I'm blessed with being able to control my tonic-clonic seizures via meds. Nonetheless, I hid my condition for 36 years. Finally tired of the stigma against epilepsy, I began opening up, choosing moments (ideally somewhat casual ones) to tell people I knew well of my epilepsy.
The stigma against epilepsy is culturally based, as well as a product of ignorance. It's up to us, through open discussions and teaching others, to change the perceptions about epilepsy, do away with the stigma.
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
Guest Blog by Shan O'Meara: Keep It Positive!
My traumatic brain injury is, without a doubt, the biggest challenge I have had to face. The resulting epilepsy is another huge obstacle, coming in a close second, but second nonetheless. Both of these handicaps have left me with side effects that will exist until the day I die. I have to accept them because it is what it is and they will never go away. The facts are these: I was struck by a car, resulting in epilepsy 10 years later. That’s what happened. It is undeniable and can not be changed.
The seizures, not knowing where or when they will strike next, have altered my life in many ways. I recall once at Disney, right before a ride, a warning sign said beware if you have epilepsy. I thought I could take it, go on the ride without any repercussions and go on my way. Initially, I was fine. No seizures, felt normal. It wasn’t until later that night, 4 to 5 hours afterwards, did I have a seizure, right there at Disney. So, it may not be immediate, but if it might happen, beware.
Another example is when I play a sport. I have to be extra careful when there is a possibility of a head concussion that might cause a seizure. Even if I wear a helmet in football, there will always be a greater chance just because of the nature of the sport. Not so much in baseball, but I never could play baseball, so the chance of the ball hitting me instead of the glove, would greatly increases the chance of a head injury. Hockey would be the worst for me, a total nightmare. Slick ice. Inability to ice skate. Both lead to a concussion on the ice.
As maddening as it has been for me to live with epilepsy these past 24 years, things could be worse, much worse. It is good for me that they weren’t. The side effects of my medications and the fear of having the next seizure -- however much I don’t want them to exist -- will always be with me, no matter where I go or what I do. There is no machine, no magic pill, that will make the past different. The past is a fait accompli. It is set in stone.
One of the most important things anyone can do is be positive and, as time passes, so will your life, It always does. I remember when I first injured, I could barely walk or talk, for that matter. Agreed, it’s been over 30 years since my accident and 20 years since my epilepsy started, but my life has gotten so much better. Over the years, I have …
Learned to talk.
Learned to write.
Become able to think again.
Gone back to school.
Gotten my Bachelor’s of Arts degree from college.
Written several articles that have been published.
And so much more. Life keeps getting better and easier for me the more I try. If you give it the old college try, you can succeed anything!
Remember: The only thing that can be changed is the present and, in doing so, your future. And that’s a great deal that you have in your power to direct. Your present will predict your future, so make it a good one. If you do, you won’t have any regrets.
This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from March 1 to March 31, 2018. Follow along!
Here’s to the caregivers for people with epilepsy!Here’s to those who live with us, take us to the hospital, and love us any which way they can.And here’s to that selfless love.It gets us through all that life has thrown at us.
But what of those with epilepsy whose families don’t seem to be so loving?We can be shunted to the side, never truly to join the family table. How could these mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and grandparents be so heartless, seemingly embarrassed by the existence of “an epileptic?”
I’m graced with a loving family, but, in my support group, I’ve gotten to know wonderful people with epilepsy who have been emotionally shunted aside.One person – we’ll call her Emily – literally had to sit off to the side.She didn’t go to the family celebrations at cousins’ houses during the holidays, and her own family never hosted the events themselves, fearing the rest …
There have been many medical incidences that have happened in my life that have almost made me cross to the other side. I was struck by a speeding car when I was ten years old. Most medical surgeries or stays in the hospital are because of injury and not for elective surgery, for which you choose to put yourself under the knife. What happened to me brought me very close to death, even seeing the light at the other end of the tunnel. It is hard to determine what elements of my life were already predestined before my injury. I was very young when my injury occurred. Everything I do now has been altered because of my injury at age ten. My injury has caused me to live my life differently, but the deficits have changed my life in a good way. I have accepted the challenge to accomplish things I never would had my life continued on my uninjured path. Having done them, a new world of possibilities has opened for me. Predestination aside, I concentrate on what did happen, not what could have …
My life has been filled with much turmoil, been full of angst and unfortunate luck. There have been four specific incidences that add up to make me the man I am today. The many hardships I have endured throughout my lifetime, each misfortune, each one has not now, nor will they, ever have me on my knees ready to crumble. I am simply too dumb to fail and never know when to say enough is enough From a traumatic brain injury at age ten; the onset of seizures at age twenty; the three disc herniations in my lower back at age thirty-two; and most recently, a cancer diagnosis at age forty-four, would be enough toto make some people quit, throw in the towel, but not me. I just consider it as another challenge, the next step in the game we call life. In my life, I have known nothing else. Without going into too many details, each of these four injuries will never be healed for as long as I live. I have not now, nor will I ever, have a chance to rid myself totally of them. The brain injury…