Early on in the diagnosis process of Conversion Disorder/Functional Neurologic Disorder, I realized that I knew more about my disorder than the doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists helping me. This became painfully obvious when I heard one doctor exclaim, “There is no cure for this.” Really?? That’s what you tell someone scared out of their wits, falling all over themselves and generally feeling like they’re on death’s door?
His translation of my disorder really came down to, “There’s no hope for you! So go be a good little girl, enjoy your non-seizures and pay the lady at the desk when you walk out.”
Okay, I might harboring a little ill will, but, really, who with CD/FND hasn’t heard these words before? Hasn’t seen the pitiful look in a doctor’s eyes when they tell you it’s all in your head. Of course it’s in my head, what do I do now?
Well, being the obstinate, ornery person I am. I said (in my head, of course), “Screw you! Not only am I going to beat this disorder, I’m going to help everyone else do it too. Just to spite you.” What is the biggest tool in my arsenal to combat CD/FND? HOPE. Even in small quantities, this has been the most powerful weapon of choice. With little hope, there is little chance of improvement, but when I see a silver lining on a cloud in the distance I can rally like a champion.
So, I haven’t beaten down the monster of CD/FND completely, but I’m chinking away at it. I’ve gone from 30 seizures a week to one every 4 months. For people that are constantly trapped in their bodies, even a day of respite is considered a blessing. And here’s what I’m telling you: Don’t believe doctors when they tell you nothing can be done. It’s not true. What they’re saying is they don’t know what the hell they’re doing.
The trouble with this disorder is that one treatment plan doesn’t fit all of us. I happen to have an underlying trauma that caused mine. I treated the trauma and the majority of my symptoms went away. I also have the lingering effects of complex developmental trauma and that’s not so easy to get over. That’s why I still have the occasional seizure here and there, but everyday gets better as I’m changing the way I think and react to stressors.
Healing from CD/FND is possible, but it takes a radical change of lifestyle to do it. It’s like a cancer that has to be carved out. I took a knife to the judge in my head and started loving myself warts and all. I dealt with my fears head on and faced the darkest parts of me and forgave me body for flaking out whenever things got hard. What helped me do this? Hope. Hope that if I couldn’t get it right today, I could try again tomorrow. Hope that if I climbed this mountainous trial, there would be a peaceful valley on the other side of the stormy pass. Don’t lose hope. Tomorrow CAN be better. Love yourself enough to keep hoping.