Well, I was hoping to be checking in a little sooner than now but as I get used to the blogging life, speed and entry will become more frequent with time, so hang in there with me!
This week I received an email from a very inspirational young lady. It contained a questionnaire based on experiences and living with epilepsy which really got me thinking. The concept was simple as the purpose was to generate data, but when I sat down to really think about my answers I began to peel back the layers of memories, many of which had lain dormant for quite some time.
One of the most significant questions asked was, ‘What has been the most frustrating/challenging part about having seizures?’ There are so many possible answers to that question. You’ve got the familiar, ‘I can’t drive’, but in essence that’s no bad thing. My view is that my carbon footprint is minimized plus, it makes me exercise which improves my health. The path of, ‘It’s stopped me from being a policewoman’ (a lifelong ambition which I pursued until it was terminated at the medical examination) also made an appearance but, I’m a believer that all things happen for a reason so therefore if it had worked out I wouldn’t be writing this blog now. The unexpected place I did find myself in was considering the effect it’s had on my self-worth and my concern of how others perceive me.
For as long as I can remember, as many of us do, I have always spent too much time being overly concerned of how I’m perceived by others. It dawned on me that a large part of that concern is related to the absence seizures (I also called them ‘blanks’ as that’s what it felt like), as over the years I have become very adept at covering their tracks. When it has been appropriate to bring them to somebody’s attention, many a time I hear, ‘Really? I’d never have known!’. This is not a negative association, but it IS positive acknowledgement of the hard work I put in to integrate them so they wouldn’t be noticed!
There are days when there’s just no hiding them and that’s when I feel I owe people an explanation. As a legal secretary it was always worse when I had large quantities of them. Typing dictation meant I always had to go back and listen to my letters again as I’d have absences and then miss words out of statements and letters – thank goodness I was always hot on getting things checked!
Ultimately, these are little things I’ve learned to live with as an epileptic. The frustration does rear its ugly head now and again but really, I am just so grateful for all the things I can do rather than the things I can’t. Having had the opportunity to be able to tailor my lifestyle to the limitations of my epilepsy has enabled me to embrace life subsequently bringing me more peace and contentment within.