Epilepsy Awareness – Don’t Fear The Purple

Note: This post was originally published on Purple Day, March 26, 2017.

Today is Purple Day, an international epilepsy awareness day. In honor of that, a number of us epilepsy bloggers have devoted today’s blog entries to talking about our coming to terms with epilepsy, and what it has done to us and for us.

Emily, for example, has done some amazing fundraising, gone wing-walking and all that. Sam and Faye have been raising some amazing kids – and Sam is getting herself through nursing school. I haven’t done anything like that. And there are more of us doing these blogs as well. These ladies, half my age, have done things because of epilepsy that I probably never would do. I don’t really feel that epilepsy has pushed me to do things that I wouldn’t have; maybe I’m just not that kind of person.

But what has changed because of the epilepsy? I’ve become less afraid of talking about myself because I’ve become more accepting of myself. “I yam who I yam,” as the old Popeye cartoon used to say, and it’s not going to change. And if people need to know about epilepsy for my health to be protected, they need to know.

I’ve discovered some amazing friends. Morgan works with me and lives a few minutes away. She drove me to and from work for months after I did a medication change. She’s a really great person. I didn’t know that before. My wife and I will be at her wedding. (Once she picks a date, that is!)

I know a lot more than I did – about how the brain works, about biochemistry, and about how accepting people can be if you give them a chance. People are on the whole a lot better than I used to be afraid they were.

“Regrets? I’ve had a few” – I won’t be able to go scuba diving. Or fly a fighter plane. Or a few other things, probably. But overall? It’s been good. I’m not afraid of my epilepsy any more. I’m not angry at God anymore. I’m just me, here as I am. Epilepsy is one of my gifts. It’s up to me to see how to use it.

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