This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ that will run from June 1 through June 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!
We’re talking all about stigma this month. So far, we’ve read some great stories. There have been posts on saying no to stigma, on using career and fitness goals to fight stigma, and the importance of speaking out about stigma and epilepsy. We need to continue to have discussions about epilepsy, and we must remember our personal stories have a positive impact on others.
It’s sad to say, but the stigma associated with epilepsy doesn’t just come from other people. Sometimes stigma can take root within the hearts and minds of people living with epilepsy. It is hard enough to deal with seizures, medications, side effects, and assumptions made by those who don’t understand the disease. It’s possible to begin to believe the stigma yourself.
Maybe side effects from medications make you forgetful, and as a result you have difficulty in school. Perhaps a side effect of your episodes is that you are tired often, and therefore you have less energy to be active. It could be that you must limit your activities based off of safety concerns from a doctor. Whatever you feel your limit is, you may believe you can’t go past it and are a victim of your epilepsy.
I’m here to ask you to try to stop thinking that way. Remember, you are not a victim of your diagnosis. You have the ability to do great things and surpass limits set by other people. If you keep repeating the negative stigma you hear, you will start to believe it. Instead, say positive things!
Try a few of the following ideas:
- Look at yourself in the mirror every day and give a compliment to yourself.
- Leave encouraging notes for yourself throughout your environment (I put them in my planner).
- Set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.
- Remember to give yourself a break! No one is able to complete all their goals in one day; you shouldn’t expect yourself to do so either.
Being limited by medications or symptoms says nothing about your abilities; meeting your goals and overcoming your own obstacles speaks volumes! You don’t need to agree with the people who tell you college will be too difficult, that you can’t be friends with others based on your diagnosis, or that your personal hobbies aren’t right for you.
Yes, you should always listen to your doctor and not do unsafe activities. You need to listen to your body and know your limits; stress and exhaustion are not friends of seizures. Try not to give in to other people’s beliefs of you. You are in control. You are in charge of how you see yourself. You can encourage yourself, love yourself, and believe in yourself. You are more than your diagnosis.
DON’T MISS IT: Don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on June 30 at 7PM ET.
Leila shares stories on stigma and epilepsy based on her experiences and what she hears from others. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy at age 8 and is based in Pennsylvania.