This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from March 1 to March 31, 2017. Follow along!
Hi y’all! I took a month away from writing and I want to thank you for coming back to tune into my monthly installment on Living Well with Epilepsy.
Many people have asked me what my seizure triggers are. So, I thought I would tell you both my triggers and what tools I use to combat them. I’m not perfect, and I know that each person is different and has different ways of dealing with them. But, believe me after sixteen years with this disease I’ve become very attune to my body and to those outlets that have helped me cope.
I have found a couple things that come together to make for a winning combination. My biggest triggers are stress, no sleep, and flashing lights. The lights have only been a problem for around a year, but it is a one day at a time situation with its effects on my seizures/auras. Some of my worst seizures have come from sleepless nights and uncontrollable stress.
Dealing with Triggers
Now is the part about how I have found ways to deal with my triggers. The theme of this week on the blog is types of creative release. One thing I have found for myself as a creative release is Bikram Yoga. Doing intense yoga pushes me way past my comfort zone into a position where I have to breathe myself out of panic attacks/ difficult seizure symptoms with Uijayi breath. If you have never done yoga, this is a type of breathing where you inhale and exhale out of your nose not mouth in a set silent counting that works for your body. It increases oxygenation and builds internal body temperature which tones the lungs, encourages free flow of oxygen, and allows the ability to regulate blood pressure. I encourage anyone who struggles with holding your breath in stressful situations to try meditation and breathing techniques. It can truly reduce your panic and allow you to listen to your body naturally.
The next thing that I’ve found as a creative release I’ve only been doing for right at a year, and that is my blog! I could have never imagined how therapeutic this would be until I tried it. It allows me to speak about my past, in the hopes of helping others. This gives me the ability to write about those experiences that have been toughest for me, without fear, knowing someone else has been through exactly what I have gone through in their own life.
I originally began writing because I saw a dear friend who has a blog and I saw the relief it provided for her. She finally convinced me to write my stories down because someone needed to hear them (Megan, I am eternally grateful for your encouragement to do this).
I started with just scribbling down late at night stories of my life that have changed my life both for good and bad, while showing how I dealt with them as well. Slowly I realized, others needed to hear these stories in their own journeys. I reached out to Jessica Smith, Founder of Living Well with Epilepsy, one year ago and it has been the best thing to ever happen to me.
It has taught me that I am not my epilepsy and can finally show “my badge of honor” (my war stories) with those around me. I encourage you to find your voice in whatever medium that you feel comfortable whether it be journaling, starting a support group, or volunteering with newly diagnosed patients. I promise you that just getting it out will relieve your fears and change your life.
As always, thank you for supporting me in my creative release, that is my blog. I truly am grateful. This month is the first I saw with my own eyes the impact my blog has in helping others struggling with the same issues and questions I have or have had. Believe me you guys help me just as I help you! As always, please comment below with your questions or concerns. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
TWITTER CHAT: And don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on March 31 at 7PM ET.
Rachel Ehrhardt Streelman is from Houston , Texas. She has been a writer and contributor to Living Well with Epilepsy for two years. Rachel has had epilepsy since 9 months old. She comes from a family where her father, sister, and herself all have different forms of epilepsy. Rachel is married to Casey and they have a Cavapoo named Sheldon.