Courage…and How it Relates to Living Life with Epilepsy

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” Mark Twain

With all of the coverage I’ve seen of Elizabeth Edwards since her death, I can’t help but think; what a truly remarkable woman. You can say what you want about her political positions…her support of her husband who defied their trust and abandoned his marital commitment. But she was truly the epitome of courage and resilience.

When I reflect on stories of courage, I can’t help but try to relate. I spoke yesterday to a very dear, old friend who has gone through a personal crisis and loss. She is not living with any sort of illness, but rather she continues to deal with the loss of her marriage and the realization that the person she thought was her lifelong partner, is no longer the man she believed in. She went into great detail about the Christmas she has planned for her very young children, and the life she plans to build, or re-build for herself in the next 12 months. I was both proud of her and respectful of her courage and her ability to forge ahead.

Granted these are entirely different stories and in no way are they related, but in thinking about them, I was encouraged by both. Not only did Elizabeth Edwards not let her cancer define her, but my friend is not letting her personal crisis and the turmoil her kids seem to be experiencing, define her.

Having the courage to identify yourself with not just the negative, but mainly the positive is a gift. And, it’s something I’ve worked hard to achieve. I’m determined to not be labeled…labeled as that girl who ‘got really sick and now has seizures, can’t drive, has to hire someone to help her get her child and herself around,’ and the list goes on.

If you have Epilepsy and live with disabilities and inabilities, defying that ‘label’ is really up to you. There are ways to achieve your goals and live your dreams, although it might be more challenging. I can’t do away with my Epilepsy or my seizures, but I can make sure my life is as ordinary as it can be. And, I can make sure people see my strengths rather than my weaknesses. For those people who don’t see the strengths and continue to emphasize the negative…I can’t make room in my life for them. Period! After all, I have a family to take care of…to protect.

In many ways, this attitude is a gift I give myself and my family. What’s your story?



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