Epilepsia (n.)

occult-emoji-imgArt by @occult_emoji

A job application recently asked me to write a personal story. Thought I’d share here.

1) Instead of writing a cover letter, please tell us about yourself in a short essay. The essay can be about anything. Here are our only guidelines: Be creative and weird and show us as much realness as possible so we can get to know YOU

My personal health journey began in 5th grade, the year I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. Neurologists would poke, pry, scan and test to see why the medicines, or “cocktails” in medical terms, weren’t working. I was still having seizures a couple times a month, which started to feel like the least of my worries, since the cocktails caused so many strange side effects. Ever heard of scrolling double vision? I hadn’t either. It’s challenging to fill in multiple choice bubbles when you’re seeing double and the semblance of a skewed reality is also scrolling up and down.

Needless to say, I hit a low at age eleven. I remember one day, I stayed home from school because I was tired, and at that point my parents were convinced by that minimal argument. That day, I cracked an egg and the yolk broke apart to make an unmistakeable smiley face. I then went outside and picked up a piece of gravel that looked like a perfect heart. I could feel that the question that was weighing on my heart, “Will I be okay?” was being answered. It was a sign, it had to be. I could be happy, I wanted to be, and and my seizures didn’t define me.

Releasing the anger I felt towards Epilepsy, empowered me to change the state of my health, furiously researching about raw foods, natural remedies, and other alternatives to medication. For Christmas the following year, I asked my parents for two books; The Complete Book of Raw Food, and Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. I obsessively watched youtube videos about how to make Kale Salad, Raw Zucchini Spaghetti, and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce. For Thanksgiving, I contributed a raw apple pie made of walnuts, dates, and apples, like a fancy Lara Bar. It was a hit! My cautious parents then let me make a full raw meal but much to my disappointment everyone had the worst stomach ache and was keeled over on the couch after eating. I learned there’s a time and place for cooking.

Though I was determined, I didn’t end up going raw but my fascination with natural healthcare continued. Flash forward to college. My medicinal cocktail was finally working and thankfully continues to into the present—I’ve been seizure free for almost six years. Though I didn’t cut out all western medicine, I adopted yoga, went on a life-changing silent meditation retreat, and most importantly, learned to listen to the “wisdom of my body,” according to the meditation lady I worked for.

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