Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures

A whole other kettle of fish.

Also known as PNES, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures is a common seizure disorder caused by psychological factors rather than epilepsy.

The public has no idea what this is. To be fair, neither did I, until 2017.

Trauma of one sort or other manifests itself in a myriad of ways from flashbacks, panic attacks, seizures, and many, many more.

Trauma could be defined as experiencing something so horrific the mind blocks it out, hides it away in a special place, locked up refusing to acknowledge its existence. Events such as the ravages of war, the violent death of a loved one, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, to name a few.

How a body and mind can handle trauma varies as does how it unleashes the pandora’s box blown open from the constant pressure of holding it tight protecting it, keeping it safe and hidden from view.

The years, no decades, of suppressing my emotions, avoiding confrontations, feelings of inadequacies, and depression couldn’t be buried any longer once epilepsy came into my life. The sexual abuse at the hands of a friend’s father and the oppressive nature of my own dad created an atmosphere of fear. I spent so much of my childhood afraid of those that I should have trusted. Those feelings of comfort, security, safety was foreign to me.

The stressors of a marriage gone awry, a disastrous 7 year relationship, and my first seizure in 2011, was the beginnings of a nightmare, painfully, unravelling like peeling a band aid slowly pulling at each and every hair taking with it the blood encrusted scab below.

It’s taken until the fall of 2019 when I started therapy before all those memories started to surface. Years of stomping them down, ignoring the sensations of my body, messages of warning, alarm bells, floated to the top bringing a sensation of. What? I didn’t know and still struggle to listen. Never taught to express myself in a constructive matter, if at all, not knowing the difference between anger, hurt, sorrow, pride, happiness, and so on, was another language.

How does one feel sad, guilt, happy, anger, grief? What does the body do when these emotions arise? And how does one decipher them? It’s a work in progress and will take years to decode them.

Through a combination of cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness, I’m getting closer to learning how to be. To stay in the moment, not dwell so much on the past or worry over a future so far removed from my control. It isn’t easy. But necessary.

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