Epilepsy has a lasting impact on an individual's mind. In this article, Elyse McGraw shares how she's managing life after diagnosis with the help of CBD and through other lifestyle changes.
In my last blog, for the first time, I shared with the world that I was recently diagnosed epileptic. It was therapeutic to get that off my shoulders. While I know epilepsy is a condition many people live with and still manage to pursue healthy lives despite the restrictions it creates, for some reason it was still tough to break down that initial barrier and publicly talk about it.
Fast forward to a week later and sharing was one of the best decisions I've made; a weight was lifted.
The impact of the seizures is still at the forefront of my mind on a daily basis. I never thought I would ever experience one, especially as an adult who has gone through life playing sports, living healthily, and working out regularly. In the spectrum of general health, I like to consider myself near the top, which just goes to show that you truly never know what can happen. Life can change in an instant, and I'm lucky that it wasn't something worse.
Now, on a daily basis, I'm faced with managing the stress and continued worry of my epilepsy and another seizure happening. My memory also doesn't feel as strong, and thus I'm working to constantly replenish my brain. These are the most prevalent symptoms that I face, and work on, each and every day.
My solution has been part lifestyle change, part mental activity, and part dietary, including the introduction of CBD oil into my daily intake. It's a balance I'm working to figure out every day.
Through conversations with friends and diving into research on my own, I decided to include CBD alongside other vitamins and natural supplements. Clinical trials have provided positive early results in treating individuals with certain kinds of epilepsy conditions. Even as recent as June 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD medication, EPIDIOLEX, for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, epilepsy syndromes experienced in children.
CBD has proven to be a positive addition in helping me cope with the after effects.
I’ve always had a good memory, being able to recall quite a bit through life. So one of the hardest things following the seizures was losing some memories before and after.
With regards to the seizure itself, I couldn’t remember hours leading up to the seizure or hours afterward.
Even now, while I can tell my memory is getting stronger, things sometimes appear hazy. It makes me feel like I am losing my mind, especially when repeating stories friends and family have already heard. It’s scary and frustrating.
However, my doctor continues to reassure me that the brain does repair itself and that I’ll be ok in the long run. I make it a priority to take care of myself and constantly tell myself to be patient.
“Will I have another seizure?”
This was all I thought during the myriad of tests, as doctors scurried to determine what was wrong.
While I feel better today, this question still follows me around. I go to bed with this worry, wondering if I’ll wake up in an ambulance again.
What I’ve learned here is that I just have to let time move forward. The longer I go without a seizure, the more the worry will subside.
Have you ever heard someone say (or maybe you’ve said it yourself), “In hindsight, I wish I would have known about that so I could try to prevent it?”
In hindsight, I wish I would have known the kind of impact stress can have on a person, mentally and physically.
How it can decrease one's health in a magnitude of ways.
In hindsight, I wish I would have known that stress could cause a seizure. Had I known, I would have worked on managing it a lot more.
After a multitude of tests over a couple months time, they weren’t able to find what was wrong with me. All tests were coming back negative.
The interesting thing about seizures is that doctors can't always pinpoint an exact reason, which is exactly my case. That creates a constant unease of what the root cause is and what the future holds.
When I had the seizures, I had been going through a lot of stress at work, and would bring it home with me. It built up over months and then my brain just crashed.
I had my follow-up appointment with my neurologist and I asked him if it were possible that high levels of stress could be the cause for what was happening to my brain. He responded with, “One hundred percent they could be the cause.”
This is when I knew something had to change in my life. And it needed to happen immediately.
My Plan With CBD's Help
Trying to put the seizure worry behind me, I am now focusing more and more on my recovery.
To start, I am working on managing my stress levels more. Whenever I start getting worked up over something, I step back a moment, take a breath, and come back to the situation in a different mind set.
I find this helps tremendously when leading a less stressful life.
I participate in interval workouts 2-3 times a week. Research shows that having a consistent workout routine relieves stress, improves memory, assists in sleeping better, and boosts your overall mood. Not only am I relieving stress, I’m working on a multitude of other things that will make me feel better.
In addition to stress management and exercise, I have introduced CBD hemp oil into my daily routine, as I mentioned earlier. I squeeze a half a dropper of oil into my coffee every morning and the gradual effect is just noticeable enough to allow me to get things done throughout the day.
And finally, I quit my high-stress job. The immediate positive impact that had on my mental state was huge. All of a sudden my shoulders relaxed, I walked a little bit lighter (and taller), and I was able to actually breathe.
My job was holding me back and creating the kind of stress that I fully believe led to my seizures. Since then, I have worked on relaxing my brain, bettering my routine, and just overall feeling better about myself and the direction I am about to take.
As for what's next, I'm exploring as I write this. I like to tell people who ask that "I'm looking for my happy."
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