It seems fitting for me to write about love in the time of epilepsy this week as over the weekend my partner Andy and I celebrated four years of being in a loving relationship. Fittingly, while we were enjoying a lovely day at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, I suffered a pretty serious aura, which Andy supported me through as he always does. One would think a serious aura, complete with blacking out and my babbling nonsense for close to ten minutes with Andy having to leave behind a slightly overpriced veggie burger to tend to me would put a serious damper on a romantic weekend away, and I’ll be honest with you, it did bum me out for a bit, but it was also symbolic, a reminder of how lucky I am to have found someone so loving and supportive. I’m here to tell you that you can find this level of love too.
There was a period of time where I thought I would be single forever. When I first started having seizures I saw myself as damaged goods and found myself thinking, “Who could ever want to be with someone so broken?” The real problem was not that I had seizures however, but how the seizures made me feel about myself. I didn’t love myself back then but with hard work, patience and self-compassion over several years I learned to love myself for who I am, epilepsy and all. It was then that I met Andy and despite my acceptance of epilepsy being a part of what makes me unique, I was still terrified to tell him about my condition. I was surprised however with the level of support he gave when I did decide to tell him and the support he continues to offer me each day.
He loves me on my best days and even when I look like this… Because of Andy I’ve been able to accomplish so many things that I thought I could no longer do as someone with epilepsy. Together we have backpacked across Europe, we’ve hiked mountains, sailed boats, we’ve ridden roller coasters and stayed on remote islands, we’ve even been struck by a car and miraculously suffered only minor injuries. With him, I feel safe and supported, like anything is possible.
If you have epilepsy or a chronic condition that makes you feel like you are not worthy of love. I want you to know that you are. Love is out there for you. You are a unique individual, deserving of love and support, worthy of romance.
The best advice I can give to aid you on the path to finding true love is to begin by finding compassion for yourself. Acknowledge that epilepsy makes you unique, not broken, learn to love yourself and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Put love out into the world, take risks remain hopeful and soon love will find you.
I find mantras to be really helpful. If you find yourself in a dark place, feeling undeserving of love for any reason, try this mantra on for size. Take five minutes each morning to look in the mirror and repeat to yourself…
I am unique
I am strong
I love myself
And I am worthy of love