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Good day plz?

My parents are nana are coming up today, to celebrate my birthday early.

For me it’s gonna be a big day out – 5 hours of being out in the world; eating lunch out and visiting museums. 

Yesterday I was suffering for pushing myself too far the day before. And by pushing myself, I mean and I went out for a few hours in the afternoon, then in the evening spent 3 hours researching epilepsy medication and taking notes…that was way too much, and I paid for it dearly ๐Ÿ˜… I went to bed exhausted with a headache, woke up midway through the night with a migraine, and woke up in the morning with a migraine too!

Spent all day yesterday up until 5pm sleeping, but finally felt better in the evening and managed a short dog walk.

Hoping today will be a good day out…fingers crossed for no pain, not too many seizures, and that I don’t end up paying for it tomorrow!!

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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.

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This bad day got busted!

Today started off with my depressive episode feeling the heaviest yet, but the day got completely overturned with a succession of awesome things happening ๐Ÿ˜€

This normally never happens, we have the worst luck haha, so yay!

First thing…Halifax got in touch about my complaint

I complained about the way they treated me in terms of my title, that they don’t have anything outside of Ms, Mrs or Mr on their system, and also that the staff member had no sympathy for me having seizures / brain fog.

Well, they gave me a monetary compensation and far FAR cooler – THEY ARE ADDING THE TITLE MX TO ALL THEIR BANKS, NATIONWIDE!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

They said it might take some time, but they are actually doing it! And I got the first Mx card from a Halifax ever, which my mum pointed out haha, and how cool is that?!

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Woohoo! Thank you Halifax for being so good ๐Ÿ™‚

On top of that, when I text my mum the outcome she was amazingly wonderfully supportive and impressed. We then had a really, really awesome conversation about the name change, me being non-binary, how I felt etc etc.

My parents haven’t seemed particularly supportive throughout this, so this came out of left field and made me so hugely happy!! She said she’s gonna start trying to call me Dally too haha, which will be weird but awesome XD

Happy me’s from today!

To celebrate monies, we went out and explored somewhere we’d never been before.

I’m trying to push myself for further and further train journeys now my polarized ski goggles are helping so much with seizures. This was my longest journey yet at 35 minutes. Great day, and I got to go around four different pet shops – something I haven’t been able to do in YEARS!!

We found a fab new herp shop, and guess what? WE RESERVED A ROYAL PYTHON!

I’ve wanted a Royal for almost a decade haha, but have always opted for other snakes when we’ve been looking for one. The pet shop guy was showing us loads of herps though, and this Royal was for sale and it was so tame and he said it was a great feeder…and it just happened ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m collecting it this weekend when my parents come visit us, so we have a few days to sort the viv out. If you don’t like snakes, look away now and scroll to the red word SAFE!

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The snake in the middle is mine! โค

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SAFE!

We also got a bite to eat at a Costa, and I found some new walking boots in a charity shop. Hells yea!

 

I only had four seizures whilst out, and we were out about 3.5/4 hours too ๐Ÿ˜€

Also check out this pic from the train on the way there…LOOK HOW NORMAL I LOOK!! I couldn’t ride trains for so long, and there I am just chilling reading a book!!

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Train back wasn’t quite as fun, as there were some obnoxious teenage girls sat opposite blatantly laughing at my goggles, but for a depressive episode I dealt with it really well, so I guess I can be chuffed with that ๐Ÿ˜›

Hope y’all have had as good a day as I have!

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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 –ย 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, ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜›

So with all this shit, for the first time ever,ย 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’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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,ย 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 ย 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 asย much as I can. ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

I didn’t ask for this life. I would love to work. But I can’t, and ย 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 ย 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?” ๐Ÿ˜›

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 โค

 

 

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I smashed it yesterday :D

So I’m getting to a wonderful point with my seizures, and I just need to celebrate.

Yesterday I had a looong day out (5 hours) and I had a lot of seizures.

I had seizures out on cliffs / the beach, in front of dozens of dog walkers. I had seizures in a pub and in front of a friend’s mum I had never met before. I wore my ski goggles around SO MANY PEOPLE.

And I was not ashamed!!

I wasn’t uncomfortable, or embarrassed. I have seizures, I might act weird, I might get sad, I might be on the ground, yes I have to wear goggles…IT’S A FUCKING HEALTH CONDITION, and if you can’t deal with it that’s on you, not me!!

This was a seizure (with a beautiful view!) yesterday

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(I was in zero danger of rolling off, and yes my partner was keeping a close eye on me. He’s been caring for me for years, and I have over a dozen seizures a day, so he’s pretty damn good at it ๐Ÿ˜› )

And after I’d taken the time to recover, I was good to go again!

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I also took a risk yesterday and climbed up a cliff. Normally I avoid activities like this…because if I had a seizure, I could die XD

But we discussed it, and I’d be up and over within a minute AND my partner would be right there…I’m not living in bubble wrap, so I did it and it was fun ๐Ÿ˜€

I am DAMN PROUD of all of this.

For 18 months seizures tookย everything I had from me.

They ruined every hobby I had (didn’t have the mental capacity or memory to read, couldn’t enjoy photography as the PC screen and camera flash was a big trigger, couldn’t enjoy video games for the same reason, couldn’t hike due to lighting and seizures etc etc). Forย 18 months I didn’t leave our tiny village, I didn’t travel on transport, I didn’t go into shops. I didn’t LIVE!!

And with absolutely zero help from medical professionals (because they are awful, didn’t believe I was having seizures, and now it’s a 12 month wait to see a neurologist before they even think of meds)ย every day me and my partner are finding ways to manage and deal with both my seizures and my bipolar.

And we’re rocking it ๐Ÿ™‚

Is life difficult? Of course. Am I still hugely limited? Well, yeah. Do I often feel out of it, ill, in pain and make an arse of myself? Of course! But I’m doing all I can to enjoy and make the most out of life,ย and I’m currently in a depressive episode!!

I’m really damn proud of both of us ๐Ÿ™‚

And I am so, *so*, SO much happier with my new goggles!!

I was always uncomfortable and embarrassed in my old ones, because they were so huge and clunky and odd looking…I’m actually proud of my new goggles, I think they look badass ๐Ÿ˜€

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And on the side there are glow in the dark patches to let people know they’re for seizures ๐Ÿ˜€

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And some final photos of our new hobby, which we are REALLY enjoying!!

Seaglass hunting!

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I might dedicate an entire post to seaglass hunting, seeing as this blog is becoming more of a personal blog than a ‘lets just talk about how shit things are’ blog XD

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

I finally have the freedom to dress how I want without feeling guilty becauseย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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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 shopsย 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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!