When my freezing episodes started I remember writing “I’m scared that this could be a manifestation of my anxiety”. I was scared because I thought that if it was all in my head it meant that I am crazy and would and be distanced from society.
It turns out my initial instinct was correct. It is all in my head, but I’m not crazy or making it up. I can’t control my brain. I also can’t control my heartbeat or my kidneys. I’m done being ashamed of having mental illnesses.
After being un-diagnosed with epilepsy two months ago I was diagnosed with psychogenic non epileptic seizures and/or an atypical form of migraine. I was upset that I no longer “had” epilepsy. To me, epilepsy was a valid illness, one that I didn’t have to prove. Psychogenic seizures sounded like I needed to convince people that it was real and that I wasn’t faking.
I was disappointed when I found out that cognitive behavior therapy is currently the only treatment for psychogenic seizures. It seemed like I was being told I was in fact crazy and needed to be fixed. After doing further research I’ve learned psychogenic seizures are not only a real thing, they are also commonly mistaken for focal epilepsy. This made me feel comfortable with the diagnosis and that maybe therapy could help.
I started going to therapy three weeks ago and have already seen a huge improvement. It turns out I have a lot of things going wrong in my brain which I’m working on sorting out. It’s like my head is full of tangled up Christmas lights and I’m starting to unwind them. I am learning a lot about myself and I am excited to be in a place where I actually feel hopeful.
At my most recent appointment my therapist and I discussed my diagnoses. There are some things I am certain I have and a couple that need further investigation. Here’s my personalized glossary of the ones I’m sure about.
Agoraphobia: I’m scared of being in situations and environments that I can’t control. I get freaked out going to the grocery store or bank alone.
Social Anxiety: I’m scared of situations where I will have to interact with people because I fear judgment and embarrassment.
Depression: I feel sad and hopeless and sometimes struggle with suicidal thoughts. (Please don’t be worried about the suicidal thoughts, they are intrusive thoughts and I’m getting help)
Derealization: I feel disconnected from reality. I am often unsure if things are really happening or if I am dreaming.
I’m okay sharing this with you because it’s not something I am ashamed of anymore. I am embracing my illnesses the same way I embraced having epilepsy. My experience is valid, I don’t need to hide or justify my symptoms. It’s cathartic for me to blog and share in a place I can revisit my experiences and feelings. Putting my thoughts out into the internet makes me feel seen and less alone. Usually people “seeing” my mental illness would bother me but I’ve decided to swallow my pride and be open and honest to encourage others to do the same.
If you have anxiety, depression, or a clusterfun like me, you are not alone. It doesn’t need to feel like a dirty secret. If you’ve been considering trying medication or therapy I encourage you to do so. If you’ve had a bad experience with getting treatment in the past, don’t be afraid to try again. If you simply need a friend to talk to, I’m always here. Don’t hesitate to email/text/instagram/facebook message me.
I plan on going more into detail about my anxieties in future posts. But for now, I just wanted to get this all out. I am truly grateful for all of the support I’ve received in response to my blogging. You are the reason I feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable.