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Everything is an uphill battle

I’m feeling totally overwhelmed at the moment, and depression is engulfing me again.

Yesterday marked 3 weeks since our PIP assessment, which we were led to believe that, because it was adding a new health condition and not a new claim, we would get the results within 3 weeks.

We got a letter from PIP, and opened it feeling sick with nerves…and it was this!!

Like…no!! Don’t say ‘we have your information’ when you’re supposed to be saying ‘we have your result’!!!

So my partner went to call the number to ask how long, and the automated script whilst you’re on hold has been updated to say you should wait at least FOUR WEEKS for your result now…like for fuck sake!! This is do taxing on my mental health, I just want it over with 😩

One of the most disgusting thing about benefits is how hard they make the process for disabled people. The people who need the most help!

This entire process has been a nightmare, and alongside it there’s been the Universal Credit process which has been going on for 10 months, & is just as bad!! I just want to know if we’re going to get the money we deserve. I want to know we’ll get money so we can not just ‘scrape by’, but LIVE. So we don’t have to worry. I want to know we won’t have to rely on a foodbank again, that we won’t lose our house, that I can get my disabled bus pass!

I’ve jumped through every hoop & it’s been so mentally AND physically taxing…so the fact we have to wait longer than they first said brought me to tears. UC has no end in sight, but PIP should’ve been over.

Anyway. That was yesterday.

Today everything feels like a very intense uphill battle. I’m feeling completely overwhelmed, even though there are no ‘scary’ plans today, no need to feel that way. I want to cry thinking that the instant I leave the house I’ll start having numerous seizures…what is my life?! What is the point?? Why am I continuing to live when my life is just being in a gloomy house?

Finley, our puppy, comes home at the end of this month. I need him so badly. Just gotta hold on.

Yesterday we went for a short walk around the forest at the end of our road. I didn’t wear my goggles, because if I do I miss out on the beauty of nature, I miss out on partaking in one of my favourite hobbies, photography!

I should be wearing my goggles anytime I’m outdoors, really. But I hate them so much that I really only wear them when I’m around lights (shops, restaurants, hospitals, buses, trains, town etc) or if I’m having a really bad day.

When I’m out in nature, I want to *feel* it, experience it…and you can’t do that wearing goggles that turn the world incredibly dark, steam up, and remove the beauty πŸ˜… Seriously, when I wear my goggles the world is muted to one dark-blue colour, there is no beauty.

If they stopped all my seizures outdoors I’d probably wear them all the time, because then it would be worth it. But if I’m gonna have seizures anyway I’d rather enjoy the beauty, thanks!

I’m so tired of not being able to do anything, not being able to go anywhere. Of having dozens of seizures everyday, just from being indoors and going on ONE WALK a day! I miss going places and doing things, not just walks…I miss days out, shops, visiting exciting places. I don’t remember the last time I was in a shop, even a small one, it was weeks ago.

I miss living.

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0

Fall-outs, weird days, depression be gone

Sorry I haven’t been posting much, I’ve been going through such an intense depressive episode 😫

It’s been really tough, I’ve shed a lot of tears and have spent most my time feeling guilty & hopeless. Add to that family arguments/conflict on both sides, the stress of PIP assessments and other benefit crap, the daily struggle of various disabilities, and the fact I’m still grieving for our dog that was PTS before Christmas…and yeah, things have been awful.

But I hope I’m kinda climbing my way out of it.

It was supposed to be my MRI this weekend, but because of how fraught things were with my parents, we phoned up and delayed it so that it could take place at the hospital 15 minutes away instead of 90+ minutes away. My EEG & neurologist appts should also be there now, too, so that’s good πŸ™‚

In order to switch where the appts were, my partner had to ring the following:

Call the neuro switchboard. Be put through to my neuro’s secretary. Be referred to the neuro switchboard again. Be transferred to the secretary AGAIN πŸ˜‚ Be pushed back to the neuro switchboard for the 3rd & final time, then referred to the x-ray department HAHAHA πŸ˜ΆπŸ˜‚

The nurse we finally spoke to, in order to switch where the referral was, couldn’t believe we’d been sent to their hospital when our local is so much closer…we were like, “yeah, us neither!” πŸ˜…

I’m really, really glad that’s sorted though.

I’m knackered tonight. Seizure cluster this evening exhausted me, so I’m heading to bed now…hoping this post makes sense…?

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Oh ffs

Thanks to the inordinate amount of stress I’m dealing with atm, it was always gonna trigger a depressive episode.

But it still really, really, REALLY sucks that it’s happened.

This is the last thing I needed right now 😞

I’m tired of my life being so, so limited. 

I’m tired of having dozens of seizures every day and living with all the after effects. Of living in fear. Of being unable to do anything for myself. Of having so little support from the NHS. Of benefits HEAPING stress onto my already difficult life. Of family & friends being totally oblivious to how awful everything is. Of my parents lacking all caring. 

I’m sick of everything…

I’m already scared of how this depressive episode is gonna go.. I hope it’s ended before Christmas 😭

2

Victorious yet anxious

Eight days ago I started using a new CBD oil, from CBD Brothers. 

I wasn’t feeling too hopeful, as I’ve tried five different CBD oils before and none have ever done that much.

Fast forward to this week, I’ve had THREE days with less than three seizures per day, and today (at 6:15pm) I’ve had just one seizure!!

This hasn’t happened in over 2 years!!!

Whilst I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s made me incredibly anxious too…will the NHS be even less interested in getting me diagnosed, if I’m having seizures less often and have found something myself that works? Seizures are the only thing the DWP seemed to take seriously – if I’m having less, will they reduce my benefit?Even though I’m still spending all day (other than an hour’s dog walk) hidden inside behind dark curtains, with the lights off…I can’t imagine they will listen.

I feel like such a dick, because here I am panicking about everything after one day of having just one seizure…but then I think hey, of course it’s going to feel strange and scary, for the last 2+ years you’ve been having dozens of seizures a day, and ANY type of big change can trigger anxiety.

So I’m just gonna have to treat myself gently, and focus on how INCREDIBLE it is that this CBD oil is helping my seizures. I could get a life back, and that is something to be celebrated, not feared.

2

Too much, too much!!

We’ve had a few busy days recently, beginning with my parents visiting at the weekend and journeying to a zoo.

The busyness caught up with me, and for the last few days I’ve just felt so physically exhausted. One day I didn’t leave bed other than to go to the loo. I have been SO TIRED.

For years I would’ve fought against this, called myself lazy, and been filled with self-hatred. But I’ve learned that when you’re chronically ill / disabled, you HAVE to listen to your body. Self care is not selfish! If you need a day of rest, you need a day of rest. If you need an entire day in bed recovering, do it!!

Today I woke up feeling energised, but I pushed myself too much. I ended up having to come home from a day out early, I had a seizure and fell (and have a cracking bruise on my head now), and we had to cancel plans with family. I rushed back into activity too soon, but I’ll learn from this and take it slower next time.

Point of this post? I dunno. Listen to your body, fight the stigma of others thinking you’re lazy, and do what YOU need to do.

ouch

0

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 –Β 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, Β 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 πŸ˜›

So with all this shit, for the first time ever,Β 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’ πŸ˜‰ 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,Β 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 Β 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 asΒ much as I can. Β 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 πŸ™‚

I didn’t ask for this life. I would love to work. But I can’t, and Β 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 Β 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?” πŸ˜›

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 ❀