There happens to be this common misconception among some of those who battle epilepsy that, the moment the condition has tipped its hat to your brain and your life, that life is going to be terrible, horrible, no good. Life doesn’t have to be any of those things once becoming diagnosed! Yes, a few lifestyle changes will need to be made and therapies will be adopted. Even so, you can still wear a bright and glimmering smile, enjoy moments of pure laughter, there are countless reasons about having epilepsy that don’t allow it to be awful. Living with epilepsy doesn’t have to be terrible, horrible, no good.
1. You can become wiser to taking care of the body that God has given you. Your health can become top priority. Not long after becoming diagnosed, I began to say, “No I can no longer do this or eat/drink that. I must take care so as to not have a seizure.” In making health a number one priority, it gives a sense of empowerment. It gives a boost of confidence. Paves a path of motivation.
2. You might find yourself in a situation where you need to take your epilepsy medication in public. Among friends, family, or around strangers. They will take notice, they may ask questions, then again they may not ask questions. Either out of respect or unsure of what the medication/condition is and what to say. In the beginning of my diagnosis, I hid myself away to take my medication to avoid stares and potential questions. Now if I find myself among friends, family or in public and it is time to take my epilepsy medication, I take it right on the spot. Additionally, I take the opportunity to break the ice and speak about my personal epilepsy journey and epilepsy as a whole. Conversations can quickly blossom when feelings of awkwardness or lack of understanding are taken out.
3. You are given an opportunity to explore new hobbies and talents that you may have wanted to have a go at. That sketch book that’s been sitting there for months having been told by several people that you are mighty talented, that beautiful guitar propped up on its stand with melodies floating by in your mind and lyrics filled in notebooks, your God-given ability to write, debating whether or not to begin a blog about life with epilepsy, it’s endless and bountiful the opportunities even after the storm.
4. Many times through the course of my journey, I’ve heard from people who’ve said “You don’t look sick.” Tell me, how is a person with epilepsy supposed to look? Is there a specific dress code to follow? Epilepsy doesn’t have to determine how you want to feel on the outside. On the inside, there’s a battle going on. However on the outside, if you feel like wearing a dress and styling your hair, go for it. Wearing your favorite pair of jeans and t-shirt with those new shoes, go for it. Getting dressed up nicely, can also be a boost of self confidence; put a smile on your face. Happiness is medicine in itself.
5. Living with epilepsy, you can get a clear picture of life-long friends vs. friends with limitations. A friend that is by your side life-long gives you a listening ear when things just aren’t going right and gives you a hug of assurance. A life-long friend is excited to celebrate in your achievements and success. If you find that your friends begin to fade away following your diagnosis, they are friends with limitations and these are not individuals that you can rely on to be supportive.
6. You can gain a greater appreciation for everything in life, small and big. On a sunny blue sky day, I watch the big white puffy clouds drift by feeling grateful for every breath that I take, realizing that I am standing there alive when just over 7 years ago, I could have died as a result of a seizure while driving. I take pictures of many a things in nature, and my favorite subject: my husband and family. I’ve gained an interest in scrapbooking, placing these photos to reflect on all the wonderful blessings in life. The electricity in my brain may be flowing a bit more than it aught to be but my spirit, heart, and perspective are all stronger than they’ve ever been.
If you’re living with epilepsy, don’t let your condition weigh you down. There is so much in life to be grateful for. Begin a list, starting with the fact that you are alive at this very moment, capable to be filled with determination to overcome and rise above. Attend epilepsy events in your area or around the country if you’re able, speak with people within online groups, speak to family, friends and the public about your journey with epilepsy and epilepsy as a whole. Shatter stigmas and educate minds.
Turn your diagnosis from terrible, horrible, no good into an opportunity for positive and inspirational platform. The way in which we look at our diagnosis is determined by our attitude. Negativity will only cause the cement shoes you wear to feel twice as heavy along your journey. Positivity shatters the cement encased around your feet enabling you to take great strides in your journey, filled with motivation, determination and paving the path to countless goals and resolutions.
Think positively about living with epilepsy. Though millions around the world including myself battle a condition in which we cannot see the future, a cure unfound as of yet, let us reflect on the good within the terrible, horrible, no good.