Inner Demons

Anxiety, the quiet demon in my life which keeps my body in perpetual fear.  It’s the uneasy feeling in your chest, the lack of strength in your legs, the nausea in your stomach, the lack of confidence, the tightness in your throat as you choke back tears and the fear of judgement!

Anxiety is a daily struggle.

Anxiety isolates you.

Anxiety makes you question your abilities.

Anxiety makes you weak.

Anxiety is a confidence killer.

Anxiety is fear of the unknown.

Anxiety is lack of control.

Anxiety is hell.

I will not let anxiety define me.

For every step backwards I will push forward two.

Failure is okay because failure is where success begins.

Every day is a gift and a chance to start over.

Strength comes from within.

Love and respect are earned.

I am a survivor!


A Field Trip and a Momma Melt Down

I’ve spent her whole life protecting her! I’ve nursed every cold, sat by her side and curled up with her in hospital rooms. I’ve encouraged her when she felt nervous or shy and watched her exceed the limits people have put on her.  I’ve raised her to be kind, respectful, loving and She’s a great kid, with a good heart.   Now she’s getting older and I’m having such a hard time with letting go.  She’s ready for the independence and I know I have to give it to her, but nobody told me it would be so damn hard!

Today she went on her first big field trip, at her new school, without Erich or myself.  I knew she was a little bit nervous, but excited and I didn’t want her to see my anxiety.  We got dressed and she ate a little breakfast.  I brushed her hair and helped her put it up into a ponytail. We talked about the rules and before I knew it she was out the door and on her way to school.

The door closed and I could feel my nerves churning.  My anxiety began to rise and fall like a rollercoaster and I couldn’t breath.  My tear ducts and gag reflexes unleashed on me like a tidal wave.  I was in a full-blown panic attack.  Funnily enough, my head and thoughts were clear… I know she can do this, I need to let her do this, she’s fine, you’re fine, etc… but my body was unleashing all the physical challenges that makes an anxiety attack the unpleasant experience it is.

I knew I couldn’t go into work like this… The tears were rolling down my face, I was an emotional wreck to say the least.  So I called work to let them know I’d be late and headed over to see the one person I knew would get it, the one person who has seen me through all my ups and downs,  someone who has been through it all with me and my three siblings, my mum.

I walked into her house and she could tell right away something wasn’t right.  She looked concerned as she rose to greet me and asked what was wrong?  I unloaded on her and a big smile spread across her face as she opened her arms and said “now you know how I felt those years you were in Italy!”  When I was little my father had taken me for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation, but  ended up being a two-year custody battle for my mum, a story for another time.  She gave me the biggest of hugs and made me giggle cry.  She made me a cup of tea, we talked about everything, she told me about experiences she’d had raising us and we laughed and cried together.  After a few more hugs  I was ready to head to work.

One of the many great thing about Meg’s new school is they kept me updated all day through text messages and even sent me a few pictures.  They told me I could call anytime to check on her, which gives a mom like me such comfort.  I’m please to say I didn’t call, but I did respond to a few texts they sent me.

I couldn’t wait to pick Meg up and hear all about her day and how much fun she had. She was excited to show me the prank snake she purchased with her tickets she won playing video games.  She especially liked a simulation snowboarding game and my heart swelled with joy when she told me she liked being independent, but would like to go back again with her daddy and I to try the bumper boats.  She’s gaining her independence, but she’s still my little girl and I think I will hold onto that for a little while longer. Till next time…

PS If you’re a mom who sometimes finds it hard to let go, don’t appologize for it.  It’s normal and sometimes it’s harder when your child has a disorder they deal with.  I can tell you Epilepsy has been a long hard road for us, with lots of ups and downs.  As long as you recognize and give them the independence they crave and you prepare them for the real world you’re doing a great job! x

Anxiety: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!

I’ve had a few conversations of late where people have mentioned they envy other people or other families.  Not so much what they have, but how together they seem to have it.  I always have the same answer… Some people are just better at hiding their issues than others!

I consider myself a pretty simple person and for the most part, I don’t try to hide or create a false sense of happy when I’m not.  I think all of our emotions are important, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, I can be funny and I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent.  I’m passionate and I’m loyal, but I also have many imperfections.  I battle things like anxiety and depression and very rarely feel stress free, but I try not to let those things consume me and it can be a balancing act.

I’m learning I have triggers! Sometimes an uncomfortable situation or a person who knows how to press my buttons can make balancing everything feel much harder.  I would say, and it’s probably like this for most people, stress is my biggest trigger.  I also find a lot of my anxiety lies within my own lack of confidence in my abilities.  The thing is… I know I’m fully capable of anything I put my mind to, but sometimes I seek out negative feedback so I can say see I’m not good enough! Wow… I can’t believe I just wrote that!  Curse you self-doubt!

Since developing anxiety, the hardest thing for me has been trying to undo all of the false truths I’ve put into my mind.  When I first developed anxiety I didn’t understand it and I would avoid any place or anything (food, drink, action…) that seemed to trigger my anxiety and bring on a panic attack.  This can make a person agoraphobic very quickly and in part that’s what happened to me.

My friends didn’t understand the anxiety so they slowly disappeared and while it’s hard to admit I’m not sure I would’ve been much different had the shoe been on the other foot.  I became so afraid of people not understanding and/or judging me so I stopped working full-time and only held small, intermittent, part-time jobs. I created a little safety bubble and I didn’t drift far from it.  However, I became so depressed about not being able to do easy tasks or enjoy simple outings with my family, that I decided something had to change.

I decided to slowly start exposing myself to situations that would make me feel uncomfortable and trigger the anxiety that would often lead to the panic attacks.  Sometimes it was and still is really difficult, but now instead of fleeing I try to push myself to stay and work through it.  Not every attempt is successful and sometimes I do have to leave, but  I’ve found the more I expose myself to things the easier it gets. My mantra has become I can sit home, be miserable and panic or I can get out, have a good time and maybe not panic at all!  In my mind, anything was better than where I was, even if the steps I took were only baby ones.

Today I’m much better than I was, but not quite where I’d like to see myself.  I’m a work in progress!  Every day is a challenge and some days are better than others, but being willing to try is half the battle!

Tooth Troubles & Dentist Anxiety

Why is it the moment I plop my bottom into a dentist’s chair I’m instantly reduced to infant status?

I guess my fear could be the related to the dentist I went to when I was about 15 who argued about whether or not I could feel him drilling into my tooth during a root canal. Or it might have to do with paying through the nose for sedation dentistry, when my teeth went to pot after the birth of my daughter, only to find out later the work was done incorrectly. Whatever the reason, couple it with my anxiety and all I know is I’m a hot mess when it comes to going to the dentist!


~Photo courtesy of my husband who seemed to find my whole dentist ordeal humorous~

So what brought me to this dentist chair?


I feel the need to give you a little back story into my experiences with the dentist prior to this one so here goes…

After I had my darling daughter my teeth were not in great shape and a friend, knowing my fear of the dentist, recommended sedation dentistry!

Sedation dentistry… Do they do that?

Apparently they do!

Being asleep, while having everything done all at once, sounded…


However, as my mother would say “it wasn’t cheap” and shortcuts aren’t always the best option.

My fears outweighed my rational and I put out a small fortune for this comfort.

A few years later I started noticing problems with my teeth, the spacing between my molars, the distance between the crown enamel and my gums, and finally a crown came loose and I inadvertently swallowed it.

Our financial situation had changed and we weren’t able to lay out the money we had previously, which led to a very shitty experience that didn’t pan out to well (there are a few puns here but you won’t get them unless you click the previous link). In short they couldn’t replace the crown and I couldn’t afford what they wanted to do because we simply did not have the money.

I was left feeling very insecure about my smile and to make things worse another tooth had started to go bad on the other side of my mouth. I went to see the orthodontist who pulled my wisdom teeth to see about getting the missing crown tooth pulled and a fake tooth put in to replace it. He said he could do it, but recommended I see another dentist first and I reluctantly made the appointment.

I was feeling pretty good on the day of my appointment, my anxiety was low and I felt confident, but that changed the moment I arrived and signed in. I could feel myself starting to get anxious and that fight or flight feeling associated with anxiety slowly started to creep up on me. By the time I was brought back to the chair I was having a  complete blubbering mess in the throws of a full blown panic attack! The dentist and his staff were really sweet and understanding, but I was already more than embarrassed.  These were people I’d never met, who’d just witnessed me have a panic attack and cry like a baby, what were they going to think of me? I wanted out of there as fast I my feet could carry me! I made a call to my husband who quickly came to my rescue.

There office called several times asking if I’d like to come back in and get the work started?  I was so embarrassed by it all I felt like I didn’t want to go to any dentist ever again.

Well that theory was all well and good until a crown came loose last week!


For fear of swallowing another crown I decided to give the previous dentist another go.  After all, it wasn’t their fault I freaked out, they were more than nice and had been really understanding during my panic attack.

This time I took my husband with me, who enjoyed making me laugh and taking oh so flattering pictures like this one of me getting an impression.

IMG_20130212_101555 (1)

You know they gave me a novacaine shot that made me smile like a stroke victim and kiddie sized glasses that make my head look like an oversized potato, but I was doing it and you know what…

It wasn’t too bad!

I think having my hubby there to make me giggle and distract me, in those moments when they’re not in the room, really helped keep me out of my own head (if that makes sense)! I ended up having the crown redone and I’ve set up another appointment to get the rest of my work done.

If I could offer up what I’ve learned through this process it would be to get second opinions, see a few different dentists before you make a decision!  Sedation dentistry was great, I won’t lie, but it was also short lived bliss because the work wasn’t done well!  Find out what the office does in the event you should have problems and how long they will cover your dental work!

Me… I’m really looking forward to being able to smile again and say goodbye to that insecurity and my irrational fear of dentists!

A Seizure at School

Last Tuesday I got a call from one of the nurses at Meg’s school telling me my little girl was having a seizure.  The nurse couldn’t give me a lot of information, she told me a boy from the class had just come down and the other nurse had just left to go treat her.

“We’re on our way!” is all I could say before hanging up.

My mind began to race though a gazillion questions

Did she fall? Was she in the classroom? Was she with an adult? Oh god the stairs! Did it happen in the lunchroom?  Was she hurt?

I could feel the back of my throat start to tighten and the tears start to well up in my eyes.

Stop it!  You have to keep it together!

I could feel anxiety starting in my chest and I was so glad my husband was home to drive and keep me grounded. Half way to the school the phone rang again and this time the nurse was able to tell us to head straight for the classroom once we got there!

It didn’t take long for us to get to Meg’s school, but it felt as though it took much, much longer!  As we walked up the stair to her classroom, my heart was still racing, and I just wanted to see my baby girl.  When we entered the classroom Meghan was lying on the floor, with the nurse by her side, throwing up.  I sat down on the floor in front of her to let her know we were there and to make sure she wasn’t still seizing.  Her eyes were a little dilated, she looked dazed, but she was definitely coming out of the seizure.  I scooped her up, held her in my arms and then I saw her teachers face, she was visibly shaken by the whole event.  She kept looking at me and saying… God Bless you! God Ble… I had no idea! I have such a new found respect for you! Again I could feel my throat tighten, I told her Meg was fine and asked her if she was okay.  I could see tears in her eyes and the concern on all of their faces and it felt good to know so many people were caring for my daughter.

It’s crazy how time can pass when you’re dealing with an emergency, sometimes minutes can seem like hours and yet, other times, it can feel like everything has happened in seconds and before you know it 20 minutes have gone by.  I think this is why there was a little confusion about how long Meg had seized!

From what I understand, the kids had just come back from lunch and they had put up tri-fold partitions to get ready for practice testing.  The teacher had noticed Meg’s partition didn’t look right and had tried to get her attention, but Meg had not responded.  Upon standing the teacher realized that Meg was having a seizure.  The kids were lined up and led out! Thankfully they didn’t really see much because of the dividers.  Meg was moved to the floor and laid her on her side.  From what the teachers described everything sounded characteristic of Meg’s normal seizures.  I gave Meg’s teacher a hug, thanked everyone and we headed home!

Once home we put a call in to her neurologist and gave Meg something for her headache. She slept for quite a while, which is pretty normal after having a seizure. By supper time Meg was more like herself, but we kept her home an extra day to make sure. It was so nice to receive calls and messages from the teachers and her friends; I honestly think it made her feel a little less nervous about it all.

Two days later, she went back to school and it was so hard to let her go!  Of course, I know things needed to be as normal as possible for her, but as her mom I just wanted to wrap her up in my arms and keep her home! I’ll admit I did walk her to class the first day back!  Her teachers all seemed confident and told me they were ready if she were to have another seizure.  Her friend had made cupcakes for her coming back and the kids went on as if nothing had happened, which I think was really important for her.

I can’t say I’m not nervous about another seizure happening at school, this was her second, but it helps to know her school is prepared and willing to stand by her and do whatever they can to make sure she’s safe.

Random Ramblings and Fears

Today I feel like an emotional basket case! I haven’t blogged in a while and it’s not for lack of wanting to it’s because I didn’t and still don’t quite know how to express what I’m feeling! There’s so much going on in my personal life and I tend to have a hard time separating my feelings into categories! Family… check! Epilepsy… check, check! Instead they all mull around in my brain and make me feel overwhelmed and a tad over emotional!

Meghan has been doing great all things considered! I know I’ve mentioned to some of you about the remedial reading course she’s taking in order to be promoted to 4th grade. She loves her teacher and she seems to be progressing nicely! My only worry is they don’t have a nurse on staff or someone who can administer diazepam if she were to need it. Luckily we live literally less than a block away from the school where the class is being offered! Not that it makes it any easier, I stress about it constantly, but I can get there in about a min if anything were to happen! I am definitely going to approach the school board about making sure someone is available for those programs in the future.

Last week Meg had another seizure! It was upon waking and started out with the usual swallowing episodes, but quickly turned to what sounded like choking and she started to turn blue. I know these things have a tendency to go hand in hand with seizures, but it didn’t make it any easier to watch. I’m used to dealing with focal seizures that progress into leg and arm twitching, her blank stare, random noises, but the last few she’s had are much more violent with thrashing, tongue biting, choking sounds and it kills me! I know she doesn’t remember them, but I can’t seem get them out of my head and I’m petrified. I’m scared to death of SUDEP and the seizures not stopping! I feel like lately I’ve been in a constant state of worry and fear. Recently the doctor suggested and scheduled a PET scan and told me these are generally done to determine whether or not your child is eligible for surgery.

Surgery… another thing that scares the bejeezus out of me! Will it work? Won’t it work? How do I explain it to her? How the hell do I get through it and stay strong if she is a candidate? Will she come back to me the same way she went in? What happens if something goes wrong? What if it doesn’t work? What if it does?

STOP! Take a deep breath! You aren’t there yet! One day at a time! Stop living in the what ifs and live in the present! It’s hard to do sometimes, but I feel as though I constantly have to remind myself to do this! It feels like I’m always preparing for the worst. When we go out, in my head I’m thinking, where’s the safest place to take her if something happens so we can administer her rescue meds? What if someone tries to capture it on a cell phone?

Stress? Yeah! I feel as though I’ve come to know her quite well.

So on days like today, when Meg is at school and I feel like a complete and utter emotional nutcase, I realize I need to take a few moments to let it all out! I have to allow myself, at least for few moments, to take off the happy mask and release what I’m feeling from that box in my head labeled Place Emotions Here! It doesn’t make me weak! It doesn’t make me crazy! It doesn’t make me a bad mom! I think it allows me to process what I’m feeling and get my feelings into check so I can be level headed and taken seriously when it comes time to make decisions, meet with people or answer question. It also allows me to release all those fears and live in the present with my daughter, to laugh with her and teach her life lessons.

I’m not perfect, I’m still learning how to manage all the emotions that come along with epilepsy let alone the ones associated with just being a Mom! I can tell you I’m beautifully flawed and I say this because I know the emotions I feel come out of a place of complete and utter love for my child! I still get nervous and scared, but I’m also a fighter! I want my child to live and to succeed to the very best of her ability! I may cry and beat myself up every once in a while and I might have to learn through mistakes along the way, but I will do everything in my ability to make sure that happens.

Snapshot Sunday – Pampered!

Every once in a while you just have to treat yourself!

I’ve been challenging my anxiety and doing things outside my comfort zone a lot lately!  Some things may seem inconsequential to others, but to me they’re huge, they make me smile and feel good inside, not to mention they feel like steps in the right direction!  So why not give my feet a little pizzaz to take those steps!

Join in the fun and share your favorite picture of the week by itself or with a story if it moves you!

We look forward to sharing photos with you!

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