Epilepsy and props with meds

It’s been 18 months since I had my last seizure and was put on medication, and almost a year and a half since my August seizure episode.

On August 8th, 2014 while studying abroad in England, I started having a seizure during my sleep. I only know this because my bedmate was awakened by my jerking, and called for help. Apparently she had to get several people to carry me down the stairs (for some reason, this makes me laugh). I don’t remember any of that. I was not conscious for the seizure, only the odd aftermath:

Wake up. People are surrounding me.

Ambulance comes. They decide I should go to the hospital.

Hospital ride.

(Black out again. They say I had two more seizures and had to be sedated.)

Wake up in a South Warwickshire hospital bed almost 36 hours later. They’ve put needles in me, done a CT scan, X-rays, etc. My bed is wet. I fucking pissed the bed during the (second? third?) seizure.

I leave. My wonderful teacher, who stayed with me at the hospital, gets our train tickets. We go to Bath.

 

For the longest time, I didn’t want to write about it. Now it kind of seems comical. I can honestly say that time in the hospital was fine, great, even—I mean, how many times do you get to say, “Dude, I was so fucked up, they had to put me under.” And to this day, it was the best sleep of my life. The peeing part was embarrassing, but whatever.

pills

Before, I knew nothing about epilepsy or even what type of seizures I had. Now I know they are nocturnal seizures. They only happen when I’m asleep, because the brain is free to go crazy then.

Before, I took my medication semi-regularly. I had to take three pills a day (excluding my other meds) and I hated it. Now I have stopped. I told myself it was because I didn’t need to, because I hated pills, because I needed to focus on my depression. Surely I would die from complications from depression before I died of epilepsy. Now I think it’s because I hate parts of myself and I wanted my consciousness to melt away. It would be better if I had a seizure–maybe it would damage me so I wouldn’t feel bad. Or wouldn’t feel at all.

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A Look at Depression & Suicide

A few days ago, I was on an online chat forum. Often times, people will just spout out random things and tidbits. That day, a friend said, “A girl from my university tried to commit suicide by stabbing herself in the head. But she lived. LOL, so stupid.”

And thus commenced the eruption.

I was horrified. Why would he ever joke about that? I can understand making a joke privately to a friend you know well, but saying that online is horrible. I told him that. A girl who publicly made it known to everyone that she was chronically depressed jumped in to say she found his comment offensive. Another guy jumped in and supported the OP.

They kept saying stuff like, “Suicide is selfish,” “Killing yourself is cowardly,” “It’s stupid to off yourself.” I kept defending my opinion until I was exhausted. “These people are mentally ill, they need your support.” I got in the shower, and looked at my phone again after I got out.

DXXX: Depression is the latest fad (w/link)

Unbidden, all these horrible thoughts and feelings came back, and I started crying. He had posted that link long after people had told him to stop talking about the subject. How could people be so cruel? Where was the empathy?

The truth is that I am not an unbiased person at all. I come from a family full of unhappy people, spanning generations. My grandmother ate and smoked herself to death, threatened to commit suicide, tried to kill a family member, and was bipolar. My parents have had their share of unhappiness, which I am not permitted to discuss because they are still living and would be mad at me. And I myself was put on anti-depressants when I was 4 or 5, and have never fully been taken off. I was committed to a psychiatric facility for a week when I was 14 because I wanted to kill myself.

“Suicide is selfish, yada yada yada” argument

Even though I feel much better now, I find something lurking in that edge of my mind sometimes. That’s why their words really hurt me. Their argument was the same argument my leading doctor used in the psych ward. The thing is, it worked beautifully—at first. What the “suicide is selfish and you’re a coward and a wimp” does is instill enough guilt to prevent you from killing yourself. But as you think about it, you become so ashamed that you confirm your worst fears—that you are a horrible, worthless person. And you don’t really want to live after that, do you? It’s really bad for your soul and leads you to destructive thoughts. If you’ve ever said this to someone, shame on you! Unless they’re about to jump from a roof, try a different approach.

All that damn sympathy

I once went to a shrink that always, always, always had a puppy-dog look on his face. “And that must have hurt,” he would say after I told him something. Goodness, he was a lovely person but a dim bulb, I would say. He never questioned my judgment or implied I was at fault. Please, if you are ever in a therapist’s room (and I hope you go once) and they do this to you, walk away. Your money has been ill spent. Don’t get me wrong, sympathy is lovely. It’s needed. But not all the time. Don’t be friends with your therapist or call them by their first name. You are a buyer of a service. Most importantly, don’t play the victim. This constant “pat-on-the-back” nonsense only victimizes people more, and makes them feel like they are not responsible for their behavior, that it’s always someone else’s fault.

It’s a tricky road

Be careful when dealing with someone suffering from depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Even though I think the term is cliché, it is apt. They really do suffer, and what you say may help. It might hurt as well, but don’t blame yourself if something turns sour. Depressed people are people are people. Don’t put them on a victimized pedestal; they are often pretty smart, manipulative, desperate for affection or attention, and highly sensitive. They can lash out. Don’t take it personal.

Some tips:

  1. Try to talk to them about their feelings/behaviors. If they admit to feeling down or engaging in destructive behaviors such as cutting themselves, they are ready to get help. If not, a good thing to do would be talking to someone close to them (IF THEY ARE PHYSICALLY IN DANGER. If they’re feeling a little blue, maybe let it be.)
  2. Listen. Just hear what they are saying. Letting them discuss problems and issues may take a weight off their shoulders. And if you don’t know what to say, ask the 5 W’s + H. For instance, “Why do you feel that way? When did this happen? What are you doing to fight this?”
  3. Suggest that they join activities or support groups, or see a psychiatrist. Exercise is really great for alleviating stress and sadness. Here are some exercise tips.
  4. Don’t let a friend’s depression engulf your life and time. You can’t always be there for them, and you have to take care of yourself. There is only so much you can do—the rest is up to them.

Maybe you think me a little contradictory, harsh, etc… However, I think it’s important to be a wide-eyed sympathetic. In other words, don’t be blind. If someone keeps making excuses, they aren’t ready to get better. If they keep making destructive choices despite everything, they don’t care about themselves—and you need to let them come to a decision on their own. But if they ask for help, it’s your moral duty to try.

Signs of The Funk

Dear readers, I’ve been in a Funk.

Ever since January, actually. Since the beginning of the semester, a cloud has hung over my head. I hate that cloud. Fuck the cloud! If I could, I would rip it from above and stomp on it. It’s hurt my writing, my opportunity for friendships, my health, and my self-esteem. Sometimes I feel like a dried-up piece of fruit. Preferably an apricot or a fig—they’re kind of tasty, don’t you think?

Anyway, here are some signs of The Funk:

sleep-deprived

Your sleep schedule sucks

Seriously, it is, like, the worst. You go to bed at 4am, but have to go to work at 9am, so you take a nap at 4pm before pilates at 6pm, but then you skip pilates because you’re exhausted. And you wake up at 7pm to do work but can’t fall back asleep, so fuck it—you go to sleep at 8am. And it’s all totally messed up.

This is basically me. When I was in high school, my mother forbid naps. Now that I’m in college, I take naps all the time. And it’s bad!!! Very bad! Some people can do the 20 minute snooze, but not this chick. Nope.

 

unhealthy-foods

You eat poorly

Food is either a tyrant or a small obligation. You eat a lot because you’re bored/upset, or you don’t eat at all because it doesn’t matter anymore. The responsibilities and the pain is still going to be there. And it’s not just quantity—it’s quality too. Crappy food can give you temporary satisfaction, but your energy level will be nonexistent. Believe me, I know. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a salad.

There’s no motivation—even for things you (used to) love

“Nope. Nope. Nope. Not doing it today.” That’s the only reaction you have to pretty much everything. Even the things you love. Or used to love. Now all you love is food and money and sleep. Maybe alcohol and sex. Mostly food and sleep. And when you try to do the things you’re passionate about, you can’t. You are detached. Sometimes I try to write poetry, and nothing happens. Maybe it’s because poetry is supposed to be organic, but I really believe that I am being drained when I try.

You don’t exercise

Some people are naturally averse to any physical activity whatsoever, but usually when you don’t get any exercise, it is because of The Funk. Sedentary people are always at risk for depression—exercise releases endorphins and those make you happy. There are so many benefits from exercise; it’s important to incorporate just a simple activity such as walking, going up a few flights of stairs, or doing yoga.

Conclusion

I could go on and on about depression and suicidal thoughts and decreased libido, but if you’re old enough to understand all this, you’ve probably heard it all before. I don’t want to sound like a Zoloft commercial. What you need to do is:

  • Eat more fruit and veggies. Drink more water. Energy is bae.
  • Get on a good sleeping schedule. Try to do something relaxing, like reading or doing a word puzzle.
  • Hit that gym (or the sidewalk, if you exercise outside). Even if it’s for a little bit, just being out with other people and nature is super helpful.
  • Engage in a little self-love. Better yet, find a partner and get it on 😉 Orgasms=happiness
  • Talk to yo’ doctor. They will find the best solution for you.

Be happy, be strong, and try to get out of the funk!

 

One Fan is Different

I don’t know what to say or do

to make you better

I don’t know

When I was little

and you were littler

I was jealous

of your newness

and your normality

I used to hit you

and call you names

And now

I can’t imagine

hurting you more

It’s numb and the fan

is hitting against a pipe

The rest of the fans whir

But this one is different

There must be something wrong

with the fan

I don’t know what to do

to make the fan better

so I will sit here in silence

and wait