You’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy. A life-changing experience. Epilepsy doesn’t always show its cards and it can go unnoticed by family, friends and the public. With epilepsy being a part of your everyday life, you’re bound to meet a variety of different people along your journey.
Who are 6 people you are likely to meet along your epilepsy journey? Take a look:
Those who claim you are “Faking” epilepsy.
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. Having epilepsy is a very real condition. As the person living with epilepsy, we know exactly how difficult and challenging living with this condition is. Others who don’t have it, can’t truly begin to understand what it feels like. When a person claims that you are faking epilepsy, it can be very hurtful and even frustrating. Don’t be discouraged by inappropriate and disrespectful comments. Rather utilize it as fuel for awareness and choose to be the better person.
Those who are unfamiliar with epilepsy yet have “read” or “heard of” ways to stop seizures.
The grapevine. The mighty grapevine of information. We often hear so much information through the grapevine. Yet cannot always be certain what is fact or fiction. It’s important to read and hear information through the grapevine with a grain of salt. Not everything you read or hear is accurate. It’s always important to speak with your doctor before trying anything.
Those who “ACT” interested to learn about epilepsy yet in fact have little interest.
We want to educate family, friends and the public about the condition that we live with so as to eliminate the stigma and the fear. So what do we do? We talk about epilepsy. We talk about living with epilepsy. How epilepsy personally affects our lives. For some, people are engaged and eager to learn all that they can so that they can help make life easier. For others, since the condition doesn’t personally affect them, it quickly becomes a topic of little interest, which is rather unfortunate to witness for those affected by epilepsy.
Those who completely understand your journey.
It is very easy to feel alone within your journey. Especially if you’ve never met another person living with epilepsy. A very important thing to remember is that there are people all around the world that feel the exact same way that you do, who completely understand your journey. There are many communities and groups that you can connect with through Facebook. Your doctor can even help connect you with a local group in your area to meet people who understand all that you’re going through. Within these communities, there are people who’ve been diagnosed, families and even friends of who are broken and have been made whole again. Whatever point you are at right now, you might find someone or multiple people at the very same point. There are people at all different points within their journey. It’s within these communities that you become motivated, inspired, uplifted, renewed, and even strengthened. You have the opportunity to provide the same to others too.
Those who are eager to offer their support.
It’s always nice to have caring and supportive friends. To lend a helping hand if a need arises, to be your chief researcher, to be a listening ear, even be that social media cheerleader. The show of care and support from those near and dear to us is invaluable.
Those who inspire you
Following a diagnosis, we’re encouraged and required to sideline certain activities and tasks for the betterment of our health, leaving us to sometimes feel limited and powerless. Our motivation and inspiration can feel sapped. As bleak as things may seem, there are always people with challenges who refuse to let their circumstances define their lives. Take for example, a star baseball player who injured his pitching arm and is diligent about getting back in the game. A person born without arms or legs who refuses to sulk and is determined to lead a happy and meaningful life. A doctor who tried everything within their power to save the patient’s life but there was nothing that they could do; racked with guilt and doubt but reminds themselves why they chose their career in the first place, ultimately restoring their faith. It’s individuals like these who ignite inspiration within us to be strong… To not back down even in the most difficult of times… To believe in and work to achieve our goals regardless of any challenge… To keep going when we want to quit.
Having diverse people in your life for the journey is a healthy experience. This can pave paths far and wide. People enter our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. In some instances, it could very well be the beginning of a lasting friendship and support.
No matter who it is we meet along the way, whether good or bad, allow it to be a healthy learning situation. You are your greatest investment. Take care of yourself first. You never know. You might just be an encouragement to someone else along the way!