I feel like epilepsy is now just one of the many facets of myself. But it’s been quite the journey because for a while epilepsy was all consuming. And so now, just like I am a mother, a wife, a journalist and a friend, I am also a woman living with epilepsy. It’s just one of the many things that make up my life.
Once I got married and had children, my world broadened and things weren’t just about me anymore, they were all about my kids. Children have such a refreshing way of changing your perspective on things. You start to see the world in a much bigger way and see what other people are going through. You’re able to deal with your own challenges in a much better way when you have compassion for other people and what they’re going through. I feel because of this, I have a lot more compassion; and especially as a journalist, I’m able to pull stories out of people and see those stories in a much different way.
Before developing epilepsy I was very tough on myself. Like I needed everything to be absolutely perfect. Now I’ve just learned to let a lot more slide.
For the first two years of my diagnosis I was very much in a fog, and being in a creative industry I needed to use my brain. I would find myself forgetting names in a boardroom meeting. When I finally got out of that fog I thought, how can I use this as a force for good?
I learned my limitations; like needing to get the right amount of sleep, practicing positive affirmations and watching my stress levels. Media is a very high stress environment, but I’m so glad I didn’t stop and I pushed through – everyone has their own pace and if you need to stop for a while, that’s okay. I’ve found a way to manage and control my stress. I’ve found a way to center me and control my outcome so that my epilepsy doesn’t affect my professional career.
We often feel like we’re defined by our circumstances. But we are not because circumstances can change at any given moment. It’s the things that you are responsible for – like your accomplishments, your dreams, your passions – those are what define you and I think it’s really important to keep that in mind.
Epilepsy is not a defining element of myself. I have epilepsy but epilepsy does not have me.
*stories have been condensed and edited
For more on Meera’s personal story, read her article in Chatelaine! https://www.chatelaine.com/living/real-life-stories/how-i-learned-to-live-with-epilepsy/