My 2020...


       

Hello again! As the year ended and a new one began it seemed like a good time to reflect on what the last year has been like and what I want to accomplish in the one ahead. 

2020 has been a crazy, ridiculous, stressful year. It has been a year of extremes for me. I've found incredible joys and yet I've also had to learn how to cope and manage with new difficulties.

 Throughout 2020 I haven't had any improvements in my seizures although I am blessed that for the most part I am still able to do my job and am not limited in lots of the ways some people with epilepsy find a struggle. I had a major dip as a new medication made things worse than better, although my next appointment my consultant took me straight back off it again. During this period though, I had a seizure in front of a patient and while it was severe myoclonic rather than a full convulsive seizure, that was quite a difficult experience to come to grips with. I felt weak, or like I was making a bigger fuss than necessary. It was really difficult to understand why the person in front of me was being compassionate and kind, rather than judging me as harshly as I was judging myself. I also had a major confidence loss in myself and my ability to do work because of how much my epilepsy was interfering. I went through a couple of months where my work was really hard because of a crippling fear that I was going to seize and cause harm to someone. This confidence crisis was horrible. I would absolutely not have come out of the other side were it not for the fabulous team that I work with. Their patience and encouragement, as well as complete lack of judgement, even when I felt I deserved it, really helped me back to where I needed to be at work. 

As you can tell from the above paragraph, work has had ups and downs this year. As well as everything that would happen at work anyway, Covid-19 happened. And working in a hospital, things became interesting. Because the hospital I work for is a small, private one it meant that we weren't able to look after covid patients but we were able to take on non-covid work from the NHS so that they weren't as busy. Levels of PPE have been intense! And job roles needed to shift round in order to cover all the work that needed to be done. One of the results of this was I moved departments for a few weeks to cover some sick leave. And I absolutely loved it! I got to do the same work in a totally different way, as well as being taught new skills! Working in that department and building relationships with the patients and staff there has been one of the unexpected joys of 2020.

Possibly my favourite part of 2020, or at least one of the most unexpected things that I am so pleased has come out of this year is this blog! All you wonderful people! I never expected to have the courage to share my life in this way and it's been so helpful for me to be able to write and seeing your responses to my journey has just been the cherry on the cake! Setting up my Instagram to go along with this blog and finding the communities I spoke about last time has been another great encouragement. I'm hoping this year to write more blogs, be an encouragement to more people and create more awareness around the condition I have lived with for nearly my whole life. 

One of the things I have learned the most this year, throughout the stress, chaos and general madness, other than how to tie a bow, (it was very exciting! Don't judge me!) is the importance of self-care. I can't look after other people in my job unless I look after myself. My seizures will get worse if don’t manage my triggers, like if I let my blood sugars drop or in the heatwave earlier this year, my body overheat. I learned the hard way that when I'm on shift, even if I have a job to do when I'm supposed to take my tablets, don't just ignore the alarm! (Bad things happen!) All I needed to do was ask for help. I wasn't particularly good at that at the beginning of this year. Sometimes pride kicks in and I still struggle. (I’m still working on that one!) But when the choice is asking for help and suffering in silence, that's no choice at all. 

Managing the stress of this year has been hard and I definitely learned the value of a holiday when I stopped to have one! Life has felt like a bit of a constant onslaught for all of us, and I hope and pray 2021 would go a little easier on us all! 

P.S. I was trying to find some photos that sum up last year. I couldn’t narrow it down to one, or even two so the above is what I found J







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