Seizures

One thing I haven’t talked about yet is my seizures because they’ve been under control  and I only have one or two a month now. For much of 2017 the seizures were more like panic attacks and I had hope that they wouldn’t be an issue anymore. I have something called PNES – Psychogenic Non Epileptic Seizures. My psychiatrist tells me it’s a conversion disorder; that my brain converts stress and internal conflict into seizures. When they started last summer I was taken to the ER twice in an ambulance and for one of those visits they kept me in the Neuro unit for three days. When they did the video EEG they found out that the seizures weren’t due to a wiring problem in my brain, like in Epilepsy. So the neurologist said it was probably due to postpartum depression and referred me out to a psychiatrist.

At the time I was having several day and it was very distressing to both me and my husband. We were at a loss at what to do and were very worried the impact this would have on our son and the life we have built together. I was so relieved to learn that this is a condition that is supposed to get better with time and therapy. And it did get better. As I said I’m down from several a day to one or two a month.

Last night though I had them on and off for about two hours. Instead of being panic attack like, these were full on flailing and eyes rolling back into my head seizures. They left me feeling weak and exhausted. It meant I had to rely heavily on Hubs since I needed help getting through them and I was unable to care for Baby Boy. I was so grateful Hubs is more than capable of handling dinner for our son. After he was fed Hubs suggested I participate in bedtime routine; that being involved might help get my mind off the seizures. He was right. I needed that family time. Hubs of course stayed with me as I changed Baby Boy into his nighttime diaper and pajamas, but we more or less were able to keep things consistent for the baby. We kept to our tradition and both read him a story.

Once Baby Boy was in bed though, Hubs said it was straight to bed for me. No laundry, no house cleaning, and no homework. He was absolutely right that it was more important that I take care of myself and get a solid night’s rest. We’ve learned that exhaustion makes these seizures worse. I’ve also learned that when I have these, it’s a big clue that I need to do some introspection and get a handle on my stress.

Hubs suggested that maybe coming off my meds played a part in last nights fits. (At home we call these fits since seizures don’t always feel like the right word for this.) It makes sense that if I’m not getting the medications I need to keep an even keel, then my stress levels will go up and I’ll be less equipped to handle them effectively. Related to coming off my meds, I think that planning for pregnancy is playing a part. It’s not from fear of having a baby, but more that (1) I worry about being unmedicated and therefore mood disturbances will occur and affect our home life, and (2) that if I end up needing to take them to control my moods there’s a chance of them causing birth defects and health issues for our baby. I’m also currently trying to complete an online bookkeeping course through our local community college in order to start my own business that will allow me to work from home as our family grows. (I already do a form of bookkeeping in my current job and it’s one of my favorite parts of it, but if I want to be a professional bookkeeper with my own business I need the appropriate training.) Even though I have another five months to complete the course my goal is to complete it by the time I am able to get pregnant so that’s extra stress in my life.

I’m very lucky, though. I have a supportive husband who helps me through both the seizures and the bipolar. I am also still able to drive and work. These fits are highly inconvenient (and definitely embarrassing) and temporarily prevent me from fulfilling me duties at home (and sometimes at work). But knowing that if I keep doing what I’m supposed to do (stay in therapy, continue to work on developing better coping skills, etc) helps me keep things in perspective and remember that this will pass with time.

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