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October 18

Today is my stroke anniversary but Im glad the day is almost over. I woke up feeling so depressed. Instead of celebrating this milestone and all the great things that have happened this year (mainly just getting my wrist straight), I just kept wondering what my life would be like if I never had the stroke. I don't want to hear any encouragement. I know I've accomplished so much, life could be worse, just be thankful, etc. I have just been in a bad mood/on the verge of tears all day.   I have also been pretty sad since I gave my dog away a few weeks ago. I am sorry I cant talk about it Im getting really upset now. But all together I have just been trying to stay busy hanging with friends and family when everyone is not at work and just trying not to be lonely.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

do i want to be disabled?

I have gone through a strange identity crisis. My wrist was bent for so long that I knew I looked disabled to other people. I used to hate that bent wrist and I felt like that was the first thing people noticed when they looked at me. Now it feels kind of weird to look semi normal or whatever. Even though I can straighten my elbow I find myself choosing to keep it bent. I dont know why. My therapist thinks I want people to feel sorry for me but its not that its just I want them to still know Im disabled.   I guess I still want help. When I had my cast on, strangers offered me help everywhere I went. Now since my arm looks pretty normal I dont get that help. My fingers are still curled and we have not been able to reteach my brain to open my hand so even though my hand looks like Im holding something all the time, I dont think anyone realizes I actually cant move those fingers yet. Then when I do straighten my arm sometimes it comes back up so its very weird. I cant tell if I look like someone that just had a stroke or if I look like I never had a stroke.   Its kind of hard to explain. I cant ask strangers to be polite (i.e hold the door, help put my groceries in my cart). I've never had to ask for certain things. Sometimes people just did it. Now sometimes I feel like I gotta bend my arm so people will in a sense feel sympathy. I never thought I would feel this way.   Therapy is going okay. My hand opens with no pain now when we use the e-stim. I got my manicure and did other small things I've waited so long to do. I've been trying to use my hand more to help me do things like fold clothes and eat but it hard since Im not allowed to put pressure through my arm while my wrist is still healing.   I also have been asking myself do I really want to try to use my left hand? Everything has actually been easier using one hand. I get so impatient and frustrated trying to use my left hand to do things. I've been using just my right hand for so long Im just used to it. I guess it will take time but really the only time I want to use my left hand is when I want to multitask or do something with my hair and since my OTs dont know if Im going to get any fine motor skills back I havent been able to try to do things like that anyway so yeah basically I am glad I had the surgery my arm wrist and hand feel and look SO much better but I am adjusting and relearning right now

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

My new wrist

Today I got my cast off and I put my hands together for the first time in 15 years. The first thing I did was wash my hands. It felt soo good. Ever since my stroke I was only washing my good hand by itself but today I actually rubbed my hands together. My OT said I can get a manicure soon. It does not feel real. It feels like Im dreaming. I dreamed about this day forever. You guys know I have gone through so much emotionally I just wanted to die because I could not feel my fingers. I would stay up all night trying to fall asleep with the splint on my hand. I was picked on and self conscious because of my arm and wrist. The list goes on. But all of that is over. My wrist will be straight forever. I only have to work on straightening my elbow and moving my fingers which is a whole lot easier without my wrist being tight and bent and my fingers being clinched! Instead of feeling like Im wasting time in therapy going through unnecessary pain, I am looking forward to therapy. I already have a list of things I want to do with my left hand or both hands. Im so glad I got a good surgeon and finally a OT who believes in me. I am so excited. This is so amazing!

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

1 more week

I get my cast off next week. Im so excited. My OT is going to do some e-stim with me to get my fingers moving again. She makes it sound like I can do whatever I want like all we have to do is some e-stim so I can remember how to open my hand again and I'll be good as new. It is pretty exciting but at the same time Im kinda trying not to get my hopes up too high. Its kinda surreal like what's the first thing Im going to do with my new hand? Probably wash my hands! lol I have not been able to put my hands together in forever. I also want to feel my hair but I gotta get my shoulder strong enough to lift up my arm.   I am also back to exercising. I have been walking 2 miles a day on the treadmill and cut out fast food and sodas. I really want to lose weight so I can fit in my old clothes. It is hard trying to find bigger clothes at the store. Its like everything is size small and medium. Im going to try to keep my diet and exercise going for the rest of summer. I always feel better after I get off the treadmill. Its so hot during the day and raining every night so I dont get to walk my dog very far anymore.   When I was at the rec center I saw my old english teacher. I'd never met her before but she used to get my assignments together and grade my work when I was home bound. I also found out that she uses my story to inspire her students at the beginning of every school year not to give up. She has my news articles, video, and everything. I was so surprised. I didnt even know she would remember me, yet include me in her curriculum. It made me feel good. I guess I really am an inspiration to people I dont even know

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

had my surgery

well i had my surgery back in May. Now I am in OT. I cant squeeze my fingers anymore since the doctor released the tendons. I had to wear my arm bandaged up for 2 weeks and now Im in a cast for 6 more weeks. I cant wait to get it off and see my wrist straight! My fingers have been curling back up but hopefully wearing the splint and doing OT will get them straight. Thank you all for your support

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

if anyone still reads this

I finally had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon today. I am going to do the surgery. She is going to put a rod or something in my wrist to keep it straight then she may release the tendons in my fingers depending on how it goes after that. I feel indifferent about it. Part of me is happy my wrist will finally be straight and in a more comfortable position but part of me feels sad that I will officially never be able to do things like clap my hands.   I got a new position at work. Instead of receptionist, I am now a medical records clerk. I just started yesterday. Everyone is proud of me I have a new boyfriend. We met at a restaurant. I saw the scar on his head and he saw my scar. We kept looking at each other but it wasnt until we got ready to leave that we both realized our arms were the same. He also uses a cane. His stroke was on his right side. He had his stroke when he was 7. We take the same seizure meds. I am so happy I had the courage to walk up to him and tell him about my stroke. He does not live here, he lives in georgia but we talk on the phone everyday and he comes to visit. (His brother is in the hospital here.)   I got some new shoes! I got a black pair for work that has velcro straps and a white pair for weekends with elastic shoe strings so no more tying shoes! Well except when I decide to wear my other shoes which will probably be less now that I have comfortable shoes with no hassle   Well I think thats about all the stroke related updates I can think of. I have never been this happy in my life. Even in college I got depressed. Im so glad I finally got on the right meds to balance my mood and stop the seizures. I thank God everyday. Very often I think "wow Im driving my car home from work to my apartment." Its a simple act I do everyday but when I first started this blog I could never even imagine it. Ive come a long way

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

hi

I have not felt like blogging, journaling or anything lately I dont really want to focus on my thoughts. I prefer to block them out with activities that distract me. I did want to let you guys know about my latest stroke journey though. I asked my neurologist to give me a referral to see a hand therapist. He refused because he said at this point therapy will not make a difference. So I told my primary doctor. He's known me for 20 years so he was nice enough to do the referral. I was excited about seeing the certified hand therapist! but she told me surgery to release the tendons is probably my best option at this point. There would be no getting my elbow straight, wrist straight, or fingers straight. I guess my insurance agreed because they only approved 2 visits for me to see her.   I also found out the tens unit I bought in Charlotte is not the same as electrical stimulation which is why it never opened my hand. It is a tens unit which is primarily for reducing pain. I have not used it in years since I dont have any electrodes anyway. I wish I could get my money back. At least I was able to get a little money back for selling my guitar last week after realizing I bought it for nothing last year and will never be able to play it if I do surgery on my wrist.   I am trying to learn to not overthink my emotions. My psychotherapist insists that I am not bipolar and my feelings are completely normal. I dont know about that.   Oh yeah I got in a car accident 2 weeks ago. Someone cut me off from my left side and kept driving. I wish I could've seen who it was. Stupid peripheral vision.   Anyway these days Im just trying to live my life to the fullest. I gotta do my best to not take my freedom for granted; (being able to drive, no more seizures, having a job to go to everyday).

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

surviving

wow i haven't blogged since October so that means I've been doing good. I don't know if I put this is my last entry but I adopted a dog back in October. He is a black basset hound/ dachshund. I love him so much. He does wonders for my depression. He loves me. Just having him there helps with anxiety because I know Im not alone. I would post a pic but I dont know how on here anymore.   I quit my last job and started at the VA (Veterans Affairs Hospital). I like it so much better. The company I contract with only hires disabled so everyone I work with including my supervisor has some type of disability (most seem to be invisible.) So I've been working 5 days a week getting up at 6:30 every morning. I come to my dad's house on weekends to get a break from getting up early taking the dog out. Also he chewed up both of my remote controls and peed on my carpet a few times so I have to sit in my living room all day to keep an eye on him but here at my dad's I can just lay in bed and my dad feeds him and takes him out n stuff.   Sometimes it feels surreal when Im riding in my car on my way home from work. When i first started this blog I never knew if I would get a job one day, I was permanently denied of my license, and I was stuck in my bedroom at my dad's house living in a virtual world through my computer. It feels good to finally be free.   Since I work in the mornings, I miss yoga so I dont go to the YMCA anymore. I have gained 20 pounds in 6 months though so I get my exercise by taking my dog for walks everyday. I have a new psychotherapist. I just met her last week. She has not diagnosed me with anything but from our initial meeting she does not think I am bi polar. (I was diagnosed with it in June.) Even though I may not be bi polar, I am glad I was misdiagnosed because I have not had anymore seizures since I started the tegratol (mood stabilizer) they put me on which is also a seizure med.   The only downside is my old psychiatrist had decreased my paxil so I have been having anxiety attacks and feeling hopeless sometimes. I dont like talking about the anxiety attacks because I dont want to think about it so I choose not to blog about it and when I start to feel depressed, I just get in my car and go somewhere to eat or hangout with someone so I guess that's why i have not been blogging much lately. So when Im not blogging every couple days or once a week, take it as Im doing good for the most part.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

14 years

Today is my 14 year strokeversary! I think this is the happiest I have ever been on October 18th. I am actually happy to be alive. I have been telling random people my story all day. I've been out all day. I just feel like I have come so far. On my past stroke anniversaries all I can remember is being depressed over having seizures/ panic attacks, not being able to drive, not being able to work, not being able to use my left hand, etc.   I did not think in 2015 I would still be walking with a brace, still not able to use my left hand, and still have no left field vision. But I am so thankful I am not depressed! I am so grateful I have been driving around safely in my car all day going wherever I want to go doing whatever I want to do. No anxiety, no depression, no pity party over not being able to clap my hands or wear high heels whatever.   I have gone through so much for a reason. I met a woman just like me at my job. I mediate medicaid appeals over the phone. I was calling a lady to tell her that her daughter's brain scan was approved and she started telling me about how her daughter had brain surgery at UNC chapel Hill, the surgeons busted her AVM and made her have a stroke, they took out her skull, when they put it back in it got infected, so now she walking around with no skull bone until they put a new one in. It was word for word my same exact story. The mother actually told me I was her angel sent from God to give her hope. It made me feel so good that I could tell her how good Im doing and encourage her daughter.   I also got a new job working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. I got the job through a contract service that only hires people with disabilities! You guys I have been doing so good and I am so grateful. I am especially thankful that I lived to see another stroke anniversary and God has placed me in a career where I can listen to and see other people who are worse off than me every day and just be grateful. I never thought this day would come. Im so grateful. I just want to go outside and shout "Whatever you're going through, don't give up. It gets better!"

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

at a good place

Wow it has been a while since I last blogged. I guess it's been a mixture of me being busy and not really feel like blogging about the crap going on or how I felt. Where do I start? Well a few days after my last entry, I had another seizure. It was really bad. It wasnt in my sleep. I was awake. When the aura came, I thought it was anxiety so I told myself I was ok but the next thing I knew it felt like I had been dreaming and my boyfriend was asking me if I was okay. I didn't know who he was, who I was, what day it was or anything.   After that, I couldn't really take it. It's like the "devil" seen that I was determined not to left the seizure in my sleep bring me down so he sent something worse. I still have to touch my hand anytime my left side starts to feel weird to make sure it's not about to start jerking and a seizure. I got really depressed again but Im doing better now. I started yoga at the Y and try to do mindfulness and meditation so I will just live in the present, dont get depressed over the past, and dont worry about the future.   The people from the sleep clinic never scheduled my sleep study. It's been a little harder for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I got off the seroquel that was making me gain weight and I stopped the hydroxyzine since it was not really helping nighttime anxiety. My psychiatrist tried to start me on lithium but it was making me eat more as well so I only took it one time. Im going to let him know at our appointment this week. I pray that taking the tegratol is keeping me from having anymore seizures.   I know doctors prescribe meds to help but with my chronic constipation and recent memory loss, I don't want to be taking more meds than I need. I also started PT and OT again. My insurance only approved me for the month of September. Im trying to work on my balance, going up steps with no rail, walking in shoes without my AFO, and straightening my elbow and wrist.   I feel like Im in a good place right now. No matter what happens, I know it will pass. I have gotten depressed and cried for no reason but I cheered up and felt fine. I no longer want to die. Life can be a beautiful gift once you realize it isn't just suffering.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

update

I just wanted to update you guys on how Im doing. I've started getting used to working. I've also still been doing the stationary bike and treadmill a few times a week at the YMCA. I have been spending a lot of time with my boyfriend. We met a little over a month ago. We go to church a lot and watch movies at my place a lot. It's nice to have a friend to hang with. I had a "seizure" Thursday morning around 4am. I bit my tongue on both sides and my legs were hurting. I woke up in my living room. I dont remember anything except having the seizure like my head was shaking and I was trying to yell for help. I go see a sleep doctor next week. My dad is concerned about me sleep walking. I sleep with my door shut and locked and I lock all of the other doors so I don't know how or why I leave my room. Im glad I dont walk out my front door. I can tell my meds are working. I did not even get upset after the seizure even though my pastor had just prayed for me on Sunday that I would have no more seizures. I found out from my doctors that my bi polar medicine causes weight gain, increases my appetite, increases my blood sugar which makes me crave sweets, and slows my metabolism. I kinda don't want to get off of it since I havent got depressed lately but according to my psychiatrist Im at such a low dose that its not really making a difference. She also is starting me on tegretol which is a mood stabilizer and used to treat seizures

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Working (Out)

I have been busy working and going to the gym. Working is stressful but I do enjoy getting a check every two weeks. I've always had direct deposit in the past but it's something about getting my check handed to me that reminds me to hang in there and not quit my job. I have also been trying to workout.   I have gained too much weight. I have never weighed this much in my life. At first I thought I was just getting my appetite back, then I thought it was anxiety because I only ate a lot when I was home alone, but then I realized it was my meds and my doctor pretty much confirmed that for me. He said the bi polar meds can make people gain weight. At first I didn't mind putting on a good 10 pounds since my family was saying I looked anorexic before, but after I gained 15 more pounds in a month, I got worried so I tried to be aware of what I was eating. That is when I realized I was binge eating. I gained 15 more pounds since last month which makes a total of 35 pounds since May.   I am afraid. I've never weighed this much and Im afraid Im going to keep gaining weight since I can't do regular exercise because of my left side weakness. I try to watch what I eat but I end up overeating anyway whether I've been starving myself or eating all day. I keep trying diets but I always mess up. I got a membership at the YMCA but I only burn a few hundred calories according to the exercise machines I use in comparison to all the calories I eat before and after I work out.   Im just afraid I am going to end up obese since I cant seem to control my appetite and cant work out like I want to. It is depressing being over weight but I know I would be even more depressed if I stopped the medication that's making me gain weight and I don't want to keep witching medications and messing up my mood even more.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Shoutout to the caregivers!

First I'd like to thank you all for the birthday wishes. I love having this blog. I have been a member ever since I was 17 years old and I really appreciate the love and support I receive from you all. Last week I got really depressed. I did not want to tell my dad since he made me feel so bad the last time I tried to get help a few weeks ago but he said that he would take me to a better hospital the next time I wasn't feeling well so I gave it a try. I was feeling so horrible that I just wanted to die.   The doctor had me committed to the hospital. They put me on paxil this time and they put me back on seroquel to balance my mood. The doctor actually said I am manic depressive since I would be extremely happy when I wasn't extremely sad. Other than medication and another round of therapy, I made a list of new recreational activities I can do like horseback riding and yoga. My new job is really stressful and to make a long story short, I haven't been to work in a week and my boss doesn't think Im ready for the job so that is up in the air right now.   While in the hospital I wrote a poem about not wanting to die anymore. It was very inspirational. One of the patients that was going home actually asked me for a copy so he could hang it on his wall and read it whenever he felt depressed. Just about all of the patients were in there for depression. It felt so nice to be in a community of people I could relate with. I enjoyed the group sessions and I am doing much better. Im glad I could help others during the 5 days I was there. I want to be more compassionate and stop thinking about myself so much.   The only time I cried was when I found out I could not go home for Father's Day. They kept me locked up until Monday. I was so upset because my dad means the world to me and he is the only person I can depend on. Even though I couldn't come home, he drove an hour to come see me on Father's Day. He was the only one to come visit me the day after he initially drove me there after he had been at work all day. When we got back here, the pharmacy wouldn't fill my prescription so he did a whole lot of running around and calling to find out what the problem was. The insurance company had knocked me off so even though I had medicaid and medicare he still went through the hassle of putting me back on his insurance so I can have whatever I need.   My dad can be a pain sometimes. He upsets me. He says things like "you don't have depression, you just need to get a grip." And he complains about all the appointments he takes me too but at the end of the day he still does it because he loves me. Maybe one day I will have a husband to help me with all this stuff but until then I am very grateful for my caregiver my dad.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Awesome birthday weekend

Today is my birthday but I celebrated it all weekend. I actually just started feeling better yesterday. I went to a support group and my friends from church had a birthday party for me and some other friends. I remember when I felt like I had no friends and spent my birthdays online all day long but this weekend I haven't been home for more than a few hours. It is a great feeling and I am glad I have friends and transportation to go out and have fun.   My dad stayed the night with me last week and drove me to work at my new job some days. I get my first paycheck tomorrow! It is going pretty good. It's just a lot to remember while I am still training. It felt so good to wake up yesterday morning in my bed by myself after a good nights rest for the first time since the seizure 2 weeks ago. I wish the tingly feeling in my arm would go away though. Every time I lay down lately I think of my arm spazzing out and jerking. It is a very scary feeling.   I got so frustrated last week I went to the community health center to get a psychologist since my psychiatrist discharged me and my therapy ended. But it did not turn out well. The lady that was doing my intake called the EMS to take me to the ER to make sure I didn't commit suicide. I kept telling everyone I wasn't going to hurt myself and I had to go to work the next day. They really overreacted and still didn't assign me a psychologist. I hate feeling either very high or very low and I hate the anxiety over the seizure happening again. I hope I find some therapy soon.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

i dont understand

I had another seizure in my sleep on June 1st. I'd had an awesome day. I stayed busy, exercised, read books, tutored. I don't know why I had the seizure. I woke up at 4am on the bathroom floor with my pants off once again. My bath rugs were all jumbled up and my covers were at the foot of my bed. Its almost like I got out of bed to go to the bathroom then had a seizure. I don't know. I bit my tongue really bad. I'd done so much last weekend I really thought things were looking up for me. Unfortunately that seizure zapped my joy. Im afraid of driving, afraid to start working now, afraid of being alone in my apartment. I haven't laid on my left side all week because it reminds me of the seizure. I try not to think about it but when I do, I just want to die. I had signed up to join a lot of ministries at my church but now I just don't know. I don't want to commit to anything then not be able to drive there, not feel like going, or be here at my dad's house and not have a ride. I wish my life wasnt so complicated. I know life isnt always going to be happy all the time. I just dont understand why Im always attacked by illness which seems to affect every other facet of my life.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

saved the best for last

I am still doing good. I can't even remember all of the stuff I've been doing. For about a week I think I went somewhere everyday. I did go to the brain injury support group. We watched a video on invisible disabilities. I met some nice people. That week I also went to a holistic health expo. I met a guy from Medtronic I think that had a display on deep brain stimulation. He gave me the names of a couple of good neuromuscular doctors at Duke. When I called, I found out I already had an appointment. Unfortunately my dad could not drive me to Raleigh yesterday so I had to reschedule for August. Hopefully I will be able to go before then. I see my neurologist in a few weeks.   Now that Im not worried about seizures and panic attacks, Im back to focusing on my weak side I guess. I posted a picture of me on the Young Stroke Survivors group on facebook. My arm was so bent and I get tired of holding it for pictures. I just want it to be straight. Also, I bought some new shoes. After spending 3 hours in the shoe store I settled on the only shoes I found that I could walk in with my AFO. Unfortunately I later discovered that my foot came out of both shoes when I was walking. I tried wearing them with out the AFO but I had to walk really slow and since my feet pronate, I don't like the way I was walking on the inside of my foot. So these are the things I want to bring up to the doctor. The tone in my upper body and fixing my foot.   Last week my therapy ended. At first I was sad and scared knowing that I won't have a therapist on call 24/7 but I went to a support group with my church on Saturday and they told me about some good therapists in the area so I will call around when I feel like I need it. Right now I don't because I am so grateful! I have so much energy. I got my appetite back and gained 10 pounds AND I got 2 part time jobs! I start in a couple weeks. I will be a mediator for the county. I also met a lady at the park who not only invited me to her church to tell my testimony but also wants me to tutor/mentor her granddaughter. It's so wonderful. One day I was feeling sad and lonely so I walked to the park to be around other people, she sat on a bench and started talking to me, I went to her church to share my testimony, and now she wants to pay me to help her granddaughter when I'm not at work. I am just beyond grateful for the progress I have made!

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Mindfulness

Thank you all for your kind words. Lastnight was another all-nighter. I lay in bed and did not fall asleep until the sun came up this morning. Accept this time Im back at my dad's house. Lastnight was a lot better than Friday night. (Saturday night I actually slept for more than 2 hours.) Even though I stayed up all night lastnight, I played games online instead of looking for a job, I watched funny videos instead of desperately looking for my future husband online dating sites. So even though I still stayed up all night, I wasn't up all morning crying wishing I was dead. I was up laughing at stupid videos and my dad woke up and checked on me so that helped compared to the dead silence of being alone in my apartment.   I enjoyed my weekend. I hung out with my cousin on Saturday and we talked and made real fruit smoothies. Yesterday I rode the bus to church. It was difficult to enjoy service because I had a bad headache but I prayed and the rest of my day was awesome. My grandma and aunt came to visit me at my apartment for mother's day then I came back to my dad's house and I was in such a great mood with no headache.   Even though I barely got an hour of sleep this morning, I am enjoying today. It feels so great to not have that weird dizzy feeling anymore. I am also proud of myself for rewiring my brain and doing great. No panic attacks, no anxiety attacks, no seizures and no more unnecessary meds! Some other things that made my day amazing was getting in my car and following my dad back to his house. I love the freedom of driving and listening to music with no worries and I had not been behind the wheel in like a month so it was an amazing feeling today. I also spent some time with my cat just holding her and rubbing her. I made an amazing fruit smoothie. And my job coach took me out this morning for an interview I did great on and to apply for some other part time jobs that are hiring.   I know there's no such thing as permanent happiness but today as my therapist taught me, I am just going to try to focus on the present, be mindful, and not judge or worry. It's such a wonderful feeling to NOT feel (dizzy, sad, scared, tired, disappointed, worthless). Today I am just me Katrina I might go to the local brain injury support group tomorrow.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

can't sleep

Well I went back to my dad's house last Saturday and had another seizure that night. My dad heard me fall off the bed so I stayed at his house for a few more days. I had been sleeping pretty good at his house this week but today I came back to my apartment and here it is 5 a.m and I've been laying here since 9:30 waiting to fall asleep. I don't understand. I don't understand why its so hard for me to fall asleep here. I don't want to be addicted to medication so I have not taken anything to help me sleep/relax. This is really frustrating though. I want to sleep but instead all I do is lay here and think about life then get online and look for a job or love to make my life more meaningful, then get frustrated and tired of looking for ways to change my life since this brain damage has ruined my life by making everything more difficult! I just dont understand, Even when I was taking the depakote and klonapins with my keppra, I still had seizure in my sleep and was tired all the time.   Now I've practically made myself retarded by stopping depakote, prozac, and klonapin cold turkey and for what? I can't sleep, I can't remember anything, I feel like I just had a seizure 24/7 constantly dizzy talking weird and feel like Im falling but worst of all is laying here in the dark thinking about how I have no control of my health and my life sucks all because of brain damage. I don't know what to do. I don't want to be awake but I don't want to start taking the pills again and mess myself up even more. I don't know why Im here, I'm tired of just breathing air everyday while everyone else is starting families and careers when I am the one who worked the hardest to find love and start a career after college with no luck. I cant take this.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

not sure what else to do

Thank you all for your support. It means a lot to me and I read every comment. I stayed at my dad's house for a few days. I could only sleep for like a few hours at a time. It was kind of frustrating but I was determined not to take any pills to help me sleep. After being on the clonazepam for almost 2 years and the depakote for almost 6 months, it's quit an adjustment. I am so used to getting in bed at 9 or 10:00 and falling straight asleep.   When I came back to my apartment Thursday, it was even worse. I did not sleep at all Thursday night and I maybe slept for 30 minutes Friday morning after the sun came up. Last night/this morning was the worst. I didn't expect things to get worse because I was feeling better, praying, and trying to just be thankful. I had so much faith, I listened to my pastor, I prayed all night and believed with faith. I was not afraid to pray to God.   Unfortunately I only slept for about 2 hours. I tried to go back asleep when the sun came out and I got 2 more hours of sleep but when I woke up, I was laying on my kitchen floor confused. I had soiled my pants and they were laying on the floor next to my trash can which was knocked over and broken. Luckily I was able to get up and walk back to my room to call my dad. When my dad got here we discovered, I'd soiled my pants all the way from my room, down the hall, through the living room, to the kitchen. Im guessing I thought I was in the bathroom. I can't remember anything except having the seizure in my bed.   I did so good at forgiving myself for my behavior on Sunday and renewing my faith instead of just staying in a funk this week. I am trying so hard to just remain thankful and not give up. I just dont understand why I had those seizures when I was doing so well and I really dont want to get back on the extra medications again.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Im too weak

I wish I could talk about what a great time I had in Atlanta. how I took the stairs in my aunt's 3 level house, and did the 2 mile walk with her church up and down hills through the route. I wish I could talk about how I went somewhere everyday last week, applying for jobs, networking, and hanging out with friends and family.   BUT I ruined it. I had a seizure in my sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning and I completely lost it yesterday. I took the rest of my bottle of prozac and slept all day. My dad came to get me since my therapist called the cops when I told her how I was feeling. I already had an appointment to see my psychiatrist today so I told him I quit my medicine. I already dont have anymore prozac and today I didnt take my klonapin or depakote. He told me if I have withdrawal symptoms, go to the emergency room. Im just tired of this. I hate myself. I can never get through things like normal people. I always have to take it to the extreme and get depressed. I've lost 20 pounds. Ever since I was in elementary school I hated myself and wanted to die before I even had the brain surgeries and stroke. Its just too much and Im not strong enough.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

just blogging

Thank you all for your comments and support. My kitten is still very active but she has sat in my lap a few times. Even though its a lot to take care of her, It's nice coming home knowing she's here with me. I hope my property manager lets me keep her.   I have been trying to use this free time to travel. I took the bus to Charlotte a few weeks ago just to get away. I really miss being there. Although I was not doing well emotionally and having seizures, I was making so much progress in OT and my self esteem was better because I've always took pride in my work ethic and accomplishments. My mom has been having more health problems but if she is okay by then we are supposed to be going to visit my aunt in Georgia next week. I cant afford to go on the singles retreat to Disney but I do want to go to Houston to visit my cousin in a few weeks. I've never been on a plane before.   Although my job coach is very supportive, I just feel so defeated when it comes to working. I know having a job isn't everything. Its just so discouraging to go out my way and spend countless hours filling out job applications, driving around to drop them off before the deadlines, using up all of my ink and paper from my printer, then never hearing back from the employers. I still tutor but I want more. I want a paycheck. Im tired of feeling like an old retired person when I worked so hard through college to make sure I would have limitless opportunities in the job market.   I told my psychiatrist about how tired the meds make me especially the depakote. Its good for helping me fall asleep but I just hate being on so much medicine. I want to get off but of course his job is to keep me on medicine so he can keep writing my prescriptions. I told my neurologist about how I want therapy again for my arm and balance. He referred me to Duke since its more of a research university/medical center and has better doctors I guess.   Oh yeah I drank a soda and a cup of coffee. The soda kept me up a little bit longer that night. The coffee made me very giggly and hyper but no anxiety or panic attacks so I guess I dont have to be afraid of caffeine anymore.   At my last therapy session we made vision boards. Im trying to be optimistic and make the best of my life (traveling, volunteering, job searching, exercising) but I still struggle with loneliness, discontentment, and inadequacy. If I don't blog as much as I used to its because now I mostly just talk to God out loud or write in my prayer journal.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Doing better mentally but not physically

Thank you all for your comments on my last blog. I have some good news. I went to Virginia for a Singles Retreat with a local church. I was just SO grateful so see all of the beautiful water, bridges, tunnels, trees covered in snow, etc with no anxiety! I navigated the hotel, walked through large malls and spent the 3 days with a group of strangers. No anxiety, panic, depression, etc. It was such a blessing. Just a few months ago I felt like my life was over. Im so glad God let me live to experience the great things He had in store for me.   Also, yesterday I got a kitten! She is a handful but I love her already. Pets are not allowed in my apartment complex but my property manager said I can get a letter from my psychiatrist saying I need a companion and it will be ok. My kitten's name is Lulu. She's very active so she does not snuggle with me but I like taking care of her, playing with her, and just knowing she's here with me. She has helped my loneliness, fear of the dark, and anxiety (because Im thinking about her more than myself and she keeps me so busy).   Part of my therapy last week was to write a list of things I dont like about myself. This week my assignment is to decide what I can and cant change on the list. Next week we will go over accepting what I cant change and how to change what I can. The only issue is majority of the things I wrote ARE things I cant change or things out of my control. If I just needed to get my left side stronger, I could just exercise. But I have so much tone its not that simple and very frustrating trying to use my hand, stretch, etc during this cold season, I dont know how I can fix my vision, and the only thing I can do for my leg is wait until its time for a new brace. I met a couple people during my trip that either had a stroke or new someone that had a stroke and they all fully recovered. I just get so tired of people telling me if I just exercise and pray, I will get my left side back. Im kinda just ready to accept this is the way it is, the way its been, and the way its going to be.

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Still Smiling

Well I finally decided to update my profile picture since 2008 lol I just took that photo today. The other day I was going through some sadness. It was like I finally stopped worrying about the psychological issues I've been going through and suddenly my mind went back to "woe is me I had a stroke." I don't know why but I suddenly felt so inadequate. I felt like I may never be a good enough wife or mother because of my limitations, I may never have the career I want because of my limitations. I just felt frustrated in general, tired of struggling to do things with one hand after all these years, tired of wearing the same shoes every day because my brace wont fit in anything else. Tired of living in poverty, having to worry about discrimination every time I apply for a job because I am a black disabled woman. I just felt so overwhelmed and inadequate.   Luckily my therapist came over the following day. She really helped me feel a little bit better and gave me an exercise to do for next week when we meet. I am glad I noticed my sadness and talked about it and calmed down before it turned into depression or got worse. I did not get the job at the library that I interviewed for but it's okay. I was more than qualified, I passed all of the tests the committee gave me after the interview, and I followed up with a thank you letter. But I'm still smiling. My family is in good health, I'm in good health, and I really want to do more traveling this year so I am just going to enjoy the free time. My license is still under review but I don't need a license to take a plane, train, or bus to go on trips with my church friends and visit family

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

Motivated

I feel great. I met one of my neighbors who lives near my dad's house. She is a stroke survivor and she wants me to come over and workout with her sometimes! She wears her brace all the time on her hand and sometimes she sleeps in it. I wanted to do that for so long but I just always take it off because its uncomfortable plus its so cold at night and my wrist is so bent I just go ahead and take it off.   I found out that now that I have medicare, I can get a new tens unit and get new electrodes every month for free. I am looking forward to that. I have not used my tens unit in so long because the electrodes were not sticky anymore, plus I was scared that the electrical stimulation would make me have a seizure. But my neurologist assured me that it will not induce a seizure and maybe a new unit will get me motivated! I really want to play my guitar and I know it takes time to learn but I want to feel accomplished and happy when I play, not defeated and frustrated. Even more motivation to work on my hand!   Not only am I teaching a senior citizen to read and prepare for his GED (which I love!) He always brags about how much "he loves his teacher" and he really appreciates me, BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER. I had an interview yesterday so I may get my opportunity to work in the library again!   Some other things have happened like my doctor didnt give me clearance to drive but luckily my dad had already made a copy of the paperwork so we took it to my neurologist who knows about ALL my issues and just put me on a new seizure med last month but Im not worried about it. I have my visual field test tomorrow but Im not worried about that either the same way I didnt worry about my road test. I love this peace I have

CagedBird

CagedBird

 

TGIF

Thank God it's Friday! I have not had a day to myself since last Friday (which is a good thing I suppose). I have been so busy hanging out with girl friends from church on weekends, going to appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays, and volunteering on Tuesdays and Thursdays.   I had a few anxiety attacks last week but I just tossed them to the wind and kept doing what I was doing. No more fear! Im hardly at my apartment so I haven't had much time to sit around and get down in the dumps/bored or think up unnecessary fears. It's so great to be back to my old self and even better since Im not feeling depressed. I even went to a Super Bowl gathering. It reminds me of college when I stayed busy. I applied for a part time job at the library last week but in the meantime I am tutoring an older man who wants to learn the computer and study to take his GED. It was so rewarding helping him read and sound out words. I think I was more excited than him when he would finally pronounce a word right. I am glad I can feel this joy.   I finally heard back from the DMV. I simply checked my mail and stayed calm while reading the letters before I went to church Sunday. I have made so much progress! I guess all the paperwork I turned in from my neurologist last September wasn't enough. This time the medical review board requested a road test, a visual field test, and a clearance letter from my doctor with any restrictions on what I need to drive. I believe my dad was more frustrated than me when I told him about it. I took my road test the other day and passed! I take my visual field test next week. It feels good to just have peace though. Im not worried about the future. I can finally be content and not anxious. Thank you all for your comments and support.

CagedBird

CagedBird

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