Posted in Blog

Unexpected – A Thank You Letter

Dear Mum,

I want to thank you.
Although we are no longer talking and although that was my decision, I will thank you regardless of our broken relationship.

Thank you for teaching me how to stand up for myself.
At the age of eight, you taught me to stand up for myself against the racist bullies (so I kicked them in the shin with my doc martins!), and now at the me at the age of 29, I am standing up to the everybody who is afraid of my Epilepsy and who refuses to understand the condition – just like you now.

Although I’d been having complex partial seizures for as long as we could remember, that was all before that final official diagnosis. We had no clue what they were. Remember that we thought it was all just migraines? Daydreaming? Absent-mindedness? Do you remember all those times you used to yell at me for leaving the tap running, yet I couldn’t even remember turning it on?

Thank you for teaching me how to fight against stigmatism. In your culture, Epilepsy is a sign of demonic possession; of course you could only assume the same when I randomly started having secondary generalised seizures.
When the doctors finally diagnosed me in 2014, we all thought that with prayer and medication, the end of my suffering would come. When that didn’t happen and my condition only deteriorated, that was when I lost you and I was left alone to fight this battle.
Thankfully moving to London gained me access to an amazing Epilepsy team, who could finally answer my questions and assure me that it wasn’t my fault that the medication wasn’t working. The journey had only just begun and it was frightening, dark and lonely – especially without my mum by my side.
This will sound incredibly strange, but I need to thank you for causing me that pain – for making me feel ostracised, a freak, a failure because we assumed that I must’ve done this to myself. Why else would this be happening to me and not to anybody else?
Because of you, I have learnt independence, resilience, and courage.
Because of you, I have learnt to cut myself some slack.
Because of you, I have learnt to let go of the past, treasure my present and hope for a future because I cannot be sure of what it holds for me.
And although you did try to reconcile, when you still proved that you hadn’t changed your own perceptions of my condition, I had to let you go.

Because of everything you’ve done, you’ve taught me that I must look after myself and that I must keep focused on my fight. Without you.

So thank you mum.

Love from your daughter

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

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