I've been feeling pretty confused for a while. I'm 25, female and in a relationship with a man who I believe I love (but lately my epilepsy- I think- has had me feeling pretty confused and I'm now not sure) and is 20 years my senior.
I was originally diagnosed about a year ago with temporal lobe epilepsy. After an EEG with spikes in other places and an inconclusive/normal MRI, my diagnosis got changed to generalised idiopathic. I've been taking medication for approximately 8 months (Keppra- 1000mg/day. Currently in the process of upping to 2000mg/day). Since my seizures started two years ago I've been having partials affecting language, understanding and pronounciation of speech, slight but extremely frequent memory issues (short and long-term, but mostly short), strange feelings, e.g. as if I've been slipped some sort of drug that disconnects you from reality. And grand mal seizures, as frequently as two in one night, and as far apart as six weeks without medication and three months with. However- I average (on medication) one grand mal every 5 weeks. My partials have decreased but still having 15+ per day.
My last grand mal seizure, 5 weeks ago, was different to normal. It was a grand mal so I lost consciouseness and I've come around before not knowing my name for a few seconds, ("Who am I? Where am I?", "What's happened?" etc) running through my mind but it's always come back to me within a few seconds. They also always happened upon waking, either from a nap or a full nights sleep. Last time I was rolling out some pasta, which I think must have changed my breathing, and the grand mal seizure came on out of nowhere about five minutes later. The strange thing was later during sleep time, in the early hours of the morning, I had another, which I have no memory of. It started in my sleep. When I came around I didn't recognise my surroundings for a good few minutes. I asked my boyfriend "Who are you?" and he explained that he was my boyfriend and we've been living in this house together for eight months. We see each other for hours every single day and I couldn't remember who he was. I'm not going to lie, I was scared. Ever since then, despite remembering who he is and some of the times we've had together, I've felt massively emotionally disconnected from him. I felt almost like I'd just woken up in this very serious relationship where I'm living with a guy who remembers everything we've done together, while aside from a few, my memories of us are jumbled and vague and I feel very little emotional connection to him. We've been happy together, I see the pictures and know we've holidayed in different countries twice together, both presents from him to me because he knows I love visiting new countries, and my family and friends know how happy I've been. But the feelings just aren't there the same that they were before the seizure. They seem like they are coming back- but very slowly.
To make matters worse, in recent months I've been working on developing a website for my business. The web developer I've used was recommended to me by my boyfriend. He is a very likeable, laid back, aloof kind of guy. I thought he seemed like a nice guy before the seizure, easy to feel comfortable with, despite hearing bad things that put me off working with him before we started. But since then, I've developed this strange crush on him. It's as if my sexual feelings and emotional feelings that should be going towards my boyfriend are going towards the web developer instead. He's not my usual type of guy. But I feel a connection to him that must be in my head. I have moments where it feels like it's gone back to normal and I'm ready to continue trying to make it work with my boyfriend. But web-developer guy is in the back of my mind a lot. My boyfriend also picked up on this crush that I've been having and when he asked me about it, and I was honest, and said that I was so sorry and that I don't know where it came from and I'm sure it will pass, he said he knew. He said it was obvious from that way we sat giggling and by how much I've apparently been speaking about him when he's not around. I was so bothered and guilty about this that I confided in my bestfriend, who knows me very well, and told me that she would not ever suspect me to pick this guy out as being attractive. I told her I'd been getting butterflies and adrenaline before seeing him (for business meetings!) and she said she thought he probably would be interested in me but I need to decide what I want before doing anything stupid- such as breaking up a perfectly healthy relationship for the sake of having a CRUSH which she believes is normal to go through when committed, and doesn't mean that I "shouldn't be with" my boyfriend. This was what I wanted to hear, and did offer me some emotional relief having been able to express these feelings to her in such detail. The feelings for web developer seemed to subside for a day or two (but unfortunately since finishing working with him have returned). She was also shocked to hear that when I came around from my last seizure, I couldn't remember for a good few minutes who my boyfriend even was. The fact is, I don't even know if web developer is single or emotionally available - and shouldn't be having these thoughts about him! He's hard to get hold of, unreliable and clearly sees me as nothing more than a BUSINESS CLIENT, which I am! My boyfriend, on the other hand, is loving, caring, knows my deepest and darkest, accepts me as I am, bends over backwards to look after me even when he's tired, works hard to provide me with whatever I want, and is willing to spend his life with me. He's perfect.
Yet, I keep getting urges to leave! I don't know weather this urge is to go *with* boyfriend or completely alone. All I know is I keep getting urges to leave either to another city or even another nearish country. I have had strong urges to travel and do certain things while I'm still young enough and it's relatively easy (i.e. not married with children). I've spoken about this with my partner and he says having children is not a "dealbreaker" for him. That he'll come with me wherever I would like to go, . On the one hand this makes me feel so protected and loved it's overwhelming. On the other it fills me with guilt, and makes me feel like hiding or running away. I'm so scared. How do I know if I'm staying with him because I love him, or because he makes me feel protected from my epilepsy, and offers his incredible safety and companionship while travelling?
I think part of me wants to do these things on my own to 'prove I can'. Since my seizures started I've been terrified of going places on my own. So there is this really stupid part of me that thinks I should live on my own first in order to NOT become dependent on my partner. And to prove to myself but I can. But the fact is I do have epilepsy and I don't know if/when it will stop- so IS living on my own stupid? And did I move in with my partner for safety?! My thoughts were so jumbled before the medication kicked in that I don't think I even knew myself why I was moving in, aside from the fact that his place offered me more space than I had at home, sharing a room with my sister. I love my sister dearly, but age 24 years I was really struggling with the lack of privacy- so with being scared to live alone, struggling for money and my boyfriend's place offering an increase in personal space and financially zero burden, it's easy to see why I took that opportunity. Also, this was at the beginning of the relationship. Emotions were high and I remember feeling excited. I don't know where that's gone? I feel like I'm losing interest, not just in my relationship, but also many other things I used to enjoy. Even if I did leave, what's going to make me happy somewhere else that I don't have here, other than increased sunshine? And what about my family? Why do I keep getting the urge to go?
So basically, emotionally I'm all over the place. For five minutes I'll think I'm ready to stay put in my family's area and make the best of the city that I don't really like (but have grown up in) here. I'll think of the positives, like being near my family and not having to try to make new friends (which I'm not very good at). Five minutes later I'll be on the verge of crying, desperate to leave, wondering why I haven't a year or so ago. As for weather this confusion has been caused by my medication or not, when starting I did feel depressed for a while. But to be honest, I have always been prone to periods of highs and lows and instability. I think perhaps part of the reason I've felt so attracted and connected to the web developer is because he's incredibley hard to get hold of and unreliable, which reminds me of another guy who I was insanely physically attracted to but treated me very badly, and had me wasting a lot of emotional energy on when I was younger. This guy used to tell me that he believed I was crazy, which didn't exactly help my physical state. I have also wondered if web developer simply represents a part of my 'young person' life that I miss- going out, getting drunk, sociailising with new people.. He seems like a pretty outgoing sociable guy. The temptation to reach out to him is strong but I won't let myself. First and foremost because I'm in a relationship and secondly because I highly suspect I would make a complete idiot of myself and that he hasn't felt anything similar back for me. He has said a couple of things I could have interpreted as flirting but I just can't let myself run the risk of curiousity getting the better of me. I feel so guilty for having sexual thoughts about somebody who isn't my partner, and who I barely know.
Overall, the diagnosis of epilepsy was kind of a relief. Throughout school I was always 'the dopey one', 'the one who would forget', 'is in her own world' etc. I always felt scared and anxious and was grateful for any confident friends I had who seemed to know what they were doing throughout our teenage years and looked after me through school. It was good to know there may have been a legitmate medical reason for any of my strange behaviour (e.g. wandering aimlessly, constantly forgetting things when at other times my memory would be second to none with incredible attention to detail, anxiety, isolated incidents of aggression, phases of depression, etc). The epilepsy diagnosis actually seemed to make sense.
I don't know where to go from here.
I've always wanted to be self-employed but now that I am I can't help but wonder if maybe it's not the right thing for me? Maybe I need some more stability than I can offer myself, at least for a while. And what do I do about my relationship? Carry on living with my boyfriend and hope more memories and feelings keep returning? How long do I wait? And if they don't fully return, does that mean I have to leave him?
Staying with boyfriend, staying in the location where I am & possibly leaving together in the future: tempting, keeps me warm, safe, protected etc. But terrifying- what if I screw things up by getting scared, or my feelings not fully returning, then I leave him and have wasted his life? It's not like breaking up with somebody MY age. He's further into his life and so it's even more unfair on him because he has less time to find somebody better than me.
Leaving my boyfriend, leaving my location: tempting, offers me a fresh start and freedom to gain independence and get brave enough to live alone. But terrifying- what if I'm throwing away the best thing that has ever happened to me (my boyfriend)? What if I could have made it work? And what if I get lonely, scared, depressed, etc again? How do people figure out what they're meant to do?
I'm also having really vivd dreams about exes who I haven't been bothered about in years, and randomly remembering things that upset me from school whilst awake, but so vividly that I start crying over them when alone. Other times I'm bouncing off the walls, walking around the house singing, being affectionate with my boyfriend. He keeps saying he's getting mixed signals and I can't argue. I wouldn't want to deal with me.
I feel lost.
Can anybody relate or offer any guidance?