Tag Archives: University

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?
Nope.

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!

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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

Let Me Tell You About The Best Day of My Life

joyousAh. The best day in one’s life. It is hard to narrow down. If you ask Moms they will generally say when they gave birth. If you ask newlyweds they will say The Best Day of their Life was their wedding. But I am neither a Mom or a newlywed, so I have a bit of a different answer.

When I tell most people what The Best Day in My Life was, they are often surprised. It doesn’t seem like something that one would put on the Top 3 List. But alas, The Best Day in My Life was my convocation (graduation for university). I was receiving my Bachelor’s in Social Work with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Wait, was it a Masters degree? Nope! Even a PhD? Nope! Did I win any awards? Nope, so this is why people are often so sceptical.

My convocation was the best day in my life for one big reason. I made it through my undergraduate degree, despite the fact that in my final semester I had a terrible injury due to a seizure which made working at the library (or working at all!) very challenging due to the pain of the accident. Thankfully, I have a computer desk (basically a hard top with a soft cushion that you can use in bed) so I lay in bed with my laptop on my lap, typing furiously away. It’s kind of ironic actually, because I was also an academic mentor during that semester, and I told my students that it is not useful to work in bed. I didn’t bother to mention that I didn’t adhere to that rule.

happy balloonsOn the day of my Convocation my excitement was high and I couldn’t believe it was finally happening! I wanted to look my best (call me vain) so I booked a hair styling appointment weeks in advance. The height of my excitement didn’t help, because sometimes extreme emotions (such as excitement or depression) can trigger seizures. I don’t really remember super clearly how it started, but I was waiting in line with my peers, waiting to be called into the convocation ceremony and boom! Suddenly I was outside sitting on a rock talking to a person from the registrar’s office. Thankfully my  Mom and  friends were quick to figure things out and dashed to find where I was. I said I wanted to go into the ceremony, despite the fact that I wouldn’t be able to sit with my peers. According to my friends, the seizures continued throughout the ceremony so I sat backstage with a friend, so I could walk across the stage when my department was called.

When it came close to walking across the stage there were many concerns. Would I fall and hurt myself while walking across the stage? Should someone accompany me? Did I want to be in a wheelchair? I said No, No No! I earned it and I wanted to be on the stage, just me, myself and I. So finally I got in line to go across, and when the announcer called my name I stood on the stage for a full 10 seconds (which is long at these events!) while I heard my friends and Mom cheering from the audience. It was a pure 10 seconds of bliss.

I had finally made it, through all my trials and tribulations. All the seizures during the convocation and beforehand. Even though I had injured myself I still pushed through. This experience has taught me that I can do anything, if I just put my mind to it. It has also taught me that I have an amazing family and friends, as they supported me (and continue to support me) throughout this journey.

pugSo even though The Best Day of my Life was riddles with seizures, that doesn’t matter to me. I had reached a HUGE milestone and was finally going to be taking the next step in my life.

What was The Best Day in Your Life? What is your Ideal best day? I wanna know!

Lots of love xox

Asking for Help: A Humbling Experience

heart holding handsThroughout my life I have needed to ask for help, and it didn’t ever occur to me that it might be an embarrassing or shameful experience. When I was in in school I needed help with understanding different concepts, and I wasn’t embarrassed! I always figured that I needed to get the work done, and I couldn’t get it done on my own. I had the drive to succeed, and if it took a couple of extra brains to help me understand, I was okay with that.

While I was going through university, I also needed help with school work, and as things progressed I needed help to get my mental health state at a more stable level. There was no way I could sit there by myself and manage my anxiety and or depression on my own! The whole reason that I wasn’t leaving my room was due to two of those factors!

With regards to my seizures, I needed to seek help from so many health professionals: doctors, nurses, etc etc. Since I am training to be in the field of “helping” although not in the medical field, I feel that this experience has added to my perspective on how I will help my future clients. I feel like asking for help will be of tremendous aid to providing help. I know what it’s like to be on the flip side of being the recipient of help. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you scared. It is also deeply humbling. You need to open your arms up to everyone and say “Hey, this is me. Things aren’t going so great. I need YOUR help.”

So, what’s the point of this banter?? If YOU yourself are struggling with a mental health issue, a chronic health condition, financial problems, it is OK to ask for help! In my case people have been more concerned than judgemental. Your friends and medical providers want what’s best for you. I don’t know your situation, but that’s what has been my situation. The more I talk about it, the more it feels a huge burden has been lifted off my chest. It’s okay to have a chronic health issues! A ton of people in this world do, too! Sharing your story makes others feel more at ease (well, depending on the person, haha) and they want to do whatever they can to be able to help you.

I have become deeply humbled by asking for help through all of these years. I think it has helped to shape me into the person I am today. Knowing that it’s OK to ask for help is one of the first big steps into recovery.

Love you lots!! xox

ALSO: Puggles!! SO CUTE!!!!baby puggles

Epilepsy: It Is What It Is

   VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100  So I can’t believe it, but I have finally reached the point of accepting my Epilepsy for what it is. It’s not a curse. It’s not a life sentence. It’s a chronic illness and that’s it! Yeah, I know that the past couple of years have felt bleak at times, but now I know that I am so much stronger than I ever could have imagined. I have endured so many accidents, along with mental health problems. I think they should actually be called “mental hell” issues because that’s what it felt like. The pendulum was constantly swinging back and forth between anxiety and depression and I felt like I was just stuck in a life that revolved around this chronic condition. I felt completely and entirely defined by it and I was just sinking further and further into the quick sand with no way of getting out. Today though, I feel that I am standing stronger, with my head held high and I am completely and 100 percent proud of how far I’ve come. Tackling anxiety has been a huge feat (and I will admit, I do still struggle with it from time to time). Although I realize that when I get the feelings of anxiety- for example sometimes I feel like I’m being choked and my airways are being blocked- I know that it’s the anxiety speaking. It’s not me! I am able to self-talk my way through it and use some of the coping strategies that I have developed over the past few years. I’m not trying to say in any way that this has been easy. For awhile I was angry, and sad that I wasn’t in the point of my life that I wanted to be. Why wasn’t I out there with my Master’s degree doing social work? Why was I still doing my undergraduate when the majority of my friends had already graduated and moved on with their lives? Why, why, WHY!

     Well, this is MY path and this is where I am supposed to be. Who cares that I graduated a bit later. It’s not like there was someone sitting there timing how long it took me to complete my undergraduate degree. It was only me who was judging myself for how “successful” I was. All of my internalized thoughts of what it meant to be successful were dragging me down and were not of any use to my well being or success. Plus, it’s not like anyone really cared! It didn’t matter! All of my friends were there cheering me on when I graduated, and they all saw it as a huge accomplishment! It was like it was their success too! What an amazing feeling.

    With regards to having seizures, they have been under better control lately. Every single day I wake up and try to be as healthy as possible. This includes getting enough sleep (which is not tonight, I must admit as I can’t sleep), eating regularly, and exercising for 45-60 minutes for at least 6 days a week. I have been keeping a log of what I have been eating and how much I have been exercising and I have created health goals for the following months. You know that old expression, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I am really trying hard to listen to my body and when I am tired, I will rest. I won’t try to push past my limits and then fling myself back into another round of seizures. Sleep is so important for seizure management, so I am working to not overdue it when it comes to socializing and being out and about. I am also trying to be more cognisant of how possible stressful situations can build to cause seizures. I just am trying to talk myself through it, and in some cases the things I have been stressed about are not actually worth the time and energy fretting about. Things will happen as they were meant to be. Also, I’ve realized something super important. If you have been following my blog you will see the shift in attitude for sure. And if not…then well I have no idea where you’ve been. Epilepsy is Epilepsy. So what? I can still lead my fulfilling life. I am planning for the future based on what I want to do and not on what Epilepsy might want to do. I have hopes, goals and dreams and I know I will succeed in whatever I want. Sure, I might have to modify some things, but who cares? I may have Epilepsy, but it sure as hell doesn’t have me.

Love you lots! xox

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Seizures and Mental Health; A Twisty Road

keep-talking-about-mental-health greenSo I haven’t talked about this at all on my blog. Mostly because I was embarrassed and had internalized stigma about it. Well, here goes:

    When I went home in 2013 to take a year off from university, my neurologist had diagnosed me as having both epileptic seizures as well as emotionally based seizures, which are otherwise known as Psychogenic Epileptic seizures (PNES). PNES is defined as “attacks that may look like epileptic seizures, but are not caused by abnormal brain electrical discharges. They are a manifestation of psychological distress. Frequently, patients with PNES may look like they are experiencing generalized convulsions similar to tonic clonic seizures with falling and shaking.” (http://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/3/truth-about-psychogenic-nonepileptic-seizures)

     People are scared to talk about mental health issues due to fear of being stigmatized, or shunned. Not to mention there is so much misunderstand about various mental health issues and sometimes people only believe the stereotypes that they hear about. How would people respond to me if I told them that some of my seizures were responses to psychological distress? Would they be more likely to steer away from me or would they embrace it with open arms? My mind told me that it was definitely the former, not the latter. Our society places a huge value on being autonomous and independent. Being hit with a double whammy of some form of mental health issue on top of a chronic condition was enough to make me weary of others reactions, so I avoided talking about it. Having epilepsy in and of itself is hard enough, so adding one more stigma to the list wasn’t something that I was pumped about.

     I stopped blogging for awhile after that because I was worried that a future employer would find this post and see me as ‘unstable’ and even less desirable as a candidate for a potential job. What does this say about mental health in our society?!

      Hello My Name Is I have been extremely depressed before, and during that period of my life I could barely crawl out of bed. I was having ongoing seizures, was still in classes, and I found that I was able to make it through to Wednesday but then I completely crashed. I stopped going to the gym, and my zest for life in general was gone. Life was meaningless. I cried everyday for a week, yet I convinced myself that I was just having ‘a bad day’. Except a ‘Bad Day’ meant every day. A bad day my ass!! Something’s going on if your energy plummets and you feel sad and have to leave class early due to constant crying. My mom was worried that I would drop out of classes. I just pushed and pushed through it but could I just ‘snap out of it’? (A common myth of people with depression). NO! It was like I had fallen down a hole and was stuck without a ladder.

       Thankfully this depression did not last forever, and although I indignantly refused Anti Depressants, I managed to heal. I’m not totally sure how, but I got through. It wasn’t a question of “snapping out of it”, but over time I felt more like myself. I am more of my usual bubbly self who dances in her room to dance tunes and smiles while walking down the street. Sounds corny, I know but my life is a little corny sometimes. Even my parents could tell over the phone how much better I sounded. Parents are weird like that, hey?

      Anyways, let’s fast forward to November 2013. I did extensive testing to find out more about my seizures, and the doctors concluded that ALL of my seizures were electrically based. So essentially I didn’t have Psychogenic Epilepsy seizures as well as epileptic ones. I was relieved about this, but that’s not the point of this post. I wanted to shed light on how having a double whammy of a diagnosis (Epilepsy and emotionally based seizures) could have really shifted my life around.

      I know for sure that if I truly had a diagnosis of emotionally based seizures only my closest friends and family would know about it. I consider myself to be very open and compassionate towards others mental health issues, even though I have no idea what it’s like to live with it. On the other hand, I am pretty tough on myself and it would probably take a long time to accept it. Exercising compassion towards yourself is difficult, as you know who you are and who you want to be. If you are not who you want to be it can be sometimes be frustrating, difficult, and even infuriating.

     Essentially. I wish there was less stigma about mental health issues in our society so people would actually feel comfortable talking about it. I find that talking about important things that I’m going through really helps me to process how I feel about it. I also wish that mental health issues wouldn’t get thrown around as a joke, like “Oh I’m so OCD today or I’m so Bipolar today.” Some people really struggle and it is not okay to make light of it. Depending on where you live, it can be even difficult to access the health care that you need, or perhaps your family doesn’t believe in mental health issues and are not even willing to help. Can you imagine that? Maybe you already know what I mean, I don’t know. I am sure there are people in the world who are comfortable with talking about their mental health issue, which is amazing. I just wish that it was safer for people to disclose. If my diagnosis of emotionally based seizures was true, I know I could talk the talk, but it would be a hell of a journey to walk the walk. Love you all! xox

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AMAZING NEWS! You Don’t Wanna Miss This!!


DSC_0313Hey guys, so I have some pretty exciting news! This is the landmark of being seizure free for one month! I made it! It feels like my birthday! Wait, even BETTER than my birthday!! I wish I could have cake and presents for it; it feels like such a milestone. I hope this is actually the beginning of seizure free living, and not just a lucky streak. Please cross your fingers for me. I need all the good vibes I can get! Here’s a quote from a song that’s been keeping me strong and making me feel inspired. You can do whatever you want, as long as you believe it’s possible. Why WON’T it work out?!

Everybody is a star

It don’t matter who you are

Keeping on reaching for your dreams

It aint as crazy as it seems

Own It” -Black Eyed Peas

http://grooveshark.com/s/Own+It/3kaJQR?src=5

Love you all! Hope this has helped those out there who are struggling with seizure control. I’m right there with ya! xox