health

"I have to be on medication for the rest of my life."

It’s been more than a year since I was first diagnosed with epilepsy.

When I was first diagnosed,  I cried for a really long time. I didn’t even quite know why I was crying.

To be honest, I didn’t have the slightest idea what epilepsy was. The only experience I’d had with the condition was learning how to spell the difference between epileptic and ecliptic.

I also felt – unjustifiably, I should say – that there was a huge amount of stigma around being an epileptic. I hated having to wear that label.

Eventually though, I stopped crying. I know, it seems like an over-reaction, but let’s just say the whole diagnosis was a tad shocking.

Here are some really ace people who have been diagnosed with epilepsy. (Post continues after gallery.)

I was able to learn more about my condition (epilepsy is actually really diverse and interesting when you get you know it. I was diagnosed with absence epilepsy). I still don’t know exactly why I have it, but that’s okay. My neurologist was able to get me started on medication and life continued on pretty smoothly.

I say pretty smoothly because the period of time where one goes from never being on medication to always being on medication can, for many people, be a bloody nightmare. And, that’s an understatement.

But I prevailed. My body got used to it and I got used to it and medication just became part of my day.

My medication helps out my brain cells that work too hard during seizures, and ultimately, has eliminated (or come really close to) eliminating the seizures that I have. I’m fortunate to have access to medication, to have the financial means to continue buying it ( because let me tell you, it’s not exactly cheap), and I’m fortunate that I can speak openly about it.

Medication is the best option for me. I know it is.

It works for me. I know it does and I know it’s the best option for me.

But that hasn’t stopped me waking up and feeling like a little part of me failed because every morning, I now have to take my little pills.

Every morning, as soon as I finish my breakfast, I must go and get my medication from the white shelf where it lives. Every morning, I take out two pills, cutting one in half with a slicer gadget thing. Every morning, I get my water and swallow the pills.

I repeat the process once again at night.

I do and repeat.

I’ve done that for every morning and night for the past year. And, I will do that for every morning and every night to come.

I do and repeat this same medication ritual because it’s the only thing that gets my body to work the way its meant to.

I depend on my medication. Just to function.

I depend on my medication for my brain just to function like it should.

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I depend on it. I actually depend on something to keep me doing things right.

And, that’s where I feel I have failed. Myself and my body failed to do one of the very simple things it should. It failed.

I can’t control my own brain and that is an incredibly painful thing to know.

I couldn’t quite put this into words until I watched this brutally honest scene on Josh Thomas’s show, Please Like Me. 

Basically, the character of Hannah was on anti-depressant medication and she had decided to take her herself off it. When she stopped taking the medication, Hannah went back to self-harming. She went back to her pre-medication life.

Before you read any further, just watch it. It’s worth your while.

Video via ABC

Right at the end, Hannah says:

“It just really hurts to know that I need to take pills simply to function. Really painful.”

And, that’s it.

I completely understand that that anti-depressant medication is different from anti-epileptic medication.

But: what is the same is knowing that you rely on a little tiny pill simply to function. Regardless of what condition you are on medication on for, it is painful just to know this.

It’s painful to know that you can work so hard to be in control, and yet the one thing you can’t be in control of is your body.

Knowing that if I stop taking my medication my brain cells will go back to having parties is painful. It’s painful to know that for now, medication is part of my life and it’s not going to stop in the very near future.

Most of all, it’s painful to know that despite all of this – despite all this knowledge – medication is the very best thing for me and I just have to accept it.

Have you ever felt this way about taking medication? 

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