This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from March 1 through March 31, 2016. Follow along!
Growing up, I had many negative side effects as a result of my medications and seizures. In fact, I still deal with the impact of those 2 factors in my life. When I was young and today, I have to find ways to adapt to these difficulties. I must get creative to be successful in my everyday life. I’m going to share some of those adaptations in the hopes that you, too, will find them useful.
How I Creatively Helped Myself
Ever since I began medication, my memory has suffered. In middle school, I had so much trouble simply remembering daily tasks. My parents and teachers begged me to use an agenda, I was defiant. I never remembered to bring my agenda with me places and even if I did, I never thought to write things down in it. It was a tool that simply didn’t work for me. My solution was to write on my arm. Whenever I thought of a task or was given an assignment, I made sure it was somewhere I couldn’t ignore. It wasn’t the best solution, but it was what worked for me at the time.
After a few years of having ink cover my arms, I matured and appreciated the function of an agenda. Especially handy in college, I didn’t go anywhere without my planner. Everything I needed to know or remember was written in there. I had a color coding system for all of my tasks and looked it over religiously. I continue to use a planner each day; I would be lost without it! I pair it with a large wall calendar that is color coded in the same way. Using both of these tools ensures that I always have somewhere convenient to look to find out what is going on in my world. The more often I look at my plans, the better chance I have to cement them in my mind.
In the off chance I don’t remember to write something in my planner, or if I have a task/idea that isn’t planner-appropriate, I use post it notes. I have a group of sticky notes in each room and use them when a quick thought pops into my mind. I stick them wherever is most appropriate: on my desk, my laptop, on a folder, or in my car.
How Others Creatively Help Me
My parents have always been my biggest supporters. I recall my mom helping me exercise my memory when we went grocery shopping. She would verbally give me a list of 3 items to go and get in another part of the store. I had to work hard to remember each item and bring them back. It didn’t always work; I often came back with only 2 items or 3 items with one being incorrect. Still, it helped me figure out ways to remember lists: repeating them over and over again, inventing jingles and singing them to myself, and creating acronyms from the first letter of each word.
Before I discovered the joy of post it notes for things that weren’t appropriate for my agenda, I needed a way to remember daily tasks. To help, my parents left notes around the house. For example, to remember to take medication, they taped a notecard to the bathroom mirror. That way, before I went to bed, I was always reminded to do that task! Plus, my parents weren’t constantly reminding me of something, which would have been frustrating for all parties.
I always warn my friends and coworkers that I have a bad memory. At first it was hard to admit; no one likes to tell others their faults up front. But because I’m so honest, those around me are more forgiving when I forget something they told me or asked me to do. It also motivates me to prove myself wrong! Yes, I can be forgiven if I don’t recall something, but I don’t want to be in that situation and I work harder to store my memories. Even when I fail, having supportive people around me reminds me that I am so loved, regardless of my faults.
As long as I have seizures and am on medication for them, I will have side effects that change my life. Some of those effects are bad, but they don’t have to drastically change my life. As long as I find creative ways to adapt and have the support of my loved ones, I can continue to be successful.
What creative ways have you adapted to your seizures and medications? Share what has been most helpful for you in the comments!
You can still participate in the Epilepsy Blog Relay Thunderclap to raise epilepsy awareness.
And don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers during our Twitter Chat using the hashtag #LivingWellChat on March 31 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.