A Break-Up Letter To Epilepsy, And To My Seizures

Is there a name for missing your disease? Stockholm syndrome is the closest thing I can think of, off the top of my head. I could Google it, but wouldn’t that be squashing the curiosity?

I like the unanswered question.

When I was 8, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I had over 100 seizures every day. Due to my blank stares and brown skin, teachers thought I didn’t know English, and stuck me in ESL classes. My dad punished me because he thought I was doing it “for attention.” My classmates thought it was a funny act of rebellion and copied me. They stared into space, slouched over, and pretended to be confused when the teacher asked a question. The only time my seizures weren’t funny was during gym class, when my random slouching meant dropped passes and lost points.

“What’s a seizure like?” I receive this question every so often. It’s like the condensed power of 1,000 orgasms. You see God with such clarity. The universe with such clarity. All of its demons and angels spill over your brain like someone reached inside your skull and decided to crack an egg.

When I started taking the anticonvulsants, the seizures tried to get out of the locked door doctors were shoving them behind.

I should, then, write a last love letter to my seizures. They aren’t coming back. From their point of view, I kicked them out. From my point of view, they were too overt. Too controlling. If the seizures had let me live my life and get good grades and score points in basketball, and if they only came to me in secret, then we could have continued our relationship.

But the seizures don’t see things that way, and I don’t think they will ever come back.

Writing a letter is a good way to provide closure. Maybe I should write a letter, one last goodbye to my beautiful relationship with the rejected part of my brain.

Dear Cuts,

I called you ‘cuts’ because I didn’t like the term ‘seizures.’ It’s a medical term. It was not personal. What you did was put my consciousness on hold as you took over. ‘Spacing out’ wasn’t right, either. That’s what my mom called you. That was from her perspective.

This is going to be from my perspective. You cut into my mind, and into my time. You’re the Cut.

Before you arrived, I was in the middle of a custody battle. I was shuttled back and forth between my aunts, my grandparents, and my mom. I felt like the world was playing a game of hot potato, and I was the poor spud. Then you came along and showed me images no one else could see. You were a voice above all the other voices.

My parents, my teachers — they all became aware that I was listening to a higher power. I stopped believing in their systems. You showed me pictures of places I had never seen. You stretched the entire universe out on a canvas and said: This is how it works. You gave me technicolor dreams.

I have to apologize to you. The doctors made me take those pills. I’ll never be able to explain this to you, and I’m not satisfied with my own answers. They were threatening to cut out a piece of my brain if the ‘seizures’ didn’t stop. They weren’t going to let me go to school anymore. They said terrifying things.

All of the movies about girls with seizures showed a girl possessed, or a girl willing to die for her beliefs. I wasn’t Joan of Arc. I took the pills and silenced the gods in my head. I didn’t want to do it. I was a coward, I guess — I can’t blame you for abandoning a coward. Maybe you slipped into another person’s mind . . . a stronger person. A brave, valiant girl who right now is doing better things to improve the world.

I still think about you late at night. I knock on that locked door in my mind and wonder if you’re still on the other side. I’d like to be able to meet, as friends, but not get too involved. It never seems to work out.

I hope you understand, and you are appreciated. You are appreciated.

Love, me. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Tim Roth

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