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Things have been difficult, but I am back!

An angry update against the NHS πŸ˜‰

I first went to see a GP about my seizures last summer.

I saw an awful old witch of a Dr, who spent the 10min appt glaring at the scars from decade-old self harm on my arm, saying my seizures just looked like I was watching TV, & asking repeatedly about my mental health.

We later found that on the neurology referral this Dr had already said I was having “psychogenic seizures” (that is, triggered by emotion, stress, mental illness – we’d told her my emotions didn’t affect my seizures, of course). She also mentioned in the referral that I had self harm scars in full view (it was summer, I was wearing a t-shirt due to the heat!!), & referred to my seizures as “funny turns”.

Since then, when discussing my seizures with *every* GP, it was a battle to remind them my seizures weren’t diagnosed as ‘psychogenic’. I had one GP tell me numerous times “psychogenic seizures aren’t voluntary, it’s a fight or flight response”, “you can’t help it, you’re not doing it on purpose”, & she wanted to refer me to a psychologist to help me overcome “past trauma” that was triggering these ‘episodes’.

I wanted to scream!

STOP INSISTING THEY’RE PSYCHOGENIC SEIZURES, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU LITERALLY JUST ADMITTED YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT MH. STFU!

My neurologist was the only one who was respectful. She wasn’t happy at all with how long I’d had to wait, that I’d been left alone like this, & that the GPs had jumped to psychogenic seizures.

In the year-long wait it took to get an EEG, I discovered that I had POTS. That is, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

And hey, what do you know, there’s an entire bracket of non epileptic seizures that was overlooked simply because I have bipolar disorder!! Physiological non epileptic seizures, triggered by conditions that cause physical changes – usually blood pressure, oxygen to the brain, or blood sugar…OH HELLO POTS!!

(this is my hr when I stand up)

After being told, repeatedly, that my seizures were ‘all in my head’, & that my mh is the cause, it turns out they’re triggered by a physical condition. And once again I had to discover that myself, because the NHS missed it completely. They were too busy blaming my bipolar disorder for everything πŸ™„

All the symptoms I’d been to the Dr’s about (heart palpitations & dizziness first, in 2010), I was told were caused by my mental illness. I’ve been getting sicker & sicker, and nobody would listen or take me seriously…I have a mental illness, obviously that means I’m immune to physical conditions?!

This way of thinking is absolutely not okay!!!

I shouldn’t HAVE to research & diagnose all my fucking conditions. I shouldn’t have to find ways to prove them to Dr’s at appts…Dr’s who then become so worried, because my HR is so high when I’m just sat in a chair, that they push me for an emergency ECG in case my life is in danger!!

We can’t keep blaming any and all symptoms on MH, simply because the person has a diagnosed mental health condition/s. I’ve been left totally alone with zero support for my seizures (dozens every single day) for over a year. My life crumbled to nothing. I’ve had falls, black eyes, bruises, dislocated fingers in falls…and it was blamed on my MH, it was blamed on me!

Now I know I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, my life has actually improved. I know why my seizures happen, & although I can’t prevent them, I’m able to go out and enjoy more because I have a wheelchair now. For the first time in years I can be around light, I can go to museums, I can eat out. The wheelchair keeps my heart rate lower than if I was standing/walking, it allows me to rest when needed, & if I have a seizure because my HR gets too high, I can’t fall. It’s AMAZING, and it all got missed.

For a year I couldn’t go out, socialise, go shopping. I haven’t been able to go to the cinema since 2015. I was living in darkness, because we thought it was the light triggering my seizures – think about it, when you’re around lights (sunlight through trees, fluorescent lights, flashing lights), you’re outside, which means you’re standing & walking. Which meant I was having seizures. I’m also more photosensitive due to my POTS, so we weren’t that far off the mark.

For over a year I didn’t go anywhere, I sat in the dark…and I was left like that! Because the NHS jumped immediately to psychogenic seizures, because I have a mh condition. I missed out on a year of my life!

Yes, I am pissed off. No, this isn’t okay.

Thank god me and Lyle are strong, are resilient, & have found a way to make life liveable!

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A good day

I actually had a good day today, although I’m paying for meeting up with relatives for 4 hours – very exhausted and seizey now!

Once we got home my bf called the company conducting my assessment for PIP, and the woman on the phone was just lovely and so helpful.

Firstly we asked if there was a way to move my assessment from the city 50 minutes away (where they gave us the appt) to the city 15 minutes away. Being out the house for longer triggers an increase in seizures; being on transport for any amount of time triggers an increase in seizures…so I couldn’t do that.

Anyway, they moved my assessment across really easily…which begs the question of why they were sending us further away in the first place?!

Next we had to ask about allowances in the assessment room. This would either be a room with no windows and dimmed lighting or a room with covered windows and dimmed lighting – failing that, a desk I can sit under andhide hide from the light πŸ˜‚

The woman put that on file and their appointments team should be calling us in the next few days to talk about what they can do.

Finally we needed to ask about recording the assessment. The fact I have seizures means my memory is hugely affected, and I can’t remember things like I used to. An assessment is stressful, and not remembering what was said would be terrifying for me…however PIP sent us a booklet of rules, and one was that if you want to record the assessment you have to let them know in advance and use a recording device that provides two hard copies (CD or cassette) BY THE END OF THE ASSESSMENT.

So. We don’t have anything that could do this, and we can’t afford to buy a recording device. The woman’s going to ask if we can use a phone to record, and if not then my bf will be writing everything said by hand…meaning the assessment will last twice as long, but what can we do? πŸ˜…

Exhausted. Yawn.

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Preparing for my appt

Guys I am SO SCARED about this appt!!!!

I’m not even totally sure why. The day’s gonna be a big day out, which will make me sicker so that won’t be nice…but I’m just so stressed that I’m gonna get fobbed off and not taken seriously again. I just want to get to the bottom of these seizures and to get a diagnosis. I don’t care if I have epilepsy or PNES, I just want to *know* so I can hopefully get treatment that works and we can have a better life…

I don’t want them to diagnose me with epilepsy if they’re non-epileptic seizures, because that means taking strong, pointless medication. But I don’t want them to immediately jump to a diagnosis of PNES based purely on my diagnosis of bipolar, because then my brain could be damaged by so many seizures or they could progress to tonic clonic if untreated. I basically want to be taken seriously and given the right diagnosis!!

I’m so scared about this appt XD

We went to my bf’s parents last night and my new welder’s goggles did really well with the various lights. I had an awful cluster partway through the night, which could have been because a light was flashing down the back/side of the goggles…but I was able to recover from that within about half an hour and enjoy the rest of the night again, slowly returning to normal πŸ™‚

My partner filmed some of it for the neurologist appt too!

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Non-epileptic seizures

So it seems that what I thought were dissociative episodes are actually non-epileptic seizures, also called functional seizures and dissociative seizures.

I have to have an appt with my GP soon for med re-fill (I haven’t had an appt in a long, loooong time, so this is terrifying) so I’m going to talk about NES with him too. Ugh.

I’ve been having at least one seizure a day. I really don’t know why I’m having so many. Build up seems to last about half an hour, I’m comatose for 10-40 minutes, and then I feel groggy for a good few hours afterwards. The other day I lostΒ sixΒ hours to a sezure. I can’t remember almost any of it, and the seizure itself only lasted 30 minutes 😦

My pup is awesome whilst I’m having a seizure and also alerted me a few times before having them, so we will be working on this and I hope she can become my seizure alert dog.

The seizures are really scary and seem easily triggered. Gog doesn’t even want to leave me alone for a second (seriously, when he’s on the loo he’s shouting down to me!!!), because if I have a seizure I could hurt myself, our pup could chew through a wire, anything could happen. It’s really scary, for both of us.

Doing so much research, Gog and I have worked out the best ways that we can help prevent a seizure, bring me back from one etc. One thing we do is with a dog toy, a ball covered in bobbles, and one bobble is missing. My partner passes me it when I’m coming out a seizure and tells me to find the missing bobble.

I didn’t need this on top of Bipolar and psychosis…but we’re finding ways to make it less terrifying. So.