COPING WITH THE UNCERTAINTIES OF SEIZURES AND EPILEPSY: THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING

In all chronic conditions there is a need to “be realistic” and a problem in defining “reality” and in accepting it. One of the most difficult realities of epilepsy is that no one can predict when and where (or even if) a next seizure will occur. This is “the uncertainty factor.” It is this uncertainty factor that differentiates epilepsy from most other chronic conditions. It is this uncertainty factor that is most disturbing to older children with epilepsy as well as to their parents. “Could I have a seizure while crossing the street?” “Is it all right for me to go to school today, or will I be embarrassed by another one of those things?” “Suppose he goes to the prom and has a seizure?” Uncertainty leads to anxiety and worry. Coping with anxiety is the principal task for a parent of a child with epilepsy. Worry must be contained. It cannot be allowed to permeate every waking moment of your life. It cannot be allowed to be the master, dictating overprotection of your child.But how can worry and anxiety be contained? It’s useless to be told not to worry. You need to be helped to see the reality of your child’s epilepsy. For some, that reality may be a few seizures, likely to be controlled, and epilepsy that eventually disappears. For other parents, the reality may be continuing seizures or retardation or other disabilities. No one can predict with absolute certainty what the future holds for a child with epilepsy, any more than we can predict with certainty what the future holds for a child without epilepsy.It is the lack of ability to influence the future that can be the most disturbing to people with epilepsy and to their loved ones.*188\208\8*

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