“If you give up, you’ll have an attitude of resignation, of defeat that will affect—and infect—the rest of your life. Acceptance is empowering because it’s a choice you’ve made. Even if the outcome isn’t what you hoped for, you’re saying, ‘I can live with it.’ That’s a hopeful attitude.” – Rev. Greg Wilcox, senior pastor at the Good Samaritan Society
In the beginning of my diagnosis, looking ahead at what would be my ‘new normal’, looking behind at the ashes of my former familiar, I felt the heavy weight of resignation pulling me down. For weeks, I allowed epilepsy to collapse me into a weeping recluse begging to wake from this terrible nightmare I refused to accept. Blame was the game and I punished myself. I even almost turned my back on God.
It’s not easy to stand back on your feet when life turns on a dime. Straight away, you’re presented with your very first challenge of your brand new journey. Learn to get up, don’t give up.
Stagnant. This is where I lie as the world around me drifted in what felt like slow motion. I didn’t know which direction to go in. Who to turn to. What the future would paint for me. Eventually, I found myself tired of being tired. Soul-antsy.
I couldn’t run or hide from myself. I couldn’t pretend away the reality of what was happening to me. I tried. Believe me I tried. Hard. Bottom line, running and hiding just was not who I was. This is not the life that I wanted to live.
Live. In speaking those words to myself, it breathed life into my heart. I was alive. I had survived a car crash after having a grand mal seizure. Yes, I survived, yet I walk throughout life with epilepsy. Grateful to be alive.
No, being diagnosed with epilepsy, having seizures is not the outcome I had envisioned for my life, for my husband and I’s lives but both he and I in our own ways and together have learned to adapt.
I have lived with epilepsy for over a decade. Countless seizures, tests, medication changes, adjustments, side-effects, setbacks and comebacks, sacrifices and alterations for the betterment of my life but I can live with it.
Acceptance does not happen right away. It takes time to find your way forward. To understand your brand new map. Anger, frustration, confusion, sadness, even depression are not uncommon emotions to experience in living with epilepsy. Even when you do discover acceptance, it can sneak in from time-to-time.
I myself am visited here and there when a faded memory rushes past. Composure has grown over the years yet even after all this time, certain recollections can cause a tinge of weakness.
I made the decision to upcycle the epilepsy that had entered into my life. For those of you unfamiliar with the term Upcycle, this means: Taking unwanted junk and turning it into something beautiful.
What Can You Do To Upcycle The Epilepsy In Your Life?
Start a blog: Creating a blog is a rewarding experience and a blog can be a gift to others. What would you like your blog to be about?
Join an epilepsy group: There are many fantastic Facebook groups to join for all who have been affected by epilepsy in some capacity who understand and want to offer support.
Attend an epilepsy event: Meet and speak with many individuals who have been affected by epilepsy whether it be locally or online.
Take part in epilepsy Twitter chats: Twitter chats are a great way to connect with others who are affected by epilepsy and advocating for the cause. Gain more insight about the condition and how you can help raise awareness.
Share epilepsy-related content: By clicking that “SHARE” button, you’re helping to raise awareness of epilepsy.
Follow Epilepsy Organizations on social media: In following organizations on social media, you are able to keep up with the latest epilepsy news, events and much more! My biggest and favorite recommendations for you are: CURE, END EPILEPSY, The Epilepsy Foundation of America, and don’t forget to follow The Epilepsy Network (TEN)!
Put Social Media on pause and take part in extracurricular activities that you enjoy: Do you have a favorite hobby? Curious to try something new such as painting or hiking with a friend? Give yourself permission to have “Me-Time”. Your mind, body and soul will thank you.
Here’s the thing. It’s cake to call it quits. To let epilepsy have the win. But we have to remember that one simple yet powerful word.
Live and live life well despite what you’re up against. The weight on our backs might be heavy at times, sometimes so heavy we might need to take a break and set it down, but we must never count ourselves out.
Let’s accept that we have epilepsy but in no way shape or form does epilepsy have us.