Let me preface this by saying that this is my first writing that is not directly related to my epilepsy. I created this blog to write about it, but I felt that there was so much more to my life that isn’t just my condition. I think that it is all-encompassing, but not defining. Most aspects of my life are somehow affected by having epilepsy and that’s a reality that has taken years to accept. If you don’t live with or know someone with a chronic condition, this may seem silly. But when I say epilepsy effects almost every aspect of my life, I’m not being dramatic. In big ways and in small ways, my life is unique in the fact that having a seizure is in the back of my mind.

So with that in mind, I’ll explain just how the last year has been. In September of last year, someone from my past was in an unfortunate accident. For their privacy, I won’t go into major details. I will say that it was the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I missed a week of work, stayed up countless nights, but it turned out alright in the end. It made me reevaluate a variety of things. Life, opportunity, fate, and mostly, the way we treat others. This person and I had not spoken for a long time, ending things on fairly bad terms. When this happened, I forgot about it all. Every sour conversation and every fight.

But as the shock of it wore off, I remembered vividly. It made me remember every ill-spirited thing I had said, all the times I regretted, the ways people hurt each other without thinking. I felt disgusted and sad and honestly, wanted to erase it all. I wanted to forget it and shove it back into the foggy files of my brain. I couldn’t though. I couldn’t forget and it kept me up at night, furthering my health down a spiral that had began when the accident happened. I had to go through it all and figure out how I truly felt. Over the course of several months, I realized something I had been avoiding. There is no erase button. My memory is not great, whether it be the years of uncontrolled seizures or the medication I have taken, it doesn’t really matter. But I had to accept the fact that although I don’t remember things I’ve said sometimes, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

We push things aside, feelings, memories, experiences, and people. All the time, we let things roll off our backs, minimize things, make excuses for our actions, or lack of actions. It’s embarrassing to say, but it took almost losing someone I know and cared for to come back to the reality that we can’t just forget the past. It’s painful and ugly sometimes, the memories we push away, the experiences we care to forget. But there is no reset button. No backspace, we must use the cards we’re dealt and play on. We can’t forget the bad hands, even if we eventually get a lucky one.

The stress of the last year took a tole on me. There was more, family issues, money stress, relationship problems, missed work, pushed off school. In retrospect, it was all somehow connected. A domino effect of stress creating more stress. I feel lucky now, to be in a better place, my health is improving, I’m making smarter choices, I’m surrounded by people who lift me up. Things aren’t perfect and that’s okay. It’s cliche, but they never will be perfect. I’m accepting that I will make mistakes, I will say things I don’t think through, I will leave things on sour notes sometimes, and I can’t spend my life ignoring it or punishing myself for it. There is freedom in forgiveness. Whether it’s forgiving those who have hurt you or forgiving yourself for your own mistakes. There is no way to truly move forward if you can’t accept the past and forgive.

I’m not saying this to excuse myself, have a pity party, or let myself off the hook. Self improvement is ever-shifting, refocusing, and getting yourself back on track. Failure and mistakes are inevitable. They will happen all the time. That’s okay and you can forgive, others and yourself.

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