Hi! How are you? Remember me?! To be completely honest I wouldn’t blame you if you’d picked up your ball and gone home! I mean, it’s been a looooong old time since I graced these tinterweb pages.
I thought it was about time I offered you a little explanation as to why I’ve been so quiet, and to be honest, I thought it might help me a little bit to write it all down too. I’m a big believer in the power of journaling and so here I am, putting my money where my mouth is in order to explain a little bit of what’s been going on in my world over the last few months.
Some of you will know that back in 2016, shortly after turning 40 I was diagnosed with epilepsy. It all came very much out of the blue (a huge seizure in the middle of Hyde Park during a weekend away with my husband saw the start of it) and it’s something that, I’m the first to admit, I’ve really struggled to come to terms with. In fact, for the first 8-10 months, I was in total denial and even insisted on more tests and a second opinion. As luck would have it, the second opinion was no different to the first and I finally realised that I really was stuck with the bugger! Epilepsy was confirmed and medication was recommended so that my chance of seizure was reduced to the same as the average Joe, therefore giving me the best shot of holding on to my driving licence once I finally had it returned to me (you have to be 12 months seizure free before you’re able to drive again – complete torture!)
Living with epilepsy and the daily medication I take to keep it in check has done a number of things to put a fairly sizeable dint in my self confidence. In the first instance, the thing that I found the hardest to deal with was the fact that after having spent such a long time working on building a happy, healthy, trusting relationship with my body, in one fell swoop I felt like epilepsy had gone and crapped all over it! Body positive you say?! Ha, take that, you crazy bitch! I’ll see your positive body image and raise you a totally unreliable brain………. Well, Cheers for that body. Excuse me if I feel just a tad let down won’t you?! I mean, piss-take or what!?
I also struggle with the fact that the threat of having a seizure is never far from my mind. Get me in any crowded situation and my thoughts start running wild…… busy shopping centres? The middle of my children’s school concert? That new, low-key restaurant and bar? Visions of myself uncounscious at the feet of strangers fill my mind, foaming at the mouth, limbs twitching, eyes rolling….hell, if I’m really unlucky, I might even wet myself!! There are over 40 different types of seizure, and some can even go unnoticed by the casual observer, but going by my past record, I’m not so lucky. My body and brain definitely want to cause a scene. Of course they bloody do! So what’s the big deal? Well it constantly makes me want to hide in the background, just to be on the safe side. To stick to the sidelines, just in case my epilepsy forces me to inadvertently draw attention to myself in the worst possible way. It has me looking for exits and escape routes wherever I go, just in case I start to feel “funny” (some seizures come with an warning or an aura – The Hyde park one did, I just didn’t realise that’s what it was at the time!)
And then, there’s the final problem. The one that’s been the root cause of my blog-writers- block. The medication that I’ve finally relented into taking (it took me a while before giving in!) comes with a number of pretty unpleasant side effects. But the ones that I’ve allowed to become the monsters that sit on my shoulder are the issues I sometimes have with “word recall” and a feeling that my brain just sometimes isn’t working at quite the same speed that it used to. Every time I’ve even thought about updating this blog, that evil little monster of self doubt – the same one that used to rejoice in telling me I was too fat to take part in life – now gets busy telling me I’m too stupid to write; that my words won’t come right; that I won’t be able to string together an interesting, amusing or coherent sentence. At times, I also struggle with this anxiety in Real Life social situations, but it’s fair to say that blog writing is far easier to dip out of than Real Life is. So, that’s exactly what I have done. My laptop has stayed shut shut and my blog has remained out of bounds….. Until now! After some words of encouragement and a gentle bit of cajoling from my coach and friends in my yoga class (cheers ladies), here I am. Tapping away in the hope that sharing my story might help me, and who knows, maybe even someone else out there who’s struggling with confidence wobbles at the minute.
Ever one to search for the positives, I’ve been wracking my addled brain trying to figure out whether I’ve managed to gain anything from this crappy chapter? Well, I guess that the main thing is that I now really, truly realise that body positivity is 100% more than merely making peace with your reflection. I feel as though I’m having to work my wotsits off in order to learn to love a whole new version of me. From inside, out. An Amy 2.0 And let’s not beat around the bush, most of the time this particular update has not felt welcome or necessary. But it is what it is and I’ve had no choice but to accept it.
I’ve also been reminded (and this is where I’m praying that I’m not going to fall flat on my arse after pressing go on this piece…..) that there is huge value in sharing your feelings and telling those around you what’s really going on in your world. For a long time, I’ve kept most of these worries and concerns to myself. Why? Well, I’m not really sure. It all made me feel far too vulnerable I guess. But once I started opening up and telling people what was going on in my head it was like that old chestnut about shining a light in the darkest corners – the bogey monsters had less space to hide!
So here I am, gingerly easing myself back into the saddle. For a while back there, I thought my blogging journey was over forever so I’m hoping that this is at least one small step in the right direction…… aaaaand that I haven’t made too many glaring mistakes!