Therapy Sessions and Onward!

So once I had my diagnosis, my job was to save up some money, and seek out a therapist all while waiting for my medical benefits to kick in during my probation period of 6 weeks. In that time I learned the ropes at my new job in Fullerton.

For the most part from therapy my goal was to get through my trauma from my abuse so that I could recover and get past the disorder that was so crippling that it was causing me to have these seizures, these episodes. After being so depressed that I was having panic attacks and anxiety attacks, and then the bouts of crying for hours for so long, I was so drained and exhausted from being depressed all the time. Therapy was definitely an outlet that I needed. I am not the type to rely on my friends to carry my burdens, so I felt that therapy was a necessity.

I sought out a good therapist and we began working on everything from my childhood and teenage years up until my current living situation, family, romantic relationships, friendships and work life. We were covering all the bases. However, when it came down to it, I was still having my seizures. I was taught in therapy to calmly think through my emotions and why I was feeling them. This was new to me. Usually if something didn’t feel right I would just remove it from my life. What I was now learning was the coping skills that I had never had in my life. I was taught to meditate and do deep breathing exercises and drink teas and do all sorts of mind exercises to help me figure out why situations made me feel the way they did. This is where I discovered I had OCD tendencies and also where I found out I had a condition called Dysthymia, which explained why I had chronic low-level depression. Chronic mental illness was not something that I had anticipated hearing about when in therapy, but I was glad to have learned about it so I could work on how to care for myself.

What I got from seeing my therapist was mostly help in my daily life. From what she told me about my PTSD was that I needed to find forgiveness in order to be healthy. That was not about to happen and so I avoided talking to my therapist about it any longer and saw her less and less until I stopped seeing her altogether. That was also due to the distance from my workplace had changed when I changed jobs.

In my next Blog I will discuss my next medical excursion when I was laid off from one bookkeeping position and got a new one further away from my home and much more fast paced than my previous position, and that is saying something!

State of Mentality: Preliminary Results & Diagnosis

The team of physicians including the main doctor on my case and the underlings that were learning under him all entered my room the morning of the 3rd day of my being admitted into the UCI Medical Center. What the doctor told me was a relief, but also a major concern to myself and my family to hear.

The attending physician informed us that the MRI they had taken proved to show no signs of any tumors or signs that anything in my body was producing the seizures. He then went on to tell us that the Video EEG they took of me in order to record a seizure had shown that indeed their was no sign that any electrical misfires in my head were occurring, what I had was not at all epilepsy. They decided to tell me that what was happening was referred to as “pseudo seizures”, which in regular people talk means that they are psychological and that nothing was medically wrong with me. They told me that they would be sending a psychiatrist in to speak with me and evaluate me later that day. With that, they all exited the room.

I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed in the result. Not that I was disappointed that I did not have epilepsy, but that their was no medication the doctors could offer me to fix whatever was wrong with me. That no tumor was someplace in my body that could have been removed in order to make these seizures stop. That their was no “easy” solution to what was happening to me. Sending in a psychiatrist meant to me that this was going to take time and that their was indeed no simple solution to what was happening to me.

After waiting hours and hours for the psychiatrist to show up, she finally arrived around 2pm that afternoon to begin her evaluation. She asked me if what I was going to discuss with her could be spoken about in front of my father, and when I looked to my Dad I immediately said no (not because it had anything to do with him, but due to the fact that their were just some things my Dad did not know about me). She went ahead and asked him to leave the room until she was done speaking with me. He left slowly, unsure as to why I’d asked for this, but still prepared to allow the doctors some space.

She began by asking me if I had been in therapy before and if I had had any mental illness previously. I started out by explaining that I’d always had issues with anxiety since I could remember and that in high school I had my bouts of depression like other teens, but a bit worse I feel since I was on some heavy medication for my acne (Accutane) which really upset my mental state. I also explained that in the most recent few years I’d began to have panic attacks as well, which I believe stemmed from some sexual abuse that had happened to me when I was in high school. However, more recently in 2011 during the Winter holidays, a family member’s significant other had sexually assaulted me. What stemmed from that occurrence was the worst depression I had ever been through in my life. I would cry for an hour or more every day of 2012 for over 6 months. Only when I was encouraged by my best friend to start preparing for a 5k run and started to have an healthy exercise routine, did things start to improve drastically. I stopped crying for the most part unless I spoke about the assault from the previous year, or if flashbacks took over my mind as they tended to do. I had also gone through hallucinations and such other things that upset me.

Upon hearing my stories and happenings in my life, the psychiatrist that evaluated me concluded that I have PTSD mainly, and that my seizures most likely were right along that and are called Psychogenic Non Epileptic Seizures and so were psychologically produced. Along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I have a generalized anxiety disorder, depression, panic disorder, and a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder. The list seemed to go on and on. She suggested that since I did not have medical insurance that I seek a cognitive behavioral therapist to talk to and a regular psychiatrist that could regulate some medication with me and a schedule to follow and work on with my therapist.

She eventually left my hospital bed and room and brought my Dad back in. I told him what she’d told me and he carefully did not ask too many questions. At the end of this, a nurse came in and began prepping my trip out of the hospital so I could return home at last. The next week I started at my new job as a Bookkeeping Assistant and held that job for almost a year. I also sought out a therapist to begin my healthy recovery. All through this time, the seizures continued on…

Below is a table displaying the differences between Epileptic and Psychogenic Non epileptic Seizures:

Epil vs PNES