I was up late this evening because I was waiting for my clothes to go through the washing machine so I could transfer it over to the dryer. It was one of those “oh shit I have no clean clothes for tomorrow” kinda moments. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed where I saw one of my Epilepsy pages had asked it’s members to describe Epilepsy in one word. Some of the most common words were ‘unpredictable’, ‘frustrating’, and ‘challenging’. There were also words such as ‘courageous’ and ’empowering’. Before seeing other people’s comments, I thought of the word ‘challenging’, because it has it’s ups and downs and sometimes it can be unpredictable. Yet I wouldn’t say that living with epilepsy is completely unpredictable, so I can’t describe it as such. At the same time, when I read through other comments that seemed more on the negative side such as frustrating, debilitating, etc, I did not really resonate completely I don’t really know any of these people’s experiences, but from my own experience, I try to at least see one silver lining in an otherwise difficult situation and move on from it. Furthermore, I am wondering if Epilepsy can be empowering?
When I think about myself, I look back on all I have accomplished in addition to what I have had to overcome. Making it to University is huge, especially because I have had to manage seizures alongside work with a learning disability. It’s not easy, but at the same time it’s not impossible. My sheer determination to complete courses and to the best of my ability while managing the seizures has been an interesting learning curve. I have needed to get extensions, work with a tutor, and also learn to understand that being a perfectionist does not always work in my favour. I’ve also learned that if I want to be happy with who I am and what I am able to accomplish, I need to stop comparing myself to other people. I am always in awe of people who are able to work a job, volunteer, and take five university courses at the same time. Sometimes I might get upset that I can’t do the same. Then I have to remind myself that not everyone has a chronic condition that makes them tired all the time, or need to be extra cautious about over-extending themselves.
I also think about the physical nature of the seizures, and how they cause bumps and bruises, and emotional upset. Also, people with epilepsy have a very high rate of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. I could easily let it stop me dead in my tracks, but I don’t. I still ask for a hand up, regain myself, and carry on as best I can. I’m not sure if I am empowered by my disability, per se, but I do feel like I can do pretty much anything I want, with minor adjustments. Except rock climbing probably isn’t a good idea. Just sayin.
In sum, I think Epilepsy can be empowering because I’ve come so far despite the obstacles I’ve had to overcome. In a way I can see it as a motivational tool to keep me going, and to help me never lose site of my dreams. My Epilepsy is with me for life, so I might as well accept it for what it is, and try and see it for something positive, because after all, it is a part of me.
Hope you had a good weekend! Love you all! xox