Resilience: A Defining Theme of Epilepsy
Last updated: November 2023
I am always learning, relearning, applying, and reapplying what I learn. When you're living with epilepsy, this is a must!
Reflecting on Epilepsy Awareness Month
With November being Epilepsy Awareness Month, I've been reflecting on my experiences with seizures and the lessons I've repeatedly encountered along the way. While I've touched on this topic before, overcoming challenges has demanded significant commitment from me. Despite my best efforts, I do admit to occasionally slipping up more than I'd prefer.
Nevertheless, every morning, I wake up with a determination not to let epilepsy control my life, but to use it as an opportunity for personal growth and strength. Resilience has become the defining theme of my life, and certainly of this article.
Just like you, receiving my epilepsy diagnosis was one of the most significant moments in my life. Acceptance meant acknowledging that epilepsy is just one aspect of my identity, not its entirety.
Showing my commitment to resilience
It took me a while to shift my focus from my desires to what my body truly needed, particularly in terms of adhering to my neurologist's advice. This realization was another significant milestone in my journey. Self-empowerment has always been – and should always be – significant. (If you haven't recognized this within yourself, please do! You deserve this acknowledgment.) But resilience and commitment are not easy.
I learned that resilience and commitment were more about my personal struggle to take care of myself than any issues I thought my friends might have if I said I couldn't go out or participate.
Examining all areas of my health
I found that paying attention to my gut health not only improved my overall well-being but also helped reduce my daily medication from 800mg to 400mg. (Under the care of my doctors, of course.)
Tackling side effects with my neurologist
While I focused more on my gut health, I experienced some unfortunate bouts of nausea. I discovered that nausea was a side effect of my epilepsy meds.
Upon discussing this with my neurologist, he proposed an alternate solution. He recommended an 8-week plan to gradually decrease my dosage. This approach proved effective, and now I only experience nausea if I accidentally consume gluten. (I have celiac disease.)
Support and gratitude
As I continued my resilience journey, I came to understand the true meaning of support. While having a strong support system is crucial, I first needed to focus on self-support. Commitment to myself!
To reinforce my commitment to my well-being, I reintroduced the habit of expressing gratitude every day."Being seizure-free with medication" consistently tops my list. I know that maintaining a positive attitude can benefit the body, while negative behavior can be detrimental. So try to channel my energy into positivity whenever I can.
If I ever forget to practice gratitude, my toddler is there to remind me! I've incorporated this practice into our bedtime routine. (And as anyone with a toddler knows, few are as determined to follow a nighttime routine as a toddler who needs to go to sleep.) Together, we share what we're grateful for every day.
We have epilepsy, and we are resilient!
And today, I am grateful for my resilience! Happy National Epilepsy Month... Always remember, you are not alone!
Is increased screen time a seizure trigger for you?