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3 Reasons to Be Proud of Having Epilepsy

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Do I have your attention?  You may be thinking, “who the heck is proud of this condition?” Well, my friends, after decades of hiding it, I’ve realized my venture into the bright world of being open about my epilepsy not only sets me free, it also gives me pride. Even though I may get the occasional blank stares and tongue-tied embarrassment from those I tell for the first time, most are amazed. And this is where my pride begins. After all:

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1) Having epilepsy is a challenge most others don’t have to face. Regardless of how easily I’m able to live with it, others believe (sadly, right most times), that it’s extremely difficult. And it can be for many of us, but with the admirable character we’ve had to summon, we can be heroes.  Be proud.

2) I have the chance to show them I’m no different than others. Some people have a pre-set picture in their minds of what “an epileptic” might look like. There are all kinds of us, though! And we can be proud.

3) I’ve been given an opportunity to represent a cause. I have been born with a condition worth fighting for — something important. Our voices can be critical to helping people with epilepsy feel less stigmatized, doing away with the preconceptions those without epilepsy may have about who we are and joining the fight for better treatments, even cures for our condition.

I admit I may appear a bit of a Pollyanna, a cheerleader for what having epilepsy can be for you. Believe me, I know there are challenges beyond the epilepsy itself that the world throws at us. We not only may have heartbreaking interpersonal difficulties, but we may have problems getting around if not able to drive, employment issues stressing our resources, and other challenges such as depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, we persist. We are brave. And I believe if we take on a perspective filled with pride, we can make a difference.

Rock on.

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Originally published: June 7, 2017
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