When epilepsy walks into your life, it’s as if a tornado has unexpectedly tossed about your entire life and you’re left to pick up the pieces and rebuild. For some, the rebuilding process takes longer than others. An epilepsy diagnosis is far more than physical. A diagnosis can take an emotional, spiritual, even social toll as well.
It’s important to remember that there is always a silver lining among the storm clouds if we take a moment to look for it.
10 Things to Remember When Epilepsy Walks Into Your Life
1. Remove the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary. Replace it with positive, optimistic words such as can and will. Don’t give epilepsy power over your life.
2. You’re not alone. There are over 65 million people worldwide on the same journey with the same hopes, wishing the same wishes, some praying the same prayer to be cured.
3. Sharing your story…with family, friends, even the world, helps people have a better understanding of not only what you experience but breaks stigmas still in existence today.
4. Epilepsy is not the end of your story. From artists, musicians, athletes, inventors and great leaders. All have stood firm in not allowing epilepsy to take hold of the pen that writes the story of their lives. Every second, every moment, every morning that your eyes awaken to a brand new day, your story is being written. Not by epilepsy.
5. Feeling frustrated or upset is normal. When a medical condition such as epilepsy walks into your life like a bull in a china shop, it’s not surprising to feel as though you want to scream, seclude yourself, curse and cry out to God. You simply want life to go back to “normal”. The way that it was before epilepsy was in the picture. You probably reflect on these times like watching a favorite classic movie. It’s important to remember that these emotions, these feelings are part of a grieving process. If you didn’t feel any of these emotions or feelings it would be concerning. Sometimes, we can suppress our emotions and our feelings for various reasons. This isn’t a healthy way to go about overcoming an epilepsy diagnosis. It can lead to a series of physical, emotional and spiritual pain.
6. Remember all that you have to be grateful for. Not long after becoming diagnosed, I had to leave my job, we lost our home, I sold my car that I had a seizure and survived in, it felt like all was crumbling in our hands having only been married four months, my husband and I. Even so, what a blessing it was that our families rallied around us in order to help in all ways. All the many people in your life and the things included are blessings that far outweigh epilepsy. Each day, remember all that you have to be grateful for. Even keep a journal and each day, jot down three things that you’re grateful for.
7. Tribulations in life have the ability to make you stronger. I can honestly say that my near-death experience the morning of December 11, 2008 was a well heard wake up call that there needed to be changes made in my life. Reflect upon your life. Are there things that need changing or adjusting in order to become healthier and fight back against epilepsy? Not simply physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. It’s never too late to turn things around.
8. An Epilepsy Diagnosis Doesn’t Own Your Happiness. I learned in time, after being diagnosed and having fallen into a depression, how to be happy again. Yes, memories of life before epilepsy are with me and they always will be but I discovered a new “normal” and an empowerment to overcome the condition that swept the rug out from under my feet unexpectedly. I made a decision that I would live my life. I would be happy again.
9. There are others out there you can relate to and uplift. One thing that in this jumbled mess of an epilepsy diagnosis is the unity and community that can be found. You can be certain that if you need to speak with those who understand the journey you’re on, are in need of encouragement, support and motivation, it can be found within the incredible organizations, groups and events thriving right now. I myself, alongside my husband was even inspired to establish my very own organization, The Epilepsy Network (TEN) which has been a tremendous blessing worldwide.
10. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually prepare for whatever trials may come. Accepting the fact that seizures are unpredictable and can show up at anytime will most certainly help you to have a greater sense of confidence and appreciation for all that you have in this moment.
Epilepsy has an element of good to it, surprisingly. If you open yourself up to seeing the good among the bad, it can lead to great moments and opportunities that you might not have even expected.
Remember that even the challenging tribulations can be turned into positive and inspirational. If you find yourself newly diagnosed with epilepsy, having lived with epilepsy for a period of time, look back on these things and rise above with your head held high and a smile a mile wide.