An angry update against the NHS 😉
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 🙄
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!