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Is the Grass Always Greener On The Other Side?

Is the Grass Always Greener On The Other Side?

We have all heard the idiom, ‘the grass is always green on the other side’. I think many of us have experienced pangs of envy when we believe other people are achieving more than us or getting further in life.

But as I am the type of person who enjoys observing and listening to others, I learnt long ago that no one’s life is perfect, and know that there is no such thing as a perfect life. Life will throw obstacles in your way and you have to get around them. But I think that many believe that life should be one easy road and give up at the first hurdle.

There have been increasing occasions where I’ll be at a friend or relatives house. They’ll be a feeling a little low, and will tell me about their worries, whether its financial, career etc. then they will refer to another friend or relative and dreamily mention how they admire some aspect of their lives saying how they’ve got it, ‘all sorted out’.

But little do they know that those people they wistfully mention also possess many problems (because they tell me), and they do the same thing, either by mentioning about others that they think have a perfect life – or they refer back to the original person, admiring a part of their life.

It’s like a big circle!  (I don’t say anything as I’m not going to betray trust), but in these increasingly occurring situations I don’t know whether to find the situation funny or sad.

I imagine lining up the whole group of interconnected family and friends and telling them one by one the amazing things that everyone else admires about them.

I think this is something that we frequently overlook. We see people achieving things that we hope for, but we often ignore amazing accomplishments that we have made ourselves, and don’t believe for one second that someone else would want to be in our shoes.

So, is the grass always greener on the other side? No, it isn’t, it’s purely down to the way you view the world. You can’t look at another person and assume that they are happier as you’re only looking at the part of their life that you want to look at. Their best part, which is nice I guess.

But, if you constantly consider people around you to be more successful and happier, then naturally it will tear away at you. I have known people who have been so focused on what others are achieving that they don’t pay enough attention to their own happiness, and that’s the crux of the matter. It doesn’t matter what you’re achieving or what you possess, it’s whether you are happy.

Don’t think for one moment that you must have your life sorted out. I believe the best thing you can do in life is to be happy, let go of the petty everyday problems, appreciate everything in everyday and love everyone in your life.

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂

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Epilepsy and The World of Work

Epilepsy and The World of Work

Today, I thought I would share with you some experiences of epilepsy in the workplace.

Entering the world of work when you have epilepsy can seem like a daunting task, as a teenager I didn’t worry too much about it. I took my first job working in a chemist, while I was studying…safe place to be 🙂

My manager was excellent, and she also taught me that it’s never too late to change a career as she qualified as a pharmacist in her 40s after bringing up her family.

At university and I was glad to find that all my lecturers and friends were also very supportive when they learnt about my epilepsy.

So… I naively thought that my future workplaces would be the same.

Since leaving university I have had a couple of jobs, and I have received mixed responses to epilepsy.

My manager at my first job after uni gave no empathy when I had been unwell and required a day or two off work, he just gave pressure for me to return. When I did, he said, “This better not become a regular occurrence.”  About a year later another colleague was taken on, and when I had the courage to tell him that I had epilepsy I was hugely relieved as he had personal experiences with epilepsy, and wasnt phased by the condition at all. It was good to know that there was someone there if I needed them.

My most recent job shocked me the most. I faced a difficult decision of whether to mention my epilepsy at the interview stage, I decided to remain silent as I was afraid it would ruin my chances of getting the job. But, I got the job!…obviously.

Weeks later, there were talks of me potentially travelling with the company, thoughts of travel insurance and things were bothering me, so I decided to have a chat with my manager and tell him about my epilepsy. He didn’t take it the news well. Although he didn’t say anything bad, he went red, his eyes darted rapidly back and forth for the remainder of the conversation, no matter how many times I told him, ‘it’s mild’, ’It’s controlled’ etc. Things were never the same after that, he didn’t chat to me the same, I think he had become afraid of me in some way, and where we’re originally getting along so well, things had become tense and awkward.

What’s more, I discovered that nearly all my colleagues in the company had very old-fashioned views when it came to epilepsy, I heard them gossiping and laughing about another co-worker, thinking that all seizures are triggered by flashing lights or worse, that it had connections with insanity.  It was this moment that I realised that I could never be open and honest with my colleagues about my epilepsy as they were just not educated enough about the subject, and I was afraid of their judgements.

This company was the biggest that I had worked for, but its employees were the most unprofessional and closed-minded that I had ever seen and it shocked me. The experience at that company has been  the inspiration to this blog as I think it’s important to support people with epilepsy when they’re having a rough time and its vital reach as many people who don’t know about enough about epilepsy to stop stigmas.

 

My advice for work is to find something that makes you truly happy.

Doing a job you love, with colleagues you are also supportive of you.

 

You can find more tips and advice about epilepsy and the workplace at Epilepsy Society

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

Final Update : Are you a Daffodil or a Dandelion?

Final Update : Are you a Daffodil or a Dandelion?

You might remember an old post of mine that mentioned that I was surprised to discover one of my favourite flowers (the hydrangea), had been damaged by the frost. 

I looked at the weeds in the garden (I have many), and they had survived unscathed. It made me realise that people are very much the same. What can effect one person can hardly bother another.

Due to its damage, I didn’t think the hydrangea would have any flowers this year. 

Over the weeks I have been amazed as I have seen the burnt-like leaves disappearing and big blue flowers emerging.

So if things are not going your way, if you’re like the frost-bitten, destroyed flower that I saw only a few weeks ago, they is always a chance that your future will be bright again. Anything is possible. 

Thanks for reading, 

Becky 😊

Have You Felt Supported By Your Neurology Team?

Have You Felt Supported By Your Neurology Team?

Today I am asking an importing question, have you felt supported by your neurology team? From your diagnosis, through to the altering medications, the life changing moments, and even the highs and the lows that epilepsy brings.

As epilepsy is a life long condition, your neurologist becomes an important part of your life.

You would expect your neurology team to provide you with all the help and support you require regarding epilepsy, however not everyone receives it and I have been one of those people. Today I have decided to share my experiences with you.

This has taken a lot of consideration,  as I wanted to remain as positive as possible about epilepsy, but I realised that if I am open about my experiences I could potentially help other people, and this is what this blog is all about.

 

My Experience of Neurology Teams

Thankfully, I have great memories of my first neurologist. She provided me with all the advice and guidance I could need, in one situation, she even brought in one of the top UK paediatric neurologists to see me. I couldn’t fault the care.

I had a neurologist who asked if I was learning to drive when I was 17, this was his reply when I told him I was learning;

You shouldn’t be learning to drive, your epilepsy isn’t controlled! I demand that you hand your provisional licence into the DVLA at once!… (few minutes gap as no one was talking) I won’t be upset if I were you, I have to tell taxi drivers and bus drivers that they can no longer drive every day, and driving is their living, this is nothing to you!”

So as you can imagine I left that appointment upset. The moment I turned 16 healthcare professionals became obsessed with topics such as pregnancy while never discussing the subject of driving. (I wouldn’t have had lessons otherwise). But a decade later I have no children and I can legally drive 🙂

I will confess that I wasn’t exactly the perfect patient either, up to this point not one medication had worked for me. It’s frustrating when medications begin to alter your mood, increase your weight and damage other aspects of your health for little or no gain. So I decided to see how different my life would be like medication free.

I soon had a new consultant who was overly anxious when she discovered that I was medication free. I consider myself to have very mild epilepsy with perhaps one seizure a year, and although I appreciate that I was at risk without medication when I wasn’t taking medication I felt the same, perhaps better, because I had freedom from side-effects and saw no increase in seizures.

My neurologist would frequently discuss the seriousness of my condition even mentioning that I could die if I wasnt on medication.

I can remembering thinking that if someone has cancer and decides to decline treatment, the doctor respects their decision. But this situation felt pressured…

I was about 18, I was home alone, still medication free, and my support nurse called me. It was obvious that the intention of her call was to get me on medication again. I explained to her that I was doing well and was concentrating on a healthy lifestyle. She told me to stay away from ‘stupid’ ideas (which she apologised for) and later went on to explain to me that she has had ‘patients who have died from this’. I urged to her that my epilepsy is thankfully minor and always produces plenty of notice and auras. Her reply, ‘what if it doesn’t?’  Eventually, I pitifully agreed to begin medication again, hung up the phone and cried. I felt like a push over.

After two years of trying various medications, I found on that thankfully worked.

After my consultant were pleased that my medication was working, I received a letter signing me off from their care.

 

Why did I share this story?

I know I don’t have the most positive experience with some of my neurologists or support nurses, and I have not written this article to slam neurology departments. I fully appreciate that the hospital had to be realistic and had to provide the information related to my condition, and I am grateful for the work they do, but I sometimes wonder how different the outcome would have been if they had been slightly more tactful and resourceful.  There were times where I would leave appointments upset, reaching the car and beginning to sob, but thankfully my mum was there to give me the best encouragement, support…and hugs 🙂

If you have a child, relative or friend who is experiencing similar I think it’s important to place as many positive thoughts in their mind, telling them that you are always there to talk, and reminding them of all the amazing things that they can achieve.

 

How Supported Have You Felt By Your Neurology Team?

You might think that the neurology team are not supposed to be there to support you, just to give you medical and professional advice.

I however think that having a diagnosis of epilepsy is a life changing and lifelong one which requires support and positivity where possible.

I would be interested to know different people’s experiences and views of their neurology team and how supported they have felt.

Thanks for reading,

Becky 🙂

 

When Family Plan To Move Away

Yesterday I went to Somerset to visit family.

My family are kind of globe-trotters, they have lived in various places abroad for many years and have been back in the U.K. for nearly a year.

They are currently living in a house which everyone instantly falls in love with. It’s set deep in the country, full of character – being over 300yrs old, has lots of space, loads of ground, has fruit trees in the garden and everything.

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So when I went to visit yesterday, the sun was blazing, the company was amazing, and it just seemed like the most idyllic place to be in the world.

We went for a walk, the dog was happy and excited all day, wanting everyone to throw him a frisbee, and we had a barbecue in the evening.

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My family have plans to move abroad again and want to leave within the next few months, so this trip felt a little bittersweet.

There have been many years that I haven’t seen them, and when they lived abroad it felt surreal to finally visit them.

Yesterday I sat there appreciating the moment and the company before they go, before I don’t see them again for years, and before I never visit their lovely home again. But, I realised how lucky I was to have them back closer to us for the past year, and yesterday meant a great deal to me.

Although I love my family very much and I will miss them, I know that they have to do what makes them happy, and what is best for them. I know that we’ll keep in touch and that I can visit them at their new home and discover a new and exciting place.

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂<<<<
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How Important is Music?

How Important is Music?

I believe that music is an important part of everyone’s life.

I sometimes wonder how many of us really acknowledge how important music is to us.

When you think about it, everyone likes some form of music. It doesn’t matter who you are or what mood you’re in, there is always a song for you.

Whoever you meet there is always a genre of music that they adore and I always love finding out what type of music they enjoy listening to.

Whatever music you like I am confident there have been times where you have heard your favourite song and turned it up, and found yourself feeling instantly happier, or stumbled across an old song and been hit with a rush of nostalgia.

I love all the varying feelings that music can instigate.

Do many of us really appreciate the amazing ability that music has?

Music is a part of our daily life and I wonder how many people realise its power and importance? One song can have the ability to reach millions of people and music can change and lift people’s spirits and alter their lives. I have witnessed older members of the community overcome loneliness purely through music groups, and I have seen people of all ages and backgrounds come together due to having the same enthusiasm over a band. Music can benefit and unite so many people.

It’s such a wonderful feeling when you hear a song with perhaps an incredible melody, moving harmonies, or lyrics that seem to personally speak to you.

Many of us will have a favourite song that we will never tire of, that either connects to us emotionally or lifts our spirits. Mine is, Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen. Its one of those songs that makes me happier, I’ve listened to it countless times and I still love it. A few years ago I was shopping, and they were playing that very song, I was miming away to the song and looked up to see everyone else, all age ranges doing exactly the same. (I knew that song was good.) I have never witnessed anything like this before or since. I guess it goes to show that songs don’t have to be brand new to connect audiences, it doesn’t matter when they were written, some will have the ability to connect with a wide range of people.

How has music helped me?

I am constantly drawn to music and when I need a bit of escapism, music is the perfect solution. I am confident that many other people will be the same. I am the type of person who will listen to every genre of music and finds it hard to choose a favourite style or artist, I like nearly everything.

I think with having epilepsy, I will do anything that can help keep stress and anxiety reduced, and for me music is ideal.

When I was a teenager, I also studied music. Being recently diagnosed with epilepsy, this was something good to focus on and I ended up learning to play four instruments. This sounds impressive but they are all woodwind instruments which are very similar to each other, they are; clarinet, saxophone, flute and oboe.

I would always recommend someone to learn music as I have enjoyed it so much. Perhaps if you have a child with epilepsy and want them to have a hobby, I would suggest music lessons as not only does it help develop abilities in maths and social skills, but it also builds on confidence skills in a non-strenuous or competitive way. I enjoyed music so much that it is still a great part of my life today.

Would you consider music to be an important part of your life?

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂

 

 

 

Pets and Their Impact

Pets and Their Impact

I think that nearly all of us have had a pet at some point of our lives. Do you think that having pets alters us or changes us in any way?

For children I believe that having a pet teaches them a great amount about caring and looking after another living creature. As I am getting older I am developing a greater appreciation of the love, companionship and great memories that animals give us everyday.

While growing up, I had many different pets. Fish, rabbits, hamsters etc. But I always wanted a cat. I don’t know why I just did. I loved visiting family members who had cats and I just wanted one of my own. But I never got one 😦 . I can remember one birthday I very kindly asked for a kitten, and in the morning I ran downstairs full of excitement, hoping that I’d finally have my cat, and in the middle of the livingroom floor among all my other presents was…a cuddly toy one.

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The Birthday Present 😦

But, years later… Guess what, a miracle happened and I finally got a cat. I now fully understand the phrase that, ‘good things come to those who wait’ as he really is the perfect cat for me.

I can remember the day we bought him. I had been through every newspaper etc. looking for kittens. This was in January, and by all account this isn’t the right time for kittens. Finally in February I saw the first ad for kittens and raced there. We went to this house which was teaming with little cats. I was shown our kitten and I was told he liked cuddles, which meant he was sold!

He’s never left my side since, he’s even sleeping by my feet while I’m typing these words.

What impact has my pet made on my life?

If you have a pet you have another family member. When you consciously sit and think about all the memories you share with them, how often they make everyone smile and how much you love them. You realise how important they are and how irreplaceable they are.

When I think about my cat, he is certainly part of our family and I think about the years of happy memories and love he has brought us. He certainly changed our lives from that first moment we brought him home and he got stuck under the kitchen units.

When I catch the bus outside my house, my cat waits for the bus with me. He also hears the sound of my car when I arrive home, appearing from nowhere and crying at me from behind the garden wall.

He’s also the only cat I’ve seen ‘crossing the road’ in the sense that he looks both ways and then runs like mad across the street only when its clear. I didn’t teach him this, but if anyone asks. I did.

Am I a different person because of my pet?

Even though I have naturally learnt more about pets since having a cat, I feel a little bit more of a caring, cuddly person that I did before I had my cat. But I think that’s just who I am, and I would like to think that I would be the same person even if I didn’t have my cat. But I have noticed that since I have had him, I am definitely more connected with the neighbours. My cat is not just loved my me, he is also adored by many grannies who also live on my street. If he’s not around  I know he’s being spoiled by someone, and I am always bumping into neighbours who tell me about the funny things he gets up to. My own Grandma is one of them, (by the way she never wanted me to have a cat), and now I frequently find him over her house, curled up on his very own chair.  When you consider that many women on my street are elderly widows who could potentially be suffering from loneliness, just having the cat to visit them and then seeing me afterwards will brighten their days.

I love the fact that one cat can bring so much love, joy and companionship to so many people.

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My Cat, keeping cool

 

Has my pet had an impact on my health?

From the perspective of my health, I would say that having a cat has greatly helped with my health. I am confident that my seizures can be triggered by stress, I’m not suggesting that cats are seizure cures but simply petting them can relax you and help lower blood pressure. ( by the way not all cats are chilled out or like being petted!). As I mentioned earlier my cat loves relaxing and having hugs from everyone, and after a busy, stressful day it’s really nice to come home to. This is obvious, but cats would make rubbish as seizure alerts. Once I was being taken to hospital and my cat was just sleeping in his basket! 🙂

So after many years of waiting I finally had my cat. I have been amazed by how he can cheer so many people up without doing hardly anything. He follows me everywhere even down the street. I have felt more love and compassion from my cat than I have from many people I have known.

I was hesitant to write this blog as I was afraid of appearing as a crazy cat lady, but I wanted to highlight that animals can have a profound impact on our lives and who we are.

Some pets save people’s lives, and I hope to discuss this topic in more detail in my next blog when I discuss medical alert dogs and pets in therapy.

What impact have your pets made on your life? Feel free to comment below!

 

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂

Want to get in touch? Feel free to send a message!

Greater Gratitude, Better Outlook

Greater Gratitude, Better Outlook

When you think of gratitude, what do you think of?

Do you think about the nice thing that someone has for you recently, or is it something a little bigger than that?

What are you grateful for in your life?

At times of difficulty or illnesses many of us (myself included) have felt that there has been hardly anything in this world to feel grateful about, and when you consult other people on what they are grateful for, they will say that we’re grateful for our technology or material objects.

When our lives become busy, as they do, or if we enter a time of perhaps hardship, we sometimes forget to notice the good things that are constantly happening all around us. When we notice these things and appreciate them, we feel happier, and when we’re happy our lives become richer.

I know this sounds very simple, but just from noticing and appreciating the simple pleasures in life could increase your happiness and reduce your stress.

People come across this frequently throughout their lives and at different moments of their lives. They appreciate the balance of life, and they start to notice the amazing world that is around them. They don’t have to be anywhere special, but they value their life, their opportunities, their dreams, the amazing way that the world around them just…exists. I don’t think enough people take the time to appreciate the astounding world that is around them every single day.

Unfortunately we can sometimes be a little too preoccupied with our lives, focusing on the negative aspects of the world instead of just ignoring it and looking for the good instead.  

I would recommend everyone to try focusing on the things that they are grateful for, and seeing if it makes you more appreciative of the world around you. You can start off by writing a list of the things that you are grateful for, whether it’s your family or friends. Think about the things that they do to make you smile and write that down. If you love your pets and are grateful for them, add them to the list as well.

Next, add all the little things in life that make you happy, these can be the things such as the smell of freshly mown grass, the feel of the sun on your skin, autumn, summer, spring, etc. eating cookies warm from the oven. It can be anything!
When making the list, you can also think about memories where you have felt happy, and relaxed. They can be recent memories or nostalgic ones from your childhood.

You may think that you’re not grateful for these things, as these are just small moments of life that make you happy. But can you image a world where your favourite moments didn’t exist? Or if someone told you that you would never be able to experience your favourite things ever again? Suddenly you realise how special the ‘little things’ you take for granted are. The kind favour your friend or relative does for you, the amazing environment all around you, everything.

The surprising thing that I found after I created my list was that I had wrote down many things that were everyday things. There were no material items, everything that I am most grateful for is associated with memories, experiences and nature. Although each list will be completely unique for each person, I found that after I wrote my list I was purposely seeking out the items that I loved and I was more appreciative of the world around me as I looked for more things to inspire me each day.

Also, if you’re not having a particularly good time, perhaps you’re unwell or you are a little upset, making a list like this greatly lifts your mood as it is concentrating your mind on the things you like and are grateful for, and it helps you to appreciate the world. And perhaps if you put the beach on the list, you might find that you’re soon taking yourself your favourite place!

Thanks for reading!

Becky 🙂

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