It is so hot! A heat wave is going through my town, but fortunately the heat itself is not directly affecting my epilepsy. The only way temperature affects my seizures is through sleep deprivation. I can’t sleep when it is really hot. When I get deprived of sleep for days at a time, I have more seizures.
My diet is suffering because of the current heat wave. I like to eat ice cream, frozen yogurt, and smoothies when it gets hot. While frozen yogurt is not so bad for you, smoothies and ice cream tend to have a lot of sugar.
I had experienced my first screening from a recruiter in a while. This is where you answer a bunch of questions, and the person and the other end is looking for any excuse to cross your name off the list of job applicants. The question had come up about my experience working full-time positions. I haven’t worked a full-time position in a long time.
My health was not the best for a couple of years. Part-time jobs allowed me the time to take care of my health. However, there is no security in this type of job.
I am more than capable of working 70 hours a week if that is what you recruiters are wondering. I had worked 2 and 3 part-time jobs in the effort to try to make up enough money to survive. All of the effort of working these jobs accumulated to about these many hours, but without benefits. How is that fair?
Everyone doing the hiring is looking for “superman.” The perfect person for the job with no flaws whatsoever. If you promise to give me a few moments out of the day for some meditation, I promise that I will impress you. However, are you willing to give me a chance despite my chronic illness?
I am an adjunct professor in the mathematics department in a local community college. I teach for a few hours a day, hold some office hours to answer student questions, and then go home. The pay is definitely not awesome, but it covers all my basic needs and wants. Why do I do it?
First, it allows me to set up a work schedule where I can manage my epilepsy and earn a living at the same time. My type of epilepsy is time dependent, and almost all of my seizures have occurred between midnight and 3:00 am. How do I know this? I looked at my own medical records for the past 20 years to find out if there was a time correlation, and there definitely was one. (For more info read “My Epilepsy Diary”)
Finally, I really like helping the students learn mathematics. I believe this attitude is reflected in the classroom because I have received great reviews from students who have taken my classes before. I am taking night courses to get my Masters in Education, so that I can give myself a few more career options.
However, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if I didn’t have a good care team helping me out and excellent control over my seizures. I manage my seizure triggers, such as stress, by practicing yoga, meditation, and other stress-reducing activities.
Try to imagine that your personal life has just turned upside down while you decided to go back to graduate school. On top of that you may have to work in a group with some very negative people. These negative people complain ALOT. They may or may not realize what they are doing because they are nice people. They are more acquaintances than friends. You are also coping with your epilepsy condition at the same time. What would you do?
Positive Thought and Epilepsy
In my opinion, attitudes are contagious. If you surround yourself with negativity, then you will become negative also. However, the opposite is also true. Positive thoughts can have positive effects on your life. Positive thoughts tend to decrease stress and build self-esteem. Lower stress levels will improve overall health and decrease seizures (stress is a seizure trigger for many people).
My Current Dilemma
Going back to my current dilemma, I know that I need to avoid negativity. Just avoiding them is not really an option, and I’m a little too blunt for my own good. I need to look out for my health, and am not sure how to handle this. Any suggestions?
I know it has been awhile since I have last posted, but I have been through alot in the past few months. I will attempt to fill you in on the details in the upcoming blog posts. Here is a basic summary:
I still don’t have a full-time job despite having gone through a difficult job search.
My spouse and I are going our separate ways. It was a decision that we both made and I am attempting to make sure that we are separating on the best possible terms. Not even professional counseling was helping.
Due to the tremendous stress of #1 and 2, my absence seizures have increased and I have small bouts of insomnia due to anxiety. However, my myoclonic seizures and tonic-clonic seizures are still well under control.
I will make sure to keep you up-to-date on how things ended up like this. I am hoping that my story can offer some insight for others.
(This was posted late due to lack of internet access)
I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, but many negative thoughts were floating through my mind including every possible worst case scenario imaginable. However, I was determined to fly by myself and without any help.
So I tried to think of a few positive thoughts. I thought that security would stop me to search my luggage and take away my medicine, but that didn’t happen. I thought that I would have to make an emergency phone call to my neurologist, but that didn’t happen either. By the time that I got to the gate, I was starting to believe that this might go well.
When I got into the airplane, I started meditating almost immediately. It was difficult to maintain because there are so many interruptions on an airplane such as: the people sitting next to you or the flight attendant. I made it to my final destination without any seizures!
Success! A year ago I probably would have been calling my spouse and caregiver for help on the smallest of decisions. I flew to my final destination by myself and didn’t call anyone for help. Being dependent on people is not a bad thing. However, in my case, it had paralyzed me to the point where I was not making many decisions for myself.
Seizure triggers are any factors that may precipitate a seizure. Some people may find that seizures occur in a pattern or are more likely to occur in certain situations. Sometimes these connections are just by chance, but other times it is not. Keeping track of your seizure triggers can help you recognize when a seizure may be coming. You can then be prepared and learn how to lessen the chance that a seizure may occur during this time.
Common Seizure Triggers
Some people will notice one or two triggers very easily, for example their seizures may occur only during sleep or when waking up. According to epilepsy.com, the following are some common seizure triggers:
Specific foods, excess caffeine or other products that may aggravate seizures
Use of certain medications
As for myself, I have a tendency to have most of my seizures in the extreme early hours of the morning (like 2am or so). I will also have more seizures if under a lot of stress, not eating well, or sleep deprived.
I compensate by practicing stress management techniques such as meditation or yoga. When my stress levels increase, then I schedule more time for meditation or yoga. This method has been very successful for me. I practice my stress management techniques while taking my medicine regularly.