Monday, March 12, 2012

Not Seizing Up

It's that time of year again! Time to check in with my zany neurologist, Dr. Z. Last year, she seemed more worried about my nail biting habit than my epilepsy, which I guess is a good sign that my epilepsy's not that big a deal. Although neither problem is going away anytime soon, for now at least, it appears at least one of those issues is under control:  the epilepsy. What a relief!

If someone would have told me at the end of 2008 that life would be like this in 2012, I probably wouldn't have believed them. Things looked pretty bleak. And it seemed with every passing month, things got bleaker. Or anytime things started to improve slightly (like when we figured out the right medication, and I made it my first six months without having a seizure and was given back my freedom, in the form of my driver's license), I faced some other setback (an unexpected pregnancy, because epilepsy medication and birth control don't play well together, apparently). I got really sick of people telling me "It could be worse" or that "All things happen for a reason." I knew both of those things, but when you're going through something that's turning your world completely upside down (and your world wasn't all that right-side-up to begin with), the three year old inside you kind of wants to kick those very nice, well-meaning people in the nuts or the ovaries.

Anger issues. I had them. Big time. I hated life, but mostly, I hated myself. I hated that I was flawed and had this problem that I thought I'd outgrown years ago but would now be with me for the rest of my life, according to doctors. I hated that things were never easy. You know, adversity sometimes brings out the best in people. That was not the case for me. It wasn't my finest hour.

Actually, I'm still waiting for my finest hour. Or something even approaching, "fine." But that's another blog topic, I guess.

After anger came apathy. I thought, "Well, if this is how it's gonna be, then I'll just check out. I don't care if there are people out there worse off than I am; this is the worst I've ever been, so it's the only frame of reference I have. And it stinks. And I don't want to play this game called 'Life' anymore." I would have sent out invitations to my pity party, but I really just wanted to be alone... all the time. Which is problematic when you live in a house with four other people, and you come from a large extended family. "Alone" is hard to come by.

I wrote a lot of fiction then, none of which is published right now. Most of it may never be published. It was simply the place I went when I couldn't stand being in the real world. I guess that was the "denial" phase of my journey.

I also went to see a "professional," even though it originally made me feel crazier than I already suspected I was. I spent many hours blubbering in his office about everything from my dad passing away to feeling like a failure and a bad wife and mother. I was so far gone that I believe I even had a meltdown about housework once (hey, cleaning toilets when you live in a house full of males can be stressful!).

And then... I snapped out of it. I mean, I'm sure it wasn't as sudden as that, but I guess I had a long enough streak of okay days, where nothing set me off or made me feel downtrodden (no hangnails, etc.) that I realized I was finally at a place where I could look back and feel like all that hardship was behind me. Not only was everything those annoying optimists said all those months before true, but I could actually feel it becoming my reality. I could not only list my blessings, but I could truly see them as blessings. Good things felt possible again. To use my son Jack's favorite word (besides "meow"), it was AMAZING.

So now, two doctors and three-and-a-half years after my re-diagnosis, Dr. Z's still more concerned about the state of my fingernails than about what's going on in my brain, because nothing unusual is going on in my brain. Yay! I don't take that for granted, either. I really wish they gave out "seizure-free" coins, like they do sobriety medallions. If I were crafty, I'd make my own.

In addition to this blog, I write chick lit and obsessively check my Facebook page. You can find my books on Amazon Kindle at "Like" my Facebook page at

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