This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from March 1 through March 31. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!
The definition of creativity according to the Oxford English Dictionary is:
“The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the use of an artistic work.”
But what is creativity to each of us? Talents are scattered across the board, for some it may be cooking and music for others it could be painting or carpentry, what matters is what it evokes for us individually.
For me, creativity and epilepsy have gone hand in hand and equal a sense of peace. Contrary to the myth that has been around for years, and upon discovery caused my friends and I to excitedly ask, “Do you use the left side or the right side of your brain more?” i.e. are you more academic or more creative; I was always overjoyed to know that I was more of a creative gal.
School wasn’t a struggle per se, but I never flourished until I went to a performing arts school where the nine hour school days were just never long enough. Filled with lessons such as; theatre make-up, costume design, set design, dance and stage management, I was stage managing my own shows and loved the pressure that it brought. And yes, that was all whilst having absence seizures every day. A little ironic perhaps, as I have in the past written how stress and epilepsy create seizure conflict. It just goes to show that personal creativity was and remains a place of unshakeable safety in my world.
As I’ve got older and my epilepsy has changed, there have been countless times when the seizures have been flowing hard and fast and the feeling of staying present in my body has been an increasing struggle. It is those times when what I need is to just ‘be’. The one place I can be sure to lose myself and somehow overcome the challenge of concentration is with creativity. I have many outlets and my sewing machine is one major one. Whether I just don’t notice the seizures creeping up when I’m intently focused on the intricate detail of creating an item of clothing, a cushion etc., I can’t be too sure, but what I do know is I have a deep sense of relaxation and my brain can breathe a sigh of relief at not having to try to be something to somebody or be something I am not.
Writing has become one of my greatest loves. Criticized as a young child by one teacher for reading, “Too many fairy, witch and make believe stories” it has now become my haven. It is the place I turn where I can let my imagination run wild, where there are no boundaries as there are in life. There is nothing I can’t write about because of having to consider the safety aspects of my epilepsy. I don’t have to concern myself with speech arrests, the words flow through my fingers and on to the paper (or the laptop) like water flowing speedily down a stream. I no longer need to worry about what people think; if they want to read it they can, if not, well, then that’s their prerogative. It makes no difference in my world because I seek solace in a written, creative place without judgment – except for my own harsh critiquing on my literary, culinary and sewing skills!
Creativity has been one blessing that not only has served as an escapism, but has also provided me with confidence. With epilepsy, it’s so easy to go through life knowing you have this condition and constantly feeling that you have to be ‘as good as’ and ‘as able as’ everybody else. Comparing oneself to others is one of the greatest detriments to one’s self-worth. I know for a fact that as a legal secretary I can now admit that it was a great struggle. I pushed myself harder and harder trying to prove that I was as able as everyone else in that office, but that’s when I fell short. I misunderstood. By taking that route I got more stressed and had more seizures, it was an endless cycle. The missing key point for me in this situation was I was working two jobs and did nothing creative, I didn’t have the time and I was a mess but couldn’t even recognize it.
Creativity means different things to different people. Whilst some of my loves are listed above, your creative life line could be found in computer programming. It doesn’t matter what it is, find your passion, find what you love, because it is there that creativity will manifest.
NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post tomorrow at Living Well with Epilepsy http://livingwellwithepilepsy.com/ for more on Epilepsy Awareness. For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com/epilepsy-blog-relay.
Be sure to check out the Epilepsy Blog Relay Thunderclap to raise epilepsy awareness. And don’t miss your chance to connect with bloggers on the #LivingWellChat on March 31 at 7PM ET.