Tea Party Guests / Myoclonic, Tonic, Atonic

When I talk about my Seizures, I tend to classify them in two ways: physical or mental. Mental Seizures are the ones that only affect my mental fortitude. Physical Seizures are the ones that alter my bodily actions. When I look back at my history now, it is much easier to see the times when my body was involved. But honestly, there were so few times in my childhood and teenage years, that they were always chalked up to circumstances. 

But if my Seizures had never manifested in an obviously physical way, I wouldn’t be here, with a diagnosis, learning to cope and sharing my story. 
Meet the March Hare

The first type of physical manifestation is a myoclonic seizure. 
At 11:30pm, December 29, 2016, I had my first myoclonic Seizure, that was notable. 

It began with a strange feeling, a warmth, cascading over my body. Within minutes, I felt exhausted. I went to lie down, and I noticed an odd pulling sensation in my face. Within a matter of a minute, the entire left side of my face was in full spasm mode. The left side of my lips began to draw upwards, my cheek muscles contracted and released over and over. My eyelid began to quiver, and then my eyes began to rapidly move from side to side (nystagmus). 

All in all, it lasted about 1.5 minutes, and afterwards I fell into a deep sleep, waking to a feeling that something odd had happened, but foggy on the details. 

The 30th, was my 30th birthday.

The 31st, was the 1st anniversary of my Dad’s death. 

My birthday was completely uneventful, as far as Seizures. But the next day was the beginning of the worst. 

My family and I had spent the day with my  Dad’s parents, visited my Dad’s wife, paid respects at the graveside and had gone to my Mother’s house to ring in the new year. Hindsight is 20/20, so it is obvious to see the reason for the Seizures… Stress. 

While at my mother’s, my face began to spasm again. This time, in front of my entire family. And where I couldn’t see the need, they saw very clearly, that something was wrong. 

I had a LOT more facial spasms, as my Mother and I worked to find a doctor for me to see. I also took on several nicknames due to these. LOL Elvis face, stroke face, two face… My family knows how to lighten my spirits! Humor is my favorite medicine. 

Over the time it took to find a neurologist, the spasms spread to both sides of my face, and my neck. 

The spasming episodes last no more than 2 minutes at a time, but would occur several times a day. And eventually it made my entire left side weak.

Now, since beginning medicine, the spasm are few and far between. But, they still manifest during stressful times and follow my cycle of hormones. 

As far as all of my Seizures go, the spasms are definitely the easiest with which to cope. 

The physical effect, though embarrassing, doesn’t particularly hurt. Occasionally I will be sore after an extensive spasm, but it is no more than a light muscle soreness. But, I remain fully functional and conscious. 

In addition to myoclonic seizures that happen as spasm sessions to certain sets of muscles, there is also a type of myoclonic seizure that is considered a myoclonic jerk. During a spasm, the muscles twitch repeatedly. Just like an eye twitch. During a jerk, a single muscle will contract quickly, just once. 
This is another piece of my condition that I had always experienced, just never realised they were an issue. 

Basically, you’ll be just doing whatever, and suddenly it feels like someone has zapped you with a taser. Just a jolt. The single muscle will jump, and there is an electrical shock sensation. Most commonly, I experience these in my head. Though there is no muscle to jerk, there will be electric shock sensations across my scalp. But, I also experience them a lot in my hands. To most people, it just looks like I’m adorably clumsy. But, at random, my hands will jerk open and I can be seen, basically looking like I just decided I was tired of holding onto whatever I had in my hand. (commonly my phone lol). While it can be extremely annoying, again, it isn’t really painful. 

The second type of physical seizure I experience, is a tonic seizure. 

During a tonic seizure, muscles become rigid. It is kind of like a really good total body stretch. You know, the ones that happen right when you wake up, and all of your muscles flex to full extent? Except, instead of flexing, the muscles contract. 

It is before these that I will experience the hallucination of burnt cookies. Within seconds of the smell, my arms and legs will curl me into the fetal position, my jaw will lock shut, and I’ve been told that I make a hissing type of noise, though I am unaware of the sound. During this time, I am fully conscious, but not quite aware, and completely unable to do a single thing. This would have to be probably the worst seizure I experience, physically. After one, I am exhausted, tired, and extremely sore. A bad tonic seizure can make me sore for 3-5 days. And mentally, it is rough as well. During the seizure, there is an overwhelming feeling of doom. Sometimes, tears will stream down my face uncontrollably. My head scrambles, fueled by fear, into a frenzy and one single thought emerges… Help me. It can be a truly terrifying experience. And afterwards, there’s a mental fog that hangs around as well. A brain fatigue, if you will. Making it hard to solve problems, think clearly and remember information. 

Many a day after a tonic seizure, I have spent in bed, just lost and sore. 
And then there’s Dormouse. 

On the opposite side of tonic, there is atonic. And it literally is the opposite.

During an atonic or “drop” seizure, my muscles lose all rigidity. I become a wet noodle. My body becomes limp and I just fall unconscious. To an onlooker, it looks like a clear case of narcolepsy. One minute, I’m going on like normal, and suddenly, I just hit the floor. 

When I awaken, I am only aware that something has happened. But I have no knowledge or memory of the seconds preceding or the duration of the event.

Afterwards, there is almost always a deep confusion. It’s as if you have been abruptly awoken from a deep and much needed sleep. Fogginess, slow reaction time and fatigue. 
Though these Seizures are not nearly as hard on my body as tonic Seizures, they are undoubtedly my most dangerous type. 

Unlike the hallucinatory warning I receive before a tonic seizure, which gives me at least 30 seconds to find a safe place, the warning for my atonic episodes gives me enough time to simply know it is about to happen. 

And in all honesty, I only know that because I have experienced them while being around people. I do not actively remember the minutes directly before it happens, but I have been told that I will suddenly stop what I am doing and say “I don’t feel right” or “I’m going to pass out” within seconds of the actual loss of muscle rigidity. 

I have been incredibly lucky thus far, and have only had my atonic Seizures around my husband or while already sitting/lying safely. But the risk for hurting myself is much higher than with any other type. 
There’s a mental fear that comes along with all of my physical seizures: the inability to move. I happen to be slightly claustrophobic and have always had a nagging fear of becoming catatonic. It may seem crazy, but when my body just won’t do what I want it to do, those fears rise to outrageous and overwhelming. This fear, during physical Seizures, are the loudest tick on the pocket watch of the white rabbit.

Advertisements

Wonderland Characters

Welcome to Wonderland.

Throughout this blog, I will be relating different types of Seizures to different characters in the classic story of Wonderland.
This is a quick guide to the characters and their relating seizure types.

×The Cheshire Cat. Often elusive and seeming to come out of thin air, he represents hallucinations. Visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory and tactile.

×The Queen of Hearts. Demanding, angry, and volatile. Constantly changing. She represents intrusive thoughts and attitude changes.

×Mad Hatter. Crazy and confusing. Leading the brain into an intricate labrynth. He represents Deja Vu  (the feeling of having already experienced a present situation) and Jamais Vu (the feeling of experiencing a situation that one recognizes in some fashion, but that, nonetheless, seems very unfamiliar).

×Dormouse. A fatigue that knows no bounds and spontaneous moments of extreme unconsciousness. He represents atonic or “drop” Seizures. 

×March Hare. Random, spastic and hyperactive, with a sense of humor to balance. He represents myoclonic Seizures (spasms and twitches). 

×The Caterpillar. Very slow and thought provoking. Capturing you in a daze. He represents absence Seizures. 

×The White Rabbit. Ruled by time and riddled with anxiety. He represents the anxiety associated with the emotions of coping with TLE.

Cheshire Cat / Hallucination

“You may have noticed that I’m not all there, myself.”

I don’t remember my first hallucination. Quite possibly because I didn’t consider any of it hallucination, until I was diagnosed.

Now, generally, when someone says hallucination, you tend to think of the Hollywood version. You know, suddenly the person sees a completely different reality, a person or monster that isn’t there, and they lose their mind. And that may have played a role in me not deeming my experiences as hallucinations. But here is the real deal. Hallucinations happen within every sense. When you see something, it is a visual hallucination. But you can hallucinate smells, sounds, tastes, and touch. And they can come in combination with other hallucinations, but they can stand alone as well.

The largest and most occurring combination hallucination of mine, is sound and transparent visual.

When I was diagnosed as Bipolar, I would describe this scenario to people. (if you’ve read my introduction, this will be familiar)

“Imagine, if you will, you’re looking at the world around you. Your phone, hands, desk, floor, etc. Now, imagine someone took an overhead projector transparency sheet, You know, the clear ones that teachers used to write on, and on the transparency was an image that was actually a video. Still mostly transparent but images are there, moving. So they take this sheet and place it in front of your eyes. You see the world around you, but on top of it, you see a semi transparent scene as well. I know it is hard to imagine. But that is the best I can do. So, you’re walking along and this sheet falls down over your eyes. On this transparency sheet are rows upon rows of TVs. On every TV there is a different “show”, each one brightly lit and with their volumes at maximum. The shows changed. Some stayed the same. Some were memories, some were premonitions, some were dark and terrifying.

Then, imagine to your right and left there are radios. Every radio tuned to a different station. Volumes at maximum.”

In general, that is my most common hallucination. An electronics store, on speed, laid over the top of my reality.

But, what I didn’t mention in my introduction, is the detail.

On every screen, before me, is a different “channel”, all playing a different scene.

The scenes have changed throughout my life, but the themes are consistent.

Theme 1: memories

Theme 2: fears

Theme 3: premonitions

All 3 themes are present on the screens. And some of them are of such a gruesomely graphic nature, I won’t even describe them. Some are memories, they can be good ones, but most times they are inspired by hurt. Some are fears I have about life, like, losing everyone I love or sinking to the bottom of the ocean wearing cement boots (yes, lol, that is a real fear of mine). And some, show me glimpses of future events. Yes, seems crazy, but some of them I have written down and seen come to fruition.

On the radios that surround me, the channels are much less distinguishable. Voices seem familiar, some coming from actual experiences. But, others, are messages from the dead. Again, crazy, but most of the time they aren’t scary. Things like hearing my Granny tell me to put a jacket on or my Dad telling me to think about it.

I have only had a few hallucinations that have completely overtaken my senses.

When I was small, I spoke to an Angel.

When I was a teen, I saw the future.

When I was a young adult, I relived a terrible childhood abuse.

And recently, I saw an internal battle of mine, interpreted into an external scene.

(I will add links to those experiences on different pages once I have finished writing them)

However, as I have explained, and basically only recently realized, hallucinations can be through other senses… And can stand alone.

Common stand alone auditory hallucinations in my life are: an incomprehensible chatter between 2 or more people, someone calling my name and a clicking sound, reminiscent of Predator or Signs.
When it comes to stand alone olfactory hallucinations, I have particular smells that precede certain types of seizures.
Type – Smell

Tonic – Burnt Cookies

Myoclonic – Burnt BBQ

But I also experience them alone. Occasionally I smell flowers or icing and sometimes it smells like dog poop or bleach. So, about half good, half bad like the warning smells. I mean, it’s good food, just burnt. lol
Stand alone Gustatory hallucinations (taste) aren’t very common for me. I’ve had a few, but most of my taste hallucinations are a type of synesthesia that comes with feelings. Somehow, my taste buds get mixed with my sense of emotions. So, emotions taste. Which is why I tend to get overwhelmed by large groups with tensions, one big nasty bite of ugly emotion soup, no thanks! lol
My stand alone visual hallucinations tend to be smaller, yet more detailed. As I said before, most of my visual hallucinations are in combination with auditory hallucinations. And the visual is just over laid on my real vision. When my visuals stand alone, they typically come in the form of a single shape. Examples include: seeing dead family, friends and pets standing in my kitchen or hallway, seeing household objects, like the vacuum or dishes, when they aren’t there, and the best one: seeing a hole in the air. The best way to describe that one is, it’s like there’s a rip in reality. The holes seem to be electrically burning into the world around me, revealing completely different worlds on the other side.
And that leaves us with tactile hallucinations. Probably one of the most overlooked symptoms I have experienced. They aren’t huge. Usually… Just a few fingers or a light pat. Easy to brush off as a bug, hair, wrinkle in your clothes, etc.
In my experiences, some have been brushed off, but others, have been near magical. As you’ll discover (if you stick around for it lol) TLE has a large link to spirituality/religion. I am actually very thankful for that link. That link, has always allowed me to attribute these touches, to spiritual comfort. Small tiny hands are the 4 babies I’ve lost in this life. Small pats are my Granny, grandpa, Dad and other family and friends. And, sometimes I feel fur or feathers, usually rubbing against my legs or arms, which of course, can be attributed to the pets I’ve had my whole life.

Many of these hallucinations have existed in my life since I can remember. Some have gone unnoticed. Others, were simply considered crazy experiences in my life or struggles to endure/conquer. Though some of them have been scary, they never last for more than a few minutes and often, the memory fades in intensity as times passes. But the good ones, the deep ones, those have changed me. They’ve made me into… Well, ME! lol
But, not all people have the same feeling I have about hallucinations. For many, hallucinations can be scary, intense and painful.
But, I will also never deny that when my darkest hallucinations have occurred, prayer is the only thing that has ever helped. And it always helps. Do with that what you’d like. 😉

Diagnosis of a Mad Girl

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been weird.
Not creepy weird, just the “what an interesting person” weird. Friends never noticed it as much, though I never had the same group of friends every year to notice my issues. But family and close family friends saw it.

The most obvious oddity was as simple as this:

There I would be with someone, chatting away in a conversation. With no indication as to why, I would just suddenly begin staring into space. Most people would call it being “zoned out”. During that time (no more than a few minutes at most) my eyes would gloss over and I was completely unresponsive. You could shout, wave your hand in front of my eyes, snap, shake me… It didn’t matter. I was simply not there. After a bit, I would abruptly return to the conversation. Sometimes vaguely aware something had happened, but mainly, just continuing on with the conversation. It became my thing. “Christy zones out”. Especially when involving TV or electronics. People began to expect to see me zone out from time to time. Simple enough, right? But there were many other oddities that weren’t so simple.
And here comes the part where I begin to worry. Yes, worry. I worry that with every word I write, your opinion of me will be changed. Yes, you. As well as everyone else. Because it isn’t easy to see psychotic symptoms and not deem a person crazy.
And even at the age of 6 (earliest I can remember), I worried about it then, too.

At an age I can’t even remember, I had extremely vivid dreams. In these dreams, which actually felt like reality, I would fly. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate.

In these dreams, my soul would step out of my body and fly about the room. I never made it out of the room, but it was kind of like being Wendy meeting Peter Pan, learning how to fly. I barely remember these “dreams”, now. However, I do recall that they existed.
But the first time I ever saw something and remembered it, I was about 6.

I was sleeping over at my Grandparent’s house, one evening. After being asleep for quite some time, I suddenly heard a rumble. And I felt, what could only be accurately described as, a light. A warm, fuzzy, happy feeling.

I opened my eyes and hanging above me, seeming to float in clouds, was the face of my deceased Grandpa, whom had passed when my mother was young, before I was even I thought.

When I went to sit up, it was my soul that sat up from my body. And I just stared at him. His face was rugged, but so soft in nature. His eyes were deeply kind and understanding. He showed me his hands, rough but full of affection. And when he spoke, his voice was loud, but gentle.
And he said “Christy, I am an angel. I chose the face of your Grandfather so that you would not be afraid. I am here to tell you things. Things you won’t want to hear. This leaving of your temple must stop. They’re coming. And for you. Do not leave. Know this… You will see the beginning of the end. And you must fight.”
At this point, there was no audible voice anymore. It was as if the light had penetrated my soul and was speaking a language of which I had no comprehension. I felt. And I knew. Somehow the light imprinted a code of sorts, on me. It said, I want to be a mother, I want to be a wife. I want to serve HIM. And I must love.
Then it was all gone. The space in front of me was just that… Space. And I instantly fell back asleep.

To this day I will not deny that I was changed deeply by this moment. And, even as my tale unfolds, I will never deny HIS presence in these times.
As you can expect, it was many years before I told anyone this story. As a child, who had already felt a strong spiritual pull, I knew what had happened was real, so no one needed to know.

It was over 15 years later before I ever had a visual experience again. But the experiences never stopped. They became dreams.

“They say” you don’t remember most of your dreams. I remembered 95% of them. And I dreamt every night.

I often dreamed of things I had never seen before. I saw children. My children. I saw family, much older. I saw scenarios that in years to come, would happen. Sometimes my dreams where really bizarre. And ultimately, these dreams would spawn a collection of dream journals and dream interpretation books, bought mostly by my Mother. Before the dreams journals, SHE was my dream journal.
Along side the dreams, other issues developed. Most of the issues were met head on by doctors. But some that I never spoke about. Because, quite frankly, no one wants to be called crazy.
From a young age, I had terrible migraines. Doctors prescribed many things. When I was old enough, I took imitrex, and it helped some. But nothing seemed to stop them. They got so frequent that I actually got used to them. After years of enduring them, this sums up all that they were: it felt like someone was jamming an electrified ice pick, that was so cold it burned, deep into my skull and brain. I would be stabbed over 50 times in under 2 minutes, an average of twice a day, from around 6-7yrs to 30yrs. But I adapted. I mean, why let a migraine stop you?
I had major bowel issues. Not to be terribly graphic, but at a very young age I just couldn’t poop. Eventually, my stomach pain led to a doctor visit, including a sonogram, concluding that I was full of shit. Literally. I had to be given suppositories for what seemed like forever. But. Eventually I was okay. But I still had tummy issues. Pain. Ulcers. Diarrhea and constipation back and forth. Acid reflux. Basically, my digestive system and I are not, and have rarely ever, been friends.
My periods were irregular. Which wasn’t as big a deal, until I wanted to have babies. Babies required some regularity. And somehow, I managed to have two beautiful babies. Though it took every last inch of my strength to get there.
And my heart would flutter occasionally. But, of course, nothing ever showed on the monitors.
All for which my parents and I sought medical attention.
What I didn’t tell my parents, or anyone, was the overwhelmed feeling I had.
Anytime I was around someone I could taste, that’s right you read it correctly, I would TASTE their emotions. It first began with seeing my Grandpa. From that moment on, when someone was angry I tasted metal. Not quite metal, I sort of acidic metal. Almost like licking a battery. (C’mon, you know you’ve all done it!) If someone was happy, it was like buttery croissants dipped in cotton candy.
And right now you may be doubting me. But I am urging you to hold on.

If I could gather the people together, whom I have shocked with this ability, I could gather at least 25 people. Seeing as I only began using it outright from about age 16 on, I would say that’s pretty decent.

If I could gather the people who would say I always know how they feel and have a way of seeing things that most don’t… You could assemble anyone who has spoken to me on a personal level.

And if you asked anyone of them how I “explained” the ability, the resounding answer would be: a gift from my CREATOR. It wasn’t until I became strong in my faith that I felt comfortable using it outright and acknowledging where it came from.
But I didn’t begin telling people that it wasn’t a feeling, but rather a taste, until I was about 27yrs old. I mean, don’t you think I’m insane by now? Don’t answer that. Just keep reading.
What I also didn’t tell people were the moments of visual and audial disturbances.

As I entered my teen years, life became overwhelming. Call it angst, call it puberty, whatever it was, I was just done. I was constantly haunted my a voice in my head and a face in my dreams. Occasionally both.

Imagine, if you will, you’re looking at the world around you. Your phone, hands, desk, floor, etc. Now, imagine someone took an overhead projector transparency sheet, You know, the clear ones that teachers used to write on, and on the transparency was an image that was actually a video. Still mostly transparent but images are there, moving. So they take this sheet and place it in front of your eyes. You see the world around you, but on top of it, you see a semi transparent scene as well. I know it is hard to imagine. But that is the best I can do. So, you’re walking along and this sheet falls down over your eyes. On this transparency sheet are rows upon rows of TVs. On every TV there is a different “show”, each one brightly lit and with their volumes at maximum. The shows changed. Some stayed the same. Some were memories, some were premonitions, some were dark and terrifying.

Then, imagine to your right and left there are radios. Every radio tuned to a different station. Volumes at maximum.
For a few minutes, an average of 5 times a day, I was trapped in that.
The world got confusing. My heart would race and I would stumble over words. Sometimes I would just withdraw. The world around me would seem utterly overwhelming.

I didn’t talk about it much, and after a while I began cutting.

When I would cut my skin, the overwhelming sensation would ease, just a little.

At this point I began seeing her.

A woman. The most beautiful, evil thing I could imagine. She was in my dreams. Every night. Telling me the worst about myself. Making up the worst when there wasn’t any bad.

I finally cut just a little too much and my family found out. I remember cutting and knowing I needed to stop. But my legs wouldn’t move. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the slashes, as my hands rhythmically sliced my thighs with a straight razor. I remember feeling like I couldn’t stop. After it stopped suddenly, I walked into the living room, almost like a zombie, and just showed my Mother, Brother, and step Dad what I was done. I remember feeling nothing but tired. After that night, going to a hospital and going to a psych hospital, to ultimately go home with my Mother, we sought psychiatric help.
And that’s where I thought my life would begin. A psychologist believed I was bipolar. After a glucose tolerance test they suspected a blood sugar problem. And years later these things were confirmed.

I was bipolar at roughly 23. And after gestational diabetes with my first child, I eventually went full blown diabetic, Insulin and pill dependent. I went 8 years building a way of life based off of the information that I was bipolar.

My only issue was that I had many other symptoms that didn’t fit.
But instead of seeing everything as ONE issue, I did what most would do. Considered myself bipolar and sought medical attention for the other symptoms. I based coping skills on cognitive behavioral therapy, I found groups to help me learn. And everything seemed like, though it might be a struggle, ultimately I would be just fine. A little crazy, maybe. But okay.
Then around the age of 27 I began feeling tired. Not just tired, but weak.

I’ve always been a fairly strong person. I lifted furniture with the boys, took dance classes, won arm wrestling matches. Even at my chunkiest, my biceps and calves were all muscle.

So when I started feeling tired just walking the 9 steps upstairs to our room, I knew something was up. But I didn’t have insurance and I didn’t have money.

So I ignored it. I pushed through. Even when I was exhausted I pushed my body. I didn’t sleep much and when I did it wasn’t well.

My body was often sore and occasionally I would just fall asleep uncontrollably.
So I got on Google. And webmd.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Crazy Google diagnosis. Whatever.

I had no way of seeking medical attention for it, so I researched.

I researched for 3 years.

And yes, I obsessed.
As those 3 years went by, more things began happening and the fatigue got far worse.

A lot of my symptoms went unspoken or only spoken to my husband.

There were times when I would tell my husband I just didn’t feel right.

In fact, I told many family members those exact words.

More alarming, I admitted to my husband one night, that sometimes when I looked at him and my daughter, I would think they didn’t look familiar.

Like, I knew they were my family but I didn’t recognize them.

But the moments were short and didn’t occur but once every 2 weeks or so.

At that point, I actually blamed it on my bipolar. Thinking it was just moments of disassociation. I then worried about my mental health, but I knew I could control it.

In 2015 I became pregnant. Twice.

Once in January, which ended in February with miscarriage and an official diagnosis of diabetic.

In June of that year, I became pregnant with my second child.

The pregnancy was difficult but I was always very upbeat during pregnancy (even with my first). I had to take progesterone injections once a week and my insulin consumption was HUGE. But I had insurance (Medicaid) so I could “afford” it. (Shout out to Medicaid for amazing coverage for ME, cause I know some people aren’t the same). The major difficulty of my pregnancy was dealing with the death of my father. He had battled prostate cancer for several years and had come to a point where nothing was left to do. My husband, daughter and pregnant me, moved in with him, my brother and his entire family. My Mom eventually moved in as well. (That’s 6 adults with one preggo, 4 kids, and two fish in a 3 bedroom house.) We cared for my Dad as he got sicker and eventually died. During that time, I managed to handle everything that came. We had an amazing support system and we had each other. But as I look back, I realise. There are a lot of blanks in my memory. The time was a decent amount of time, but in my memory there is much less that is concrete. Many memories are fuzzy and some are just gone.

My Dad passed December 31st, 2015.

The day after my birthday.
Fast forward, roughly one year later.

It is 11:30pm, December 29th, 2016.

I have a beautiful new child and a puppy. We have moved from the home with which we had stayed in with my brother and his family after our father’s passing, into our own home. My eldest child is doing wonderful in her new school.

The anniversary of my dad’s death is in 2 days. My birthday is at midnight.
I’m lying in bed, snuggling with my dog, and suddenly I feel a tingle in my face. It is between my eye and nose, about a centimeter from both. Suddenly, my face begins to twitch. My cheek is pulsating, my eye is twitching back and forth. My mouth is twitching, and with every twitch my top lip draws into an extreme Elvis lip.

And it continued to spread.

Eventually the entire LEFT side of my face was twitching and contorted. And as it was jokingly put, I looked like two face from the Batman series.

When I tried to speak, to alert my husband, I found I couldn’t think of the words to say.

It was as if my entire vocabulary had been wiped clean, yet I could THINK the words. I just could not get them to come out of my mouth. It lasted roughly 2 minutes. And when it was over, it was completely over. And I fell asleep almost instantaneously.

When I woke up, I had a sort of amnesia about it. I remembered that something weird involving my face had happened. But I wasn’t sure what it was that HAD happened. And that just made me more confused, and I was already confused.
But my birthday was just perfect. My kids went to my Mother’s house and my husband and I went to dinner with my best friend and her husband. After dinner we came back, played a game and hung out.

When I woke up the next day, the anniversary of my Dad’s passing, I felt emotional. I knew my stress levels would be high.

We visited my dad’s parents. We visited his grave. Then we went back to my Mom’s house.

A little while before midnight and the new year, my face began to twitch. At this point, my family intervened. My family all agreed that I needed to seek medical attention, even with no insurance.

The next few days as we tried to get an appointment for me, the twitches got worse. They began happening several times a day and increased in intensity and the area affected.

I met with one doctor, whom after one appointment said I was suffering from depression and anxiety. After bloodwork, she confirmed blood sugar issues and said I had diabetic neuropathy.
I wanted a second opinion.
As I combed through my years of research I began to consider one possibility. MS. It seemed to fit the bodily feeling I had. (And of course the mental side I chalked up to bipolar)

So we decided to seek a neurologist.
The neurologist confirmed left side weakness and twitches. He ordered bloodwork, an MRI and an eeg. I did the bloodwork and went to get an MRI. The eeg had to wait. I was both excited and extremely nervous about the MRI.

On one hand, it would undoubtedly show if I had MS or numerous other scary possibilities (tumor, fluid, illness).

On the other hand, I am extremely claustrophobic and more so when I cannot move, along with a closed space.

I really, truly believe I suffered acute PTSD after that MRI.
Results came back and I was 100%. Had some high cholesterol, my blood sugar was a little above desired. But my brain looked great.
I was relieved and frustrated. The spasms hadn’t stopped and now the moments of mental issues were increasing.
So, we planned on the eeg, since the neurologist was adamant and also proceeded to find a regular physician to begin diagnosis of my issues. And though the doctor undoubtedly helped me by replacing my long acting insulin with a pill, she ran blood tests and surmised that my blood sugar a1c being 1 point above normal was the likely cause. I was to begin my new pill and come back in 3 months to see how I was doing.

That wasn’t good enough.

I didn’t want to spasm like this more 3 months.
I went back to the neurologist, since he had expressed a desire to keep going until it was solved.

So, I set up the eeg and went to his office to have it done.
Here is what happened:

I walked into one of his small rooms, and there was a chair next to the table. A very warm, sweet woman told me to sit down and said she would begin attaching electrodes. But that they wouldn’t hurt one bit. And she was right. She attached each electrode. At least 15 of them. Possibly 20. After she was done, with her help, since every electrode was attached to a panel by a wire, and that panel attached to a computer, I laid down on the examination table. She turned out the lights, sat down at the computer with her back to me, and we began. It started with a series of questions. What year is it? 2017. What month is it? January. What day of the week is it? Thursday. Who is the current president? Obama. (One day before the inauguration. She said most people had been saying Trump, but I have to be accurate, lol). Then a series of commands. Look up, look down, look right, then left. Close your eyes. Open your eyes. After that, she said she had established a pattern and now the actual test would begin.

And wouldn’t you know, it would begin with flashing lights.
When I was young, under 5, I had 2 seizures. Both febrile in nature. My temperature was somewhere around 105, I believe. However, in highschool, junior year, I went to the homecoming dance. We danced all night, right in front of the dj booth! Then we went to a darker than most, restaurant and the pictures began. About halfway through 3 flashes a second, I asked people to warn me because it was making me feel sick. But, as high school boys do, one of our group called my name and purposefully flashed it in my face. I spent the next hour feeling like I was going to puke. I was weak, my head was spinning, I was disoriented and everything just felt WRONG. After a car ride under my boyfriend’s jacket, I slept in his bed, unaware of anything. But this is what he told me: “You just passed out. And you kept shaking every once in a while. So I took your dress off, and put one of my shirts on you” I was wearing said shirt. At that point I realised I had I problem with lights.

Though strobe lights had always made me feel sick.

So, back to the original story.
The test began with a light. Placed above my face, slightly to the right side. A strobe light.

She had me close my eyes and the light began to flash. It was roughly 8 bursts of flashes. With a few seconds between each burst. Each burst was slightly different with some pulsating faster, some slower. After the 5th burst, my face began to twitch. And I felt disassociated with realty. So there could have been 50 more. But I vaguely remember about 8. After that, she told me to keep my eyes closed but to take a moment and tell her when the twitching stops. After a few seconds, it slowed and stopped except for my eyebrow. I told her that and she said she thought that would end soon. 5 seconds later and it did. Then, I had to breathe in and out, as if I was running, for 3 minutes. By minute 2, I felt so weird. But I managed to get to 3. At which time she told me to keep my eyes closed and rest. Even sleep, if I could. I took one deep breath and upon exhale I was drifting off to sleep.
The next thing I remember is the warm, loving lady waking me and telling me the test was over. She removed the electrodes, while asking me to explain how I felt. With every description I gave, she completed my sentences. She told me that I would hear from the neurologist soon and I got in my car and drove home. I don’t quite remember the drive home. I think I told my Mom what had occurred.
Later that evening though, I was just sitting around and suddenly I felt very weird. I looked at my husband who was sitting down and said “I don’t feel right”. Within a minute, as I had both hands against our door, leaning and holding myself up, the oddest sensation overtook me. First my feet went numb.

Not even tingly, pins and needles numb, like GONE. I had no feet.

Within seconds it travelled up my leg and my knees began to buckle.

Luckily, my husband was still right next to me and as I lost control of all of my extremities, he caught me and stood behind me to help me stay sitting. My feet pointed into an extreme ballerina pose. My hands, all contorted into claws, shook slightly. And when I tried to speak, I could barely stutter and stumble over words. Some words came out as other words, some words I just couldn’t remember. It lasted about 2 minutes.

Then suddenly, like a weight being lifted I was back to normal.

From that moment, until 4 days later, the spasms and what I began to call “lock ups” increased.

On the 4th day, I began my period and suddenly, they were back to “normal”, which means once or twice a day.
3 days later I had another appointment with the neurologist to discuss my eeg results.
The neurologist tells me that if I had a different doctor or if I hadn’t had such a reaction, my eeg would have been deemed normal.

But, coupled with all of my symptoms, the reaction during the eeg and my doctor being good, my eeg was deemed abnormal.

Throughout the last part of my eeg there had been small bursts of activity. Which could have been overlooked, but instead made him believe I had a type of lobe epilepsy.

But, that since he had seen bursts on BOTH the right and left, he could be sure which type.

However, treatment was the same for both. Seizure medication. Because. I was an epileptic. Having simple partial seizures. And had likely been one my entire life, seeing as my MRI showed no trauma or damage.

I cried on the way home. I was so relieved to know that there was an answer.
He had told me the fatigue, sleep issues, likely my bipolar issues and undoubtedly the spasms and lock ups were seizures.
That night, I began researching.
I am the kind of person, that when I find out something about myself, especially an illness, I have to know everything. Like e-ver-y-thing.

So, there are 2 types of lobe seizures. Frontal and temporal.
It didn’t take me long to realize mine was temporal.

The two main nicknames for this type of epilepsy are “the prophets disease” and an Alice through the looking glass disease.
So, here is the part where I get all technical and tell you what it means. Everyone has a right and left temporal lobe in their brain.
It is located on the sides of the brain, roughly where your temples are located.

Temporal=temples.
When a person has Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (here forward referred to as TLE) that means they have partial, focal seizures.

Basically, my seizures begin in my temporal lobe and focus on differing areas of my brain.

These seizures can be simple or complex, which basically means either it affects the temporal lobe alone (simple) or it affects other parts of your brain (complex).

With TLE being located in the Temporal lobe and able to spread to other brain regions, the symptoms are extremely widespread. Ranging from slight physical discomfort to extreme hallucinations.
People with TLE can also experience myoclonic (jerks, spasms and contractions of the muscles or loss of ability to contract the muscles) and tonic clonic (grand mal, with loss of consciousness) seizures as well.

Also, due to how deeply the seizures occur within your brain, TLE remains somewhat a mystery. With some people finding relief in medicine, some in surgery, and others none at all.
The ins and outs of life with TLE are vast and vary from person to person and all of the “in between” are full of wonderland type happenings, that could fill a book…
… Or a Blog… 😊

Learn to love YOU!

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about something a little more personal than my usual “Tip” blogs.

I want to talk about self-worth and self-esteem. And learning to be able to say:

canstock20568552

Everyone has a self-image. Everyone also has an opinion about their self image. This is called your self esteem or self worth. It encompasses and intertwines with all that you do. It touches every aspect of your being and effects every decision you make.

The problem is, a lot of times, our self-image is distorted. We look in the mirror and when we see ourselves, we do not see the real person standing before us.

self-esteem-view-of-selfSeriously, just ask yourself, when you look in the mirror do you ever:

Think about your flaws?

Do you point them out one by one?

Or think about how you could do this or that better?

Do you ever feel worse about yourself after looking in the mirror?

Even if there is no mirror, do you ever just think you don’t quite measure up?

Do you feel like you could have done more, when you have done all you could?

I have news for you, these symptoms are a part of a very serious condition. It is not fatal, but it can be life threatening if not monitored carefully. This condition is called: Motherhood and it is associated with a general feeling of “I could do better”.

The feeling that you can always do better, is one that I have always dealt with throughout my life. But that feeling never had as much weight, as when I had my baby girl. With every choice I made, I questioned myself. Wondering if I could be doing more or doing better. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t always make sure you are making the right decisions and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t want to do more and better. But, when it begins to weigh on your self-image, that is when it becomes a problem. An encouraging criticism of “You can do better” is perfectly acceptable, so long as your self-image and therefore your self-esteem is not affected. When self-esteem is affected, you have to take a step back and look “through the mirror” to see the person you really are inside.

5 ways to better your perception of yourself

1. Make a List

This tip is one I have suggested to many people over the years. It was a simple homework assignment I had during my days of therapy. For 2 weeks straight, every morning, I had to make a list of 5-10 things that I liked about myself. I had to include, at least, one physical trait and one personality trait. The rest could be anything that made me feel good about me. The first day, I struggled for about 30 minutes to come up with five. Especially that physical one! The seventh day, I could easily come up with five (including a physical one) and often had 2-3 more. By the end of the two week period, I could easily list 10 things I liked about myself every single day. Usually, I would come up with a few new ones each day, meaning I had more like 30 things I liked. It really helped me to see myself differently. I started seeing that, though there may be things I don’t like, there are far more things I do like about myself. I don’t do it everyday anymore, but when I am having a bad day, I just look at myself in the mirror and start with #1.

2. Take Time

Often times, the reason why our shortcomings seem so big is because we are already run down. When you become a Mom, you become a Hub. A hub is like the central location that is used by all. As the MomHub, it’s not only your job to manage the entire household as a whole, but to be there individually for each family member. Ask yourself, when is the last time you took a day for you? A day where you didn’t do anything for anyone else? If you’re like me, your answer is probably something like “Um… well… There was that solo grocery trip two weeks ago where I took my time picking out a new shampoo!”. Most Moms find it hard to find time and then to keep the time. But, if you don’t take time to recharge yourself, then when things get stressful, you tend to put it all on your shoulders. And, unlike when you’re refreshing yourself and recharging, you get so broken down and weak, that you can’t handle the weight. You end up letting it alter your perception of yourself. So, make sure to make time for yourself. Whether it’s 30 minutes once a day or a whole day once a week. Just take time, to relax and de-stress yourself. Make a list while you do it, lol.

3. Ask for Help

If you have a significant other, this is their time to shine! If you don’t, find a friend or family member and let them help you out. I once thought there was something wrong with me for wanting someone to reassure me of my value. But, as my psychiatrist, oh so long ago, explained: We need positive feedback from people we value. This allows us to strengthen our bond and to reaffirm all of the positive things you struggle to accept about yourself. It’s one thing to say to yourself you are beautiful, believe me, there is a HUGE value in being able to do that. But there’s something about hearing it from someone you love. It helps make the idea concrete. And you don’t have to necessarily ask someone to compliment you. You can always just ask someone for a hug. Or if they can just let you cry with them. Either way, just remember, the people in your life see the real you, so they can offer a real vision of your true self.

4. Lighten Up

I still struggle with this often. Every time I make a mistake, I tend to take it to the extreme. If I am late getting my daughter to school, suddenly I am a bad mom. If I forget to wash my husband’s work clothes, suddenly I am a bad wife. With every mistake I make, I connect it deeply to a personal flaw. Often, creating the flaw simply because of the mistake. It wasn’t until I met my current husband that I learned I needed to lighten up. Every time I would begin to freak out about some minute detail, he would just start laughing and joking about it. He wouldn’t stop joking until he had me laughing. So, I learned to adopt it. Like I said, I struggle with this one, but I work on it. Any time I start feeling like my mistake is really some great character flaw, I stop and say this: “Does ________ really make me a bad ________?” And, I start to think about how this one mistake is a drop in the ocean of who I am as a Mom/Wife/Daughter/Sister/Whatever!

5. Stop Comparing

However much we struggle as Moms with the previous problems. I would say, no problem is more common than comparing ourselves to other women. This isn’t just a Mom problem, it’s a WOMAN problem. All our lives we compare ourselves to models, movie stars, singers, friends, family… pretty much any woman with which we come into contact. We compare our clothes, our looks, our Facebook posts, our life position, EVERYTHING! And we end up either secretly or subconsciously trying our best to out-do all of the women around us! But here’s the deal: We are all so different that really, there’s no way to compare. Everyone is a different combination of nature and nurture: genetics and raising. It is in our differences that we see the beauty within us all. I know, it sounds so cliche, but it’s true. We have to stop comparing ourselves to one another and instead, learn from each other.

I hope these tips can help you see yourself as the Wild Mommy you are to everyone around you! It’s not easy changing the perception you have of yourself. But with those 5 tips, some time and some patience, you can truly begin to love and accept yourself.

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com

STOP the holiday CHAOS! Pt. 3

Are YOU caught up in the holiday CHAOS?Holiday-stress

In the last post, we focused on the holiday stress of Presents and Gift Giving. We talked about minimizing the cost of presents and ways to minimize the amount of presents you have to purchase, as well.

Today I want to discuss the final aspect of holiday gatherings. We have talked about location, food and gifts. Now we are going to talk about people.

The third (and final) category is

Handling Family and FriendsfamilyThere are many stressful issues when it comes to the holiday season. But, in my opinion, the most stressful is the worry I place on myself trying to make sure everyone is happy and having a good time. Just in a small setting, with close family, I worry about people feeling left out, people fighting and people having fun. With large family gatherings, such as are common during the holiday season, the stress of trying to create and maintain a joyous atmosphere can be a mountain of a task. But usually, for me at least, it’s more of a mole hill and I made into a mountain. So, let’s discuss some activities and tips you may be able to use in order to keep your family happy and you a little less worried!

The first stress I have with maintaining my people are the children. Not only do I worry about my own child, but I worry about every other kid too. You know how it is when you’re a kid at a holiday party. The only good thing about these parties for kids are the food and the presents and they have to wait for both of those things. Most families, including my own, lean a lot on the kids being able to play with each other and cure the boredom. But sometimes, you can have a few kids that don’t have other kids their age or you can have shy kids who don’t warm up to each other very fast. So, here are a few tips to help handle the youngsters at your event!

My first suggestion: “Kid Rooms”

I have always found that being able to separate the kids from the adults leads to a much happier party crowd overall. But, you may be like me and not have but one large room for congregating. So, here are my tips on how to have a “Kid Room” even if you don’t actually have a room!

  1.  Utilize your kid’s rooms- If you have other kids attending the party that are close to your own children’s ages, have their rooms be the “Kid Rooms” for the one year before and after their age. Ex. Your kid is 12, so their room is for 11-13.
  2. Utilize your kid’s entire room- It might be a hassle, but you can also consider moving your child’s furniture to the garage or another bedroom to create a “Kid’s Room”
  3. Create a “Kid’s Section”- You can easily arrange the furniture in your house and or other rooms to have an area clear for kids. Using a rope, fence or some other form of “fencing” to section off the area to allow only kids into it.

My second suggestion: Games and Activities

A very easy way to ensure the children at your event are entertained is by providing options for activities and games. By having a ready source of entertaining events for the kids, you allow the kids to have a good time and you take some of the pressure off of the parents to have to be watching their child, allowing them to have a better time as well! For some great suggestions for age appropriate games try visiting:

Nick Jr: “Party games” or Kidspot.com: “Activities and Games”

Another option would be to have a holiday movie ready for the kids to watch while waiting.

My third suggestion: Kids Table

I’m not going to say this is some sort of controversial subject or anything, but there has been some debate in the parenting world about kids table vs joined table. In my opinion, if you have only small children, that may need to be monitored while eating, it would be best just to seat them at the table. In that case, as a host, you want to make sure and arrange the seating so that there doesn’t have to be any shifting in order to place parents beside their children. However, if you have a wide range of ages, I recommend the kid’s table. It allows the kids to feel a sense of independence and allows the adults to have a sane meal! lol

The other stress you have to deal with is family drama. I know, not all families are filled with drama. But when you put a lot of family together in one room, sometimes drama can be the outcome. Within the boundaries of “Family” there are often very few boundaries. This can create an atmosphere perfect for meddling, arguing and plain out fighting. If you’re lucky, you have a family with very little drama and the closeness only brings joy. But if you’re like most, myself included, things can go well or terribly wrong, depending on the preparations made and the damage control used.

My first suggestion: Have a Game Plan

If your family has a tendency to stir up drama at big occasions, you might benefit from having a sort of schedule. In no way, would I suggest a full schedule during a holiday gathering. People need to be able to mingle. But, you could easily throw in a few “activities” for adults to participate in in order to prevent any tension. Board games are a fantastic way to keep the atmosphere light and happy. For some suggestions for board games visit: Best Board Games List.  However, if your family isn’t the board game type, you could always bring out the home movies and/or photos. If you plan ahead, you could even ask guests to bring their favorite videos and/or photos. That way, the family can be entertained as well as brought closer together by remembering bonding moments.

My second suggestion: Keep it as short as people’s fuses

There aren’t really any rules, per say, about how long or short your event must last. Sometimes, the drama doesn’t really start until the novelty of seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while wears off. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But even with as much as we love each other and as well as we get along, if you keep us locked in one room for too long there will be some sort of drama. So, to cut down on that, have a plan to bring the party to an end, when you can see that people are becoming short fused. Also, don’t be afraid to have your event in shifts, if you happen to have people who cannot stand each other. Offer a buffet style meal with a large range of time people can stop by to visit. That way if any two people do not want to be around one another, they can split the time.

I hope the past three blogs have been able to help you with some aspect of this holiday chaos! Just remember, the reason for the season is the JOY! So don’t let the chaos steal your JOY! Keep calm, find tips and tricks that work for you and remember, you’re a Wild Mommy, you can do ANYTHING!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com

STOP the holiday CHAOS! Pt. 2

Are YOU caught up in the holiday CHAOS?
Holiday-stress

Last time, we focused on the holiday stress of Dinner and House Preparation. We talked about ways to minimize your holiday stress when it came to cooking and house cleaning for the holidays, if you are hosting a party.

Today we are going to focus on a stress that most people must handle during the holiday season.

The second category I want to talk about is

Presents and Gift Giving

0511-1005-0201-0025_Cartoon_of_a_Woman_Tired_Out_from_Christmas_Shopping_clipart_image

Throughout the year, you often have to buy gifts for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, etc. But nothing throughout the year compares to the lengths most people go to for the holidays. Gift giving can be stressful. There is the stress of picking out the right gift, then there is the stress of finding the right price. For Moms, who end up doing most if not all of the holiday gift buying for family members, it can be very difficult indeed. So let’s discuss some ideas and tips that can help to alleviate your gift-giving stress.

The biggest stress I have when it comes to gifts and presents is my budget. If you’re smart, you will budget throughout the entire year to allow a gift budget for the holiday season. I know a few people that do this, they allot an amount of money per month to be held just for this time of year. However, if you’re like me, it’s basically a mad scramble to collect gifts, just about as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is digested. Sometimes, I don’t get down to really buying things until the first or second week of December! So, obviously, our budget isn’t exactly prepared for a large subtraction! So, over the years I have developed a few things that allow me to get by with minimal spending!

My first suggestion: Budget all year

Now, I know I just got through talking about how horrible I am about budgeting and saving. But, if you can do it, I highly recommend it. One option would be to make a list of the all of the people for which you plan to buy gifts. Then, select a price range for each person. Add up the total amount needed and divide that number by 10. Each month from January to October, you set aside that much money in a different bank account, piggy bank or wherever you keep your savings! Then by the time you reach November, you can successfully shop for all of your gifts!

If you can’t manage to save money all year long, like me, you can still plan a short-term budget. All you have to do is set a spending limit a few months ahead. Then, you can collect larger increments for fewer months. However, with this style of budgeting the best idea would be to set a standard, that each person gets a certain amount. What I tend to do, is break it down into categories: Each niece/nephew gets the same amount, each sibling gets the same amount and each parent gets the same amount. This keeps me from over spending on each person and also keeping everybody from getting envious! lol

My second suggestion: Minimize Presents

Much like the idea of assigning a certain amount of money to each person, you can easily employ a few options for minimizing how many presents are given during this time. One option is to adopt a “Kids Gifts” only idea. Meaning, the only people who get multiple gifts would be the younger people within your group. Then, for the adults you have a few options for how to limit it. You can play a gift exchange game. This year, with the adults in my family, we are doing a “White Elephant” gift exchange. To learn more about this game and others visit: “28 Ideas for exchanging gifts”  from RealSimple.com. By playing these games, not only do you minimize the cost of buying 1 gift versus 10-15, but you also get to create a new holiday tradition. One that I know, personally, can be a lot of fun! Another option would be to do a “Secret Santa”. Where everyone buys one present for one person. Though this way would have to be done in advance, it has the perk of allowing people to get more expensive gifts than they would with the games.

My third suggestion: Make it, Don’t Break it (the bank, that is)

This suggestion happens to be one that I use personally just about, if not every, year. Making your own gifts can not only save you a ton of money, but some of the best gifts I’ve ever given or received were homemade. There are so many different projects and cute things you can make for any age, male or female. A good place to look for great ideas would be Pinterest. It’s free to sign up and you can collect ideas all year long for not only gifts, but decorations and meals! Another great suggestion is taking a family photo and distributing them in homemade frames. For Family Photos, there are many options. You can easily check out any of the major photography companies, but in my opinion the best way to go is with a local photographer. Using a local photographer allows you to incorporate familiar scenery, to have a wider variety of prints and ultimately, in my opinion, a more comfortable and cozy photo. You can easily look up local photographers online. If you are near my area (Dallas, Tx), I have two photographers that I personally recommend.

AprilPintoApril Pinto with April Pinto Photography

and

JenniferPritchettJennifer Pritchett with Jennifer Pritchett Photography

Both of these photographers are especially good with children. Capturing wonderful and magical moments in nicely edited photos that will amaze you, all at decent prices! Don’t forget to mention that Wild Mommy sent you!

Using family photos as a present can easily cut down on your total budget. If you decide to frame them, you can easily purchase bulk frames online. Or you can wait until a craft store like Michael’s or Garden Ridge (Which is now: At Home) is having one of their regular frame sales. And you have options with the frames as well. You can either get bulk frames, then purchase paints and paint each frame specifically for each person and/or family. Or you can buy different and specific frames for each person and/or family.

I hope you have found some of these tips and suggestions helpful to your holiday situation! Join me next time when we talk about the third and final category: Guests. Where we will discuss ways to help handle anything a guest throws at you before, during and/or after a holiday event!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com