Finding Support in Community
Hello again! Today I wanted to talk about the importance of community in epilepsy. I've mentioned before that I grew up being the only person I knew with epilepsy. That was a really isolating experience for me growing up but I don't think I realised how isolating it was until I found others going through the same as me.
I have recently been welcomed into an epilepsy group where we can just share experiences, chat, have fun, and for an hour a week I can feel "normal". At least I don't feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. And if I do, it's because I'm me and I'm a little bit bonkers and not because of my epilepsy. I've loved discovering this little community and they've made me feel so welcome. I thought I didn't need to know other people with epilepsy. I didn't need to be part of a community because I had this epilepsy thing down, I'd been doing it for so long. And then I met other people, and I spoke to other people, and it felt wonderful to feel truly heard. Because these weren't just words. Other people knew what it was like to have days like that. Other people I was speaking to regularly had worse days and I counted myself blessed to have met them and to know them.
And this doesn't just apply to the community of people who I saw their faces, even if it was still online (Thanks Covid!) I discovered a community of people online, on social media who also understood, who I found I could learn from. I found I was able to be a part of conversations full of people from all kinds of backgrounds with all kinds of epilepsy and we could share our experiences, with this I discovered an ability to laugh at myself and occasionally find the humour in my epilepsy which was very helpful and therapeutic for me! This was mainly in the form of epilepsy-related memes which I didn't know existed until recently.
Before I found a community around me of people who had epilepsy, I had one other community that helped me cope with my epilepsy. Having other Christians to talk things through with was always helpful. I know that even though I have to explain things, and people maybe don't "get" it quite to the same degree, they are seeing the world with the same faith-filled outlook on life and are therefore able to help and support me. My Christian friends and family have been amazing supports to me and have always been there for me when I needed them, and are always willing to pray for me when I'm going through a tough time. And even when I'm not.
I love them dearly and am
so grateful to have that community to lean on as well as the new ones I'm
finding myself a part of.