push

Ever since I started taking my anti-seizure medication, it has had a huge effect on my mood and my overall energy levels throughout the day. It makes me much more inclined to feel exhausted and irritable. My dosage has fluctuated many times, which has made it even harder to adjust to these big life changes.

Anti-seizure medications, in general, are known to cause depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, amongst other serious side effects. I’ll never forget the first week that I started taking my medication, just one pill every morning. I was a whole new person, and not in a good way. I was angry, anxious, and depleted of all energy. It took me a few months to adjust and begin to feel normal again.

Once I finally felt like I had everything under control, it was determined that I would have to undergo shoulder surgery to correct the labrum tear that I suffered during my first seizure. The surgery was to repair my right shoulder, which is my dominant side. It became difficult to do the simplest things: write, type, shower, get dressed, you name it. It was the first surgery I had ever gotten, and the sling I had to wear for five weeks served as a constant reminder of how incapable I was. I, once again, was newly angry about what had happened to me and felt completely out of my element.

Once I was out of my sling and well into physical therapy, I started to feel like myself again. I felt that way for a few weeks and things started to be okay. Two months after my surgery, I suffered a second grand mal seizure.

When I was first diagnosed in October, I knew I had epilepsy, but from what the doctors were telling me, my case was so mild that it was likely I would never have another seizure for the rest of my life. I was very satisfied with that answer. Because of that, it was easy to think of myself as an exception. The lucky one. I was in denial. I told myself that my epilepsy didn’t really count.

So, you can probably imagine my frustration after the second seizure. It hit me much harder than the first. The second one meant I was truly sick. My condition was real, and it was something that was going to affect my life from then on. It wasn’t going anywhere. That’s when I really began to accept what was happening to me.

Due to that, my medication dosage was increased to two pills each day. After continued myoclonic seizures, my medication was increased again to three, then to four, five, and finally six earlier this summer. Six pills is the maximum dosage of the medication I was prescribed.

It was the hardest few months of my life. I truly have never felt lower than I did at that point. Each medication increase not only left me feeling incredibly frustrated, but more and more sick. I became so depressed and exhausted, I struggled to make it through the day. I counted the minutes because I just wanted each one to be over. I wanted to fast forward to a time when I would feel like myself again, but I never knew when that was going to be.

Now that I have been on the same dosage for a little while, I feel a lot better. I have, for the most part, become much more comfortable with my daily routine and less afraid of the things that used to terrify me. I have become used to the idea that I have epilepsy. It is a part of me now that I have learned to accept and even embrace.

I worked hard to get here. I went to doctors for weeks on end. Sometimes, it still feels like if I’m not in a doctor’s office, I’m on the phone with one. Instead of being angry, I am seeking answers. I became involved in the process. I began researching. That is acceptance.

The biggest thing that I learned from this year is that I am capable of pushing through. It has felt like a sick game. Every single time I felt like I was ready to get back up after being knocked down, something else came along and made me feel like it would be impossible.

There is triumph in getting through the hardest days. It’s easy to give up, to surrender yourself and your sanity to what you are going through. Life will beat you if you let it. It will kick you around and knock you over. But if you are able to get up every morning and do everything you can to work against that pain, that’s all anyone can ever expect from you.

No matter how unimaginably painful things get, know that you are capable of pushing. You don’t need to be happy all the time. You’re not expected to constantly be positive. All you need to do is keep going. Keep doing what you can to get through. It will pass. Things will get brighter. I promise.

5 thoughts on “push

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  1. And always remember you are not alone!! When ever you feel down, always pick up the phone and call someone!! Your family is your #1 support!!

    Love, Coleen

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  2. Wow you are so incredibly strong! I love the part where you said ” It will pass. Things will get brighter.” At the moment it can seem like the pain is never-ending, but it does pass. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

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  3. I, too, have been recently diagnosed with epilepsy and can certainly relate to the frustration as well as the denial. In fact, I was in denial even after multiple seizures. It was only after the last one, where I ended up hitting a bookshelf, splitting my head open, and chipping three of my teeth, that I finally agreed to start taking medication. Things are looking up, though, and the medication does seem to be helping. Thank you for sharing your experiences and inspiring others.

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    1. It is a disease like no other, and it can feel so impossible to understand. It’s so great to connect with others who have similar experiences though! I’m so glad the medication is working for you 😊

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