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Epilepsy Blog Relay™: Maureen finds peace despite her fears

Maureen in IcelandThis post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from June 1 through June 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!

Maureen’s Story

Want to hear a bizarre secret? I’m terrified of walking down stairs! And I have developed some seriously bizarre habits because of this fear. To name a few, I won’t walk downstairs unless my husband is in front of me. I also grip onto the hand railing as if my legs could give out at any moment. This entails both hands on the railing with one elbow pressed in for speed control. And in the mornings I sit and scoot down the stairs in a toddler-like fashion. Casually trotting downstairs is out of the question! The stair distress comes from numerous seizure stories ending with, “And the next thing I remember is waking up, laying at the bottom of the staircase.”

I’ve had countless tumbles down staircases; drifting back into consciousness with the question of, “how did I get here?” floating around my head as I wiggle my toes and fingers to assess the damage. I’m not the only person living with epilepsy that has felt like a chalk drawing etched into the pavement at a crime scene. Loosing consciousness at the most inconvenient time is part of living with epilepsy. So, it’s no wonder I look at stairs like an obstacle course!

Finding peace

2015-08-21 11.30.51 (1)Skógafoss, a waterfall in the South of Iceland, was a doorway that forced me to put aside this anxiety. It’s a powerful fall from below, but the real majesty is climbing around 200+ stairs for the spectacular view and serenity. With my first step up I was already thinking about the possible tumble down, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Instead of silently letting these thoughts circulate round and round (which is what I usually do!), I confessed to my husband that I was already dreading coming back down. I told him countless stories of somersaulting down flights of stairs, waking up in a twisted formation, and clueless of what happened. I wanted him to understand why in the middle of a beautiful hike in Iceland, my mind was already fixated on the journey back down. The more I acknowledged my fear, the more at peace I felt.

The top of the waterfall was just as beautiful and tranquil as described, perfectly reflecting this newfound sense of calmness I had found. We sat in silence admiring surroundings. Watching the water tumble down reminded me of how powerful and unpredictable the world can be, and that included my sense of self in this world.  I gave into the idea that unpredictability is the way of everyone’s and everything’s life. And that shouldn’t cause fear or change our behavior.

When we started our decent, I scolded myself for dwelling on the unpredictably of epilepsy.  There was nothing positive about focusing on the “would ifs”, and no matter how slowly I took each step or how hard I gripped the handrail, it wouldn’t stop a seizure from knocking me down. There was no point for me to adopt these crazy preventative habits when they wouldn’t prevent a seizure anyways!  With that in mind, I let the hand railing go and trotted down, two steps at a time! As silly as it sounds, I felt empowered and like a different person!

Next time I find myself over-analyzing each step down, I’ll remind myself how great if feels to push those thoughts aside and know that even though, I can’t control when a seizure will hit, I can control how I live each moment.


NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post tomorrow at http://inmegansshoes.com/ for more on Epilepsy Awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com.

DON’T MISS IT: Don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on June 30 at 7PM ET.

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I’m Maureen, and I have the dreaded epilepsy. You’re probably reading this because either you have epilepsy, or you love someone that has epilepsy. Whatever sparked your curiosity, I am happy to be sharing my experiences with you. From having seizures in foreign countries to begging pharmacists that don’t speak English for medication, I can definitely say that it's been an interesting journey. After years of practice, I have learned to live everyday without letting epilepsy bring me down (not an easy feat!), and have confidently concluded that it has given me a deeper appreciation of life. Hopefully reading about my ups and downs, and my everyday and not so everyday adventures will inspire you too! Welcome to my life of living well with epilepsy!