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Living with Functional Neurological Disorder.

A problem shared …

Taking care of your mental health can be just as important as your physical health. When you live with a chronic illness, spending each and every day in constant pain, it can understandably have a negative impact on your mindset. 

Unfortunately, many people I speak to who are in a similar predicament suffer with anxiety and depression. It’s so easy to become completely consumed by pain and despair. It’s not so easy to break through this as you start to lose the will to live. I honestly don’t think I could stand my life, the way it is right now, if I didn’t have my family. 

That’s why I truly believe that talking about how you’re feeling is so important. If you talk to someone, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a family member or even a friend, just another person, it can really help to focus on what’s going on in your head.

Another important thing to do when you start to feel low is to recognise it and rationalise the thoughts you are having. It’s perfectly normal for anyone to have negative feelings and to feel a bit low. Especially if you are struggling, whether that be with your health or something else. However, when these thoughts and feelings start to take over and you can’t break through the darkness then you may need to seek more professional help.

I’m lucky and happy but despite this, I’m really struggling at the moment. The pain just doesn’t seem to lift, it’s constant and it’s starting to get me down. As a result of this, I have been acting out of character. I have been grumpy and snappy. Poor Mr Right is getting most of the brunt of it. I hate to be this way, it’s not me. The sad thing is that at the moment there’s nothing I can do about it. The good thing is that I see it and I understand it. I’m lucky that Mr Right is understanding and truly loves me. There’s not many men who could deal with everything he has and not run a mile!

I think all of my symptoms are so much worse at the moment because I’m exhausted. When my fatigue is worse, my pain is worse and I have more seizures. In an ideal world, I would just take time off to rest. In reality, I work and I’m a mother and a friend. I can’t just stop and rest, somehow I just have to keep going. I just hope that I make it to the end of term!

Please remember to always talk about how you’re feeling. Try not to ‘bottle’ things up. It won’t make your problems go away but it stops them from ‘bursting’ out of control. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

Knowledge is Power. 

Later this month, March 25th, it’s Functional Neurological Disorder awareness day. There are so many ‘understated’ chronic illnesses out there so I guess people might ask, ‘Why raise awareness about FND?’. That’s a good question, I’m going to give you just some of the reasons why it’s important for people to learn about and be aware of Functional Neurological Disorder. 

Since being diagnosed with FND in August 2013, my entire life has been turned upside down. This illness destroys lives, ruins opportunities and can leave a person permanently disabled. There are people living with FND who are wheel chair bound, they can’t walk or sometimes even feed themselves. Despite this, as there is so little known about the illness these people are left to get on with it. As it stands, despite the fact that nearly 40% of patients in most Neurological wards have FND, there’s no cure. Nothing. Imagine your whole life crumbling down around you and all the doctors can say is, ‘One day you MIGHT get better’.

I believe that there’s someone out there who could do something. If we work together to raise awareness, maybe someone might just get it. Perhaps not a cure but maybe a way to make symptoms less harsh, less ‘self help’ and more ‘real help’.

Personally, my main symptoms are as follows : 

Non epileptic seizures, migraines, neuropathy (shooting pains all over), tremor, extreme fatigue and fainting. I also now experience ‘Frozen gait’. This is temporary paralysis of my legs and feet.

However, there are many other symptoms a person with FND can experience. These can be found on the FND Action website :

http://www.fndaction.org.uk/symptoms/#more
I am extremely lucky to have a great support system around me but others are not so lucky. Imagine experiencing problems like these without any help!

I was 31 when I was first diagnosed with FND and managing and understanding what was happening to me was frightening to say the least. When you are told that what is happening to you is very real but there’s nothing that can be done, you begin to doubt your sanity. Imagine all of this happening to you and being a child. It breaks my heart that children have to go through this. I believe that this makes it even more important to keep working to find a resolution. 

I am currently finalising plans for a pamper evening to raise money for the fantastic charity ‘FND Action ‘. They do an incredible job raising awareness and supporting fellow sufferers. I believe that support systems like this charity are vital in getting through life with a chronic illness. 

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my story. Your support means a lot. I constantly live in hope that one day I will wake up and all the pain will be gone. I will continue to fight for my loved ones. 

Charlotte xxx 

One Lovely Blog Award!

one-lovely-blog

I have been nominated for ‘The One Lovely Blog Award’ by the wonderful Rhiann Louise. You can check out her fantastic blog at https://brainlesionandme.com/2017/02/02/one-lovely-blog-nomination/ . I can guarantee you will have a great time reading her story.

 

Rules:

  • Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  • Post about the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate at most 15 other people
  • Tell your nominees the good news

Seven Facts about Me:

  1. I’m a Primary School Teacher. I love my job despite how hard it can be! My favourite part of the job is when the children have their ‘light bulb’ moment.
  2. I love to sing and dance. I have always dreamed of being in a musical. I’m lucky enough to run my school’s choir and have performed with them at iconic venues such as The Royal Albert Hall.
  3. I used to be a Dental Nurse but I’m petrified of the Dentist. I think spending years watching some awful extractions has put the heebee jeebees up me.
  4. I have two children who are both boys. They are 10 and 14. They keep me busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  5. I love to box set binge. If I like a show, I just want to watch each episode after the other. I’m currently half way through the Walking Dead, no spoilers please!
  6. I would love to travel. I have been to Japan, Spain and all around the UK but that’s it. Maybe one day!
  7. I would LOVE to be an author. I love to read books, not on a Kindle but an actual, beautiful book. I love the feel, the smell and the way a story can transport you to another world. I believe everyone has a story inside them and hopefully, one day, I will get the chance to share mine.

Image result for books

My nominees are:

MeRaw at The Journey of my left foot (whilst remembering my son) and Rinaldo at experience of thinking.

Think before you speak! 

We have all met times in our lives when we have come across challenges. Personally, I have had many, some have had bigger impacts than others. I like to think of these challenges as lessons. 

We’re never going to get along with everyone we meet so many factors come in to how well we ‘mesh’ with others. No doubt, some of these people will cause you much upset! 

One of the reasons I may have become ill with FND is due to traumatic experiences. My brain stored it away till a later date and then let loose all at once sending my brain into complete confusion and disarray. I’m not in anyway blaming the people who may have emotionally attacked me in the past for my illness. However, these moments, these mental traumas, destroyed just a small part of me which meant I needed to take the time to heal. I never did, I tucked them away, brushed them off. 

I know now that I can’t blame others for the way they’ve treated me in the past. At the same time I also can’t blame myself. I’m not and never will be responsible for any person’s actions other than my own.

I’m still constantly learning, life doesn’t come with a manual. I will say this; always think before you speak, try to look at things from the perspective of the other person. When you do, I promise you that things will start to make sense.

I am waiting for test results next week. Whatever the outcome, I know that everything is going to be just fine. After all the things I have been through, like everyone else, this won’t knock me down.

I am so grateful for my little family, we may not be perfect but I wouldn’t change them for anything! Also for those friends I know that understand and support me, thank you! Love you all x

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

Everything’s going to be alright!

It can become increasingly hard to stay positive when you’re constantly fighting a battle. I have struggled to motivate myself to blog over the past few weeks. This is mainly because I have been dealing with a myriad of new health issues. Some of these are linked to FND, however some are not. The strange thing is that I find it easier to accept symptoms of FND. When it comes to the unexpected extras, I find it so much harder. 

Every person you know, every person you meet would have come across ‘darker’ times. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that at some points life can be extremely bloody hard! I like to think that I’m a rational person but despite that I do sometimes wonder why? I know that everyone else has bad things happen. I hate to be all ‘poor me’ but seriously, I’m not sure how much more I can take.

I’m so exhausted, there’s not much fight left in me. I am no angel and have made MANY mistakes but have learnt from them and tried to become a better person. I take each challenge FND throws my way and fight not just for me but my family too. 

A cross road lies in front of me. Only I can choose which way to go. I can allow the ‘Dark Horse’ to carry me away OR I can run in the other direction as fast as my numb legs will carry me! Those that take the time to read my story will know that I will always choose to run but for the first time, that decision hasn’t come easily. 

If I knew how hard life was going to be perhaps I would have taken more care. I don’t ever want my downfalls to drag my children along with them. I try so hard to protect them but they’re older now. Let’s hope that all of this doesn’t make them ‘victims of life’.

So I will continue to fight all of my health battles and take each day as it comes. No one can be sure what lies ahead. If living with a chronic illness means that I have to make big changes in my life then so be it. As long as I have my little family by my side, I know that everything will be alright. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

What is this life if full of care? We have no time to stand and stare.

What is this life if, full of care? 
In my last blog, I discussed how much I miss the old me. I miss my health and energy. This got me thinking about those days where I can feel a bit like the ‘Charlotte’ I used to be. 

I am currently enjoying half term with my lovely boys and have just got home after a lovely day out. As we stood together and looked out over the sights of London, I sighed deeply. I sighed not because I felt sad but because I wanted so much to take the moment and store it deep in my heart.

We are all guilty of ‘rushing’ through life. In the blink of an eye, your babies are no longer babies. I can’t help but feel guilty about being ill for so long. It’s been 4 years now and as much as I try to protect them from the rawness of my illness, as they grow they begin to understand so much more. That’s why I think it’s so important to savour those special moments. So today, whilst we stood together, I took it all in. I etched that moment into my heart.

It’s so important to focus on the positives when living with FND. You never know what kind of day it’s going to be so if it’s a day where you feel okay, don’t over do it but make sure you grasp those memories where you can. That’s what I plan to do from now on. I’m going to take time to enjoy the little things. 

Unfortunately, I am already suffering the consequences of our lovely day out but it was worth every second! 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!

When I originally started to fall ill I guess you could say that I was taking life for granted. I was constantly busy, working hard and looking after my little family. Then, just like that, everything collapsed around me. I have been left with a thousand ‘what ifs?’.

What if I had slowed down? What if I hadn’t allowed life to stress me out? What if ‘it’ had all been so different? Who knows? Would I be well? I know that there’s no point questioning it all. My life is what it is. I am grateful for all the positives that surround me but I can’t help but miss my old life. Life before Functional Neurological Disorder. 

I have lived with FND for nearly 4 years now and yet there’s still so little known about it despite how common it has become. My own GP knows only what I have taught her and at first it was extremely hard to get her to understand. Unfortunately, FND was seen as more of a psychological illness at first but it is now understood better. They know now that it is a disorder of the brain that causes misfiring and all the symptoms experienced are very REAL!!

I often think that if I knew what was going to happen, I would have appreciated it so much more. I would have cherished my runs in the morning before work and my nights out with friends. I would have cherished my long days out with my boys just that little bit more. 

If living with FND has taught me anything, it’s to never ever take things for granted. Every single moment is one you can’t get back. You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Health is a gift, please treasure each and every day. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

Change is good. 

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I took an educated decision to step away from my blog for a short time to focus on my family and health. I am pleased to say that despite being extremely busy and full of cold my symptoms have been fairly controlled. Unfortunately, both my boys have been poorly and I honestly thank god that I have been well enough to look after them and help them get well again.

I live each day as it comes and have found that this keeps me in check mentally. I have learnt to never expect too much of myself and my body. I have been working hard but making sure that I don’t over do it. Strangely, I have felt that my brain has been preoccupied with fighting the virus I’ve had. It’s almost like it’s distracted by the temperature and therefore isn’t able to focus on the migraines and pain. Luckily for me that has meant less seizures and no loss of movement in my legs!

I know that my body is physically exhausted and because of this I know that I need to rest. If any of my fellow sufferers of FND have found a decrease in symptoms when they’ve got a normal illness, please do let me know. 

Unfortunately, I am still very numb in my back and bottom but I am getting used to it. I’m STILL waiting for my appointments in physiotherapy but I understand that the NHS is under a lot of pressure. I have recently started to work out again and I’m pleased to say that I’m coping well and not fainting or fitting. I am feeling brighter and healthier already. If my body is in too much pain, I leave it until the following day.

My plans for a fundraising event for FND Action are coming together nicely. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to help spread awareness of Functional Neurological Disorder. I’m shocked at how common it is yet so little is understood about it. Let’s make a change and turn 2017 into the year of growth and learning for FND.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

Keepers.

Each and every day, you encounter a miraculous mixture of people. Every person you meet can awaken a thousand different emotions. Once in a while, you will come across a ‘keeper’, a perfect person who fits perfectly into your journey of life. At first, you might not even realise, other times it will hit you the minute that you meet.

These first encounters can be brought together in so many ways and that’s what can make it tricky. Do you spend your life analysing each and every meeting? Or do you simply leave it all in the hands of fate? Is it right to hope that what is meant to be, will be? No one wants to miss a special opportunity but on the other hand you don’t want to waste time with people who you’re not meant to ‘keep’.

As humans, we tend to stereo type. It’s a natural way for us to put the people we meet into categories. This doesn’t mean that we automatically judge people in a nasty way but we simply try to figure out who they are or what type of person they might be as quickly as possible. However, as you grow older you begin to realise that it’s almost impossible to understand someone after that first cross of paths.

I often wonder how people ‘see’ me. You can’t please everyone and I know that I’m definitely not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but it does cross my mind from time to time. Now that I’m older and since being diagnosed with FND, I find that I worry less about what others think. People will always judge. Unfortunately by putting my personal journey of living with a chronic illness on a blog, I’m giving the world a free pass to judge as much as they want. 

All I can say is this is me. I’m a 34 year old woman, mother, girlfriend (I hate that word!), teacher and now a blogger who is trying to make it through this awful journey of life with Functional Neurological Disorder. I’m far from perfect but I’m loved. I will always be grateful for my wonderful family and friends. If I had to experience this life alone, I probably wouldn’t be here. If you are alone, please reach out. No one should have to suffer without support and if I can help then please ask.

Remember, life isn’t easy but life is beautiful. We all have hard times and will suffer from time to time. It’s these times of suffering that really make you appreciate the little things. I am grateful for my ‘keepers’. Those special few who have made my life just a little bit brighter. I look forward to finding and keeping just a few more on my journey. 

I am waiting for my neuro physiotherapy to start. My legs are weak but I haven’t lost movement for 5 days. My seizures have increased but are shorter and less violent. I’m back at work so I’m going to pace myself as much as possible 🙂 

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. 

Charlotte xxx 

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