This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from November 1 through November 30. Follow along!
As Susan Vreeland once said, “Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.” With similar resolve, I am writing as part of a group of world-changers blogging to reduce the stigma of epilepsy at Living Well With Epilepsy. After reading the post below, please look forward to tomorrow’s post as well! Each blogger may have different stories, but our stories are all pieces of the same puzzle.
How It Feels to be Epileptic Me (Written at Age 16)
I am a blessed one. My epilepsy does not consume my life like many other patients, yet that does not mean that it does not affect my life. Its presence holds me back from letting my adventurous and daring soul run free. Yet meanwhile, it has molded the clay of my heart and personality.
The day that I became epileptic was no different than any other spring day in Louisiana: warm, beautiful, and stuffed with humidity. At the computer in my fourth grade classroom I sat, when suddenly my mind began to stir like a root beer float, fizzy and filling quickly to the brim. Suddenly, a force propelled my body one way and then another. I became temporarily blind, mute, and almost deaf for I could barely hear screams and murmurs around me. I felt like I was falling backwards into a rabbit hole, as if just my head was doing a hundred backflips and front flips simultaneously. Finally I awoke, finding myself cradled in my teachers’ arms on the floor and surrounded by my classmates’ frightened faces. Some mouths gaped open while others shivered, but all looked at me like I was an alien from outer space. It was their fear that confirmed the instance that to me had seemed like an impossible nightmare as reality.
I’ve had many more seizures since fourth grade. Over time I began to get used to the seizures. We began to learn which precautions I needed to take, and an increase of my dosage protected me for a wonderful, seizure-free FOUR years. Then, three days before my sixteenth birthday my epilepsy reemerged with new triggers and strength. I was upset as several new boundaries and limitations in my life were set. My excited plans to go to college in the future were discouraged and considered unwise in my condition. With every couple months of not having a seizure, I built up hope in my heart only to have it crushed by yet another seizure. Yet with these experiences I learned so many important lessons. You see, it is not the bad experiences that have inspired me to write about my epilepsy, but it is what I have learned from them that has formed my identity and made me into who I am.
It was with every seizure that I saw the good in everyone around me. It didn’t matter who my classmates were in class; when I had a seizure, they wanted to help me. It was evident in their eyes, their arms outstretched to help me to the ground, the times they would ask afterwards if I was ok, or the quiet way they showed understanding and respect. Also, it made me realize how short and unpredictable life is. I could not wake up from a seizure one day. Just like after those seizure-free four years I thought I knew how the next days and months of my life were going to go, we all tend to see the future with eyes of today. Yet, life can change in an instant. This inspired me to give what I can to the world every day and try to inspire those around me to do the same. Lastly, my epilepsy has helped me realize the importance of positive thinking. Anyone can focus on their own individual struggles in their life; whether physical or spiritual, big or small we all have them, but we must strive to look at the blessings we have experienced and to encourage each other through life’s challenges. Sometimes people ask me why I smile so often and my explanation is simple: when you truly realize how much God loves you, how can you suppress the immense happiness within your heart? I have people in my life who love me, a comfortable home, a fantastic school, and plenty of food to eat.
I believe that we can let the difficulties in our life shape us into better people. Many people look at epilepsy with a pessimistic view, but I can honestly say as an epileptic that for me it has been not just a struggle, but more importantly, a true blessing.
Living Well With Epilepsy’s Epilepsy Blog Relay™ is an epilepsy awareness movement to designed to maximize collaboration and eliminate stigma. Thank you to our generous sponsors and partners!Become a Sponsor