I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 11 years old. They often say when you are diagnosed after adolescence; you never grow out of it. I am one of those people. Growing up and living with this disability changed my view on life. Instead of being grateful for new clothes or a phone, I started being grateful for going days without having a seizure or being able to sit in a moving car without having a seizure. I became grateful for the little things.
Even if I do not have a seizure, that doesn't mean there aren't other things in my day-to-day life with epilepsy that trouble me. Every single day is hit or miss. There is extreme tiredness that no amount of sleep can fix, intense mood swings, anxiety, bodily weakness, migraines, terrible memory, confusion, fear, and so much more. These are things I deal with every single day. There was a time when I did not want to go through it anymore because I was so tired of feeling like this all the time.
It was not until recently that I learned epilepsy is hard enough without also trying to keep up with everyone else! I learned to go at my own pace. It is true that epilepsy is hard to live with, but I had to tell myself how I dealt with what got handed to me would make all the difference. The best view comes after the hardest climb.
Although epilepsy is something I will be dealing with forever, I learned to turn my sadness into being educated and wanting to inspire other people who have felt the same way as me. The beautiful thing about that is knowing I am not alone, and other people go through what I do every day as well.
I will not tell you that the journey with epilepsy will be easy because it is not but staying strong is worth it. I never knew how strong I was until being strong was my only choice. Yes, I have epilepsy, but I am still me. Every single day is a struggle but having supportive people around you is important.
There are days when I look at myself and pray for this to go away, but I know it never will. It is not my fault, and I know I can handle it. I had to fight this, which has shaped me into who I am.
Epilepsy is so much more than seizures. I hope one day there is a cure, and I hope my story inspires people to understand that feeling like this is okay.