health · Lifestyle

Yes my brain is normal, at least according to medical science!

Hey everyone! Now that I got everyone caught up and we are in real time, I will share a bit of information about my continued journey through my illness, seeking answers and a plan to move forward.

So I have had an MRI and EEG, all normal! According to my neurologist, I have a beautiful brain……why thank you kind sir! So now I wait for an evaluation on my mental state, here is where things will get tricky I imagine. As I said before in my post about trauma, it is assumed that I suffer from feuge state, I can totally see this as an option based on what I have read. I completely am aware of my unique sense of self and that I can be a chameleon if need be. It has been that way all my life, a way to cope with my surroundings and situations I found myself in, and others I put myself in. Adaptability is a virtue I am happy to have. No shame in that! It is not fake, it is survival.

Being fake is pretending, in full knowledge of ones actions, to be someone you know you are not.

Be real, even in your mental illness! Own who you are and what has happened to you and give it the attention it deserves, then let it GO! Not forget, just put away, so it does not continue to ruin the true you! No one ever got help by being ignorant, so wake up and help yourself. Hopefully you have an amazing support system, like I do, and will not be alone in your journey. Even if it’s just one person standing by your side, it is more than some people receive.

I continue to be open to the findings and will deal with them in an adult way, fits are for babies! However, I am finding it increasingly hard to deal with educated individuals who see themselves as above me in knowing my own body. Exhausting I tell ya! I still have bad days, really bad ones! My mantra is always the same, this too shall pass! Love you guys!

Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Trauma.

The pain of today
Remembered tomorrow
The sins of yesterday
Cleared away
How do we cope with the memories
I dare not say
For all of us are different
We handle in our own way ~ Jennifer Steen

It has taken me days to write this, I have written and then erased and cried until I am blue in the face.

This was originally going to be about my recent neurology appointment and where I possibly go from here but over the last few days, something else has taken over my mind and my soul is telling me to share it so here we go. Yes it does have something to do with said appointment. Here we go…..

Ok so we all know what trauma is correct?

trauma – a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.

Regardless of its source, trauma contains three common elements:

• It was unexpected.

• The person was unprepared.

• There was nothing the person could do to stop it from
happening.

Simply put, traumatic events are beyond a person’s control.

It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone, but the individual’s experience of the event and the meaning they make of it. (Definition and explanation above was provided by a third party site, (MTIECI).

To be in such a dark place
Is scarier than anything I have ever faced
To feel the enemy but not able to see it
The weight of the grief
With no end in sight ~Jennifer Steen

Now did I know I had suffered traumas in my past? Yes, I have been working through them. I have talked to counselors, gone to therapy groups, and really worked to create a safe environment for myself. I began to write nearly two years ago and that has been an amazing therapeutic tool for me. So why am I here, writing about something I seem to have faced? Well it’s because I am not facing the current trauma that is my everyday life.

Please do not get things twisted, I have an amazing life and I cherish every damn day as if its my last. And there it is, the aha moment I could not see until it was pointed out to me. Can you imagine having the mindset that you might not have tomorrow because you are sick today? To have experienced medical emergencies so scary that you wondered if you would survive it? Your life flashes before you, all the things you have done and have yet to do, the things you left unsaid. How in the world could that not leave a mark, an imprint on someone’s psyche? It does, and each of us handle this in different ways! No one person is the same in their journey, even if we take it together.

Each of us is designed to deal with traumas, milestones, and life in general in a multitude of ways. The key is finding your own way. And know that it will take time and effort to work through, it is a marathon not a sprint!

I have been experiences some strange symptoms in the last year and my endocrinologist was so worried and by his own admission, stumped as to why, that he sent me to a neurologist for a second opinion. What an experience that was! Ok so my brain is quote “beautiful and healthy” docs own words. Yay! So what is the problem then? Why am I having significant memory lapses? Why can I not remember conversations or questions that were just asked? Why when I walk, do I just run into walls for no apparant reason? Why can I be in a conversation and go completely blank? Like I can not even answer basic questions. Why am I in a constant state of emotional upheaval? TRAUMA. Not long ago trauma but current trauma. He suspects I am suffering from fugue state or Dissociative fugue which has been linked to severe stress, which might be the result of traumatic events — such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence — that the person has experienced or witnessed.

Wow ok, this one was out of left field lol my first thought was “yeah I am crazy, that is nothing new”. That is just me trying to lighten up a very serious issue. I am having an EEG done next wednesday to make certain that there are no underlying issues that have been missed. I am also being sent to see a psychotherapist, and I am ok with that. There is no shame in knowing that I can not do this by myself. Having spent the last six months with a diagnosis of a rare kidney disease and significant adrenal insufficiency after a year and a half of fearing the unknown, I have not had time to properly deal with that and all the other outside issues currently on my plate. I have depression and ptsd and I need more help. I spend a great deal of time alone and do not talk in person about what is going on outside my close friends and family, and sometimes not even then do I open up completely. I do not need to be an open book to the world, I need to be an open book to myself!

I am still at war from within. I am a mom trying to raise my kids with their own set of traumas. I am a wife trying to not put everything on my husbands shoulders, because he has enough on his plate. I am the friend trying to be there for my people and still feeling as if I am not enough. I tried to step away and give us all time but that was not recieved well. I was accused of being mean and uncaring of others issues. Let me tell you something, I have a tremendous amount of empathy and never want anyone to suffer. But if you continue to deny your problems and do not take appropriate actions to mend them, I can not help you! If you can not see how much I am struggling and need support, then stay away!

I will never compare my trauma to others, it is a slap in the face to those people. I continue to see others rate their trauma above others and you are wrong in doing so! So stop! We have all experienced levels of trauma and some continuous amounts of trauma and they manifest in a multitude of ways. I encourage those who are currently in this situation to seek help! Be open and honest with yourself and your doctors!

Please be gentle and understanding to yourself and those around you! Look hard within yourself, the answers are there! Same goes for the ones witnessing this first hand with someone they know. There will be some you have to walk away from because they refuse help, that is ok! Your decision likely is not based on how much you love them, everyone deserves love even when they are lost. When you see someone legit trying to get better, be there cheerleader! Encourage them!

Thanks for reading, feel free to share or comment! I would love to connect with you all!

Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

The sickness part 3

To be weak
Is to be strong
To dry your eyes
Is because you have no more to cry
To walk alone
Is to know your way
To be tired
Is because you have lived
To fall apart
Is because you where once whole
The pain
Is because you feel
The darkness
Is because of the light~ Jennifer Steen

August 2017
So while I had not had anymore major episodes or issues, I began to notice that my stomach would swell after I ate. I was rapidly losing weight and food was making me sick. Three months in, it was discovered that my gallbladder was dying. A few days before Thanksgiving, I had it taken out.
I recovered and tried to get back to normal but that was not to be.
On December 1, 2017, I woke up with a headache, dizzy, and nauseated. By the time I got up and made it into the kitchen, my world suddenly tilted on its axis. The pain exploded in my head and spread through every nerve in my body. I hit my knees as soon as I could and laid in a fetal position on the floor for roughly 30 minutes. All I could do was lay there and pray this was not what was to become of me. Praying for help, for answers, and for my family. This is not a burden I ever wanted for them. My 12 year old daughter was home from school that day and I will never forget the look on her face when she found me on the floor. She sat with me and held my hand until I could properly function again.

Over the next few months, I had smaller episodes like this but none as severe, mostly dizziness and lose of balance. On February 5th, 2018, I collapsed one morning on my bedroom floor. For the first time the numbness was replaced by almost indescribable pain. I was struggling to breath and could not even pick myself off the floor. I was rushed by ambulance to the local hospital, by this time, the pain had lessened but I was still in panic mode trying to calm myself down. The good old doc told me it was ONLY a panic attack and blew me off. I begged him to listen to me but he did not. I cried so much, it was like a part of my spirit died in that moment.
Why would no one help me?
Why was I being ignored?
Did they really think I was making this up?
Over exaggerating?
Well as you will come to find out in part 4, what was going on was very serious and very real. Thank you all for reading and taking this journey with me!

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

The sickness part 2

January 16, 2017

The feelings that are inside
Swirling
The pain is gone
But the scars still remain
Never far away
Let the peace wash over me
Into tranquility
The feelings that are inside
A renewal for the soul
Anguish is now gone
And hope remains~ Jennifer Steen

March 2017
For the previous three months things were better than they had been in a very long time. I was changing, planning for the future, while letting go of the past. I was writing like crazy and I felt truly free for the first time in years.
One phone call changed everything, I knew I should have stopped and paid more attention to my instincts. Stopped my business plans and just slowed down. Yet nothing could have prepared me for what I would face, it came so fast and I was not prepared. I had become content and did not continue my self care and I payed for it dearly. No ones fault but my own on that one. In a few short weeks, with the world crashing in from all sides. On March 22nd I went to the ER with severe chest pains and a panicky feeling I could not control. I felt sick and shaky, of course the doctor on call thought I was a drug addict and blew me off. A few days later, I woke up in the early hours of the morning, to the same attack that had happened 7 months prior. Only worse! It was so traumatic that I have a hard time remembering details but I will never forget the pain and the fear. Holding onto my daddy’s dog tags and begging for more time. I was hospitalized again, sedated, and test were run. Nothing. Nada. I was told to take my anxiety pills, one week of bed rest, and reduce my stress level Ha! As if!

For privacy purposes I will not talk about the specifics that were going on also at that time, but things were hard. I am not opposed to hardships but man this one tough. It was the most imperfect perfect storm that I never fully recovered from, turns out I was also experiencing what is known as adrenal crisis. I will not deny that my mind broke for awhile. I am still picking up the pieces today.
In May, one week after coming home from a cruise, I woke up in the middle of the night, passed out in the hallway. Anytime I drank alcohol I became violently sick. All these strange aches and pains were occurring more frequently. I would get dizzy often and disoriented. In July, I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink and take some meds because I had a slight headache. As I shut the fridge and turned around, my whole body went numb from head to toe, my vision went black, and the next thing I know I woke up slumped against the fridge. All I could hear were loud chirping sounds in my head, I did not even realize I had passed out. I crawled through the house, climbed in bed and went to sleep. Obviously I had a nasty concussion but still no answers as to why this was happening.

Thankfully the symptoms slowed down by August of 2017 and my stress level was more leveled out. I honestly knew in the back of my mind that something was seriously wrong but I just kept trucking on and doing my best to keep my family together and to recover from the trauma of the last few months. I had responsibilities and I was becoming tired of hearing doctors and peers tell me to get over it, like I was making this all up. Even as I relieve these memories, it still brings tears to my eyes but I am going to keep going. I will be back soon with part 3 of the story! Thank you for reading and ✌🏼❤