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of everyone affected by epilepsy


Nikki Murfitt

I was first diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 8 - following Encephalitis. I left hospital with a diagnosis of epilepsy and had a paralyzed left leg. After 6 months of treatment I was finally able to walk again.

During my teenage years my epilepsy came back and was prescribed Sodium Valproate. The SV really helped control my seizures and I became seizure free from around 18 - 31, experiencing only 3-4 during my 20's. I was switched over to Keppra during my 20's following 2 seizures and again my epilepsy was very well controlled.

I became pregnant at 29 and had my son in June 2017 - a wonderful 30th birthday present. For the first 8 months everything was great - no seizures - even though I was experiencing severe lack of sleep. Then in January 2018 I became severely depressed and was admitted to a specialist Mother and Baby unit in the Royal Bethlem Hospital. I was admitted for 3 months and during that time was prescribed an anti-depressant named Mirtazapine and an anti-psychotic named Olanzapine. I stopped the Olanzapine after 1 month but stayed on the Mirtazapine until January 2019.

I experienced a breakthrough seizure at the end of May 2018 - shortly after the medical team recommended ECT as a way to help ease my major depression. The seizure did bring me out of the depression but since then I have been experiencing seizures every 2 weeks, sometimes clusters of myoclonic jerks that I can aid with Clobazam and rest. I have also noticed a change in my seizures - now having 2 seizures - with a 1-3 hour gap.

I have also been experiencing focal seizures and more myoclonic jerks which can't be controlled by Clobazam at the normal dose. I have recently increased to 20mg and this seems to have helped prevent progression to a full tonic clonic - but we are still in the early stages of testing this increase. I have also moved from 250mg of Keppra (twice a day - throughout pregnancy and first 9 months of my little boy growing up_ to 1000mg of Keppra twice a day.

I am still experiencing seizures every 2-4 weeks but recently had a gap of 7 weeks - hurrah. I am hoping to be refereed to the epilepsy society to see if I can get further support, advice and help. Fingers crossed. Luckily I have lots of support and manage to make it work as a mum to a 2 year old. I am also back at work part time and have good support from my company.

I am not sure if the Mirtazapine, Olanzapine or stress of being admitted to hospital caused the breakthrough - we still aren't sure - but I am hoping the seizures will become less frequent and well controlled again. Just need to take my time - one day at a time- get as much rest as possible and also remain active and social. It's a balancing act and I don't get it right often but slowly I am getting there. I'd be interested to hear anyone else's stories regarding anti-depressants and epilepsy.

Nikki Murfitt
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