I think it is time for us to talk about Functional Neurological Disorder because nobody else seems to be talking about it.
My legs were numb, and there was no physical reason for this. I hadn’t been in a crippling car accident, or gone for a swim in an icy lake.
And although I could move my legs, the feeling was greatly diminished. There were some other symptoms but this is the one I remember oh so vividly.
The best way to describe the overall feeling that came over me is I felt as if my brain had distanced herself from my body.
It just wasn’t working out between them. Personifications aside, it was disturbing.
I did what I was trained to do, since childhood. Sick? Go to the doctor. I drove to my GP pretty freaked out, feeling out of control and growing more and more confused.
When I arrived, he looked me square in the eyes, clearly annoyed by my presence, and said with the utmost sarcasm in his voice, “If you can’t feel your legs, how’d you drive here?”
At the time, I didn’t know Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) was a thing and apparently, neither did my doctor.
Due to high rates of misdiagnosis and lack of awareness regarding FND, I can only imagine how many women are ignored by their physicians. This can lead to worsening of FND symptoms, like me, regarding the seizures I later developed.
It is NOT “all in your head”
You may have heard of a specific type of FND called Conversion disorder.
Conversion disorder cannot be explained (currently) as a neurological disease, however it is a real disorder with real symptoms.
And did you know that doctors have historically ignored functional neurological disorder (FND)?
You don’t say?!
FND is a real medical condition.
I’ll say it again, FND is a real medical condition in which there is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system.
It’ not a structural problem but it’s a problem with how the brain and body sends and/or receives signals.
Think of it like a virus on your computer, your hard drive is fine, but the software is corrupted.
Now, try using a computer with a virus on it. Really, don’t do that because it’s dangerous and stupid.
Sort of like doctors ignoring a real medical condition.
So, what exactly is functional neurological disorder? First, I’ll tell you some misconceptions about FND.
It’s NOT an exclusion disorder, which means it’s not a filler disease name to use after eliminating all other diagnoses.
It’s also NOT a florist.
Get it? Like FTD?
…No? Okay, fair enough.
What are the Symptoms?
FND can vary from person to person so I’ll list some of the symptoms so we can better understand.
- Sensory dysfunction.
- Numbness, tingling, loss of sensation, prickly feelings
- Weird taste in the mouth
- Double vision, loss of vision.
- Dissociative (non-epileptic) seizures (these can mimic epileptic seizures)
- blackouts and fainting
I’ve had EVERY SINGLE ONE of these symptoms, and NOT ONCE did a doctor say FND.
Alas, I received an epilepsy diagnosis even though I had normal EEGs.
I currently no longer have FND or seizures, thank you Jesus. If you want to learn some ways in which I recovered, you read more here.
FND is a commonly misunderstood or otherwise ignored disorder, but it is real nevertheless.
Treatments include a specialized form of physical therapy, occupational and speech therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
If you suffer from FND or think you might have it, please let us know in the comments below. Note that I am not a doctor (but one day I will be!)
Also, if you’re interested in learning how I recovered without the use of medication, please let us know in the comments below.
Until next time, THINK, FEEL, ACT, HEAL.
Much love, many blessings, Jesus is Lord. ✝️
National Organization for Rare Diseases (2018). Functional Neurological Disorder. Retrieved from: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/fnd/
University of Edinburgh (16 Jan, 2019). Functional Disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.ed.ac.uk/clinical-brain-sciences/research/diagnoses-disease-targets/functional-disorders