I grew up with petit mal epilepsy, having two or three seizures a week. It wasnít until I made some changes in my life that seizure control was possible. Here are a few things I have learned I would like to pass along to you who have epilepsy or know someone who does.
How do you feel about yourself as a person? Do you feel inferior to others? Have you become introverted because of what you are going through in your life? Did you know that Alexander the Great was an epileptic? Despite what you are going through, you can make something of your life with Godís help. Yes, there are some limitations you must observe, but there are more positive things than you may realize. The way you feel about yourself and interact with others regarding your epilepsy will set the stage how you will be treated.
Some people will treat you badly, but most will be helpful if you have a good attitude about yourself. Try to inform people without being pushy and overbearing. Learn all you can about your difficulty and educate others as you interact with them. They will respect you for it rather than pitying yourself or letting others do so.
For me, it was stress and heat that caused a lot of seizures in my life. You might have different ones than I did, but you wonít know unless you analyze what is happening before each seizure. Loud noises and bright light like glare can trigger seizures also, but you need to find out which ones are affecting you. Get the help of your family and friends if you cannot discern what is happening.
I used a certain hand signal to let others know I was having a seizure. You can make this whatever you want, but standardize it so they know what is happening to you.
If you are aware of what your body is doing, you will know which foods and drinks bother you. If you donít know, then analyze how you feel after eating certain foods.
For instance, a lot of caffeine would not be a good idea because it will make you more hyper while your medicine is trying to calm you down. You donít want to drink alcoholic beverages at all because this adversely affects your medication.
If you are not used to exercise, then start slowly just like anyone else should. If you overtax your body all at once by overdoing this, you will probably have a seizure. Find someone who can go with you if you run or jog in case something happens. Pace yourself, and have fun.
Every medication does not work on everyone, so you and your doctor need to communicate about what is working and what is not.
Be faithful in taking your medicines, and try to take responsibility for them yourself. Do as much as you can on your own, and this will also foster respect from others. It is good to be independent if you can, but donít force the issue until you are ready. Keep trying more and more things in your life and you will gradually find the things you can and cannot do. Donít be so stubborn that you wonít listen to yourself or those who care about you. Be reasonable.
Trust in God
When I learned to trust God with my life is when my epilepsy really came under control. You know how frustrating it is to go for several months or years, perhaps, and then have another seizure.
If you are a worrier, this will not help your epilepsy and probably will make it worse. God wants to take your concerns and carry them for you, but you have to make the choice to let Him.
What are your expectations for the future? Do others put unrealistic ones on you, such as driving, for instance? This is one I had to overcome because I donít drive, yet others were putting this expectation on me when I did not feel I should. So I had to make up my mind I would not drive and that others werenít going to put pressure on me to do so. These types of internal pressures will hamper your seizure control, so watch out for them.
Avoid the victim mentality
It is easy to fall into this trap when you have such a hard time in life, but you need to avoid this at all costs. I was in this mode for several years until I realized that I would never meet my goals or have a family if I didnít snap out of it.
Set goals for short, medium and long range, then start planning for them. You will just wander around aimlessly if you donít have goals. It doesnít matter that you donít meet these goals exactly when you wanted to, just keep plugging away until you get there. Donít let peopleís comments deter you, just keep going until you are done.
Do you know a few seconds before a seizure that one is trying to happen? Think about what happens just before your seizure and try to discern if you feel any different. This will help you prepare and defeat the seizure before it happens. Some people do not have a warning like this, but if you do you need to use it for your advantage.
I have been seizure-free for 17 years through using what I have learned and my trust in God. Contact the Epilepsy Foundation of America and start learning about what you can do for youself and others. They have many good programs that will help you and those whom you love.
Do you have a relationship with God in your life through Jesus Christ His Son? This is the foundation of a peaceful life. The second thing that will help you is to know yourself, how and what you are feeling at any given time so you can counteract the seizure. I have used chess in this manner as a sort of biofeedback device. I started out having seizures whenever I played chess, but as I kept at it, the seizures didnít happen anymore when I played and I had a lot of fun also. You can improve your life also, but you have to want to and then do it. Just as with faith, we must take it from the hearing stage and translate it into the doing stage. I have confidence that you can do it!
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