This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay which will run from November 1 through November 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!
When I picked my date for the Epilepsy Blog Relay I had no idea it was Thanksgiving. I didn’t know until I had already written most of my blog. Thus, this is not a traditional Thanksgiving article; there are no Pilgrims or turkeys or lists of things I am thankful for. As it turns out it is about the one thing (other than my family) I am most thankful for: my epileptic brain. Without it I would not be alive and this article would not be written. I have to appreciate the brain I have.
We cannot untangle the connections between epilepsy and creativity. It all starts with the brain. I write. I create. Sometimes I hit the floor. Sometimes people tell me they envy my creativity and wish they were creative like me. I wonder what is it they think I have that they do not. The only extra thing I have is epilepsy. I have to take my creativity as the flip side of my epilepsy. I have to. All that time spent out of my head, trapped away in my body that will not respond to appropriate stimuli. When I can talk and control my body, I can write. I can create. I cherish that. All that excess electricity buzzing around in my head must have some benefit. Synapse snap, crackle and pop. Ideas rush around like freight trains.
I read about the authors and artists who have also experienced epilepsy. Their presence in history gives me comfort. At least Edgar Allen Poe and Vincent Van Gogh knew what I do: the omnipresent fear of the unknown moment of time snatched away. One moment here, the next gone. Who knows when or where we will wake up? At least I can write about it later. Emily Dickinson most likely was an epileptic, too. It’s probably why she didn’t go out much.
It’s a trade off, this life of unpredictable brains. It’s miserable when your brain and body betray you. Sometimes, my brain works just fine. My brain is many things: my mistress, my lover, my best friend, my worst enemy. I am always afraid that my brain will kill me. I will take a step and then fall onto something deadly this time. I have to write it out. The fear consumes me. That is epilepsy. It’s not just the lost time, the unknown bruises, and the fear of falling; seizures steal us away from our lives and our families. I am a burden to my husband and children, I can’t help but be. I may need them to make sure I don’t choke on my vomit.
When I write, I feel better. The fear escapes and seems less scary on the page where it can be edited until it shines like a gold, instead of the late night paranoia of waking up once again in a hospital without knowing how I got there.
I need to write it out, tell my story, shine a light into the darkness so I can make sense of it. I might collapse, but I might create something meaningful instead. I have to try. That’s all there is. Consciousness and creativity or seizures and time lost. I know what it is like to fall and to rise again. I am a seizure phoenix. I rise out of the ashes of confusion and write so I may fly away from my body and brain that betray me so brutally. Do I write because I have epilepsy? I believe so. I can be thankful for that. What choice do I have? I have to pick myself up off the floor and write about it.
NEXT UP: Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post by Anthony Bartley for more on Epilepsy Awareness https://whatepilepsyisreallylike.wordpress.com For the full schedule of bloggers visit livingwellwithepilepsy.com/epilepsy-blog-relay.