Functional neurological disorder (FND) is a rare disease where their is a problem with your nervous system. It is basically where your brain struggles to send signals to your body 🧠
There is no definite reason why somebody might develop FND but theres a bunch of things that could contribute to it developing such a traumas, mental illnesses, extreme stress etc.
Treatment for FND usually depends on your symptoms. Some people (like me) require rehabilitation involving intensive physiotherapy to regain movement in the weaker parts of their body. It is also a good idea to have therapy for any mental illnesses or stresses that could have lead to FND.
For me, my FND began when I was really struggling with my mental health and I was bottling up all my feelings. Life just got too much for me. I started having fainting episodes where I would just fall to the ground unconscious for a couple of minutes, multiple times a day. It then escalated to having extreme chest pain and pain down my left arm so my parents took me to hospital with fears I was having a stroke. I was assessed by the stroke team and they decided to put me on the acute stroke ward for observation further tests and I was also put on medications to prevent further strokes.
After a CT scan, heart scan and blood tests, doctors where confused as to what was causing these stroke like symptoms. Then one night on the ward, I started having seizures. I was sent for a MRI scan and when that came back clear (no signs of a stroke). They moved me to a different ward. A neurologist from a specialist unit visited me there and he said I had what seemed like functional weakness and non epileptic seizures. I was referred to a neuro ward for further tests and observations at a different hospital 🏥
On a ward at Preston’s specialist neuro rehab ward- bleasdale- I was sent for an EEG which is where they stick lots of wires to your head to check the functioning of your brain. This came back clear (no problems with my brains functioning or signs of epilepsy).
I was later diagnosed with FND and NEAD. I went from 7 weeks completely bedbound with no movement in my left arm or leg to doing intensive physiotherapy which enabled me to stand for the first time!
And eventually, I managed to get even more movement back! My fingers started getting flickers of movement back and I was so so happy that things were progressing! But what I didn’t expect was to take my first steps with a Zimmer frame (which I named Audree).
And after 10 weeks of being in hospital and lots of physio, I was discharged home. Since then I have continued to make improvements everyday. I am now able to walk unassisted around the house and take short walks alone with a walking stick (called Nora). I’m achieving more than I ever thought possible. Some days are harder than others but I am determined to keep going!
An FND diagnosis isn’t the best news but it doesn’t have to mean your life is over either. A lot of the time you just need that bit of extra support and care to manage your symptoms and to overcome the obstacles you face. You CAN recover from FND. It is possible.
If you have FND please keep going, keep fighting and remember that you can recover! And if you know somebody with FND please be kind and treat them with the same respect and care you’d give to somebody with other disabilities.
Don’t let FND stop you!