Hello again! It's nice to be back! Today I thought I'd briefly talk about triggers. I realised I'd ended up talking about my own triggers quite a lot back in my Photo Challenge in November, so I thought I'd expand a bit today.
Probably the most important thing I can say about triggers is that every person has different triggers for their seizures and that sometimes there can be seemingly no trigger. Every person's epilepsy is different and is therefore impacted differently by biological or external factors. Some people might be triggered by fluctuations in blood glucose levels, some people are affected by flashing lights and others are triggered by physical exertion. The list of potential seizure triggers goes on and on. A lot of the time the seizure trigger is unknown but one of the most common triggers for a seizure is stress. Even things that can seem so innocent to one person can be a trigger to another and vice versa.
My own list of triggers goes a little like this: when I forget to take my medications, when I have a high temperature/fever, heights, stress, sleep deprivation, low blood sugar, and dehydration. Hormone fluctuations also mean that on particular days of my menstrual cycle my seizures tend to be worse.
That can feel like a lot for one person to balance and manage. However, simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference. I always make sure I have a drink on me, so I am prepared to take medication when necessary and keep myself hydrated. An alarm on my phone tells me every 12 hours to take my medication. The list goes on, but simply knowing what my triggers are allows me to prepare to manage different situations that might impact my epilepsy (although I can’t prepare for every situation). Before the cool towel existed and I wandered around looking like a pirate (pictured above), I used to use the freezing cold swimming pool in my back garden to regulate my temperature. I can remember a heatwave as a child, having a convulsive seizure at school, and being sent home. My mum basically threw me in the freezing pool in my back garden, still in my uniform, before jumping in herself, because it was the quickest, most effective way of bringing down my temperature!
Learning how to manage your own individual triggers is vital, but it is also really important to appreciate that one person’s triggers aren’t the same as another’s.