SLIDER

EPILEPSY AND ME: THE HIDDEN DAILY STRUGGLES

28 Sep 2017

I was diagnosed with Epilepsy following a car accident in 2007, and since then my life has changed dramatically. There are so many normal things that I used to take for granted that are a struggle for me now. Even though I have been seizure free for a number of years, the affects of epilepsy never go away. I was a completely different person before epilepsy to the person I am now, and it has taken me a long time to come to terms with the new me, and the limitations that I now have due to my epilepsy. I'm so glad that my seizures are controlled by my medication, but I have to stick to a certain routine, and stay away from certain situations to make sure that I don't have seizures again in the future. Plus the medication I take to stop my seizures gives me a whole host of symptoms every day too. Today I'm going to tell you a bit about my hidden struggles, as I don't think many people know that much about epilepsy, or hidden disabilities in general.


EDUCATION

I was 19 when I started having seizures and I was still in university. One of the first impacts my seizures had was that I had to quit education. I was no longer able to concentrate in lectures, and I just couldn't retain the information that was being given to me alongside my seizures. It was devastating, and although I have tried to go back to education since, even trying to study with the Open University, I have just not been very successful. You see I can't learn like I used to be able to. I used to be really good at remembering things, and was quick to learn new things. Now I can't remember things I've been taught as easily, and I have to keep writing things down again...and again...and again. 

I took classes in Japanese for a year before my daughter was born, and although I loved learning, I couldn't keep up like I used to be able to. I just couldn't memorise all the different symbols. I couldn't speak the way everyone else could and it was just so frustrating. Although I am still learning Japanese at home, I end up leaving it for weeks at a time as I get so annoyed that I have forgotten everything I learnt the day before.  That's one of the reasons I have taken up blogging. It's something I know about, and it's something that I research lots. I know that I can work from home and learn at my own slow rate without having to keep up with other people.

WORK

I recently came to the realisation that I will never have a "normal" job. I can't guarantee that I will feel well enough to work for a certain amount of hours, at a certain time every single week. I have no idea if I'm going to wake up feeling exhausted, or dizzy so I can't just go to a daily job every single day. There are so many variables at work too to think about...will I have to stand for hours, what will the temperature be like, will I have to be left alone to work....it all becomes very stressful, and stress is one of my triggers when it comes to seizures. As is temperature and I can't stand too long either. Also lights in the supermarket and office environment have caused me to have seizures previously. I'm not too lazy to work a normal job. Trust me, I have tried and tried again. I am simply unable to.

I have some horror stories when it comes to work places too. I've had seizures at work places before and one place put me in an ambulance alone and shipped me off to the hospital. I woke up not knowing where I was and with no money, or any idea how I was going to get home. I had to take 2 buses to get home by myself....then they expected me back at work the next day. 

SELF CARE

I cannot shower or bath on my own. I have to have someone sit with me in case I have a seizure. Heat is a huge trigger for me, and I overheat just sitting doing nothing, so add in the heat of a shower and an enclosed space and it just isn't a good situation for me. I've had seizures in the shower, and the bath, before. I've had to have a housemate I barely knew (who was male) break down a door so that I didn't drown whilst sharing a house at university. It's hard to ask someone, even my husband to watch me in the shower or bath. That's supposed to be a relaxing time, but when you are aware that the heat of the water, or the confined space making you hot even when you are running cold water could make you have a seizure, it makes you no longer want to take care of yourself. Luckily there are companies like Millercare who provide aids for helping with things like bathing and preparing food.

I also struggle to use things in the kitchen, like the oven. Opening the door and that surge of heat makes me feel pretty awful and I've developed a fear of using the oven. I only use it when my husband is home now so he can take the food out for me. I don't wash up with hot water either. The whole body temperature thing is a total killer!

GETTING OUT AND ABOUT

As I'm seizure free at the moment I am able to drive, but I did have my license taken away when I was having seizures before. I live in fear of having a seizure now because as soon as I do my license will be taken away and a bit of my independence will be gone.

Public transport isn't always great when you have a disability, and with a hidden disability no one can see that I may need a bit of special treatment. I recently went to London and the tube was very busy. I didn't have to confidence to ask someone to give up their seat so I had to stand in the heat and I could feeling myself starting to feel pretty unwell. I sweat profusely which can be very embarrassing, and my face goes bright red, which makes me very self conscious...which leads to me stressing and making my anxiety worse (just another symptom of my epilepsy). This makes me not want to travel, and it means I have to plan every single thing I do to prevent me stressing or panicking. I've been known to put my google maps on street view and track an entire 200 mile journey so that it seems familiar to me, and so that I can recognise parts of the journey.

Everything is unpredictable. I had to stay in Manchester an extra night at the weekend after a blog conference as I was just too tired to drive home after the event. Something that wouldn't have phased me before epilepsy. I know I can't even do a two hour trip after an event now which really sucks. The extra expense of having a disability is not something that people think about either.

_________________________________________

There is so much more I could tell you about the things I took for granted before I had Epilepsy, but I'm going to end this post here. I will be trying to write more about topics like this as the more I speak to people, the more I realise how little people generally know about Epilepsy, and that it isn't just all about being down on the ground and having a seizure. I've got some shocking stories to tell, as well as some funny bits to post about too, so they won't all be as serious as this one!

If you have any questions about Epilepsy, please do come and ask me. It's best to email me or you can message me on twitter.

SARAH HUGHES
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(CLOSED) WIN A PRIZE BUNDLE WITH NURTURE FRUITY WATER+

26 Sep 2017

Today is a very exciting day as we’ve teamed up with the lovely people at Natural Immune Products, producer of the healthy children’s drinks Nurture Fruity Water+, to offer two lucky readers the chance to win a fabulous Nurture prize bundle!



A POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND: THE KEY TO TACKLING HEALTH PROBLEMS

20 Sep 2017

Anyone that has been involved in a major accident or has had a severe illness will know the impact of spending time in hospital and its effects on your well-being. Not just, of course, in the physical sense, but in your mental well-being. The frame of mind of a person doing a spell in hospital can have a bigger impact than you realize. In fact, there are many benefits that a positive frame of mind can have on your stay in hospital or if you’re suffering from a chronic health condition.

Positive Thinking Is Good For Your Health


Being a glass half full sort of person has been shown to have an impact, not just on your outlook, but your heart health. Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that people with a family history of heart disease that had a positive outlook on life were a third less likely to have a cardiovascular event within 5 to 25 years in comparison to those with a negative outlook. But while the correlation between thinking positively and preventing a heart attack is incredibly vague, the reason for it is more likely to be the next point.

It Reduces Stress

The effects of stress on your overall health have been well documented. The cliché that someone who is stressed is more likely to get ill is true. If you feel stressed, this has a big impact on your immune system. It has been shown that increasing your positive frame of mind by taking part in practices like mindfulness and meditation have been shown to have an impact on your body by reducing blood pressure and improves your heart rate and breathing, which in turn, will lessen inflammatory issues.


It Develops Resilience

We all know that negative person with that miserable outlook on life, and they are always the first person to give in when it comes to everyday problems. When you are in hospital awaiting an operation, it can be a very unpleasant time for everyone, not just yourself. And if the unthinkable should happen, and the whole experience turns sour. And the unfortunate avenue of medical negligence claims or legal action needs to be pursued, the process of resilience in having a positive frame of mind, while doesn’t solve the immediate problems, can help as a coping mechanism. A lack of resilience can deplete our mental stores, and by building up this well of resilience, it leaves us able to cope with more of life's problems.

The Power Of Fooling Your Brain Into Being Happy

Here's a fact, your brain is unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. The reason a lot of motivational speakers and high-powered business people talk about the process of faking it ‘til you make it is because of this very reason. If you develop things like positive mantras, or even smiling to yourself in the mirror, it will have a bigger impact on your overall state of mind than you realize.

For anyone of us who has to endure a difficult time, like being in hospital, these little nuggets of information on maintaining a positive frame of mind will improve your stay in hospital, but it will also benefit your life.

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE POST. 
SOME POSTS MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, WHERE I RECEIVE A SMALL AMOUNT OF COMMISSION IF SOMETHING IS PURCHASED THROUGH THE LINK. THIS DOESN'T AFFECT THE END PRICE OF THE PRODUCT. BY PURCHASING THROUGH MY LINKS, YOU WILL BE HELPING ME TO KEEP THIS BLOG RUNNING SO THAT I CAN BRING YOU AWESOME CONTENT. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY.  

FIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE COSY THIS AUTUMN

I know most people would not say that their favourite season is Autumn, but I personally love the change from Summer to Autumn. I love nothing more than snuggling up with a massive blanket, whilst drinking a hot chocolate and binge watching my favourite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime. As the leaves start to change colour, and the weather becomes colder, it's easy to wish for that hot weather again, so I thought I would help you embrace this wonderful season with five ways to make your home a little bit more cosy.

COLIC AWARENESS MONTH WITH INFACOL AND CRY-SIS

18 Sep 2017

When it comes to preparing for a baby, muslin clothes, cute baby grows and having a birth plan are some of your top priorities. However, many new parents aren't aware of the most common condition that can affect newborns - Infant Colic. In fact 1 in 3 British mums admitted that they were not aware of infant colic prior to having their baby. I must admit that although I had heard the word, I didn't really know what Colic was. That is why Infacol have teamed up with a charity called Cry-sis for the first Colic Awareness Month this September (2017).


September is a very popular birth month (this may have something to do with all those celebrations at Christmas!). In fact, statistics show that the nation's most popular birthday is September 26th. That is why September is the perfect month to raise more awareness about Colic.

BRITISH CINEMAS ARE LETTING THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING DOWN BY NOT PROVIDING SUBTITLES

14 Sep 2017

I am a huge film fanatic. I've had an unlimited card for my local cinema for over a year now, and I go at least once a week. It's my me time, a time when I can just relax and not have to talk to anyone whilst also enjoying a range of different film genres. There's one thing that I don't enjoy about going to the cinema though, and that's the lack of subtitles.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION] A CINEMA THEATRE FULL OF PEOPLE WATCHING A FILM


I've suffered from hearing loss since I was a baby, and had to have grommets as I was growing up. My hearing has been deteriorating again lately and I'm currently waiting to get some support for this. One of the parts of hearing loss that really affects me on a daily basis is that I really struggle to watch films, or anything on television if there are no subtitles available. I mostly watch things on Netflix or Amazon Prime, so subtitles aren't a problem when it comes to watching older releases, but when it comes to watching films at the cinema I generally have to watch them without the aid of subtitles...

THE BLOGON XMAS JUMPER LINKY 2017

13 Sep 2017

In a few weeks I will be attending BlogOn for the second time. I went back in May and had a great time, learning lots to do with blogging and meeting some amazing brands. I'm heading back again for their Christmas themed conference, and as a way to get to know other people who are attending they have set up a little linky for us. I thought I would answer the questions this time round and share a little bit about me with you all at the same time.


1. Please share your favourite photo of you.
This is a photo from quite a while ago, before my daughter was born. It was taken at the Grand Canyon in 2014 and was the last holiday that my husband and I took before having Elise. We went to celebrate our second wedding anniversary as we got married in Las Vegas in November 2012.

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION] SARAH JUMPING IN THE AIR IN FRONT OF THE GRAND CANYON


2. If you could choose a band to play in your garden for your birthday, who would you pick?

I think that it would have to be someone like Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone will know at least one of their songs! I’ve been a fan of them for a very long time, and although they are not my favourite band, I know that lots of other people like them too. They will definitely get the party started.

3. What do you take with you for long visits to the toilet?

If she is awake, Elise will usually insist on coming along on my toilet breaks. If she doesn’t come along it’s the usual phone, or Empire magazine. I’m not really someone who spends a long time in the toilet though, I’d rather spend time elsewhere!

4. What word can't you spell?

Definately (I had to go back and undo the autocorrect!) 

5. What's the most unusual job you've ever had?

I worked as a Games Tester for EA one summer. I worked on an XBox Sports game, which meant I was working out for about 12 hours a day testing it and looking for bugs. I was one of 5 girls on the entire team!

6. Knitting, sewing or crotchet?

I don’t do any of these, and never really had an interest in trying them out! 

7. Without looking it up, what is a jerkin head?
A bit of a geek thing here, but I know that it is something to do with houses. I only know this from playing Sims and creating houses from floor plans. I don’t know anymore than it is to do with houses though!

8. If you could have as much of one food as you wanted forever, what would it be?

Has to be anything Italian, especially a nice Carbonara or a proper thin based pizza.

9. What is the scariest thing you've ever done?

I don't know if it is really that scary, but I think it can be. I have taken part in night time scatter rallies where you have to rely on your own navigation and a traditional map (no phones allowed). Going down country lanes at night when you aren't quite sure where you are going can be quite scary!

10. If you needed a getaway driver, who would you choose?

If we are talking someone fictional, it would have to be “Baby” from Baby Driver...literally the best getaway driver. If he wasn’t available it would be “Driver” from the film Drive. In the real world, I would like to be the getaway driver. I love driving, and I’ve taken part in scatter rallies in the past. 

11. Would you rather live in Narnia or at Hogwarts?

Lots of people would say Hogwarts for this, but the way I see it that is only one place. You wouldn’t have the world of Harry Potter to explore, unless this was part of that option too. I’d say Narnia as there is so much more to explore within the world.

12. What snack food says 'Christmas' to you?

Those cheese footballs that come in a tube and you can only get at Christmas.

13. Is there life on Mars?

I think there is some kind of life form on Mars and other planets. There’s so much out there I don’t think we can say that there isn’t life somewhere out there.

14. Which Christmas movie would you be a character in, and who would play you?

Most people won’t have heard of this film, but because there is Christmas included within it I’m going to go with it. I’d want to be in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and I would replace the character of Harmony Faith Lane. The person who would play me would be Natalie Dormer.

My second choice would be a character within “Bad Santa”, again played by Natalie Dormer. 

15. What are you proudest of?

Finally having the confidence to pursue something I’ve wanted to do for a long time - Blogging and Vlogging. Of course I’m proud of my daughter every day, but I’m also proud of doing something for me as well.

That is all the questions for the linky! Are you going to BlogOn? If you are let me know in the comments and if you see me come and say hello! I'll be trying to tweet during the day, although my phone is useless so not sure if I will be able to. Make sure you are following me so you do catch my tweets before, on and after the day.


You can find some more posts by clicking on this cute little christmas jumper:


Blog ON Conference

FISHER-PRICE® BING™ TOILET TRAIN BING REVIEW

Elise is 21 months old now and is a little bit obsessed with her potty. She isn't quite ready for toilet training yet, as she brings over the potty after she has been to the toilet, but as she is showing interest we have been trying to encourage her. When we were asked if we would like to review the Toilet Train Bing toy from Fisher-Price, it couldn't have come at a better time. Elise loves watching Bing, and seeing what adventures he gets up to, and having Bing matched with his very own toilet has been a great way to introduce the idea of using a potty to her.



If you have been following us for a while, you will know that Elise has been a bum shuffling fan, and until recently she hasn't been walking. For the last month, she has been playing with Bing and putting him on his toilet, but as she hasn't walked, she hasn't been able to walk around with him and sit on her own potty. She's only been confidently walking for a few weeks, and since then the Toilet Train Bing toy has really started to become one of her go to toys to play with.

CASDON HETTY DELUXE CLEANING TROLLEY REVIEW

6 Sep 2017

As you know from my previous reviews of the grocery set, and the changing mat set we love Casdon and their huge toy range. They promote imaginative play and help to build key skills through play. When we were asked if we would like to test out the Hetty Deluxe Cleaning Trolley from their Little Helper range this month we just couldn't say no. The Cleaning trolley comes in both the Hetty and Henry characters, so unlike the changing mat which only comes in a pink colour, you can pink either a pink and black cleaning trolley, or a red and black one.


ALL ABOUT THE LITTLE HELPER RANGE

The Little Helper range encourages your child to learn all about the every day jobs that go into running a household. Whether it is helping you vacuum, or even washing their clothes, there is something for every occasion. I think this range is perfect for helping their independence and also for them to copy and learn from their parents about every day tasks.

My favourite items from the range have the be the cleaning trolley, and the vacuum cleaner. I think they are the perfect way for your little one to join in with you and give you enough time to complete some household chores. We all know how difficult it is to get anything done with little ones running/crawling around!

ANXIETY IS NOT A TREND

"Everyone has anxiety now.", "Anxiety is just a fad" and "People like Zoella are trying to make anxiety mainstream/cool" are just a few things I have heard recently when it comes to people's opinion on anxiety. It appears that many people are questioning whether people have anxiety, or if people are just saying they have anxiety to seem a bit different and even relatable to their audience. Is anxiety really becoming more "mainstream"? Are people using it as an excuse for their behaviour? Or are we we just becoming more aware of anxiety as a mental health problem?


In recent years people have started to become a little bit more open about mental health, and although there is still a massive stigma attached to mental health, people are talking about it more. The rise of social media, and platforms like Youtube have given people the opportunity to talk about mental health, and share with people their day to day struggles and experiences. Sometimes it can be hard to announce you have anxiety to people face to face, so people are turning to online social platforms to reach out to other people.
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