Hi there and welcome to my little corner of the internet.
So, who am I?
Well, my name is Anna, I’m 31 and I live in the North West of England. I’m fur-mummy to two cats and I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I have a degree in Imaginative Writing and American Studies and as you can imagine, it’s turned out to be a pretty useless qualification, but you know what? It was the best three years of my academic life and I came away from University with a whole new perspective on life, a greater understanding of the world around me and my place in it, as well as a BFF who is still as dear to me over a decade after we first met. University doesn’t have to be about getting a career or becoming someone important. Sometimes, what really matters is the small ways that immersing yourself in a subject for three years will change you.
But, I digress (which is one of my more irritating personality traits!)
I suffered my first Migraine when I was 10 years old. Little did I know it was the beginning of a long journey into the nightmarish realms of Chronic Migraine. Over the years, the migraines got more and more frequent and began to last longer and cause more intense symptoms.
When I was 18, I began having seizures which I managed to hide / remain in denial about until I was 23 and I finally saw a Neurologist. In 2012, after several brain scans, EEGs and other tests, I was diagnosed with Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder, a condition that causes seizures that aren’t epileptic. There are a range of causes for Non-Epileptic seizures, both psychological and physical. Over the years, I’ve worked out most of my triggers. And while it took me a while to accept that sometimes the seizures were my body’s physical response to stress, depression or anxiety, once I did accept that, the seizures became easier to manage. Now, my seizures are less frequent and are mostly triggered by physical issues: low blood sugar, high temperature and most interestingly – pain. My Chronic Migraine is a trigger for my seizures and irritatingly, something that comes along with a seizure is what’s called a post-ictal migraine, a crippling headache that follows a Tonic Clonic seizure. It’s a stupid cycle.
A few years ago, my Migraines became so severe and my seizures so frequent that I was forced to go on long term sick leave from my job as a Medical Lab Assistant. My employer eventually had to terminate my contract as my absence wasn’t sustainable and while it was heart-breaking, I don’t have any hostility towards them. They kept my job open for a year, they made so many adaptations to my work environment while I was actually working there and they did their best to accommodate an employer who was ending up in the back of an ambulance on a weekly basis. In the end, I simply wasn’t well enough to work.
Since I’ve been unable to work, educating myself about my medical conditions has been a sort of default job. I had to become an expert in Migraine and Seizures while I fought my corner with Occupational Health. I’ve researched treatments, I’ve tried so many medications and techniques. And I think eventually, anyone living with a life limiting chronic illness becomes somewhat of a specialist. I feel as though Chronic Migraine could be my specialist subject on Mastermind!
Anyway, I had a bit of a brainwave (bad pun most definitely intended!) and decided it could be interesting to put my passion for writing and my knowledge of Migraine together and create a blog. I don’t claim to be an expert in Migraine or Non-Epileptic Seizures, however, I consider myself to be an expert in my own migraine and seizure disorders. And it’s my own experience that I plan to write about here as a cathartic way of helping myself and hopefully others remain hopeful that there will one day be life without Migraine.
Thank you for sticking with me through this rambling introduction and I look forward to interacting with you in the future!