Some of you may have read my progress with my poetry and art over the years but many of you probably don’t know the true extent of how my health conditions of underactive thyroid, epilepsy and bulging disc in my back has affected my life. Alongside the events of my life over the past couple of years.
When I was child I was always shy quiet kept myself to myself. I don’t know why I just did. I was often bullied because of my height my ears my glasses or my eye patch for lazy eye. Or the fact that I had a brother who seemed to be academically and sporty A*. This fact of my brother would carry on into secondary school to an extent that my parents evenings would become opportunities to discuss my brothers future rather than mine. Making my hardwork or achievements feel pathetic and worthless. Neitherless I carried on and was determined to make it to university. Whilst at secondary school I only again had a few friends I wasn’t loud and outgoing, or interested in the latest magazine gossip or what i should be wearing. I got on better with boys due to there interest in rock and gaming. But my main interests were the arts and wwe.
So I made it to university even though my brother once again decided oh shes going university maybe I should now. My parents thought I needed looking after more like the other way round. My brother by this point was an alcolholic and gambling addict using money recklessly and expecting others to bail him out in theory. I was often a point of call despite needing my money to live on to get by and support my studies which was of course fine art. Which as many artists know isn’t cheap. I didnt get the degree grade I wanted a 2.1 in order to carry on and become a teacher alongside being an artist. I did however met my future partner Matt we clicked straight away similar interests, damaged families everything went smoothly. We had 2 miscarriages the first one effected me really bad to the point I would throw my artwork across the studio and breakdown. University support just wasn’t there, even my partner stepped in and said give her a break. During this time I met matts mum she was quite distant from me and warned me to get away from matt which I found a bit odd to say the least.
We carried on and soon had our first child and this is where my life changed. Four days post partum I developed epilespy, no known cause and no history in the family. I had put out son in his moses basket got into bed screamed and went into a grand mal. I don’t recall none of it. Next minute I know I am in hospital confused and baffled. I am then told I have epilepsy and would be put on epilim. Right okay I struggled to believe it at first and slowly came to terms with it. I was seizure free for five years.
Our son had a development delay speech mainly but struggled with his emotions so I had a lot going on with the school and we all know stress can be a trigger for seizures. June 2016 I relapsed and this is where my mental health journey really kicked of full swing. It was a normal day Matt went to work and our son was off ill. I went for a nap which was common with the side effects of medication and suffering from underactive thyroid since 16 I very rarely had a day without a nap. Our son must of called me but as I got off the bed I went into a grand mal no warning again. Our son was scared crying screaming his head off trying to dial whatever numbers he could on the house phone. Matt came home to our son in this state. He asked our son what was wrong and he replied mummy is shaking on the floor. Matt straight away rang 999 I don’t remember nothing other than laying on the bed going in an mri scanner and halliniating then once the drs had switched the lights on and off I was in hospital.
Matt told me what happened my mind went into guilt anger sadness patheticness and failure emotions I never felt this strongly about I just had images of my son crying out for help. I didn’t protect him guide him he was all alone it haunts me to this day. I had a panic attack at first we thought it was a seizure so a and e I went. It was then I was diagnosed as having anxiety related to recent life events.
Life carried on I knew I had to crack on with things but as time and time went on my mind was doubting, getting scared and panicly more and more as each day went by. The last lot of seizures gave me the bulging disc as nobody knows how I fell this started to limit what I could do. As it would give me pain to the point it be a struggle to get out of bed and keep up with our son at the park on the school run etc feelings of failure was beginning to rise again.
Matt asked me to marry him after this lot of seizures which was a positive but was soon to be doomed. Matt and his mum had always had a up and down relationship. I would met up with her to discuss wedding stuff and our son but she would be wanting to knock us both down. She would make me feel like I was materilistic wanting too much and was trying to tell me how it should be how them things don’t matter. She didnt seem to understand it was our day. One day I couldnt take anymore of her knocking Matt who had stood by me and supported me all this years. She was telling me I should get a job that i was putting to much pressure on Matt etc I broke down in front of Matt telling him everything. I few weeks later he decided to get treatment I informed her and I have never felt to worthless in my life.
Everything I had confined in her she used against me how my childhood was that i had made it up , how I wasted my degree by having a child, that i had made matt ill even though all the stuff that was affecting him was from his childhood, and how that apparently she saw right though me from day one. She then threatened to cancel the wedding which she actually carried out. I asked for my dress and cape as we were going to get married in february. She ripped it up and put it in the trash and didnt bother to give our sons toys back donated them to charity. I was a mess am I really this hate able am I really this bad and worthless that a mother of my partner doesnt want me to marry there son. Despite in front of people singing my praises and telling everyone how wonderful of a family we were. Matt told me not to take notice and said its what she is like. I was heartbroken and we lost over two thousand in deposits.
She then decided she wanted to make a truths matt said nah not after this not after what she had done. So she decided to want to take Matt to court for money he owes. Matt owed nothing she had gifted the money but was using this to manipulate control and make us suffer. It made Matt so ill we had to get a warning put on her by the police because we didnt know when she would get the message. My head was starting to more and more confused and I was getting more anxious my the day having worst case scenarios going through my head. I was starting to believe what she was saying because as each day passed I was getting more and more focused on getting from a to b without nothing happening seizure wise, I would get in panic if I couldnt complete something because of pain because of things out of my control. I then started feeling like a burden I wasn’t enjoying stuff anymore and I wasn’t having a laugh. I was losing interest in things.
Matt had moved on he had completed cbt I was so proud of him but didn’t want to burden him with my troubles my thoughts of being scared of the stairs scared of being outside worried about being judged and vulnerable in i seized in public by myself or with our son. Worst case scenairos kept going through my head and i was getting more tired. What if I seized and nobody knew, what if I seized and got raped, that our son would be kidnapped, what if sudep happened I felt so much out of control but somehow I was still able to contain it, conceal it, hide it, I was ashamed of how I was feeling as I know people had it worst than me even the school told me our son wasnt the first child to see a seizure or that they got that it is scary. They had no idea if only they knew I still had flashbacks and how much of a failure of a parent I felt.
Matt decided to give his mum another chance but it didn’t last long because this time she had decided to manipulate our son get him to turn against us, I was pregnant again finally something happy something to celebrate. We noticed our son wasnt acting his usual happy self caring sweet kind understanding he was being more rude answering back and was lashing out. She took something Matt said the wrong way as she had met a fella and wanted to invite him to our sons birthday party we were like no family friends only and we havent even met the bloke. She wasn’t happy Matt explained he wanted to met this fella of hers in his own time which was understandable considering their history.
She turned up late for our sons birthday spent the whole time avoiding the celebrations was acting wierd and didn’t even bother to watch our son blow out his birthday candles. I was like here we go again. A few days later Matt chatted to her she took what he said the wrong way. I tried explaining to her what he meant etc but again was dragged and abused like a piece of dirt on her shoe. Once again she was telling me how my life should be how i will never amount to nothing that i will have nothing that she hadn’t hurt matt and caused his anxiety that it was my fault. At the time I was filling in esa as I was struggling that bad it had got to the point that Matt had to come out of work as I was falling asleep on the hallway on the stairs, struggling to keep up with laundry and I was having major panic attacks again. My back was killing and making me feel pathetic. I was a mess. I wasnt able to conceal it anymore I had hit breaking point I felt worthless a shit partner and mother, a failure. I had failed to protect those I love the most.
Our son then opened up to us one day and what he told us broke me in two I was furious I could scream I wanted to crawl away how can anybody be like this why would you want to do this to a child whose already seen so much and was acheiving so well. I then started getting paranoid again I started worrying about every little thing that was wrong with me health wise I didnt want my body to fail me again. I felt so much guilt and was so angry with myself why me just why. I was googling things I was going to drs with symptoms I didnt know was my back my epilepsy I didnt know what was wrong with me. All I knew was something wasn’t right.
Matt had managed to ring healthy minds I used his strength and courage to take that step for me to ring. I took like what felt like forever to dial the number then a lady answered and i knew then there was no turning back. I needed to confront this once and for all.
I went though the questions my thoughts going from what she said to seizures to what was happening to failure etc etc it was just going round and round. It was affecting my sleep it was stopping me doing stuff. I had one night where our son went to hospital I was so scared of having a seizure I couldnt physically get of the bed to let our dog out to do business. I was that pertified of a worst case scenairo happening. I couldn’t risk my family seeing me like that again seizing. Our son crying screaming was going though my head. I clang onto the pillow so tight and cried cried cried cried until my eyes were sore.
About a month later I get a letter in the post telling me what service I had been referred to and i started therapy a few weeks back. It was the best move I had ever made my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
It is estimated one in six people suffer from mental health out of that for epilepsy it is 1 in3 in the uk.
This week is mental awareness week and me and partner have set up a facebook page
A page for support a place to turn to a place to feel less alone in conquering mental health whatever the cause or type.