Epilepsy Awareness is important to me. Growing up, I never gave it much thought. It didn’t affect me directly, and it’s difficult to support something you have no experience with or know about. I was for spreading awareness for many causes, but only after I was personally diagnosed with Epilepsy, could I spread awareness with vigor for something I knew about personally.
Thank you to author Tonia Brown for allowing me to originally post a Writing and Epilepsy guest post on her blog The Backseat Writer! Check out the post below:
Writing and Epilepsy by Jaidis Shaw
I finally did it! I gave in and accepted the challenge of writing a guest post. Whew! You may be wondering why this is a big deal to me. Please let me explain. I am a ‘wanna-be author.’ I had never put a lot of thought into becoming an Author. I wrote what I loved, and it didn’t matter what others thought. That changed when English teachers began stroking my ego by telling me, “You’ll be a great Author someday.” I can remember the exact moment when I decided I wanted to be an Author. My English class had finished reading a boring book. We were asked to treat the book like a series and write a few chapters of the next book. This was the best kind of assignment. There was no right or wrong answer. It was me, blank paper and my trusty pen. Well pencil, the teacher and my pen kept having disagreements. Maybe Ms. Carmichael was jealous of my trusty pen? In any case, the teacher insisted I put my writing abilities to good use and become an Author. She had faith in me, and so, my love of writing and dreams of becoming an Author blossomed.
Four years later, I decided to give writing a real chance. I began working on a young adult fantasy novel, and things were headed in the right direction. Visions of book signings and book tours danced in my head. Of course, the Universe had different plans for me and tested my dedication to writing. I was soon diagnosed with Epilepsy. I set my writing aside as I tried to understand and adjust to this new condition. It took me a year to get comfortable with my new lifestyle. I was in my second year of college and what started out as an ordinary day turned into the most confusing and most difficult time in my life. I had a biology final exam, and I was confident I would pass. I waltzed into class and was getting prepared when I realized I had forgotten my pen. (My poor trusty pen sat all alone at home, wondering what it had done wrong to be left behind.) Thankfully, a friend beside me had an extra pen, and I started the task of completing my exam in record time. But, do you want to know what came to my mind instead of biology? Squiggles.
Seriously, the only thing I could think of was squiggles. They plagued my mind and attacked all biology related material that tried to pass through. Soon, the entire class had finished their exams and had left me alone as I sat drawing squiggles on my exam. It was six hours later when I woke from my squiggle induced darkness and found myself in the hospital. I had fallen victim to a Grand Mal seizure. Factually, it was several Grand Mal seizures, one every couple of minutes for six hours. It felt like I had a ‘Fried Brains’ neon sign alerting all zombies in the surrounding areas. Thankfully, the nearby zombies like their food raw, and I was saved from that terror. I am trying to discern if my fried brain will better my chances of survival during the upcoming zombie apocalypse or harm it.
Instead, I had to face the terror of learning how to speak again. I substituted simple words for each other and had no idea how to properly formulate a sentence. It was at that moment I realized I would probably never be an Author. How could I be an author when everything I learned from my English classes sat in a pile of ashes? I still had the desire to write but lacked confidence. Could I write something people would understand and enjoy? So, I stopped writing. I didn’t see the point in writing if I was too worried about what others thought of it to ever try and get it published. That was six years ago, and I have come to the realization that it doesn’t matter what people think of my writing. I am starting to write new and exciting adventures with my trusty pen. Oh how I missed you, trusty pen. I have a renewed sense of being.
As I bring this post to a close, I would like to encourage everyone to take a couple of moments and visit the Epilepsy Foundations website (epilepsyfoundation.org) to learn about Epilepsy, the effect it has on those who have Epilepsy and families and friends involved. If you ever visit my blog, Juniper Grove, you will notice I am an Epilepsy advocate. I am doing my part to bring Epilepsy awareness Out of the Shadows and into the light.
Please visit the Epilepsy Foundation today to learn more about epilepsy and how you can help!