I’m Still Here

I not was diagnosed with five mental illnesses, but with petit mal seizure symdrome. I fainted randomly one night when I was 19. I told my mother the next morning. She didn’t think it was a big deal and thought I just suffered from low blood pressure, so she took my blood pressure and it was normal. That’s when she freaked out, called my doctor right away, and got me an appointment to see her within the next hour.

My doctor also freaked out and scolded my mother for not taking it more seriously. She also told her that I should have been rushed to the ER. Because this was my first time fainting, my doctor had me take a CAT scan. It showed up clear, so I was scheduled for an MRI. The MRI showed faint signs of my blood vessels in my brain squeezed together. This was alarming, so I was dragged to the hospital to take more tests. I had an EKG, an EEG, an MRA, and a bajillion more MRI’s. I was in and out of the hospital for about two months. I got so sick of it and begged my parents to let it go and just let me be a normal college student. They consented, but on one conditon: to see a neurologist at least once a month. My PCP referred me to one of the top neurologists in the state. She had me take another MRA, MRI, and CAT scan. Before I took my MRA, the nurses inserted a needle into my skull that was filled with iodine, which pierced into my brain. The iodine was so that they would get a clearer picture of my brain. The MRA showed blood clots and more thinning of blood vessels. My family, my partner at the time, and my best friend were all asked to come in to meet with my neurologist. During the meeting, my neurologist requested that I be supervised 24 hours a day for a month and half in case I fainted again. They all worked out a schedule so that I was always with someone. I was also told that I am no longer allowed to drive myself anymore, for the rest of my fucking life. I’m 31 now and it’s hell. I was also not allowed to walk anywhere on my own.

I am at high risk of having a grand mal seizure. I still faint randomly, but I’ve been fortunate and very lucky to not have hit my head. That’s the biggest fear everyone has. I used to regain consciousness after about five seconds. I also used to remember fainting. Now, though, I stay blacked out for about 5 minutes and I don’t remember fainting, so it’s getting worse. I also get really woozy and have to lie down for a couple hours. I also throw up each time. I noticed that I faint more often when I’m under a lot of stress. I also have moments where I completely blank out for about a couple minutes randomly. Everything goes white and I break out into a cold sweat. I also see stars. I’ll be in the middle of a conversation with someone and blank out. When I come to, I don’t remember where I am, what the conversation was about, or the name of the person I was talking to. It’s scary. I also get disoriented very quickly and randomly start walking aimlessly, when I’m with my friends. They call out to me and repeat my name over and over, but I don’t hear them. I just keep walking. They have to catch up to me, grab my hand, and literally pull me in the right direction. There have been many instances where I’ll just walk out into the middle of the street, while the light is green and cars are coming at me. This makes EVERYONE freak the fuck out. They run after me as fast as they can and pull me back onto the sidewalk in a matter of seconds.

My memory has also been affected. I’ll forget things right away and have to ask the person to repeat themselves or if I’m writing something down, I have to constantly keep looking at the information. I noticed that my memory of numbers has greatly decreased. It takes me forever to memorize phone numbers, addresses, and lose count of things very quickly.

Each day is a challenge for me. I’m not any medication for any of it. I tried a number of medications, but none of them worked. The biggest fear is that one of these days I’ll faint and hit my head or have a seizure. Because I blank out, faint, and become disoriented, it affects my job.

I’m still hanging in there and surviving. I will not give up and keep fighting.

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