“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”Helen Keller
How can you be a friend to someone on the journey with epilepsy? I thought I would take a few moments to ponder this. Meditate on this and write on this very important topic: “Being a friend to someone on the journey with epilepsy.”
It’s simple to relate with friends when you’re talking with one another going out to eat, catching up on a Friday night, or having a girls night/guys night out. However, if epilepsy knocks at your friends door, the direction your friendship will take could change in a very big way! I have experienced this as someone who has been on the journey of epilepsy now for over 9 years.
Epilepsy does not walk into your life and happen in silence. This did not just happen to me. Epilepsy happens to those closest to them. Friends, family and community. What does this mean to you? You as a friend of someone who has epilepsy, have the important opportunity to play a supportive role for your friend throughout their epilepsy journey. You don’t have to feel burdened, overwhelmed or even helpless by this. They could look to you as their most important blessing through out their journey.
How To Support Your Friend Through Epilepsy:
- Show You Care. Showing you care truly is medicine in itself. Showing you care in the little things such as sending a text or message, perhaps recommending a good movie or television show. In doing this, you are showing that you care through random acts of kindness which will carry on a long way with your friend.
- Ask. Talk with your friend and ask if they would like to sit down and have a conversation. If they would, continue by asking especially what you could do that would be helpful for them during their journey. Even though questions like these may be challenging to bring up, showing interest allows them to see how much you care and that you want to be supportive and aware of what it is that they need. It’s perfectly fine if they don’t have an answer straight away. Your thoughtfulness in asking is very much appreciated in itself.
- Calm Cool & Collected. Calmness is the best way to go. In my own experience, I most appreciated when my family and friends didn’t try to problem solve (The sometimes unsolvable problems) and didn’t panic when they saw me have a seizure. It’s important to be a friend that purposely remains calm cool and collected throughout the journey.
- Hang In There. A lot of friends feel like they should kind of put a gap between themselves and their friend with epilepsy because they don’t want to bother them when they are going through the difficult times. While this gesture is thoughtful, it could put a distance between you and your friend who needs your support. Rather than putting a distance between yourself, its important to be persistent. Send a text or an email. Send a voicemail to your friend to say “I wanted to see how you are. I hope you are doing well!” A simple gesture such as this is very motivating and uplifting for your friend.
- Just Be You. Talk with your friend just like you had before your diagnosis. There is an incredible amount of hope and faith within the normal, everyday life. Your friend who is on the journey with epilepsy wants more than anything to feel as if your relationship has not changed because of their diagnosis. Show them that it hasn’t. If you’re feel apprehensive or anxious about visiting or talking with your friend who has epilepsy, write out a list of topics to start talking.
What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you? Write and let me know!