Personal Review: January 2018

I’m quite sure that nearly every person I’ve talked to about January has labelled it as their most dull month of the year. And, as positive as I try and be, I do agree with them. It was difficult at times; I was frustrated by lots of little events. But, I also managed to gather a few important added experiences that suggest the rest of the year could go ahead and get a lot better too.

I Think I Twisted My Ankle

I chose this subhead because January’s events have made my steady routine of writing look a lot more shakey. As time has continued, I’ve been side-tracked by other projects, and often finding myself suddenly rushing to get things done on time, and feeling so tired when days come to a close.

Twisted Ankle

One seemingly positive news event to occur on Friday 20 January was that I could start off with two-weeks of paid employment just three days later, with a simple job on computers in the city centre. However, this did mean that I had much less to time to complete Epilepsy News: January 2018 last week, and preferably would have taken more time to finish off this post as well.

I hope people don’t think I’m losing interest in helping people out with epilepsy; that couldn’t be further from the truth. But a writing career is something I wish to improve, and to do that I need to offer my services to others by contributing to other people, websites and groups. I can’t earn a living through The Epileptic Man; there’s just not enough of you taking an interest at the moment!

Nevertheless, after an awkward fall, my writing seems to be getting to its feet and regathering momentum to keep its efforts up as time continues. And along with that, a couple of recent emails tell me edited articles first written by myself should be available to view elsewhere soon enough.

This was good news to hear. If we’re going to raise awareness of epilepsy, then we’re going to have to work together.

I Can Stare at a Screen for Money

One thing that people should always be aware of is that living on a minimum-wage part-time or full-time job is so, so much more empowering than trying to find your way when just sat on the dole.

What I’m getting paid for a couple of weeks earns pretty much minimum wage, but at 37 hours a week, it at least trebles my income for a brief period. Working on a repetitive computer process isn’t the most thrilling job in the world, but I’m happy it came along.

Empty Office Space
It took me seven months to find another job in Manchester – and it’s just across the road from my last paid role at Lloyds Banking Group

Starting part-time work has come to my mind now though. Although a lot of writers manage to build up an eventual freelance career with a separate, full-time job, I do have a disability. I also feel I’ve gathered a fair bit of responsibility when writing for other people over the past seven months, and only want to stay focused on my writing and take action with some other ideas in mind.

One problem that makes a busy lifestyle more difficult for myself is fatigue. I need to get myself enough sleep at night; a lack of it only leads to more seizures. And although my seizures don’t occur too much, when they do (approximately once every two weeks), they can easily interfere with my plans and end my day.

Acting as Expected

As you might have guessed, epilepsy played a key role in dulling my life down a bit in January time. After going for about three and a half weeks without a seizure, I’ve had one a week for about three weeks, which isn’t terrible news but something to be noted and mentioned to my specialist. I also went on Thursday to talk about the Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) surgery I thought I was only on course for receiving. However, things seem to have changed since I put my name down for it last year.

The doctor I talked to about VNS made it clear that my benefits weren’t going to be too good if I went ahead with the procedure. After telling him that I have an average of one seizure every two weeks, he told me the surgery would make it about one seizure per month, at best. He also remained adamant that it couldn’t possibly improve my memory, despite me thinking otherwise.

After having this appointment booked for quite a while, this news frustrated me. However, I did a little research and found benefits aside from seizure reduction stated on various websites. The Epilepsy Society website tells people that patients sometimes say their mood, memory or alertness have improved after surgery, and it quite often leads patients to a better quality of life.

Doctors in Surgery
One other thing mentioned was that the short one hour procedure surgery would cost between twenty and thirty thousand pounds.

With my mum unable to meet me at the hospital on time I got told I could come back to talk again in a couple of months if I wanted. After thinking it was such a good idea since around September, it was too difficult to rule it off all alone, so I agreed. Until then, I’ll do some more research and keep a seizure diary. I have another appointment with an epilepsy nurse beforehand who I wouldn’t mind chatting with about it either.

Full Speed Ahead

So, I’ve had a few trips and falls in January, but it doesn’t matter; everybody does. I’ve got plans to move forward in February and feel confident I can make a decent impact on 2018. I’ve got plans to go to Trafford Council for Voluntary Services sometime soon because I can’t get the idea of a new charity organisation out of my mind. I’m sure I’ll tell you more about that later.

Regarding my paid work, I’ve already applied for a few more part-time jobs recently. If I’m back on the dole again (although this time it’ll be Universal Credit for some reason), I’ll live with it OK for the time being.

On The Epileptic Man, I’m thinking a few words about the intervention of epilepsy and autism will make a worthy article to inform people a little more about how they collaborate so often. No matter what invisible disability it is, more often than not, we’re so often trying to raise awareness. I think learning more about this sort of thing will be beneficial for anybody.

I hope you all soon feel as fresh as ever as February is almost within reach – take care.

andriuXphoto/ The Office by Paul McCoubrie

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