The Mighty Logo

Facing the Unknown While Managing My Epilepsy During the COVID-19 Crisis

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

Join The Mighty’s Coronavirus group to connect with other Mighties living through the pandemic. Read the latest updates, share helpful tips, or give and receive virtual support.

Today it can be a struggle to define a reality that feels safe and predictable. Many of us are inside our houses waiting in fear and anxiety for the COVID-19 pandemic to run its course. The media floods us with death tolls and stories of doctors, nurses and other essential workers falling ill due to this surreal virus. I keep waking up stunned by the depth of the pain this time has brought us. This is not to say that all media coverage is negative, but positive events and outlooks are definitely not reported on as much as this tragedy.

I have found the unknown can be a narrow path if not approached with an invitation to ourselves to find opportunity and self-worth.

This time has been especially hard because I am having to advocate for my health over the needs of my workplace. I have epilepsy and stress has the potential to trigger seizures. I know these warning signs from my last seizure in 2017. During the process of working with a short-term disability absence from my job, I have had to navigate the unknown path with a mindset of opportunity and self-worth. This has helped me move into unknown territory with less fear.

I am not at home due to COVID-19 illness; instead, I am staying home to prevent triggers that may lead to a seizure. A leave of absence now seems like the right adjustment in my life. It will prevent a seizure, which could cost me my driver’s license and my independence for six-plus months. I am practicing proactive health and am completely OK with the resulting repercussions.

Sometimes the right thing to do is the hard thing.

Instead of viewing a lack of income as instability and failure, I am using this time for introspection. I am seeking territory outside of my comfort zone and my vision is becoming clearer. To move forward, I have to be open to living in the now and encourage both the good and bad experiences that come my way. How I react to these experiences is what shapes me. I gladly accept the challenges.

For those advocating and fighting for their health, career, families, loved ones, I see you. I am with you every step of the way.

I urge those experiencing challenges to view them as a promising departure from the normal. Instead of fearing these challenges, stop and notice what is happening. These external circumstances help us reflect, grow trust in the unknown, and find hope.

1. Notice when you find yourself in a familiar pattern and pause. You can only change what you are aware of. Are you restricting thoughts and feelings as they come through your door of consciousness?

2. Next, let yourself trust in the unknown. The key is to expand awareness of not knowing what your future will hold or how you will get there. Whatever your path may bring up for you is what will challenge you to create your future.

3. Finally, we find hope. We find it everywhere. In our imaginations, in nature and in small things that come to us in the moment.

If you feel comfortable sharing your experience thus far in the pandemic, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Please, let’s communicate our stories and be each other’s foundation — and inspiration — during this time!

For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community:

Originally published: June 4, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home