You are stronger than you think
Summer has arrived, whoop whoop. Chatting to my friends they're going to festivals, party holidays and basically anything that involves late nights and alcohol. But where do I fit into this, having epilepsy can limit you with situations like this. However you can always find a way round it. In this post I am going to give some tips through my good and bad experiences of holidays to chat about how I think it is best to plan when having epilepsy and also in my case anxiety.
My experiences and what I learnt -
I have been on a wide range of holidays both positive and negative experiences, unfortunately due to my health struggles when I am away. In my mind I find going abroad rather daunting as it is so far out of my comfort zone. However I am strong believer in you should not let your hurdles, anxiety or health stop you for new and amazing opportunities. Therefore I think positive and make sure I plan everything. Therefore it makes it as calm and non-risk on my health as possible. Below I have listened the different points I go through to make my trip safer.
Firstly flying isn't my favourite thing, I don't like the thought of being in a area where I cant get out of to get some fresh air incase I feel a bit anxious. So a plane joinery can be challenging for me as you can't just pop outside to get some air! However I have had experiences of smooth, calm plane joineries and lets just say the complete opposite. But I have learnt from that experience, I use to get myself into such a panic and mess but now with a healthy, positive mind it can make such a huge difference. Also I now plan what I am going to do on the plane to distract my mind, so I focus on either a film, writing, drawing or reading a book. Find something that distracts and you enjoy to make the time go quicker.
When I arrive at the place I am staying at I find it is important to feel comfortable and at home. Especially where I am sleeping so I can get a good night sleep. For me this is vital as my main trigger for seizures is sleep deprivation. I have gone on a couple of group holidays before, classic eighteen year old holidays, with late nights drinking and partying and I managed with a balance to experience what others where. I find you have to do what you feel comfortable doing. So if you want a drink and feel safe doing so, do it. But don't feel you have to due to the people around you drinking or going out. If they are your true friends they will understand if you are not drinking or you need an early night. My best friend who I have a been on a few holidays with has been the most amazing, supportive, understanding and patient person possible and if you have someone like that by your side you are so lucky!
Last summer I had a massive flop when away in France and was an anxious mess constantly scared I would have a seizure due to not sleeping well where we stayed. Therefore this shows it is so important to go away with people who understand your condition, and what to do if something does go wrong. And of course if you are with your family they are likely to know what to do. However make sure you are open with them if you have any anxieties or worries.
My view on travelling is I love visiting new places as I adore art and photography so find it amazing visiting new places, such as i visited Paris for a week with another friend. And loved see the different environments and little cobbled side streets. Showing that you can equally have the same experience as others.
Tips and important things to remember when going away -
Medication is on of the most vital parts of going on holiday. Making sure you have enough medication so if you are going for a long period of time it is important to go to your doctor or chemist to bigger dose of your medication.
Time difference and medication -
For me the furthest place I've been is Greece therefore the time zone is two hours, which didn't make a huge difference on taking my medication. Obviously if you where travelling to a place where you have a greater time zone it is important to talk to your doctor about it for more information on the safest way to do so.
I make sure I take medication both in my suitcase and my handbag which I take on the plane, in case my suitcase goes missing or ends up in the wrong place! So that is a huge tip i would give! Also because I'm taking it on the plane with me I have to take it through security. One of my medication is liquid and over the amount you're allowed to take on the plane for other liquids such as water or shampoo. It is important you bring a medical or doctors note to show that your medically need to take the medication on board with you. Also when I was in France going through security they did a swab test or put it in some container which looks like a microwave with my medication to check that it is what I'm saying it is. The first time this happened I was alarmed but now its just the norm.
On both my medications it says do not store above 30 degrees. Therefore I make sure I consider when travelling and landing in a hot country it doesn't getting too hot. Also when storing it in a hotel room or your accommodation make sure that 24/7 it is at room temperature and not getting too hot.
Travelling is tiring for anyone and if you're epileptic and like me it is extremely tiring. Therefore I make sure I get a good night sleep before, don't do much the day before travailing so I'm not too tired from the previous day. Personally I always feel safer booking a flight at a ‘normal’ time for example not booking a plane at 6:00 in the morning as I know i'll have to get up in the middle of the night to get it therefore it would make my sleeping pattern messed up and cause extreme fatigue putting me at a higher risk of having a seizure.
When I am on the plane I like to make sure I relax, am comfortable and try to nap as I find this is the best way to make the time go by and get a bit of energy back. When I land I make sure that I have a calm relax first evening and go to bed early. Also i am normal still tired the next day so i have a relaxing pool day or just child the day after arriving to boost my energy levels.
Before I go away to any location I always make sure a hospital is near by with the contact details just incase I need it. Also look into near doctors also.
Medical bracelet -
Epilepsy medical bracelet are a important, helpful and poetically life saving object. Especially if you're travelling alone or are separate from your friends and family. As this allows strangers to understand what is happening to you and what to do if you have a seizure.
Friends and family -
Make sure the people you are going away with have an understanding of what to do if you do have a seizure. And any worries or anxieties you have about going away.
Lastly i am going to talk about anxiety as I have said at the start of this post my holidays have been very up and down…But i have learnt to use meditation, breathing and calming methods to over come this when both traveling and away as it is so greatly out my comfort zone. The advice I would give is re-search into those methods. Go away with someone you feel comfortable and safe with. And most importantly look after your body and have fun!
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