If we don’t change and move with the times and the circumstances then what happens to us? Are we afraid of change or afraid that nothing will change? I’ve been pondering that for a while now. Are the habits hard to break because subconsciously we don’t want to break them? If we break a habit then it will inevitably be replaced by something else, so is it better the habit we know or the habit we don’t? Does it not stand to reason though that not changing something which causes us pain and unhappiness, in whatever form, is a treacherous road to travel? What would be lost by turning away and travelling a different road?
I’ve asked myself all these questions and more, not just through my battles with epilepsy, but increasingly in other areas of my life as I’ve grown older. I used to accept, almost unconditionally, what the medical profession told me. At least to the outside world I did. I was a product of my roots and I did as I was told. Inwardly, there were always, and still are, questions. Questions that need answers. Over the years, epilepsy has caused me immense pain. The physical is more or less, short term pain, but the mental anguish can and does last a lot longer. That’s not unique to epilepsy though. Physical scars fade over time, mental scars are harder to fade because we have the ability to replay the scene over and over and over. So, it’s like picking at a scab, if you keep scratching it won’t heal and when it does finally close, it doesn’t heal cleanly. It becomes a habit to keep picking over what has been.
So, if we recognise that groove, why is it so difficult to change the record and play a different tune? I accepted what I was told for different reasons I think. Firstly, I believed the medical profession knew best; secondly I was never really encouraged to ask questions; thirdly and probably most importantly, I was terrified of what the answers might be. I suspect the last was the reason why others never encouraged me to question, they were scared of the answers too. Acceptance became a habit for me. I don’t think I realised that until relatively recently. Not just in the arena of my health, but in the field of life.
In a way, it was easier to accept, than it was to listen to my soul and to break out. I conformed to expectations. Habitually. I wanted to give that up, but found it hard to break the pattern. Not long after I had my first fit, I remember crying rivers because I was confused and scared by what had happened to me and the subsequent battery of tests I had to go through. Apparently, that was pathetic and not something that was going to be tolerated. I was used to being stitched up in hospitals for obvious injuries, but I’d never had to deal with something I couldn’t see. It was obvious I wasn’t meant to voice fear, so I internalised everything. Not just what was happening to me in terms of epilepsy, but what was happening to me in terms of life. I was 15.
Habitual acceptance made me feel like half a person. It’s not something can be changed over night and I battle hard every single day to question. I get it wrong sometimes, well probably a lot of the time! I grill those and that which needs no further explanation and I often don’t question what it might be hard to hear the answer to. I’m finding it a helluva lot easier to give up sugar! But I know in my soul, that the way forward is to change, however slowly, the deep-rooted mindsets that have overgrown me over time. It isn’t easy, but as they say, nothing worthwhile is. Sometimes, the answers aren’t the ones hoped for. Yet, if you’ve asked the questions, gathered the available answers, then you have a base to be able to choose the next step from. You know what you’re truly dealing with, not what the unquestioning mind has put before you.
Turning down a different path requires courage. What is lost is comfort, but what could be gained is immense. Comfort zone can dull the senses, but turning down a different path, whether it be along a gentle curve or around a sharp corner can be like opening the window in a musty room and letting the fresh air wash in and replace the staleness. A revitalisation of the soul.