I had a friend reflect the other day about the one thing that she admires most about me. She said it was my bravery. “You’re very brave” she said “I’ve always admired that about you” “you never seem afraid to take life on”.
As much as I was touched and even squirted a few tears (well as many as being on Keppra would allow due to it suppressing emotions), my first response to her was “As much as I love that you see this in me and as brave as I am, I am also the polar opposite of that. I am a coward too”.
My friend didn’t get it at first until I mentioned the concept of polarity, which she knew about. If we are one thing, then we are most certainly the opposite of that as well.
Some of the reasons I have been brave are as follows:
- I wasn’t prepared to just accept my epilepsy diagnosis and take meds all my life as the answer to stop the seizures. I researched and experimented other ways to treat and manage my brain until I found a management plan that I was/am in charge of now and not just listening to the doctors telling me what’s best for me.
- I looked at my shadow side early on when I decided to take myself off all meds. I found out what my triggers were and when my seizures were most likely to occur rather than looking at external tests like MRI’s and EEG’s and surrendering to just those as evidence of my abnormal brain misfires. (this is a brave move and one that I’m not condoning unless you have the right support network).
- I’m constantly changing things when I’ve outgrown them and moving on instead of staying in a situation that I’m not happy in or stressed with. (to be honest, I’m getting too old for that though so rethinking this to not be so black and white in my decisions)
- I wasn’t prepared to let epilepsy stop me from doing anything I wanted to do so I wrote and self-published a book about my life living with epilepsy and then starred in a stage show which I wrote based on the book. #Electrogirl
NOW, Some of the reasons I have been a coward:
- I was too ashamed to let my family know what was going on with me when I was a teenager, so I hid my symptoms and went through it alone for 3 years.
- I was too egotistical to just accept that I had epilepsy, so I hid it for many years for fear of rejection from others.
- I focused too much on what others would think and not about the damage I was doing to my mental health and self-worth because of this. I wanted to protect others from me.
- I tried to run away from myself thinking if I changed my surroundings my problems would disappear, but they never did because the source of the issue was within me. This running affected people I loved and left them in my wake.
- I still carry shame about people seeing me have a grand mal seizure in public. Working on it though so……
Some might read this and think that I’m being hard on myself, but I can tell you now, when you face the truth, damn straight it’s gonna be hard but the freedom and reward on the other side is phenomenal. I am not beating myself up about being brave or being a coward, I am purely facing myself in the mirror and accepting that I am both and it’s now time to meet in the middle and just be me. Non dualistic me that only wants to live in and from my heart centre now because the struggle to hide having grand mal seizures nearly defeated me!
Respect to all of you who have gracefully accepted your diagnosis, whatever that is and are taking positive steps to manage it holistically.
A massive shout out to all the people who have never made me feel like a freak when they have seen me in my most vulnerable state. It’s because of you that I have learnt to accept me.