The Future, by Caitlin McG
Epilepsy Future’s strap line is “an opportunity to see life differently”, and we chose it to capture what we hoped would be the experience of anyone taking part.
Our participants usually join us at a point in time where they are struggling with having no sense of direction, routine or self-belief, but feel ready to engage in a process of making change for themselves, and to become better at self-managing their epilepsy and their lives.
Many feel that epilepsy has robbed them of hope for the future and they see no way to move forward into a better future for themselves.
Over the last few weeks our sessions have been helping participants to spot their own negative automatic thinking patterns.
We have done this using the “Living life to the full” workbooks, and week by week we have tackled the impact of anxiety, low mood, low self confidence, and how we let others push our buttons.
These thoughts affect our emotions, making us angry, sad or afraid, which then causes us to have particular body sensations (getting sweaty, trembling, upset stomach, racing heart, headaches, etc).
Inevitably, these thoughts, feelings and emotions make us change our behaviour, and the cycle keeps on spinning.
If you become aware of your own “vicious cycle” you can begin to challenge those thoughts that come unbidden and upset your day. Spotting them, naming them, choosing not to believe them…all these methods can help you to stop the downward spiral of negative thoughts and moods.
We’ve also been lucky enough to have Emma and Erin coming in to lead the “Write to Recovery” sessions, and today’s topic was all about our thoughts and feelings about “The Future”
When you live with a condition like epilepsy, there is a lot of fear and anxiety about the future.
You are scared to make plans and social commitments because you feel afraid that you might have a seizure and spoil the event for everyone else
You may feel that your future was “stolen” from you by your diagnosis, as the career/identity/plan you had for yourself changes as you learn to adjust to a new reality.
We all shared our thoughts and feelings about how we stay positive and focussed, living with more contentment today so that we can let the future arrive in its own way.
Many people shared their written pieces and Caitlin wrote the following poem (picture above), which she gave permission to be shared.
Looking into the future,
to the person I know I can be,
makes my brain think positive,
And my mind run free.
Taking small steps from my past,
Slowly to something new.
Why not take the chance
To be a better you?
Let go of your past,
Get it off your chest.
Give yourself time to think,
And have a wee rest.
Sleep away all your horrible
Wake up with more space
For your happiness
to forever last.
Epilepsy Futures Coordinator