Dealing with epilepsy

Steps of grief through the eyes of a child with epilepsy

I saw in movies that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

In my opinion and experience, for a child with a new diagnosis of epilepsy, these do not apply.

When I was diagnosed (after my 3rd seizure back in 2001) with grand mal epilepsy (generalized tonic-clonic seizures), I had no reaction. I didn’t deny that it was the right diagnosis, nor I was furious.

The steps through which I went when I was diagnosed were:

  1. Ignorance – I prefered not to search for more information, not to really know what epilepsy is or what is and will be its impact on my life. I didn’t deny that I had epilepsy. “Ignorance is bliss” after all (quote from Thomas Gray’s poem “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College”).
  2. Acceptance – at some point in time, I accepted that I had epilepsy. I started searching for information, contacting association that dealt with epilepsy, contacted neurologists around the world and so on. “Acceptance is the road to all change” (quote from Bryant McGill).
  3. Embracement – after I accepted that I had epilepsy, the next step was to embrace. Epilepsy does not have just negative side effects, but it can also help you obtain some things that are not available to others. A capacity of relaxing when everything goes wrong or having the opportunity to see the world in alternatives are two of the ones I care the most. I was able to find alternative ways of surpassing a challenge that most people would have never thought about. “Embracing change is the key to happiness” (quote from AL Kennedy).

The lack of alcohol consumption is another great thing. You do not get to choose whether to drink or not, but it’s great to be able to be always sober.