I need to make you all aware before you read this post that this post may divide you all. The process I was about to undertake is something that has changed the way I perceive my condition. What I am writing is my feelings and my feelings alone. It may make you look at your condition/your loved one’s condition in a different light.
Walking away from my initial therapy appointment with Bob made me question who I was and what I represented. In fact I had no clue. My mind was weighted down by Bob’s words. My reaction said it all.
I was gobsmacked and the more I said the words “I have lost my identity and hid behind my condition for so long” the more it sunk in that this was exactly what I was doing.
Like me my family were in unison with what Bob had said and was eager for me to see what the upcoming sessions would bring. The sessions would continue to which I would be asked to put myself into scenarios that would test my perseverance, patience and confidence. The therapy I previously had was a push in itself however the therapy I was due to get with Bob was in a separate league.
I questioned my ability to progress with Bob as I thought this man may push me too far. He may push me in another direction and make me go to a place where I would hit the ground harder than ever. Part of me thought I could go into full blown depression. My parents were worried however they knew that I had to make my own decisions. I had to be in control and if the negativity overwhelmed me too much then I would have to pull the plug on these sessions.
The second appointment with Bob was one that would bring me out of my shell and give me the hard exterior I am trying to obtain. Bob knew how to push my buttons and thought it would be beneficial to face my fear head on. Only this time it wouldn’t be through the art of listening he would do an exercise that would give me the incentive to move on. During this session I had to dig deep and go back to the age of 8, only this time there would be a twist. I would have to relive my childhood insecurities.
At this stage of my life I had gone just over two years seizure free, my medication had remained the same and I was a lot older now. Let’s go back to that therapy session. I knew I had to change not just for my family but for myself. Challenge was definitely the word to sum up what happened next.
Bob asked me how I felt following our latest session to which I responded by saying that he had summarised my life in one session than I had in 19 years. Bob asked if I was prepared to take my fear to another level and so we did just that.
Bob asked that I stand up so he could place four chairs in a square. All chairs would remain empty and he would sit on the table nearby i.e he was an outsider looking in. The four chairs would represent my life. The first would be me at the age of 8. The second would be me as a teenager, the third would be my actual condition and the fourth would be me now.
What Bob wanted me to portray was my feelings at all four stages of my life. He wanted me to behave the way I would at each age. He would be the one in the passenger seat asking the questions to me and he wanted me to be honest about the way I felt at each stage of this process. I was in the driving seat, bearing in mind I have never driven before.
So I went, to the first chair. The childhood chair.
Bob asked me to analyse my life and to explain what I felt like when I was diagnosed. I explained to Bob that I was a child and I didn’t know what was happening to me. All I wanted was to play, enjoy school and make new friends. The only down side being is that I was worried about how my friends would react to my condition. Maybe they didn’t want to hang out with a little girl with problems. I was always second guessing them. The epilepsy prevented me from having that childhood in effect it took my childhood away from me.
After careful questioning from Bob I explained that the only plus point was getting presents from my family to distract me from the condition I had. I so wanted answers however never fully got them. When Bob asked what I would say to my eight year old self now I told myself not to worry because it’s not as bad as it seems. Whilst uttering those words I burst into tears and was then moved to the next chair.
Step 2- The teenager.
By the time I was a teenager I was in a place where I had allowed my epilepsy to take over my life. I hardly drank and never smoked. I was on medication 24/7 and I was sick of the hospital appointments, they would get on my wick and angered me to the point of no return. All I wanted was to be normal and like everyone else care free and not complicated. I had my family’s support however I didn’t have my own support. Bob asked me what I would change to which I replied saying that I wanted to be like my friends. I wanted my friends to like me. I didn’t want restrictions I just wanted life to be simple. I wanted people to see the way I was feeling. This stage didn’t upset me until I reached the third chair. This chair was definitely the hardest.
Step 3- My Epilepsy.
Bob asked that I become my condition. At first I didn’t know what he meant. He wanted me to talk as thought I was the condition and not the condition dominating me. He would ask an erray of questions to my condition that I had to answer. It was this stage that really opened my eyes. I felt like I was being hypnotised (even though I wasn’t). The words that would come out of my mouth would make me see that having epilepsy was something I had to come to terms with.
Bob would ask why the epilepsy had entered my life. I responded by saying that I wanted to find a warm base, I wanted to talk to the person who I had went inside of and the only way I could communicate was by shutting Sazzle’s body down and forcing her to fit/shake. This was all I knew as a condition and I didn’t know why Sazzle didn’t like me. I was only trying to help her. I wanted (i.e the epilepsy) to show her that I care. I didn’t want to do battle with her anymore. We had to be at peace with one another. Before I could elaborate anymore Bob moved me into the final chair.
Step 4- Me in the current day
Bob asked me to summarise what I felt at all 4 stages. I asked what he had just done to me. Bob said that he could see my distress and could see that I wasn’t coming to terms with my condition. In order to move forward I had to accept what I had. I couldn’t run no longer.
I had to appreciate that epilepsy was a part of my life and unless I could tolerate this condition and not be at war with it then my life will never be satisfied. I agreed whole heartedly with Bob to which I asked why my epilepsy was here. Bob told me that I had answered my own question in that third stage. Epilepsy is not here to get me, it’s just here. I could analyse my life to extreme however it wasn’t going to change anything. I would still be epileptic.
Before Bob went he asked me to reiterate these feelings in my mind over again before our next appointment. When I walked away I felt like I had won a war. A war with myself. In order for me to be happy in my own skin then I would have to love me. Cliché as that sounds it was the truth. I was never always gonna like my epilepsy but my condition and I were gonna have to be civil with one another because it wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry.