Sometimes in life we reach that stage where we have to take a leap of faith, that terrifying jump into the unknown, out of our comfort zone and into that place where everything is being questioned, everything feels like it’s changing, like we can’t quite keep up with all that is going on and then it hits you. Why worry? Why try to fit into what everyone is saying, what we should be doing or what we shouldn’t, why not just be?
If everyone just stopped for a moment and put aside what other people think,what we think we should be doing and gave themselves a moment to figure out what it actually is that we want, wouldn’t we be happier? I’m tired of trying to follow what the people around me and what society dictates that I should be doing. If I decide to follow that within the next six months I’ll be in a graduate role, working the 9-5 lifestyle, living for the weekend, looking into mortgages, putting down roots, but what for?
I think it’s about time that decisions be based on what we really want to do. For the last 4 years of my life I’ve dreamt about travelling to South America and working my way up all the way to Canada, and now I’m in the position that I will shortly have the time to do so, I feel like the walls are coming down and people are talking about getting jobs, you’d be good at this, at that, but hardly anyone has mentioned travel, but why not?
Travel broadens the mind, it challenges people, gives them more experiences than they could ever imagine, but it’s not the career option that normally springs to mind.
I’ve been offered the opportunity to travel the world with one of my favourite people ever and I’m doubting it because I don’t know if it’ll be too hard, or too difficult, my heart is screaming out go go go! But my head is trying to be more practical, I’ve been given a month to decide what I want to do, should I stay or should I go? That is the question…
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they sit down and reevaluate things, they take a step back, look at what’s going on and say, hell no to that! My time came a week ago when my flatmate, and alleged best friend from university, turned around and screamed at me.
There had been a brewing in the air, an awkward silence which I never understood exactly why and the deadly glares. Then came the text, the one that changed everything.
“When you’ve climbed out of your own arse hole let me know”
Now for anyone that knows me, you’ll be fully aware that I hate confrontation, I’m always the one that apologises even when it’s not my fault, I’ll walk away, I won’t deal with so to receive this literally out of the blue, I was hurt and shocked. How could someone I considered like a sister treat me like this? So with the encouragement of my best friend I asked.
There was no reason. Just yelling.
I asked what I could have possibly done wrong and was answered back with a I effing hate you, you think everyone loves you but they all hate you and words too vulgar to share with you. I stormed out of the flat and ended up crying down the phone to my family for the next hour or so. It was like a dreadful breakup, but one between friends. I felt betrayed and horrified at how someone could be so vicious, I thought I was a bad person that she was telling the truth, but then I got some perspective, it really didn’t matter what she thought, she was one person with one opinion, albeit one that I believe to be wrong, but one opinion all the same. Why should I let her get to me, upset me, cry so much that my boyfriend currently living in another country was going to fly out here.
Everything clicked. There are good people and there are bad people in the world, no-one is 100% good nor 100% bad, it’s a mixture, but it’s the side that we present to the world that counts. That day she decided to show her true colours, a side that I’d never seen before but one that many others had. I got a throbbing pain of hurt all the way to my heart, I lost a friend that day and it still upsets me, but I have to move forward and be strong. So I decided to write this and try and see the positive side of things.
The fact that that friendship has well and truly burnt its bridges means that I can see now what really defines the meaning of a friend. A friend is someone that lights you up when you’re down, turns that frown upside down, is happy to listen and will always be on your side no matter what, they have your back and you have their’s. Ever since I was five I’ve had the same best friend, but we went to different universities so naturally had new friends in our retrospective unis, but it never stopped us from being best friends, it just meant that we had close uni friends who we thought we could count on, it turns out I couldn’t and neither could she. University is a challenge, but I think people forget to realise that it’s not just an academic challenge but a challenge of our strength and ability to bounce back as well. I’m in my fourth and final year now and am learning some pretty hard life lessons.
The most important that I’ve only recently learnt is that sometimes in life there comes a time when you must say no. You must do what is best for you and no-one else. So I lost a close friend the other day, but I also learnt a valuable lesson, cutting people out doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a strong person. It’s not easy, but now I can see that without her I can finally breathe, I’m more positive as I’m not having my energy sucked from a negative person, I’ve got time to do what I want rather than being called a bad person and constantly being put down. I can focus on my studies, on what I want from life and so much more.
I’ve got the energy to write, to tell people what I expect and to not let one small thing ruin my day. For a while now I haven’t felt like myself, I’ve avoided people, I’ve cried more than I’d like to admit and I’ve comfort ate far too much.
But tonight is the night that I pick happiness, I pick to spend time with the people I love as much as I can, to cherish the friendships that I do have and life itself. I hope that anyone in a similar situation can do this too.
A chapter of my life has ended, but a new one has started and I’d like to take a moment to thank the people I love the most for helping me see this. You all know who you are.
I find myself thinking more and more about epilepsy and how it affects me these days.
When people use the word epilepsy a million and one things come to mind, but the first one is of someone unfortunately on the floor. But my major problem is those of us who don’t do this but in fact have absences. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the lucky one that is just out of it for a few moments, but I’m also the one that goes against the stereotypes that is epilepsy. Stick with me and let me explain.
Yesterday, I strolled up to my uni and then dashed across campus as the heavens opened to attend a meeting with student support. The word ‘seizure’ was used and I found myself cringing and hating the use of this word. It produces all kinds of images all of which probably don’t meet up to what I actually do. Personally I don’t know anyone else that has epilepsy but I have read a lot of personal accounts and it seems that so many of us give them our own name to perhaps soften the blow, to make it not sound like what it is. But my main point is that every single person is different and therefore everyone’s condition is different, so why is it always given the same name?
For me I don’t know, so maybe you’d like to share any ideas and just maybe you can help me break the stereotyping of epilepsy, it’s just one word, but it means so much.
It feels like a life time ago that I last wrote anything, so much has been going on and so many things have been swamping my mind and pulling it in all directions. But most recently the one thing that has been consuming my thoughts and keeping me awake at night is when and will my epilepsy ever be resolved?
If you knew me, you probably wouldn’t even know that I had it, because well I probably wouldn’t mention it as it’s mine, something that I have to deal with in my own way, I work on a need to know basis you see, just like 007. However, today after a trip to the hospital I came to realise that I’m actually a lot better off than some. You see my epilepsy is sort of the absence kind, I’ll be talking one moment and completely stopped the next, not for long but enough to make me forgot what I was just in the middle of saying and disorientate me a little. Clearly I was boring myself so much that my brain decided to switch itself off for a few moments and take a little nap. Or maybe I was just bored of what you were saying or didn’t want to do the washing up tonight! Apparently my brain and I have an agreement to get me out of things.
But the thing is at the moment I’m just fed up, fed up of going in and out of the hospital and being fobbed off with an increased dosage or a changed medication and a “Give that a try and we’ll see what happens” What I’d really like is to wave a magic wand and find myself reaching for the keys to my imaginary Porsche in the morning rather than running to catch the bus. I’d like to actually know what type, you know like an actual technical term, rather than “generalised,” translation: basically, we don’t know. It’s getting on for 10 years since I was diagnosed.
Before I started university I had a pleasant five years or so under control, I learnt to drive, not quite a Porsche, but I drove all the same with music blasting out like any new driver does. I went about living a normal life just taking some tablets twice a day. But then I started university and it all went pear-shaped from there. Exam stress hit me a lot harder than most, it left me all over the place pausing and mucking up in oral exams, not because I didn’t have the words in that language, but because my brain had decided that it wasn’t really feeling working in a foreign language and would rather have a little nap.
I think it’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve experienced, that moment when the last few moments are gone, like it’s just been wiped away as easily as cleaning a whiteboard and what you’re left with is nothing, you rely on who you’re with to explain to you what you were just explaining to them, weird right? Well welcome to my world.
The point of this post has drifted, just like what my mind often does, all by its own. My real point was to explain that having epilepsy is not the be all and end all. Whenever I tell someone that I have epilepsy I always receive the same response – “Really? You’re epileptic? I never knew” followed by the look of you’re a different person to what I thought. It’s a look that’s cross between surprise and scared. As if I’m fragile and they might do something to set me off. But what they probably won’t realise is that I’ve been doing what I do in front of them since I met them and they just took it as “something that I do,” a part of my personality. I’ve been classed as the ditzy one, the one that takes forever to get the joke and the one who frequently needs things explaining twice. But that’s okay, I’m fine with that, I’m use to it, after all I’m blonde and from Essex, worse things could be said.
After the hospital today I was totally drained, a blood test where they filled a good two tubes making me nearly faint (I’m not good with blood), being told that I needed an EEG scan where they’re going to connect all kind of things to my head and flash lights in my eyes and follow up appointments I left feeling like I’d had enough. I’m about to start my final year of university and it’s now of all times that they’ve actually decided to sort me out once and for all (hopefully.) But then I got home and realised that in a strange way I’m actually the lucky one. Having epilepsy has actually taught me a lot, it’s taught me to say no when they try and give me meds that aren’t pleasant. It’s taught me to know my own body and mind, to take care of myself in the best way I can, to try and manage my stress and use myself as the one that has the power to change how people perceive epilepsy. It’s not all ending up on the floor, although that is the harsh reality for many, it’s also not the reality for so many. 1 in 3 people will have some type of epilepsy in their lifetime but many have it fully controlled and lead a normal life. When I explain what actually happens to me I feel like I’m helping others in my situation if people understood the different types, there wouldn’t be such a stigma attached to one word…epilepsy, say it, it won’t hurt you I swear and no for goodness sake, it is not contagious please breathe and relax. It’s something that I shied away from when I was younger but something that is now well and truly a part of me, it’s how I roll, hopefully one day it’ll be sorted, but if not I’m actually okay with it. It’s a realisation that’s just come to me and actually shocked me a little but it’s true I’m okay with having epilepsy, but the question is are you okay with it?