Tag Archive | depression

Only 2538 Days to Go

It’s been a while since I wrote anything in my blog (no I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth), many changes and just hadn’t gotten in to a new rhythm yet.

Well, I had found my rhythm and was (actually) feeling pretty confident. Then WHAM! A doctor (we’ll be getting a new family doctor), didn’t pay attention to my epilepsy and the medications I take. He only looked at my allergies – well that is a plus. The strength of prednisone he prescribed basically counteracted my seizure medications. It was as if I suddenly stopped taking them. Four days of taking the prednisone I had THREE seizures (in a 12 hour period) and spent two days in the hospital. I really don’t remember much of the week of December 15th.

1-2-15 resetAfter being seizure-free for SEVEN YEARS (2555 DAYS), this development is heart-breaking. It’s safe to say that my confidence level isn’t what it used to be; especially since I’ve never been big on having to ask for help. Someone needs my help – I’m there, what’s needed. I guess that right now I’m too busy being depressed and trying to find a way out of this pit.

I don’t understand some of the changes I seem to be going thru – they seem worse than before (not in any particular order):

  • I feel more tired and a lack of focus
  • It seems strange, but I seem to need my glasses more (I used to wear them all the time – but the last seven years I didn’t need them)
  • My emotions seem off – I don’t really seem to feel much of anything (although I am still furious with the family doctor for putting me in this situation)
  • I feel I have to fight to make my thoughts coherent – and explain myself clearly
  • In 2006 when I had sooooooooooooooooo many seizures I felt like crying each time – this time I just feel drained

1-2-15 acceptI know this sounds like an oh woe is me kind of thing. I guess the point I’m trying to get across – life isn’t always what you expect. It’s that “stuff happens” thing and you can’t always have things go your way. So, I’ve got to get my groove back, and not let things get me down.

Hey, it’s only 2,538 days till I start a NEW record!

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The Little Things That Make You Happy

Those of us with medical conditions (of various types), whether it’s serious allergies to medications like penicillin or those with heart conditions should wear a Medical ID tag of some sort. Should you ever be in an emergency situation this is one of the first things emergency responders look for. The site to order your bracelet is: http://www.americanmedical-id.com

As I have mentioned before, I have epilepsy (notice I did not say I am epileptic – but that’s a different post) and hypoglycemia. So yes, I wear a Medical ID bracelet, I have since 1995.

The first one was stainless steel, nothing fancy, but it listed both conditions, my medication allergies and the one medication I was taking. In 2007, I had another medication added and found a new medication allergy. Because I was depressed about the new medication and was post surgery I decided to get a pretty bracelet. That one (I wear currently) is sterling silver and has a nice link for the chain. So yes, this cheered me; I had a nice/pretty piece of jewelry. Since I’m going to be wearing one of these for the rest of my life, I wanted something nice.

But there’s one thing wrong with sterling silver. While the bracelet chain is still beautiful, the tag isn’t doing well. You see, sterling silver tags for the bracelet don’t hold up well. Last year the scratches started showing, to the point where you can’t really read the thing. (I’m sure the necklace tags hold up much better.)

Crud! Now what? I still want something that looks nice, actually different from what “everyone else” is wearing. (Never have been big on conformity.) Then it dawned on me, a friend of mine makes jewelry. Kris’ business is called Peacock and Lime and she creates wonderful items. Of course what triggered my thought to contact Kris was the fact that the American Medical ID site has one of her bracelet designs. So why not go directly to the source and get a design (stones/beads) that I would like best?

custom bracelet-2So, my friend designed a wonderful bracelet for me (pictured) based on the beads I wanted, something more ME. I’ll receive it in the mail within a week or two. Yes, this is another little thing that brings a smile to my face and helps me to feel good. Remember, seizure medications can cause depression and as we all know in life little things make a person feel better. I do always remember that on the up side I haven’t had a seizure since August 28, 2007, it was five days after the surgery to remove the electrodes from my brain.

My neurologist tells me that I will have to take medication for the rest of my life, even though I don’t have seizures. I guess that’s OK because I do on occasion worry that the seizures will return.

So, share with me, what are the little things that make you happy? I have two other bracelets from Kris and this one will add to my collection. I will always look at them and be happy that I have such a gifted friend and that she made me such a bracelet that speaks more to my nature.

Oh for the record, YES I feel that a Medical ID of some sort is important!! While I normally share e-magazine links (because the blog is also in the magazine) and don’t advertise, I also feel it is important to share the love and brag about friends and family.

Told to “Deal” With It?

As anyone with a chronic health issue can tell you, there are days:

  1. of severe depression
  2. functional depression
  3. can tolerate people/situations – “forced” happiness
  4. really good days where you can’t wait to be out and about – you enjoy every second

depression-1Then you find out that your medication can cause depression. Swell. Or you find out your medication is used to treat depression (so why doesn’t it work for me???). Yes, some epilepsy medications are the same meds used to treat depression. Did you know that these same medications can cause weight gain? That’s just what a person who’s fought with their weight most of their life wants to hear. For me it’s a frustration.

Then when one has a chronic health issue, people tell you (while you’re depressed) that you can’t let this run your life. Snap out of it already. Anyone with chronic depression can tell you this isn’t what gets you out of depression.

On the bright side – I do have more days of symptoms three and four. These are the days when I can do more – with working on my business, around the house, etc. I even enjoy talking with people! When you have your own business that last thing is very important.

Also, if/when you switch to generic versions of your medications, you need to be diligent. Why? Because even though companies are required to exactly match the main ingredient in many cases that’s the only thing that matches. For every medication there are “fillers” even with the brands. Now some of the fillers can cause adverse side effects, but the only side effects listed are the ones the main ingredient causes. Well, isn’t that special? I know that for me it’s ever so much “fun” tracking down where the pharmacies get their generics. I suppose it gives me something to do.

I will not tell YOU how your particular issue should affect you, that you should “deal with it.” Each of us has to work thru our own situations in our own – positive – ways. What I will tell you – I hope for the best and that things work out for you.

Epilepsy and Depression

This blog will be a little different. You see I’ll be discussing depression. Much of this blog comes from an informational article found on the Epilepsy Foundation website. This will describe a few people (me included) rolled into one person who I will call Abby.

Abby has had epilepsy for many years and is on 2 medications to control her seizures. Like all medications there are side effects, one that ALL anti-seizure medications seem to share is depression. And if that’s not enough, just having epilepsy alone can be a cause for depression. You see, the seizures Abby has may come from an emotion center of the brain. According to the article found on the Epilepsy Foundation website, people with epilepsy may be more likely than other people to experience emotional changes.

How often seizures happen also plays a role in depression. People who have seizures frequently may be more likely to feel depressed than people who have well-controlled seizures. Even though Abby’s seizures are (currently) controlled, she still suffers from bouts of depression. As anyone with epilepsy can attest, after your first seizure (even if you try to deny it’s now a real part of your life) you worry to varying degrees “will I have another seizure?” “when will it happen?” These thoughts alone can be a cause of depression.

Lifestyle risk factors are also important in the development of depression in people with epilepsy. In one study, four factors were linked to depression: poor adjustment to seizures, increases in stressful life events, financial stress and being a woman.

In addition, people who feel “controlled” by their epilepsy and feel that it dominates their lives may be more susceptible to mood disorders.

People with Epilepsy and Depression

The results of studies to find out how many people with epilepsy have a mood disorder such as depression vary widely, ranging anywhere from 11 percent to 60 percent. A lot depends on how depression is defined and the groups of people being studied—for example, hospitalized patients or those in outpatient clinics.

Research also shows that people with epilepsy who are depressed often are not diagnosed. About 50 percent of the time they are never treated for the problem. In Abby’s case, it’s because she feels that the feelings will go away, and she’s embarrassed to feel this way in the first place. Abby never had issues before. She was great at handling stress, doing her job, juggling everything thrown her way, why should she admit to yet another fault/flaw in her make up (you see, that’s how she views her epilepsy – a flaw in her biological make up).

Depression: A Checklist

So now Abby has to ask herself, am I suffering from depression? Here are the questions she should be asking.

  • Do I have long bouts of sadness? Do I cry for no reason?
  • Have I lost my interest or joy in life?
  • Have I had changes in eating habits resulting in major loss or gain in weight?
  • Have I had a change in my sleeping habits resulting in difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much?
  • Am I irritable, anxious?
  • Do I have difficulty getting things started?
  • Do I have a lack of energy? Am I always tired?
  • Do I have low self-worth, or a loss of hope? Do I feel inappropriately guilty?
  • Do I have poor concentration? Is it difficult for me to make decisions?
  • Do I have thoughts of death or suicide that won’t go away?

YIKES! Yes, folks, I will be honest with you, I have felt yes is the answer to 9 out of 10 of the above list. Most only last 1-4 days.

Abby answered yes to five or more of these questions and feels this way continuously for 2 or more weeks. According to the article, she may be suffering from a major depressive disorder. Abby had felt for a long time that her family and friends were right – she should just “snap out of it, no reason to be depressed.” There are times when Abby is afraid to say anything because she’s afraid she won’t get the understanding/support she really needs. You see, because of having epilepsy for so long, her support system may be numb to her depression – they’ve seen it for so long. So, many times Abby “fakes” feeling good so that no one will really know what’s going on.

Abby needs to contact her doctor because treatment may be needed.

People who have infrequent or less intense symptoms of depression may also require treatment. Watch your own reactions to the world around you. If you feel that some of the listed symptoms are getting in the way of your enjoyment of life, especially the quality of your relationships with others, then you may be suffering from depression.

Fortunately, there are effective ways of treating depression. It is important to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and ask about treatments that might help. Just because a side-effect of your medication may be one of the items on the above list, do not discount it. Yes, I know that you may have gone through a lot of medications to get to the point that your seizures are controlled. You may be willing to put up with the feeling that the person you were before the seizures is gone forever. But, is it worth it? It could get tiring putting up a false front because you think you need to recreate the person you once were. Seek help from your doctor, it might be an easy thing to correct.