Requested by @aus10
Well, this is an interesting list request to stumble upon at 2am when I can't sleep! (PSA: Starbucks at 8pm, horrible idea, even though it was FREE!)
  1. The first thing that popped into my head was more a disappointing feeling rather than a specific day!
  2. The disappointing feeling of realizing, "I am different. I do not fit in."
  3. I can't pinpoint the exact event or moment when I started feeling it but it was around the age of 8 or 9.
  4. My parents took me to a neurologist because I had some symptoms including "daydreaming" or "spacing out", facial distortions, and other symptoms I won't bore you with.
  5. So, a few MRIs and sleep studies later I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, specifically Petit mal seizures.
  6. Big picture: not that big of a deal!
    Try some meds until we found one that worked, come up with a plan with nurses and teachers for if I have seizures at school or on the bus, go to monthly then eventually semi-annual doctor's appointments, and sleep studies (ugh the sleep studies).
  7. In fact in the US, an estimated 48 in every 100,000 will develop epilepsy.
  8. I know now and I knew then that I was fortunate to have hard working parents who could provide medical insurance, take time off work to take me to appointments, and the emotional support they thought I needed.
  9. My mom went into overprotective, logical freak out mode which in a way did impact my childhood!
    I didn't really do sleepovers for the first few years because what if I had a seizure? Didn't go to dances in grade school because what if the lights caused a seizure?
  10. My dad worked at a hospital (and still does-he'll retire as a social worker in 21 months 🙂) and thought going to a support group and functions with other kids, diagnosed with epilepsy, would help me cope.
    Seems like a logical idea right? Well, keep in mind that there are a wide range of seizure disorders with visible and non-visible symptoms. Basically to 11 year old me, I was devastated. This scared me more than help me cope.
  11. I honestly believe my parents really did everything they genuinely thought was best for me. They're humans trying to figure life out as they go too!
  12. Looking back, did some things suck? Yes!
    Being made fun of by older kids because in small schools news of the weird girl spreads fast- Not Awesome! Having some embarrassing episodes of having seizures at school(usually triggered by those damn fluorescent tube lights) - Not Awesome! Picking glue out of my hair for a week after each sleep study- not Awesome! My younger sister telling me my parents "pretended to love me more because I had epilepsy"- Not Awesome!
  13. By 17 I was seizure free and essentially grew out of it!
    I had my driver's license by 18 and didn't have to go through all of the Drivers Ed classes- my Dad taught me to drive in the college stadium parking lot near our house.
  14. In writing this and even reflecting on and working through it throughout the years, I feel a sense of guilt because having epilepsy as a kid is NOT one of the worst most disappointing things that can happen.
  15. In fact, I probably read a list on here every other day about someone overcoming or enduring something much more challenging.
  16. But, everyone has their "thing" that starts to shape them as an adolescent. This was that "thing" that shaped preteen and teen me.
  17. That disappointing feeling of, "I am different. I don't fit in", still tries to creep into my brain sometimes, but I can cope with it.
  18. I was strong enough to get through my "thing" and I am fortunate to have had a supportive family.
    I'm still a work in progress like everyone else.
  19. I fight, in one way or another, everyday to educate parents and coworkers of how much the events and experiences that kids go through in their adolescences and our reactions, as the adults in their lives, are going to shape who they are.
  20. Thanks for the request @aus10 - not sure if this is what you were hoping for but this is what you're getting! It was quite cathartic for me so Thanks I guess!? 🙂