I must admit life with Epilepsy has not been easy, especially the past year and a half. My life has changed completely and I am still navigating this journey. This part of my life has me focused on whole body healing. I am focused on my diet, exercise, and taking care of my mental health. People diagnosed with epilepsy have higher incidences of depression and anxiety. As a therapist I realized if I am not ok then I can't help my clients so healing is my ultimate goal. I will discuss how this diagnoses has impacted my life as well as my families. I will also talk about things I do to heal my body and limit the amount of seizures I have.
What is Epilepsy?
According to the World Health Organization; "epilepsy is a noncommunicable disease of the brain affecting people of all ages. It is the most common neurological disease in the world impacting 50 million people." The diagnosis of Epilepsy is given after an individual suffers two or more unprovoked seizures.
My Experience with Epilepsy
I was first diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 31 after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Although, I did not want to get vaccinated I had to because of my employer at the time. The diagnosis was life shattering especially finding out I could not drive for at least 6 months after a seizure. I have always been a healthy person never experiencing serious health conditions so this caught me off guard. Unfortunately, I had been having seizures monthly since my diagnosis; even experiencing cluster seizures which are two or more within in 24 hours. Besides the typical bumps, bruises, and tongue biting, I have also knocked my three front teeth loose during a seizure I had alone resulting in a temporary retainer to hold them in place. After experiencing a seizure I have a migraine, I am disoriented, confused and my cognitive processing is slower than usual. My short term memory is also impacted making it feel as though my recent hard drive was deleted. I am so fatigued sleeping most of the day and I have no taste buds or appetite. It is almost as if my brain has reset back to factory settings. Those are some of the physical symptoms however, mentally is where I struggle the most after a seizure. There were moments where I was having panic attacks often impacting my sleep. Although seizures are common it can feel extremely isolating. It is difficult for family and friends to understand what you are going through and the doctors can be so cold and invalidating. Here are things I do to heal my mind and body coping with Epilepsy.
Won't He Do It
The most helpful thing I have done for my healing was focus on "letting go and letting God." My spirituality has been my saving grace during this time especially for my anxiety. I began reciting Psalm 91 daily, listening to Praise and Worship music, and attending church. I even became saved November 21, 2023. My greatest fear was dying in my sleep since most of my seizures occur while I am asleep. However, giving my life to God I feel a sense of peace and have relinquished control constantly repeating, "All things work for the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)." I truly believe I was called by God to heal others and the only way I can do that is by healing myself. My testimony will save so many people and I know I am called to bring awareness to the lack of disability services, coping with epilepsy, and designing a unique affordable diet plan to help those with epilepsy.
Maybe I am biased but I will always speak about the effectiveness of therapy. Therapy Helps Everyone! There were moments I was devastated, disappointed, and hopeless after a seizure and having a nonjudgmental neutral person to speak to about my struggles helps incredibly. This diagnosis not only had me extremely anxious but I constantly had to work on my mental health as to not be depressed. Not only did I attend therapy but as a therapist I constantly worked on reframing my thoughts when they became negative to make them positive. I also worked on EFT Tapping, CBT, and Solution Focused on myself. On my toughest days I recited things I was grateful for. You cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time. Although, I am struggling with seizures I am so incredibly blessed to be alive. I have another opportunity to heal myself and others. Stress can be a trigger to seizures so I am always working on managing my stress.
Watch Your Intake
Since my diagnoses I realized the importance of monitoring what I put in my body. This goes for food, drink, music, tv shows, and even movies. I loved Law & Order SVU, ID channel, and crime documentaries but now I am mindful of what I watch as to not bring negative energy and death into my space. Now I try to listen to inspirational music with an occasional hip hop playlist while exercising. Being mindful of my intake has put me in a better mood. Regardless of what I am going through I can eat a nutritious meal while listening to inspirational music which snaps me out of anything. I also am very mindful of my social media intake. I will write a separate blog on the effectiveness of taking social media breaks or limiting usage. Social media is not the real world, we are blessed enough to live in the present and I take advantage of being HERE.
Healing Your Body
I can go on and on about the importance of a healthy diet especially as someone with epilepsy. I know as someone who experiences seizures having too much sugar or caffiene can trigger a seizure. I also try to focus on eating only whole foods such as meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and pay extra attention to my sleep health. Not getting adequate rest is one of the main triggers to epileptic seizures. I begin my bedtime routine around 9 PM after that time putting my phone up until the next day. I am very mindful of my activity before bed to ensure I have a peaceful full nights sleep.
Healing the world through trial and error
I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I will continue to heal myself to help others. I knew my purpose was to help others but after experiencing epilepsy I know my purpose is greater and more specific. This diagnosis highlighted the disparity for people with disabilities. There are a lack of resources and funding to helping those with disabilities. I will follow the holistic path of healing so I can teach others how I healed myself. I am completely focused on my dietary, mental, and physical health.