Finding Beauty in the Unconventional

20160502_162130Going about my business in the city as I love to do, it was just another day.  I had a huge amount of chores to do but it was a hospital appointment with the endocrinologist first and then home to deal with the mound of prep for the forthcoming trip to England.

That day became what I can only describe as a ‘F#!* it!’ day.  I really am not one to use coarse language and expletives in my blog.  That is a personal preference of mine for the variety of readers I have, not wanting to offend and being aware and respectful of what is appropriate; however, on this occasion there really is no other way to describe how I felt on this day.

It was an absolute scorcher, the sun was out and there were small clusters of puffy white clouds dotted sporadically in the sky.

After my appointment, rather than take public transit I opted to walk down the stunning tree lined streets.  I observed the life of the city and zig zagged my way through the grid system to get to where I needed to be.

Now, my destination was at the gym and then Zumba, that had been the plan.  I had carted all my gear with me alongside my good intentions, but as I walked, I realized how much I didn’t want to be incarcerated in a building with lots of sweaty people doing exercises I had no desire to take part in.

As you know I am partial to the gym and thoroughly enjoy it but that day I had been enchanted by the beauty of my city, I wanted to immerse myself in the heat and just ‘be’.

I passed a café with two sets of tables and chairs outside, desolate and looking very lonely.  A prime opportunity for a sit down and a quick cup of tea!  So there I sat outside with my book.  My book faded into the background fairly quickly and returned into the depths of my bag as I simply wanted to watch the world go by.   Every now and again I had niggling thoughts of all the jobs I had to do at home that subsequently led on to how I was wasting time just sitting, but I wanted to enjoy practicing the art of ‘being’.

We spend so much of our time rushing round in life that on this occasion I’d rebelled against the norm and thought,

“No, I’m going to recharge my batteries, my chores can wait”.

And this is where the unconventional comes in – beauty can be found in all manner of nooks and crannies.  The scene was absolutely idyllic.  There were of course the trees lining the sidewalks in their fullness of Spring, green leaves brimming on their branches; the brick of the buildings closer to where I was located set against the dominating angled skyscrapers of the skyline highlighted the contrast in architecture; there were lime green, orange and yellow taxis driving up and down the hill interspersed with the brightly colored buses with combinations of purple, red, yellow and blue; students, adults, tourists and families mooching around the shops or walking with purpose to where they needed to be; further down there was the Convention Center and peeking through the gap was water which sparkled with the sun.

Now that might not sound very exciting to you.  Public transport and buildings, great, where’s the magnificence in that?  But that is exactly the point.  It is through being able to appreciate those simpler things in life and make the time to do so that allows the space to conjure up new thoughts, ideas and potential experiences.

The longer I sat the more I began to notice things I hadn’t seen before and then all of a sudden the inspiration for this blog post arose and out came my diary and a pen!

2016-05-25 18.10.17

My mind wasn’t filled with all the activities I must do.  I had accepted that that particular day wasn’t going to be a replica of all the others.  I was going to take two hours to embrace life even if that meant sitting outside a café watching traffic and observing human life. It demonstrated how essential it is to slow down not only for one’s well-being but it gave creativity the opportunity to manifest itself within me because I gave myself time.

I got all my jobs done, there was no panic, it just goes to show that it’s all about prioritizing.  YOU are important and you deserve to have some time to yourself.  The next time you find yourself saying,

“I don’t have time…” even if you can switch off for ten minutes in a corner with a cup of tea that is the beginning of self-love and knowing your own worth.

 

 

In Jamaica: Walk & Talk In The Park For Epilepsy

IMG-20160509-WA0001

Since starting this blog, I’ve been extremely fortunate as I have got to connect with wonderful and interesting people all over the world who are dealing with epilepsy and working towards the same goal.

In many places, the attitude towards epilepsy remains misunderstood with myths and incorrect facts still being believed.

I had the good fortune to work with the Cameroon Epilepsy Foundation with a couple of projects in FFWE’s first year.  It was eye opening to learn of the daily struggles that the communities in Cameroon face due to a lack of understanding and the correct, up to date information.

I have recently been speaking with Gail Valentine who volunteers at the Jamaican Epilepsy Association and she has been sharing her story with me.  She will be featured next month as one of a number of guest bloggers to document her journey so I won’t give too much away, but the common thread which came up was the attitude towards those with epilepsy in Jamaica.  She was explaining how difficult it is to get employment and the misguided beliefs of what epilepsy is. She is dedicating a large amount of her time to the Association and is currently promoting a walk that is being held at Emancipation Park  on Sunday, May 15th.

For those in the area, it’s a wonderful cause and I would highly recommend going down to take part; if you can’t take part then head down to the park and show your support – every person makes a difference.  Not in the area but would like to donate?  Check out http://www.jamaicanepilepsyassociation.org/ and you can support this worthy cause.  I have been notified that the website is currently under construction so please be patient and do check back!

Good luck for Sunday folks, I’ll be there in spirit!

Part II: Epilepsy Sufferer of 32 Years & Newly Diagnosed – Huh?!

So it’s almost a month since I wrote that first post and there has been plenty of time to reflect on the changes which have occurred since implementing the additional supplements to my diet.

I have a long list of vitamins to take and upon making a discovery was how I recognized the need for my attitude to shift again.  I have always taken vitamins over the years but so often I’d finish a bottle and there would always be an excuse as to why I wouldn’t have another one ready as a back-up.  These vitamins and minerals are essential to my wellbeing and I am well aware of that, so why then is it that I don’t take them as seriously as I do my chemical medications?

I would never dream in a million years of finishing a bottle of Depakote or my new drug Onfi and thinking to myself “Oh, that’s okay, I’ll wait till I get paid to reorder them” or, “I’ll go down to the pharmacy when I’m in town next”, so why should supplements be any different?

My doctor explained to me, particularly with the magnesium as I previously mentioned that without consuming the vitamins I’m deficient in, it will be highly likely that I will continue having seizures.  I allowed myself to do that over these years and it is me who needs to take full responsibility for that.

I need to view these supplements as I do my Depakote and Onfi, a life line and seizure preventative.

When I began taking them all, three days later I wasn’t able to eat a good breakfast due to the fact I got up late and needed to attend a meeting; therefore, I missed the dose.  I had planned to take them at a later time but as the day went on I decided it wouldn’t matter if I missed just one day.  How wrong was I?!  In such a short space of time the influx of seizures was significantly noticeable, enough for me to put the two together.  I had considered what else I had done during the day to see if there was anything that could potentially have created these seizure clusters and I could come up with nothing specific.   I, of course, am aware that it isn’t 100% proof but the coincidence was a little too close for comfort.

With an Endocrinologist’s appointment under my belt to deal with a slightly underactive thyroid, there are a few more additional issues which need to be addressed.

I thank my lucky stars that my Epileptologist is also a Neuropsychiatrist.  As all humans do, we have insecurities and personal issues that we live with and that affect us on a daily basis.  Depression, anxiety and mental health illnesses are becoming far more common.  They’re slowly stepping into the spotlight for people to learn more and to raise awareness about them.

I am no different to anyone else in that regard.  I have issues aside from epilepsy and embrace them in a bid to heal myself.  What I have never experienced is a doctor who values that too and who places perhaps even more importance on the results of the two together; thus, it’s not just the seizures and epilepsy that must be focused on, it is the psychological issues too.

Every appointment I am required to complete a form covering my physical and mental wellbeing over the previous month/week.  How have any tension levels, OCD, food related issues, tiredness, anger, bodily functions, general outlook on life been?  For example, if there is a week which is worse on the anxiety scale for me, is there a correlation between how prominent my absences have been?  The answer is yes, and I wasn’t fully aware how relevant the psychological evaluation is in treating seizures.  This is something that I don’t believe is taken into account as part of the practice with the majority of general neurologists.  I can only speak from my own experience and whilst I’ve had some superb doctors, it’s only now with hindsight that I comprehend how vital this information is.  Who knows how different life could have been if this had all occurred when I was seven or eight.  I am certainly not bitter, just grateful that I was fortunate enough to discover my doctor and this information at this stage in my life.  Now I can begin making the necessary changes and more importantly I can share it with my readers.  If it can help just one person then I have accomplished my goal!

“Epilepsy is important to the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist is important to epilepsy.”

– Unknown, Opening quote to Epilepsy, Psychiatry & Learning Difficulties by Tim Betts

Beautiful Words: Faodail

image

A strong Gaelic noun from Scotland.
Perfect for today as it represents my feelings towards a new group of friends that have unexpectedly entered my life.
Never forget, these finds don’t always need to be of material nature.
Have a wonderful week folks!

Beautiful Words: Mizpah

il_fullxfull.285267428

It’s a word full of of goodness and love means “watchtower” in Hebrew. It is specifically referred to in Genesis 31 in the bible in connection with Jacob and Laban making an agreement in the presence of God.  It has since become associated with the emotional bond of those who have either passed or where there is great absence due to distance.

“And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” Genesis 31:49