The amount of kind words and praise for my mothering makes me feel like I'm not getting the true picture of my life across in this blog. As I'm typing, Seth is crying in the dark garage for the 2nd or 3rd time tonight (probably won't be his last) because he has gotten out of his bed AGAIN. I've spanked him today, too. And yelled. And put myself in time out. I want to make sure a balanced view of my life is being portrayed here.
I'm still learning a lot. I was most surprised today to hear from multiple people who are unaware of the social stigmas surrounding epilepsy. I'm so grateful for that! I hope I'm in a minority of [previously] ignorant people. I am grateful for a few people who have shared their epilepsy stories, most of which were new to me. Another important thing I learned today is that, "Epilepsy stereotypes exist because people with reasonably well-controlled epilepsy often don't talk about their seizure disorder or reveal it to their friends and co-workers out of fear of repercussions or epilepsy stigma. 'It's the people who have the most severe, poorly controlled epilepsy who define these epilepsy stereotypes because they more obviously represent the condition.'"1 The more people share their stories, the fewer exaggerated and incorrect stereotypes.
Today I had to reflect on why I have this stigma in my mind. I believe it came from one particular person I knew who had epilepsy. This person struggled academically and socially, and I assumed it was because of the epilepsy. With me being young at the time and that being my first experience with epilepsy, it stuck--even though everyone I've met with epilepsy since then has not struggled in those same ways. As I met more people with epilepsy I merely adjusted my thinking from "People with epilepsy are affected mentally" to "People with epilepsy CAN be affected mentally," and that's what I honestly believed until yesterday. I
I'm copying from this article1: https://www.everydayhealth.com/epilepsy/overcoming-the-stigma-of-epilepsy.aspx
"The most prominent epilepsy stereotype is that epilepsy is a mental illness... In actuality, individuals with epilepsy do not have a mental illness derived from their seizure disorder. However, people with epilepsy are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and illnesses pertaining to low self-esteem."
Other epilepsy stereotypes include the following:
Epilepsy stigma: Epilepsy is associated with neurological disabilities, such as developmental delay.
Epilepsy truth: "The majority of people who have seizure disorders do not have neurological disabilities," Dr. Haltiner says.
Epilepsy stigma: People with epilepsy are violent.
Epilepsy truth: "During a seizure, a person may appear frightened, confused, angry, or combative, but violent behaviors are not associated with epilepsy," Patternak says.
Epilepsy stigma: People with epilepsy cannot hold a job.
Epilepsy truth: "Although some individuals may have restrictions - such as driving, lifting heavy objects, or climbing ladders - many people with epilepsy are able to successfully work," Patternak says.
I'm still trying to figure Evan out, but now I've learned that if he has social or developmental delays, it's not because of epilepsy. Thanks for helping me learn that. It's a lot less scary now that I know the truth.