Seizures ripped through my world when I was 18, in my first month of college. From doctor to doctor, I was first misdiagnosed with epilepsy. I was diagnosed with PNES 8 months later. The seizures were off and on for 8 years. I had up to 15 a week, lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes each. That wasn’t even the full extent- the seizures were accompanied by paralysis, loss of speech, blurred vision, back spasms, and cloudy thinking. Going to work became torture. Driving was out of the picture. I avoided friends and family, because I didn’t know when I would cry, scream, or fall into an episode.
When the seizures returned in 2015, I was beyond distraught. I was desperate to work with someone who had even heard of PNES. Finding someone who knew how to treat it didn’t even cross my mind until I found Afra. I remember walking into her office on the first day- I had had a seizure on the plane that morning, and another was starting when our session began. We spent the next 90 minutes making sure that didn’t happen….I never had another seizure again after that first day. I’ll never forget what she said to me. “You never have to have another seizure again.”
Dr Moenter taught me to calm my physical self, be compassionate to myself, and not suppress my emotions. We did meditations. She taught my me about why they were happening. She empowered me to be happy. Truly happy.
Working with Dr. Moenter was a great experience. Not only did she share her knowledge of PNES with me very patiently as I asked over and over, but she was so compassionate. When I had angry days, she would stay firm but could always see my pain lurking under the anger. She makes herself available to her patients. I wasn’t just a number to her- I was a hurting person whom she truly sought out to help. I always felt that she had my best interests at her heart- how much she cared was so obvious in every interaction. For someone as lost and as in pain as I was, how Dr. Moenter developed her relationship with me is likely a good chunk of why I even ever decided to start listening to her sage advice.
I now live a seizure free life. I changed careers for a job better suited to my newly discovered self and LOVE going to work. I’m no longer afraid to drive. Not only have I reconnected with old friends, but made new ones. (And managing relationships isn’t an exhausting chore anymore!) While I still have the occasional bad day of anxiety or low-level activity, I feel lighter, happier, and more myself than I have in well over a decade. It feels like a miracle to love myself and my life again. This program changes lives.