Today was my first visit with a cognitive behavior therapist in hopes of decreasing the severity of seizures from my conversion disorder. I thought I should make note of them here for those who also suffer from it, in case it can help.
He was very nice, and knew a great deal about managing stress, as I would naturally hope. He showed me some exercises that help relieve immediate tension in the neck and shoulders, and they did the trick! They were simple enough, like rolling the head around in circles and shoulders shrugs. He said stress tends to build up in the back of the neck right at the base of the skull, so if you release that, it can help.
But that is only a quick fix. After talking for a while, he explained how, all my life, I’ve always been on guard for one reason or another, ready to react if something should happen. As a kid, there was my alcoholic father – each night, I never knew if he was going to be nice or start yelling, throwing things, come at me with his belt. As a teen, there was the accident which threw my skull all out of whack. After recovering from that, I took on high-stress jobs that kept me moving and thinking constantly. It’s like the more I had to do, the better I performed, and like the therapist noted, I was able to lock out emotion and just… function.
And then I’ve been spending 24/7 caring for my disabled wife, and I’m constantly on guard for her so she doesn’t try to hurt herself, etc. Even though, over the years, I’ve locked everything dangerous away and have the keys around my neck at all times, my heart still jumps if she’s out of my sight for long. Old habits and all that.
So how I understood it, for thirty-something years, I’ve been keeping these high levels of chemicals running through my system similar to being pumped full of adrenaline, on edge, whatever, and things have started short-circuiting as a result. So now, any little thing can make it all go nuts, hence the seizures.
There’s still all this mystery around it, and the therapist admitted to having little experience with actual conversion disorder patients, but even those who do have experience are still trying to figure it out. I do think he had a logical perspective on it, though, so I’m willing to roll with it.
He encouraged more exercise, something I’ve been neglecting for a while because I get so sore from the daily seizures that I don’t want to do much else but sit still and try to recover, which is a constant effort. He said the exercise will keep the system flushed of all the stress-induced chemicals building up, improving concentration, and it will help REM during sleep so that more serotonin is produced.
Oh, and by the way. If I’m saying any of this medical stuff wrong, don’t blame the therapist. It’s probably me relating it incorrectly, lol.
He also wanted me to consider that I’ve probably been suffering from depression most of my life, and it’s been left untreated. And he said I should lay off the caffeine, which I have been pretty addicted to for a while now. I even upgraded to energy drinks in the morning, then coffee afterward. I just have NO energy, and he said that could all be a symptom of depression, as well, so I’ll consider it.
Anyway, I think it was a constructive session. I see him again next week.