Epilepsy and Decisions…

I’m not very good at making decisions. I am very good at telling others what I think they should do though. There is a school of thought that to make decisions you need to toss a coin, because before the coin lands you already know which side you want it to land on. I’ve never had the courage to actually do it, because I’m scared I’ll find out that I really do need to walk the walk and not just write the blog.

So, I was meeting my brother for lunch one day many many years ago. I knew I felt strange walking along the street, but I didn’t attribute it to anything. It’s only many years later that I know it was a sign. I never made it to lunch. I did make it to hospital. I have no recollection at all of what happened. I don’t even remember being in hospital. I do remember my brother asking me not to listen to my voicemail. Well as soon as he says something like that, of course I’m going to listen to it!! There were an awful lot of expletives, something about me wasting his time and a lot about what he thought of me. As it turned out he was standing just down the street from where the paramedics were trying to get someone into an ambulance. He had no idea I was the someone.

Recalling that little anecdote makes me think about the number of times I’ve been angry, hurt or upset without really knowing the full set of circumstances. My brother couldn’t have known that I’d have a fit in the centre of the city on a mid-week lunchtime. He was miffed because in his eyes, I’d just stood him up. Something I’ve never, ever done without telling him I’m going to do it! Maybe I need to step back a little and give a person time to explain their actions rather than jumping immediately to the wrong conclusion.

Anyway, I digress.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my jigsaw lately. I’ve established 4 corner pieces (I decided that my jigsaw is rectangular rather than round…). I think of my 4 corner pieces as Health, Friends/family, Significant Other and Joy. Yours can be whatever you want them to be. The corner pieces are in place, but I’ve not built on each of them equally. Joy wasn’t always a word I associated with my life. It’s a relatively new term for me and I had to turn the piece over many times before I became comfortable with it. It seemed like a bit of a religious term to me and I’m not religious so it didn’t really sit right with me. My acupuncturist used it several times during my treatments. He used it, as I recognise now, as it should be used, as a description of pleasure and happiness. It represents the flip side of my battle with health, or more specifically epilepsy. My life isn’t awesome, but it’s not that bad. The non-decisions I’ve made in my life, have got me to this point as much as my choices have.

If you bury your head in the sand you leave your ass exposed. I pretend everything is ok when it’s not and I try to ignore issues that arise. I find it hard to make decisions. I could write a list of pros and cons, but I know I would always lean towards the easy answer. Its a complete cop-out, I know. I’ve had some spectacular times in my life and they’ve always come when I’ve pressed the “f**k it” button. The older I’ve got the more scared I am to press that button. It’s there in front of me, but the “what if’s?” are screaming so loud. Making decisions often mean I have to introduce new people into my life. Be they decorators, electricians, bankers, travel agents whoever. New people scare me. Maybe it’s because in my formative years, new people always brought bad news. New people, new situations, new surroundings. I’m terrified of them all. But I look at my jigsaw and I see years of blah. I don’t want to look back, when the time comes, and see a life of blah. I want to look back and see a life of hell yeah! To do that I need to be brave.

I use the excuse “I can’t afford to…” a lot. But the real question is “Can I afford not to….?”

On one hand there’s a life of blah. Safe, secure, good but not awesome. On the other hand there’s a life of fantastic. The difference? Choices. Sounds easy doesn’t it? What’s the problem? Take chances. Be daring. Live the life of adventure. If only. What if I have a fit in the middle of nowhere? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I don’t have enough of a pension? What if? What if? What if? It would be so very easy to say that my life of indecision is because I have epilepsy. That would be easy but untrue. Epilepsy is actually one of the reasons I’ve done as much as I have. I take heart from that. I take heart from the hope that this blog raises the awareness that a diagnosis of epilepsy isn’t the end of the world. I hope it also shows that we all have a life to lead and choices to make regardless of any medical, gender, or race-related situation.

I find decisions hard to make, true. But I live in constant hope I’ll find my joy. Maybe I should start flipping a few coins…

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