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Difficult days

Depression has been suffocating me for a few weeks now, and then yesterday I had one of the worst days for seizures I’ve had in a long time.

Things are pretty stressful atm and stress is one of my top 5 seizure triggers. Yesterday this really showed!

I had three big clusters of seizures, lasting over an hour each time. About 20 minutes of back-to-back seizures (each seizure lasting 2-3 minutes, with a 20 second break of me being somewhat lucid, then another rolling in), then 40-60 minutes afterwards where I act messed up…laughing spontaneously, shouting, repeating words for minutes on end, talking nonsense, swearing etc.

After each cluster I feel incredibly spacey and it takes me a long time to recover. So three of them in one day leaves me with little time to feel well, as I feel off before them too!

I finally came around late evening, so we were able to get the dogs out right at the end of the day and enjoy a takeaway. I hope today is better for seizures, although my depression is already making me feel terrible…better days had better be ahead!

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Don’t stop fighting!

If anyone had told me in the last 15 years that I could feel like I do now, I would have told them it was bullshit.

I spent 8 years trying to get help and trying to feel better through the NHS, and for 11 years I was varying levels of suicidal. From attempts and crying so much at night because I just didn’t want to live, to even when I was happy thinking if there was a magic button that would stop me existing, I would push it.

There wasn’t one point in the last almost decade where I would have chosen not to stop existing if I could. I just didn’t see the point in living; feeling okay / manic was followed by huge crushing depressive episodes, and I was never truly happy or stable, or enjoying life.

For years I was told the same old bullshit by neurotypicals who thought positivity was the answer to all my problems – “Oh just think positive! Don’t give up! Happiness is a choice! It will get better!”

Well, when you’ve felt so bad and feel fighting so long, you truly can’t believe that. And being told it repeatedly only makes you feel worse!

Then I started having seizures, dozens a day, and life got even harder. For 18 months I couldn’t go anywhere, and I was learning about myself all over again – what I could do (very little!!), and the list of things I couldn’t do anymore was endless – go out alone, read, photography, travel (bus, car or train), go into shops (supermarkets, vets, museums, bookshops), walk in forests, walks by rivers or the sea. I couldn’t even have the curtains open at home, EVER – I lived in darkness.

Then we began finding ways to manage.

My mental health had already improved tenfold just by dropping all medical appts. No meds, no psychiatrist, nothing. For me, this has been the thing that has helped me most. I am not recommending others take this route, but for me it’s been incredibly beneficial!

For 5 years I jumped through every hoop the NHS offered – I took all the meds they threw at me, and lived with devastating side effects. I saw bitchy social workers, incompetent social workers, abusive GPs and scary psychiatrists. I had A&E visits and calls / visits to crisis team were regular. I was a mess.

Then I stopped going to appts, and the pressure was off. Previously I was always terrified of my appts, and began stressing about the next as soon as one was over. I saw my SW every fortnight, I would tell her how suicidal I was and she would do nothing. I didn’t know how else to get help.

By not going to appts, we had to figure it out ourselves, and the constant stress of appts was gone. We banded together, discovered techniques that actually worked (as oppose to all the bullshit SWs suggestions!) and our communication improved. I still have some intense mood swings, but for the first time ever I have stable periods in between, and we muddle through supporting each other.

We even had to find our own way to manage seizures, because the NHS didn’t care – they’re not tonic clonic so obviously don’t affect me at all, right?! Most medical professionals I saw refused to even believe that there were other types of seizures.

And, of course,  most GPs blamed the ‘symptoms’ on my bipolar and wanted to soley talk about my MH…I would try explain that I have auras, identifiable triggers (including bright and flickering light), and EVERYTHING tallies up to focal seizures. But they wouldn’t even consider it.

They made me go through a completely uneccesary blood test before agreeing to put me on a waiting list to see a neurologist, which will be about 12 months. In the meantime they’re happy to leave me unattended with these seizures, which were (/are) ruining my life. No medication, no support, nothing.

So again, we banded together and figured out huge improvements ourselves.

My seizures are drastically reduced, I feel much more confident about having them in public (see previous post!) and they’re under control even if they’re not technically under control, because I’m still having about 15 a day 😛

So with all this shit, for the first time ever, life is good!

For any spoonies reading this, my message to you is: If you are struggling, fight for things to get better.

And no, I am not telling you to ‘think positive’ 😉 I’m just saying, don’t give up. Keep fighting for improvement, be it trying to eek some use out of the NHS, or finding things that work for yourself.

If you have a significant other, TALK!! Sound things off against each other, everything, and problem solve together. Be completely honest about your symptoms, your feelings, and what would help. Ask how they are doing, and what you can try do to support them too. Talk, talk, talk!

If you are disabled and can’t work, find little things to keep you busy and give you structure. I’ve found this really helps me.

Small hobbies that are easy to do include:

  • Adult colouring books
  • Collecting objects (I collect buttons and sea glass!)
  • Caring for pets
  • Hiking / walking (disability dependent)
  • Reading
  • Reviewing things (cider, movies, dog breeds, ANYTHING!)
  • Doodling

I’ve found hobbies that you can sink a lot of time into are super helpful. This could be…

  • Collecting sea glass
  • Volunteering at an animal rescue centre
  • Collecting litter
  • Traveling to beautiful places and taking photos
  • Video games
  • Blogging

Third important point: don’t EVER feel the need to push yourself past your limits.

You know your body and your conditions better than anybody else. If you need a full day lying in bed because your symptoms are crippling, do it. If all you can do in a day is one teeny dog walk, that is perfectly acceptable.

Listening to what your body needs is not  you being lazy!!

This is something I struggle hugely with. I come from a family where achievement is measured by grades or how ‘good’ your job is. From the time I was 12 there was a ton of pressure on what job I wanted when I was older, and by the time I was 16 this was suffocating. For an adult with disabilities, having that instilled in you is extremely stressful, and left me with constant shame and guilt.

But I’m slowly learning that my disabilities are NOT MY FAULT. I’m doing the best I can and I’m doing as much as I can.  If most people were given my chronic illnesses for one day it would floor them, so the fact I walk my dogs, care for my pets, and blog is phenomenal 🙂

I didn’t ask for this life. I would love to work. But I can’t, and  I refuse to feel guilty for being ill. My ‘job’ is to keep myself as healthy as possible!

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post anymore haha.

I basically wanted to say that life can get better. That you’re amazing for dealing with the shit as best you can, and  for knowing your limitations. That if you find help / things that work in unusual places, that’s AMAZING!

I had a GP appt a few weeks ago, and she was awful. She hinted heavily (and repeatedly) that I should get back in touch with MH services…and I was sitting there thinking “fuck you! Why would I *ever* do that?” 😛

Every living thing learns through positive reinforcement – we do what works. Keep doing it, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for it ❤

 

 

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Damn it world…

Life is throwing so much BS our way XD

Obnoxious GP, the most insane toothache that has spread to my whole jaw, my partner is ill, we had a really stressful day today with a damn electrician, my seizures have been terrible…and have I mentioned ow toothache?! 😀

The electrician came today, and all we’d been told is that it would be a ‘quick job’, He gets here and tells my partner it’s going to take SEVEN HOURS!! Holy shit.

So for the entire time I’m sat in a room upstairs out the way, because oddly enough I don’t want to have seizures in front of a stranger in my own damn house…but eventually the lighting in this room fucks with me (normally we’re only up there for an hour max) so I fall into a huge seizure cluster with an awful panic aura.

And after all that, one of the things he did was switch the light in our bathroom to a new fitting and bulb. We’d mentioned to our landlord if it was gonna be a bright light could we swap it somehow, to try prevent accidental seizures, and the landlord didn’t respond. We now have this behemoth of a light in there that is SO FUCKING BRIGHT.

I immediately hung a notice on the door, to try prevent people accidentally leaving the light on and me going upstairs and being immediately triggered *sigh*

After the electrician had finally gone I had a nap. I  woke with some killer seizures (one lasting 3 minutes 25 – possibly my longest awake seizure to date?!) and in agony from toothache.

(me summed up in a photo today – blank, seizey, befuddled and in pain XD)

spoonz

AAAGH.

Thankfully stressful shizz is over now, and we have friends coming to stay this weekend, so that should be fun. I love being able to socialise and have friends stay now, for the past 6+ years I have been too mentally / physically unwell to manage it, so this is a fun achievement 🙂

Please send us healing and happy thoughts, we both feel like zomibies XD

spoonz1

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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!

badday.jpg

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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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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I entered a competition, want to vote??

Hey all!

I entered an art competition, for the first time in my life 😀

It’s aimed at people with mental health issues and is a ‘draw your demons’ competition. I drew how my psychosis feels.

If anybody would like to vote, or just see my picture, click this link —> Demon of Psychosis

All votes are appreciated, thank you!