Living with chronic illness is a constant fear. You don’t know what your body is going to do next, or even what your body is doing now. You don’t understand why it feels like a million time bombs are ticking and you’re just waiting for them to go off.
It’s as simple as this: I sit down. My leg twitches. I try to sit still. I feel like there are lightning bolts running through my body. As I wake up in the morning, I feel as if I am extremely hungover. I can feel two hammers drilling into both sides of my forehead. I feel shaky. Shaky, twitchy, and tired are three words that all pile more anxiety onto my shoulders. I take my nine AM medicine. I struggle to stay awake throughout the day. I take my nine PM medicine, yet I still can’t sleep. I struggle with the way my medicine changes me. I am not the person that I was a year ago. That’s one of the worst parts. I know of life without chronic illness. I know what it feels like to be able to live my life without the side effects of medication that you cannot live without, and I know what it feels like to be able to not have the “What if I have a seizure here?” in the back of my mind.
It’s incredibly hard to go through a single day of my life without being extremely angry, not to mention depressed about the fact that I will never be healed. With the way the world stands right now, I am never going to be able to live normally again.
What I do take away from this, though, is a deeper care for others. When someone is acting strangely, or even just seems to be struggling, I want to help them. Living with chronic illness makes me realize that I need to be more patient with others. How am I to know what they’re dealing with? Living with chronic illness also teaches me not to be quick to judge. If someone is rude, I honestly, genuinely, wonder what has them feeling badly- knowing that my rudeness comes from my pain.
Having to live with chronic illness is something that I am not always thankful for- but it has taught me a lot about living in general that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. If I didn’t have epilepsy, I wouldn’t have empathy. If I didn’t have epilepsy, I wouldn’t be aware of how millions of people are living their daily lives. Epilepsy has taught me to try my hardest to be a nicer person- because you truly never know how someone who looks perfectly normal is feeling inside.