It’s really simple the way that these things play out: it’s a normal day, and then a crappy day, and then a normal one, and then another crappy one. I know it’s like that all the time for people. But lately, without the stress of school and meetings and a million different tasks to do, it’s been more good days than bad. I’ve found that the longer I’m stable for, the less often the bad days are. It gets easier to feel normal after a while.
Which is great. But it doesn’t take much to set off a bad one. A few twitches or a little bit of dizziness and my day becomes a battle against anxiety.
This morning, I was twitching a little bit and I barely could get myself to leave my apartment to go to lunch with friends. I wanted to, but the thought of having another seizure in public is nauseating. The hospital and the paramedics showing up would be enough on its own, but the guilt of having people see that happen eats me alive. I can only imagine how it affects people to see someone suffer from a seizure. I’ve seen it on Grey’s Anatomy, but never in person, and I know there’s a huge difference. People say something along the lines of “looking possessed” and “looking like the person is going to die”. I have a tendency to keep myself cooped up when I get this anxious, because I know I run the risk of making people very uncomfortable with what they see and experience around me. My first seizure had a warning sign, the second didn’t, and, before the third, I had about 3 seconds warning before it went black. Obviously, that isn’t enough time to stop it. I always think about how, at any moment, I could just wake up on the ground with a crowd around me and some paramedics asking me questions.
I think the best part is that anticonvulsants have side effects that mimic auras. It’s pretty ironic. Then again, these medications have the power to do anything. Brain medication is pretty much a no go, unless you really have to take it. The brain is such a complex organ, obviously, and there’s nothing more I want more than to come off of the medications I’m on. I had been on other medications before I was diagnosed. One for ADHD and one for anxiety, both of which made me miserable. Now, all I want is to be on nothing. I want to be who I am, with nothing threatening to change that, but I have a handful of pills to take every morning, reminding me that I have to consciously put something in my body that changes my brain function. It’s a lot of fun.
I forced myself to go out today because I know I can’t give into the anxiety. I know that’s no way to live life. If I did things the way my brain wanted me to, I wouldn’t do half the things I wanted to do. I probably wouldn’t have that many friends, or experiences for that matter. Because even on the good days, the anxiety is always there, creeping up on me, just a little less. I want to say that it will go away, but even my doctor told me that coming off of my medications is an unrealistic idea, and that even if I’m stable for 10 years, there’s always a chance of something happening. I know he’s right, and I know that I need to be ready at any moment. There’s just no getting ready for things like this.
I feel like I’ve given this spiel a million times. But that’s because it’s the same thoughts in my head, over and over, for a year and 8 months now (I can’t believe it’s been that long). I think about it all the time, how it got to this, and how I never thought this would happen to me. And my case is mild. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people that have seizures on the daily. I am thankful everyday for that.
Pushing through the bad days takes a little less every time, but it still takes pushing, sometimes, with energy I don’t really have. I used to think I had anxiety disorder before, which is just funny as I look back now. It’s a whole different level of strength.
I’m outside right now, sitting on the quad on campus with people around me. Maybe they’ll witness me having a seizure, maybe they won’t. Odds are, they won’t. But the truth is, I can’t control anything beyond controlling the way I treat my body on a daily basis. Everything else is determined by fate or God or whatever your personal preference is. It’s our job to roll with the punches.