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Coping with Epilepsy
(the Flopsta Methodology)

A diagnosis of E hits one from multiple angles… how will this affect my life? My family? My social life? My ability to get raucously drunk until 4AM? It is as though somebody has shattered the mirror of your life and you are looking at a seriously disfigured parody of your former self with a million questions. Predominant among them would have to be "Why me?" The quick answer to this would have to be "why not you?" but in those first few months and years, adjusting to triggers, medication, and the other interesting little things nobody seems to tell you about, there are no quick answers.

So step one to coping with E definitely is an acceptance thing. I suppose that if you are diagnosed early on in life it is easier, but at any age the adjustment will take time. Realising that this is not something one gets used to overnight is all part of it. So far, I'm about four or five years down the line, and I still get irritated with the pills. I want to grind them up and feed them to my cat, just to see what happens. That is not a problem, as long as I keep feeding myself and not my feline friend. It is not a feeling I expect to go away soon, but I have learnt to accept that.

A sense of humour always helps. Especially the warped, whacky or way-out varieties. Epilepsy is not the end of the world. I have realised that life is too short to be taken too seriously. Which brings me to my next point…

Perspective. This is something that I believe that E has taught me. Firstly, all things in life need to be viewed in perspective, and secondly, who we are is not solely defined by E. Yes, it does impact our lives, but no, it does not rule who we are. There are some indefinable things about you that are the same whether you have E or not - things that make you unique in this world. Good things. Stick that up on your fridge and remind yourself every day, as often as you need to, until that thought becomes part of who you are.

Persistence. Definitely the hardest part of this adjustment. That "keep on keeping on"-ness. Epilepsy teaches us this well, because in the end, we have no choice, except whether to do it with a smile or a frown. If we can learn to keep on keeping on with even a whisper of a smile in our heart, knowing ultimately that even with the hangovers from hell, the tests, the side effects that make life so "interesting", this too shall pass, and things will get better, then the epilepsy won't rule our lives, and we will have overcome it. Learning this lesson is by no means easy, and it helps to have friends along the way, but it makes us better people in the long run. If we choose that.

Flopsta posts at Epilepsy Support Forum you can read her posts there!