“My FND story so far”: Ramsgate’s Sarah-Jane Drysdale

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), otherwise known as the most common disorder you have never heard of.

 

Quite simply, this medical condition occurs when there is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system. In short, your brain does not send and receive the correct signals through your nervous system, causing a wide variety of symptoms.

 

FND mimics Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, and stroke-like symptoms.

 

I was diagnosed with FND in January 2019 after experiencing sudden leg paralysis, tremors, speech impairment, and chronic pain. It was a very lonely time as I had no clue how to cope with this disorder, and was sent home from my two-week stay in hospital with just a website for further information – www.fndhope.org/about-fnd-hope/fnd-hope-uk.

 

I lost my independence, job, friends, and social life to this condition. The lifestyle I had changed very quickly.

 

One analogy a neurologist gave me to describe FND is that you are like a phone with lots of apps running in the background and you cannot stop them. Eventually your phone will crash. Your body and mind have multiple functions, all happening at the same time, and they are forgetting how to work together.

 

Two years after diagnosis, I decided to use social media platforms to spread awareness for this debilitating condition. I started my YouTube channel SassyFNDLife to help other FND warriors who are experiencing the same condition, hoping it would help them feel less alone, like I did.

 

During December 2021, I held a stall at two Christmas markets to raise money for FND Hope UK. This charity supplies support groups for FND patients, carers, and families. They also hold yoga, dance, art journaling, and meditation sessions free of charge. I, with the help of my family and friends, raised £1,070 for FND Hope UK at the markets.

 

I never know what to expect from one day to another with this disorder. Since my diagnosis I have experienced more symptoms of migraines, drop attacks (sudden falls without warning), dystonia (muscle spasms), water retention, and functional seizures.

 

I find myself bedbound for days, weeks, and sometimes months, and it is very easy to feel like giving up. Then I look at how I have adapted my life, how, with the help of my loved ones, I have faced everything FND has thrown at me and still live a decent quality of life.

 

Without realising it, it is easy to let a chronic illness define you and take over. With time, I have learned I am not defined by FND. I am still the same person I was before my diagnosis, and I will always live my life to the best of my ability.

 

Written by: Sarah-Jane Drysdale.

Find out more by following Sarah/SassyFNDLife on Youtube, Facebook @SassyFNDLife93, Twitter @SassyFNDLife, and Instagram @Sassy_FND_Life.

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