It’s really quite crazy how quickly things can change. One day I’m thinking about finishing up the semester, getting a job, and heading off to college…the next thing I know my world blacks out and suddenly I’m trapped in a confused reality. Then you think its just a fluke. Lots of people ‘faint’ every now and then- no big deal…until it happens again, only this time you discover it’s a seizure …and again…and again…Then you start to realize that your entire future is looking different. The seizures make life unsafe so working is no longer an option. They mess with your memory and ‘finishing up the semester’ suddenly becomes A LOT harder than school has ever been. Even simple things like walking to class on my own become major challenges because I would get lost or forget where I was going.
A year ago today I had my very first seizure. In case you have missed something or you’re just starting to read now, you can read the previous post for a short catch-up of my past year.
We have learned so much through this journey. By we I mean-my family, my friends, my teachers, my classmates, and even you: my blog-readers. This experience has not just been hard for me but also for everyone around me.
“At school, when I saw you going through these seizures I felt scared and helpless. No matter how much I told myself that you were in God’s hands and that he would protect you and take care of you, it was always so hard for me to not feel scared for you and feel so helpless and like I couldn’t help you! Day after day I would check up on you at school and everyday I would constantly be wondering how you were and where you were and just being worried for you. It always broke my heart to have to go searching the school for you and then finding you somewhere, sometimes bleeding, just being so confused and looking so lost! All I wanted to do was hug you and tell you that you were fine but you didn’t know who I was half the time and I would just feel so helpless! That time when you had a full out seizure and I went with your mom to the hospital was probably one of the worst feelings ever. I had to watch you go to the hospital in an ambulance on a stretcher and then I had to sit in the waiting room just praying and praying.” ~Close Friend
Although this year has been tough, it’s not all been bad. There are still some good days, and there are still things to laugh and smile about.
“One of the things that stand out to me was your humour through it all. You could just be coming out of an episode and we could joke about you coming back. I could joke about you going for a walk and not knowing where you were going. Not everyone could do that.” ~Teacher
One of the big positives for me was seeing how many people have been willing to help out. Friends willing to change their schedules for me or make changes to still include me in plans, teachers helping with class work and going beyond normal teacher duties, and family making me feel extra loved and prayed for. But, the biggest positive has been meeting my best friend. If I didn’t start having seizures right then, we may have never become this close. Now, a year later, I can’t imagine my life without her!
“A really cool positive was watching you and Jasmine become very close. Every time I was there, Jasmine was there too. Then, seeing you guys hanging outside of school was very cool.” ~Teacher
Thank you Jasmine, and everyone else who has helped out in one way or another!
Usually when we go through difficult times there is learning, It’s not always clear to see…but it’s there. God doesn’t like to see his children hurting but there is always a purpose for trials and he remains faithful through them.
“Learning to trust God every moment has been my biggest challenge and greatest joy of this past year.” ~Mom
We’ve also learned so much about anxiety, OCD, depression, and mental Illness in general.
“I’ve learned about some of the ways anxiety can show in physical forms and how the mind tells the body when it senses danger.” ~Teacher
We’ve earned about the huge stigma that’s attached to MI and how far that stigma is from the truth. People who don’t have personal experience with MI don’t understand how debilitating and life altering it can be. MI’s are invisible illnesses, meaning that people can’t see the illness: they can only see the altered behaviour that the illness causes.
I’m beginning to learn how to separate who I am from my illness, which is proving to be a huge struggle. They get mixed up so easily!
“Summer is not OCD or her MI, but she is an amazing girl who loves God and wants to help others. One thing I have learned about MI is that if everyone who has told me that they, or someone they know, struggle with MI, if all those people would not be ashamed and speak openly there would be no stigma. People would accept MI as a medical condition just as cancer and diabetes. That day is coming and you are helping by reading and sharing this blog.” ~Mom
The biggest learning will be learning how to manage my life with MI in it. It may all go away someday but there’s a chance it may not. That just means learning to live with the uncertainty that OCD brings into my life and learning to stand up to my thoughts. One day OCD, anxiety, and depression will, at the least, live quietly in the back of my mind rather than having complete control over me like it does today. Until then I will make the best of the good days and just get through the bad days, taking it moment by moment.