The Four Letter F Word

F E A R. It can absolutely paralyze you. It has paralyzed me.

I know we should not fear. I know Jesus teaches us to live by faith. Everyone tells me not to be afraid. But it is so easy to tell someone not to be afraid. I’m afraid that a brief moment of confusion is an oncoming seizure. I’m afraid that the loud echo of a stereo is actually an oncoming seizure. I’m afraid that the persistent beeping of registers in a store is actually a sound being created in my head indicating a seizure. I’m afraid that if something catches my eye, there might not be anything there and my world is about to shake violently. I’m afraid that when things suddenly slow down they are about to speed up very quickly. I’m afraid of another concussion. I’m afraid that people will be afraid to be around me because they will fear I will have a seizure in front of them. I’m afraid of having a seizure in public. I’m afraid parents won’t want their kids to come play with my children because they fear I can’t adequately supervise them.  I’m afraid that maybe I can’t adequately supervise them. I’m afraid the seizures will never stop. I’m afraid of going to sleep one night and being taken by epilepsy.

I am trying so hard. I know I am fortunate. I know it could be so much worse. I know there are so many other people dealing with far worse situations. I know I should be focusing on the things that are good and not the things to fear. I know what Jesus has taught us to have faith and not to fear. I hear what each of you are telling me. I’m trying, I really am. But this F E A R, right now it is just paralyzing.

© Copyright Gatewood Campbell, February 2014


Pressing On Through Frustration

I try really hard not to complain about my epilepsy, my brain injury and the complicated side effects of the five medications that I take everyday, but it is frustrating. It’s frustrating when I could depend on myself in the past and I can’t anymore. There is just so much that is different.

Last week I completely freaked out in my weight class when the instructor asked me to count how many people were there. I have trouble counting groups of anything because I can’t figure out how to group things in an order so that I will know what has been counted and what has not been counted. Short of asking everyone to stand up and then sit down after I point to them I was literally at a loss for what to do. I just tried to count the mats on the floor and then I added a few for good measure. I walked out of class wondering how I had turned into someone who is afraid to silently count people who aren’t even looking or talking to me. Bizarre.

I miss the human connection that I used to have. Sometimes it can be so hard. Conversations can be so strained and down right exhausting. My mind is slow and my speech is even slower. When I try to speak, the words don’t sound right coming out of my mouth so I repeat them. They still don’t sound right. So I slow my speech to pay attention to everything I’m saying, but they still sound wrong, so I repeat them again, and then I sound ridiculous.  Then I’m embarrassed and I quit trying. Sometimes I don’t understand what people are talking about so I can’t even enter the conversation. Years ago I could have.  Now I just stand silent.

It feels like forever since I’ve felt like myself. I’m not sure I know who that is anymore. When I make mistakes is it because I’m just getting a little older and trying to multi task too much or is it because of my brain injury and the side effects of the epilepsy medicine? Can I drop just one medicine that causes the worst side effects or is the risk of seizure too great? A seizure could be fatal. The risk is too great. I have to press on through the frustration.

I’m still learning. I’m still growing. I’m still trying to embrace my new me, my new world and my new normal. I’m trying really hard to like it. Some days are easier than others. Today was not an easy day.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, December 2011