
Smile at the silly things in
I am proud of

So there ya go! Ultimately self love came of my woes, thank god. What did you think? Are you going through similar stuff? Any suggestions? Hope you are doing well! Love you all! xox