Mostly this blog is about crime fiction, as it’s my favourite genre. But today I want to talk about something else – something I don’t talk too much about. Myself.
I have ongoing health problems. This is why I started this blog – to give myself something to focus on.
I have a condition called NEAD (or in it’s long form, Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder). It’s similar to epilepsy, but it’s psychological rather than neurological. When I get stressed, or when I get too hot, rather than deal with what is happening around me, my body goes into shutdown mode. And shutdown for me is I fall onto the floor in a faint.
Normally, I’m only fully unconscious for a few minutes, but I can still hear what’s going on around me. I often go out on my own, and can hear everyone around me shouting in panic, calling for an ambulance. I’m not able to say, “Don’t panic, it’s fine, it happens a lot”. All I can do is wait for it to be over and hope not too many people are staring at me.
The first sign that I’m coming round is that I’m able to squeeze someone’s fingers. Then a few moments later, my eyes open, then I can try to talk and tell people not to panic. Believe it or not, my anxiety can feed off others.
So, why today have I decided to open up? Well, I was at a bookish event last night, and I did have a faint, or a fit, or a seizure, whatever word you want to use to describe it. I interrupted the fantastic Val McDermid full flow. I was very embarrassed! She was wonderful and carried on after I was wheeled away by paramedics.
I have made so many friends in the wonderful bookish blogging community (and even some authors are starting to recognise me) that I guess what I’m trying to say is please don’t be afraid of me. I often feel like a freak of nature when I first come round, and have even been known to burst into tears. If I’m at an event that you are at, then please come and sit with me.
It can be a lonely business living with a mental health condition. It has stopped me going out and about in the past, but I’m trying desperately to overcome it.