Friendship and Life with Epilepsy

    I’m always up for activities that take my mind off of Epilepsy…at least on a personal level. Don’t get me wrong, I’m forever an advocate and I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure I spread the word. I’m always talking about living life with Epilepsy either on this blog, EverydayHealth.com, Facebook, Twitter…or the interviews I do.

    Still, with weekly, and most of the time daily seizures…it’s pretty special when you can lose yourself in something, with someone, and for the moment you don’t have to think about ‘the E word’.

    I have a friend who makes sure of this. She and I have been friends for several years and our daughters, both only children, have been friends since they were little more than 2-years-old, and we met in ‘Mom & Tot Class’. With the girls heading back to school this month (different schools), we committed to seeing each other once a week, with the girls, by planning various ‘field trips’.

    She has a personal association with seizure disorders (family), so she understands many of the challenges and the issues I face. Still, she has this amazing ability to make me forget about Epilepsy, at least for a few hours when we get the kids together or when we do something, just the two of us Moms. And, it’s amazing…she doesn’t ignore Epilepsy, but she manages our friendship ‘around’ Epilepsy. In other words, I’m sure you might have the same experience, but I can classify my relationships in a few different categories:

    –Those I’ve lost because I live with a chronic illness (extreme, yes…but it has happened)

    –Those who walk on eggshells with me because they are petrified that I will drop to the floor at any moment with a seizure (I don’t see these friends much)

    –Those who completely ignore the fact that I do live with Epilepsy because it’s much easier to not ask than to understand the ins and outs of this condition

    –Those who treat me like any other wife, mother, friend, co-worker and occasionally ask how I’m feeling, but don’t limit activities, invitations, associations

    If you do live with Epilepsy, or any chronic condition/illness for that matter…do you have friends who recognize your challenges, but are able to push the issues aside? Think…I bet you do. If so, make sure you recognize how lucky you are…

    Dining on Deep Fried Oreos at the Saline Fair, 9-10-10

    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    Greg September 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Those friendships from the fourth category are certainly the best, Alysse. Being fortunate enough to only suffer from seizures every month or two, still battling through the process of finding the right medicinal balance, I have been fortunate enough to keep most of my friends in the fourth category.
    That said, I have become more distant with some friends who I don’t see as often as I don’t indulge in a lifestyle that puts me at risk. That is to say, I don’t go out on a nightly basis as I did when I was younger, hanging out with friends at the bar, playing in the pool league, darts league, etc. When alcohol became the defining activity in the events I would share with some of these friends, it made it impossible (from my standpoint) to spend as much time as I used to with them. That said, I am fortunate as they have recognized why I made this choice and never failed to continue to invite me to spend time with them, particularly at special events/fairs/weekend football afternoons/etc.
    Having epilepsy has also made me think about and appreciate more what others, not only those with epilepsy, have to deal with on an ongoing basis.
    I strive to be in the fourth category for all of those whom I know and whom I meet.

    Taletha September 13, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Hi Alysse =). I read your “blog”, it opened my eyes to different things in many positive ways. I really respect everything you said and I really admired and looked up to what you said. Thank you for making this posible.

    Talitha

    Keen September 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I have epilepsy myself and it can be such an annoying condition. I have had more seizures than I can count. But if you stay positive about it, you can overcome the depression that it causes.

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