Greetings dear readers. Just a quick note to advise you that this blog entry is based loosely on fact.
Julie Hearterington was a shy and nervous child Julie was also highly intelligent. She was very self conscious of the opinion of others and dreaded the thought that she may do or say something that might upset someone. As she grew into a young lady she attended university and became a school teacher. Julie was a natural but she was driven by her desire to keep others happy.
She discovered alcohol at the age of twenty and found that it relaxed her and loosened her inhibitions. She became more sociable but not to the point where she became a loose woman. Julie never had a relationship.
As the years progressed Julies’ tolerance to alcohol slowly increased until the point where she became dependent on it. Daily. At the age of forty one she was spoken to by her headmaster regarding her excessive sick leave. This sick leave was driven by her ever-increasing alcohol intake.
Julie knew that she had to take steps to curb this. With no medical knowledge she just stopped drinking cold turkey. Little did she know that this sudden cessation would lead to an alcoholic seizure seventy two hours later. All that she can remember prior to the seizure was her arms and legs twitching markedly, a strange sort of dizziness and her body being catapulted from her chair.
The next thing that Julie can remember was waking up in hospital with tubes hanging out of her. She was very groggy and vague. This was a combination of the after-effects of the seizure and the anti-convulsant medication that she was being given. Julie was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. She was given a prescription for the aforementioned medications, discharged after three days and advised to make an appointment with her GP. That was all.
Julie went home with no qualms about not drinking again. She had given herself a fright. She made an appointment with her GP who gave her the news that now she had suffered a seizure, she was going to be susceptible to them for the rest of her life and that she was to minimise stressful situations in her life as this could trigger one off. He gave her a prescription for Valium, a relaxant, to take if she felt herself becoming anxious.
Julie was reluctant about the Valium as she knew that it was addictive but initially took it with success when she felt any stress building within her. As time went on Julie became less vigilant with her Valium would unwittingly get herself into such a state that her head spun, she became confused to time and place and, most disturbingly, would have vivid dreams that were so realistic that they were plausible. She had trouble distinguishing reality from dreams She became frightened to sleep for fear of these dreams recurring. Her arms and legs would also twitch. Little did she know that these symptoms were only one step before having a seizure.
Her final wake-up call came one Sunday night when she stood up from the couch to go to the toilet. She became extremely dizzy to the point where she had to sit herself on the ground for a few minutes. After making her way back to the couch the dizziness did not ease and she noticed that her arms and legs were twitching. She also became slightly confused. She was still lucid enough, at this point, to be aware of the fact that these were the identical symptoms that led up to her previous seizures but seemed more intense. She wouldn’t take a Valium.
That night she didn’t sleep and the bizarre dreams presented again. Late the following morning she decided to do one of two things. Go to her parents for safety reasons or go to hospital to get checked out. She decided against the hospital as she figured that she would only be pumped full of drugs and sent home. She opted to go to her parents for safety reasons as she thought that there was some chance of a seizure. Julie still refused to take any Valium as at this point she thought that she her condition was too far down the road for that. It was just a matter of hanging in there. She had an appointment with her GP in two days anyway and he knew her condition better than anyone.
For the next three days Julie spent her time going from bizarre dream to bizarre dream. From confused reality to confused reality.
Julie had to get her parents to drive her to her appointment as she was in no fit state to drive. He a blood test to check the levels of her anti-convulsant medication. He reinforced the need to take her Valium when her stress levels were high. The message finally hit home with Julie this time. She had never been in this state for so long or so severely in her life.
The doctor told her to go home and take a dose of Valium….and stay on it for no less than seventy two hours. He also reinforced the necessity to take it whenever she felt things were getting on top of her. Julie was skeptical. Although Valium kept her mild anxiety at bay she didn’t think for a second that it could possibly improve her current state. She was wrong. Within ninety minutes of taking the Valium her fear of bizarre dreams had vanished, her arms and legs no longer twitched and her perspective had returned. It was like waking from a nightmare….in all aspects of her life.
From that moment on, at the age of forty eight, Julie now uses Valium without hesitation when she needs to. She is no addicted to it. She suffers no bizarre dreams, no confused perspective and has not suffered a seizure since that last big scare and subsequent visit to her GP.
Vigilance and mindfulness has kept Julie on an even keel.