As a person with epilepsy it can become typical to require help from others, be it the need for a ride to the neurologist or grocery store for those of us who can’t drive, a partner to swim with to counter the fear of seizure related drowning, or moral support as we ride the emotional roller coaster that this condition can cause. It’s important for us (particularly stubbornly independent people like myself who despise asking for help) however to remember that not only do our friends, family and loved ones want to be there for us but that we can be there for them as well.
This past year I was asked to be in the bridal parties of not just one but two of my dear friends’ weddings. My best friend of nineteen years even asked me to be her Maid of Honor. I was so touched and filled with joy that I instantly said yes and within hours had already begun work on my Maid of Honor speech. I was so caught up in warm thoughts and was too busy reminiscing over our fond memories together that it wasn’t until late that night when the fearful thoughts began to arise. What started out as, “I can’t wait to celebrate this wonderful couple’s big day with them!” rapidly deteriorated to, “What if I ruin this wonderful couple’s big day?” “What if I seize during my speech or while standing up with them at the altar?” “What if a seizure puts me in the hospital and I can’t even make it to the wedding?” These are all questions the average person doesn’t have to worry about but people with epilepsy have to take these things into consideration. What we don’t need to do is let them control us. That is just what I did. I refused to let the fear I felt over power the love I hold for these friends.
Rather than let the worries take the lead, I made the choice to take the steering wheel. I continued writing my speech. I made a “How To Be A Kickass Maid of Honor” Pinterest Board. I went to dress fittings, planned and attended bridal showers and bachelorette events. I walked down the aisle and stood by my friends as they exchanged vows with their partners on each of their beautiful wedding days. I made my Maid of Honor speech. I had a blast with the other bridal party members, and I did it all without any epileptic episodes. Yes, the underlying worries were still there but I didn’t let them ruin anything. I trusted that even if something were to happen; if I were to fully seize at the altar or to start babbling nonsense from an aura during my speech that it would all be okay. Although I was there to support my friends on their wedding days, I knew they support me too, epilepsy and all, and I love them for it.