A year had gone by already, and while I should have been thrilled to be returning to school, I was anything but. My discontentment came not only from having to face the fact that I’d be spending two more years in a high school setting, but that I’d be going to an all girls’ school.
The first day of school surprised me the most, not because I found it to be the complete disaster I thought it would be, but because it was much quiet, uneventful and drama free -much to my liking. I’d especially enjoyed it because for once, I’d taken the time to step outside my comfort zone and talk to some strangers. Whether I succeeded at making friends didn’t really matter at the time. The next day, however, things took a turn for the worst.
In devotion, the woman speaking had made an error. Most of the girls echoed her mockingly, and the judgmental attitude displayed by the girls really took the meaningfulness out of having devotion. If I had only been a little braver, I’d have rolled my eyes, but I knew within myself that I may just as well have been guilty of the same crime at some point in my life.
As the day went on, I found myself feeling more and more like an outcast, which was nothing new to me. It had always been much easier for me to talk to males as they’d usually approach me first. Females, however, seemed a bit more cliquey. But whether or not anyone spoke to me, I usually still felt like the odd one out. At this school, things were no different. Nonetheless, I had promised myself that I would not return to my old anxiety-ridden self. I would try to be normal.
Finally, the third day, something strange decided to happen, and as troubling as it had been, I was happy to have been able to escape the all the awkwardness and discomfort of having to be in such an unfamiliar setting. It was my first pseudo seizure, but upon my first visit to the hospital, I was said to have been experienced an actual seizure – several, to be more precise.
Eventually, I was prescribed a drug called epilim chrono. Despite this, my condition only worsened. Although I had an appointment to see a neurologist the following week, my worried father decided to take me to see a neurosurgeon. Being in such a haste, and having temporarily lost my voice, I had little control over how I looked. My hair was unkempt, and I even attempted to comb it, but all my family would say is, “Don’t worry about it.” Even when I’d motioned to them that they should comb it, they simply focused on trying to get me to the hospital.
After hours of waiting, I finally got to see this doctor, who seemed tired from a long day of work. I was his last patient, so it was no surprise that when my parents tried to explain what happened, he became moody and dismissive. When he actually witnessed it himself, all he could say was, “This is not a seizure.” But as soon as my prednisone use was mentioned, everything started to go downhill.
He started to blame the pill for almost everything – my unkempt hair (which I had been so concerned about earlier), my supposed depression, and my supposed apathy. In his own opinion, I could very well speak. I was just simply doing this on purpose. The way he spoke, it was as if I wasn’t even in the room – as if I wasn’t even me.
That’s when I knew he thought I was faking it. In the hallway, he’d explained to my father that the prednisone was making me depressed. I remember him pointing outnmy demeanour as some sort of proof, when in fact, I was only saddened by his behaviour. In the end, he gave me a diagnoses of pseudo seizures (PNES). The day after, his words kept replaying in my mind, so much so that I felt I was going insane. I felt humiliated.
Truthfully, I despised taking prednisone. Much of what he said about the drug was accurate. It did cause me become depressed at times. But what it didn’t do was make me into the uncaring, unfeeling zombie he insinuated it did. I heard everything he said, and I was affected by all of it. To add, he even suggested that I didn’t even have arthritis, which was the reason I was taking the thing in the first place. By the time it was over, I hardly felt like I was human being anymore, let alone that I even mattered.
Now that a year has passed, I can only say that the past is the past. I understand now that there are many people who won’t understand me, some of whom will even think I am faking this. But the beauty of it all is learning to understand yourself and to somewhat acknowledge and accept the ignorance of others, particularly when it only seems it cannot be changed. My only regret is that if I could have spared myself the heartache, I would not have seen a neurosurgeon, but rather, someone more equipped to deal with the problem.
Yes, neurosurgeons should know a lot about the brain. But like most other doctors, what they really can’t seem to fully grasp yet is how powerful the mind is and how it affects the body. It really pains to know that if you are to approach these people who seem to know everything about health, your mental health will be completely disregarded. You really do leave feeling it’s all just in your head, yet there is nothing you can really do about it.
The good thing is, the power is in your hands. You can choose to deny your illness and remain baffled by your inability to function normally, or you can accept it and start working towards change. Even if you can’t convince anyone to believe you, you know within yourself what is true and what you feel.
Sometimes, it’s okay not to care. It’s okay not to be understood. All you need to do is try your best and continue working towards recovery.