Today marks 1 year since I had my seizure.
I was diagnosed with having had something called a Jacksonian March, happening on the evening of February 28, 2013 – how unexpectedly this turned my life upside down. There have been so many emotions and feelings that came from this experience but probably the most upsetting and difficult part is that on this day I lost complete control of the one thing I thought I had ultimate control over – myself. How easily things are taken for granted: this is one of the many lessons I’ve learned over the past year.
It took 6 months for a neurologist to conclude that I would not have another seizure in my life – that essentially my brain had short circuited like things can do sometimes. Did you know that 5% of the population will have one seizure in their lifetime? News to me! It was also 4 months of my incredible boyfriend lugging me around after I lost my license (this is a common practice after someone has a seizure – the time frame for losing a license can range anywhere from 3-6 months). And it’s taken a year (and counting) for me feel a sense of normalcy and to actually trust the diagnosis that it won’t happen again (if it happened once unexpectedly how can you be 100% certain it won’t happen again?)
Over the course of this last year I’ve had some great highs and some very low lows, ripple effects from the seizure. I lost my license, I felt unsure/unstable in my own skin. I lost confidence and zest in life. I lost myself in the sadness and unpredictability of what may happen again. I developed anxiety in different areas. I, ultimately, was unsure of a world that I had been so sure about.
The only way for me to overcome all of this, not to become cynical, jaded, and negative for the rest of my life was to find the positive in the experience – I NEEDED (read: need) to find the positive here, and to this end I work towards it every day. Even a year later I am still picking up the pieces, trying to calm the ripples.
Those who know me know I thoroughly enjoy the spotlight, having a great time, being the life of a party, and don’t typically hold my cards close to my chest… this seizure is a hand I have not played, information I haven’t shared. This leads me to why I’m sharing it now.
Recently, I had a conversation with my best friend about some frustrations I was having, almost an unwinding feeling on a particularly not so great day. Her retort to my whoa-it’s-me moment was ‘Jane, even though you’re feeling this way, you DEFINITELY don’t show it outwardly. You come across as this confident, happy, put-together person and maybe that’s why you’re treated the way you are’. What she said was mind blowing to me – the storm on this particular day inside of me, no one could see, which then got me to think about the seizure and all I’ve faced this past year.
I remember my former idol, Celine Dion (yes, it’s true, I loved her!), had a lyric in one of her songs, something to the effect of not judging a book by its cover. That line has stuck with me and is extremely poignant in this circumstance.
We all judge, that’s how we make decisions in our lives, however the good judgment comes with the bad. People have judged me to be ‘alright’ and having picked up the pieces from the seizure, which is true most days and in most situations, but not all. There are days and times where I still struggle, am still just trying to keep my head above water. It’s so important to not only look at the exterior of someone and automatically assume a blessed life is being lived. Comparisons are made with friends, co-workers, siblings, frenemies, celebrities – anyone who has something more and we think they have it all. This message is to show it’s not true. This message is to prove that we all face terrible times and adversity in life and the only way past it is to find happiness in the relationships, things, thoughts/ideas we have, and not to judge or compare. To also find the positive – it’s there, it’s sometimes harder to find, but it’s still there.
This has been a tough year, but like I said there is a positive in the seizure and to all that has happened since: learning to trust, learning it’s okay to rely on others in times of need, learning to not take life for granted, learning to not judge, learning to take the good with the bad, learning life is great just as it is.
I’ve since been allowed back on the road (my car Moose and I have become reacquainted and man alive is he ever a sexy beast in his red splendor!), my boyfriend and I moved in together (my love runs deep, Kevin), I’ve traveled, and I’ve got this incredible support system around me. I’ve got my zest for life back!
As I’ve written this, it’s taken on a life of its own. I’m not looking for pity or sympathy, more so I’m an open book and I wanted to share a little bit about me.