Every 6 Weeks the Seizures Come and Go

 

Every 6 weeks the seizures come and go.  Sadly, talking of what I do not know.

That was the pattern when I wrote this post on December 16th, 2015.

My seizures are not an enjoyable experience and it causes me to feel very alone.

 

Sunset at Playa Negra with lone person next to a tree

 

I seem to have some type of amnesia when the seizures occur and therefore I don’t remember them. Jill tells me about thirty minutes after since my brain is still jumbled and I tend to argue with her about whether they happened or not.

It is difficult on me, but it is especially difficult on Jill. She has to live through it and watch me become someone I’m not.

This is something we have both been living with for more than a year now.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Have you read T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock?

If not, take a minute and go read it online.

My favorite line from it is, “In the room the women comes and go. Talking of Michelangelo.”

In my case it is, “Every 6 weeks the seizures come and go.  Talking of what I do not know.”

I’m usually a reasonably self-confident person and many of my friends tell me they are impressed with my travels, adventures and way of life.

However, these seizures actually change my personality and turn me into someone like J. Alfred Prufrock.

I become afraid, extremely emotional and quite anxious. I tend to ruminate about choices I’ve made and mistakes in my life.

Sleep becomes difficult, which then seems to exacerbate my seizures, and builds anxiety because I worry that I’ll have more seizures. It becomes a cyclical pattern.

In the poem, J. Alfred worried about what people thought of him and it dragged him down.

I also start worrying about what others think of me and how I’ve let them down in my life. On top of that, I start questioning my relationship with Jill and wondering why she would stay with someone like me.

It is a horrible experience for both of us.

I’m taking medications to help alleviate the seizures, and the emotional problems that come along with them, and we know it will take time to stop them.

If they do stop.

The latest medications have helped with the emotional effects of the seizures, which is an improvement over the last ones I tried. This also allows us to continue our travels and we don’t allow them to limit our ability to do what we want in our lives.

Jill’s family visited us during Thanksgiving of 2015 and we took a catamaran cruise for a few hours.  At one point, we all went snorkeling.

After we were done snorkeling and had returned to the boat, I had a seizure.

I became absent for a few minutes and I still don’t remember any of it. Afterward the seizure ended, I had a feeling of extreme exhaustion and a disconnection from reality that lasted for hours. I’m drained of any emotional, or physical strength, and find it almost impossible to engage with other people.

We’ve been very careful because of the seizures and have limited what I can do while traveling. We took our chances snorkeling and we were lucky I didn’t have one while in the water. We have no idea what would have happened if I had one while in the water.

I’m not used to wearing a snorkel so I may have pulled it off and been in serious trouble or possibly drowned. Trust me, nothing good would have come from a seizure.

As an explorer, I dislike being restricted by my seizures. We’ve noticed that most other people that live the expatriate life seem to have great physical health.

Well, not me. The seizures make us rearrange our lives even when they are dormant since we can never know when they will strike.

They seem to come every 5-6 weeks.  From what we’ve read, having extended breaks between seizures is quite normal. I have no idea why this happens but I do have some guesses.

When a seizure was about to strike my anxiety would grow as did some type of subconscious rage.

Television, Social Media and Anxiety

I used to spend a lot of time on social media. It made me more aware of the negative events all around the world. As a practicing psychotherapist, I had a simple intervention that sometimes cured depressed or anxious clients in just a few days. I’d ask them to shut off the TV, along with social media, and just be present in their own solitude. This is an intervention I’m using on myself.

A little family background: My dad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I think that is a genetic predisposition in my family. I think I have some of that running in my blood, and when the seizures hit, it takes over. Psychological testing seem to confirm this.

This isn’t a sob story. It is just life.

We deal with it as we travel and choose a life less ordinary.

We’d probably be having the same health issues if we were living in the states, working a 9-5 job, and doing what most others are doing. We’d also have more support.

This is where our ability to plan comes in handy. We plan out where we will be staying, how close to medical care we will live and how we can get help if we need it.

Another issue we face is that we don’t own any mode of transportation.

When we first arrived in Costa Rica, we had signed up for a house sitting job. It was less than ideal because we weren’t close to any medical facilities. We were in a town of about 100 people and it probably wasn’t our best plan to house sit in such a remote location.

The housesit ended early and we choose to move to a town that has a doctor, and is only a half hour bus ride, or 15 minute cab ride, to a hospital. It just makes sense and is something to take into account when we travel.

As expatriates and world travelers , we enjoy the freedom our lifestyles afford us, but our complications aren’t always easy to fix.

I think these type of issues are important to put out there. It may seem like we are always off on an amazing adventure but there are problems in everyone’s lives. I don’t see many websites that deal with these kinds of issues.

It seems most travel websites are written by younger and healthier people and they don’t know the transitions that happens when you get older. It is something to recognize as you change your life, in any way, and something we can help you with since we’ve both been through it. We’ve taken the time to make plans and find the necessary resources to stay safe and as healthy as possible while still living a life we enjoy.

Questions to ponder:

  1. What is keeping you from living the life you want?
  2. Are there medical issues you’d need to address before you can change your life?
  3. If so, how could you handle this?
  4. Some people we know don’t use insurance. Would this be something for you to consider or would you find this too anxiety provoking?

The Definition of Freedom

The New Normal

The Costs and Benefits of Choices

 

 

 

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Playa del Coco, Costa Rica