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Bleh bleh and bleh

My mania crashed…it seems forcing my body to sleep using Valium was enough to break it, and oddly enough depression hasn’t followed (yet…). As it is I’m just agitated and feel weird, but that could also be due to the high number of seizures I’ve been having.

Today has been awful. A lot of emotional stress, seizures, and episodic dyscontrol syndrome. Plus bad luck and the world just being a dick XD

The best thing that happened today was that the train driver asked my partner if it was “one adult and a child” (thus mistaking me for a teenage boy XD). It sounds weird, that being a positive, but for me it feels so amazing not to be recognised as ‘a girl’ anymore.

I’ve never identified properly with the idea of being female – I hate my boobs, I never felt like a girl, and I’ve been a ‘tomboy’ since I was about 8. But at the same time I didn’t feel male either…I didn’t want a penis, I didn’t want to change my gender. When I discovered the term genderqueer / non-binary, everything made sense!

For the first time I’ve been able to BE me 🙂

I finally have the freedom to dress how I want without feeling guilty because ooh but girls don’t dress like this, and changing my name to a unisex name means I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.

So the fact that the ticket guy didn’t look at me and see GIRL really made my heart soar 🙂

After a long day my body was knackered, so I lay in bed for half an hour fighting for sleep. When my body finally surrendered I slept for over 90 minutes, but had the worst wake up…over half an hour of back-to-back seizures, where I wasn’t able to move, speak, or open my eyes. I HATE seizure clusters as I’m waking, it’s awful.

Zombie me!

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Speaking of zombie me, my partner managed to catch footage of me during a complex / focal impaired seizure. These are the seizures where although my eyes are open, I am not conscious.

I move, fiddle and walk during these seizures, and afterwards I may be dazed, confused, shout nonsense or swear words, and act drunk. Watching myself move about like this, but look so ‘blank’ and lost, was hella weird.

And a weird photo of rust from our terrible day out.

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The many faces of mania

About a week ago we noticed the very beginning of hypomania.

Since then it’s rocketed upwards. It’s felt VERY odd feeling this way, I don’t remember when my last manic episode was, and especially not where I got this manic!

All of yesterday was awful, but by the evening I was entirely broken.

For six nights I hadn’t gotten more than 6 hours sleep, with the smallest amount being less than 4 hours. I was jittery, couldn’t focus on anything, was irritable, and constantly moving – rocking, flailing my legs, punching myself. I felt like I was crawling out my skin.

My bf gave me half a valium in the evening. That usually knocks me right out; my mania was so intense I was left very much awake, but much more lucid and able to concentrate. I took another half before bed, and slept 5 blissful hours last night!

I’ve had half a valium early today, and will take another this evening. Must keep the mania at bay!!!

Anywho, here are the many faces of mania – insomnia, intense energy and frustration, bouncing off the walls.

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I am back in the world

After being a recluse for 18+ months due to seizures, being physically and mentally able to go places again feels absolutely phenomenal.

For over 18 months I only left the house for dog walks. I didn’t leave my village, I didn’t travel on public transport, go in supermarkets, or stay outside for long periods of time. I basically didn’t have a life.

Most of this period we were totally unaware I was having seizures, and were desperately trying to work out what was causing my odd behaviour, panic, zoning out etc. We were trying to manage it, live with it and understand it – my ex-social worker blamed my seizures on bipolar moods / psychosis, as dissociation, but otherwise left us alone to handle it ourselves. Shortly after we stopped going to appts, because we couldn’t manage and as ever they weren’t helping!!

Now that we’ve found ways to manage everything a bit better, and especially with the polarized goggles, I am actually able to get out and about in the world 😀

I’ve been able to go in shops!!! Actual well lit, big, supermarket shops! I can go on public transport. I can have longer periods of time out and enjoy things and just *be* a person with a life!!

One of the things I am now able to do is go and manage GP appts. We recently switched to a new GP surgery, as our previous surgery behaved disgustingly yet again…and the new surgery seems INCREDIBLE!

The Dr at the meet and greet was lovely; very friendly, polite, and the ‘negatives’ he listed about the surgery (that sometimes you might have to wait two days for an appt, or if you wanted one at a specific surgery the longest you might have to wait is six days) made us laugh…at our previous surgery we had to wait three weeks for an emergency appt!!!!

He asked if either of us were on any referrals, and I mentioned that I was waiting to be referred to a neurologist to investigate seizures, but needed a blood test first. He said as soon as my info had been swapped across we could get that done, and if the previous surgery dicked about and didn’t send it soon enough, we could phone them, ask what specific blood test it is, and get it done sooner 🙂

So I’m actually on the way to having my seizures looked at!

Overall a very positive post…and hopefully not because I’m manic hahaha!! No but really, having a life rocks. Of course days out the house still affect me more, with the result being exhaustion and increased seizures, but the fact I am able to do things just feels so incredibly wonderful 🙂

 

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Why must I be out in the world?!

We signed up to the new GP surgery today, the other one in our town.

We get there, and the receptionist says that although we’ll be signed to this surgery, most appts will be at the other surgery, a 25 minute bus ride away…whyyyyy?!

Apparently you can see Dr’s at our surgery, it’s just a longer wait as there are fewer appt slots there. We said that was fine as the previous surgery left you waiting 3 weeks for an emergency appt XD

Even so, apparently we have to have a ‘meet and greet’ appt with the GP before we will be registered, and that has to be at the far away surgery…this sucks because I’m already going to freaking out (I haven’t had a physical appt at a surgery in a few years, and this will be a new surgery with a new Dr!) and the bus will make me very sensitive seizures too. Add some stress and I’ll be fucked >__<

The receptionist said the lighting was dim at that surgery too, when I asked, but my bf still wants to try and get the meet and greet at the nearby one. Idk.

Filling the questionnaire in was fun, considering all the information they demanded from you, and I had no idea what to put for epilepsy…I’m 98% certain I have epilepsy (as my seizures are light triggers, no t tonic clonic, and I have auras – all are incredibly rare with NES), but as I’m not diagnosed I couldn’t circle it.

In the end I circled everything, and put seizures under investigation, which is what a previous Dr wrote on my fit note.

Whilst we were out I also goggled up and got to go in the second hand bookstore, where I haven’t been able to go for years due to seizures and lighting. I love this place, and found a very old interesting dog breed book 😀

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Bad bits and good bits

Today got off to a shit start, with my GP surgery being major dicks yet again!

My bf phoned up to ask if the surgery could legally do a blood test if I was having a seizure.  As far as we knew I was on the waiting list for a home test, but we’d been waiting for months and thought with my new polarized goggles I could get in and out fairly easily…we just wouldn’t want to get there, me to have a seizure, and them to say “we can’t legally do it now, come back another day!”…and it’d NEVER be done!!

The receptionist was actually disgusting. She treated my bf like shit. She told him he was wasting their time asking this question, that “there’d be Dr’s there” if I did have a seizure, and – the best bit! – snapped “You’re not having a home visit, if that’s what you’re after!”

Firstly, that IS NOT what we were after, secondly according to the previous receptionist we spoke to we were already on that list!!!

Thanks for letting us know we weren’t at all XD

After receiving no answer, we hung up. We then phoned Epilepsy Action’s advice line, who were almost as unhelpful and out of date in their information…according to them seizures cannot be triggered by fluorescent lighting?!?

Quick google search showed me many others were also triggered by fluorescent / LED lighting, and this post on an epilepsy forum hit home as I share a lot of these triggers!

Anyway.

The benefit of this was that we discovered a new GP surgery in our town. It’s in a small house, so has normal lighting, and means I don’t have to deal with the shitty staff anymore…yay!

Today I went out for 3 hours, which was really fun! It resulted in a high number of seizures (21 simple partial, and 3 complex partial), but without my polarized goggles it would have been much more, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near as much 🙂

Here’s me in a brightly lit shop!!

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And we even had a meal at a pub 😀

And an ice cream with a view for desert!!

Awesome day 🙂

A few hours after we got back home, my brain crashed and I had to take a codeine for a migraine…but it was worth it!

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Seizures aren’t all the same!

Did you know there are over 40 different type of seizures?

When people hear the word epilepsy, they think of people dropping to the floor and shaking…but that isn’t even the most common type of seizure!!

The most common type of seizure is complex partial (also called focal impaired) seizures; where the person looks conscious, and may move or wander, but in actual fact they have lost consciousness. Think of the phrase “the lights are on but nobody’s home”!

I have simple and complex partial seizures. I find on an almost daily basis that because my seizures don’t involve dropping to the ground, people don’t take it anywhere near as seriously. This pisses me off, because I deal with the following yet I have it ‘easy’?!

  1. Over a dozen seizures daily that last 1-2.5 minutes at a time
  2. Clusters, where I have half a dozen seizures in a 20 minute period
  3. A complete loss of control about where these seizures happen…it can be mid sentence, when I’m eating, surrounded by people, staring at someone etc
  4. Feeling exhausted afterwards
  5. Feeling spacey, slow-brained and confused
  6. After complex partial seizures I act erratic, and may shout swear words, burst into laughter, or gesticulate hugely with my hands. People have called me disgusting, because they assumed I was drunk / on drugs
  7. Before about 70% of my seizures I experience an aura, which lets me know a seizure is incoming. My auras vary from flashing white specks (the most common), to a panic aura. I feel flooded with panic, and often end up hyperventilating and crying, THEN having a seizure
  8. Losing large chunks of memory, hours at a time
  9. Not being able to go out without wearing gigantic ski goggles
  10. Having to avoid bright lights, flashing lights, arcades, the cinema, and bodies of water
  11. Having several migraines a week, because my brain is mush from all the seizures

Epilepsy is an invisible illness. There’s so much suffering going on under the surface that passers by don’t see.

For anyone interested, this is me during a simple partial seizure

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Epilepsy success: Blue Tinted Polarized Goggles!

So today has been INCREDIBLE!!!

About a week ago someone told me that polarized sunglasses help them when they feel a migraine coming on, and they wondered if they might help me with seizures. I am hugely photosensitive, to the point that changes in lighting (eg going indoors from outside), strobes, bright lights and reflections all trigger seizures.

I live a life of gloom; our curtains are always pulled shut and in the evening we have to use lamps hidden partially behind curtains, rather than turn on a big light.

I did some research into polarized lenses and epilepsy, and found that blue tinted polarized glasses have been found to be helpful in individuals with photosensitive epilepsy. So I ordered some ski goggles in – in part because they’re comfortable and easy to wear over my glasses, and also because ski goggles keep the light out much better than ski goggles.

When they arrived, they were HUGE…but they work wonders 😀

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Today I went out for 3.5 hours (which is a massive deal for me). This involved two 45 minutes bus journeys (I normally have at least half a dozen seizures on a 20 minute journey) and I went into brightly lit shops for the first time in a year!!!

Before this the only shops I was able to go in were dingily lit shops, such as most charity shops. If I nipped in and was wearing a sunhat, I could cope with them. But I hadn’t been in any shop with bright lighting (eg. Waterstones, supermarkets, chain pet shops, shopping arcades etc) in a year.

Today, because the goggles were helping so much, we risked it…NO SEIZURES!!

To be in a supermarket, and able to look around and find things I wanted to buy, without worrying about seizures or feeling ill, was truly amazing. Me and my partner were just walking around with huge grins on our faces 😀

As soon as we realised that it was safe, I went into Waterstones too! I *love* Waterstones and could easily spend a good few hours in there, so getting to go in for twenty minutes was phenomenal. I even got a new dog book!

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Finally we went into a shopping centre, and got some macarons. The guy commented “wow, those are some serious glasses!” I explained what they were for and that this was my first time out somewhere so bright, and the guy was lovely – he was genuinely happy for me, and gave us four free macarons 😀

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On this trip I had seven seizures total (5 simple partial and two complex partial), but all but one was at the very end, when my brain had had to cope with too much and was shutting down. Other than the very end, I had just one seizure 🙂

The downside to the goggles were all the rude stares, comments, and sniggers I got. Today alone over a dozen people commented on them (generally degrading, or simple “what the fuck?” type comments) and some people walked past gawping or stood uncomfortable close and just frowned at me.

The most hilarious comments were a kid asking his dad if they were VR glasses, and was I walking around in virtual reality (!!); and a group of teenagers sniggering “nice glasses!” as they passed – my bf then replied “they’re for epilepsy”, and their faces fell as one mumbled “oh…sorry…” XD

I’m going to write EPILEPSY on the band and try fathom a way to put it on the front, in hopes of stopping the rude morons commenting, but for now I’d rather deal with anxiety around arseholes than have constant seizures and not be able to go anywhere!