I started driving at a very young age. Started off with quads and a dirt bike and then got my license the second I was eligible to do so. My dirt bike was only for a summer until it magically went missing (cough mom cough). I loved driving and still do love it. It was my source of freedom, excitement and power. Driving meant I could go absolutely anywhere I wanted and as fast as I wanted with distance never being a restriction. I connected it with a way to get the most out of life. It was also a huge source of joy and excitement for me.
When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy I lied to my neurologist so I could continue to drive. It was more than not being able to drive; it was accepting that epilepsy would restrict my life, especially this substantially. I refused to do so. In your early 20s, you do not want to be different then your peers! I will explain in another blog why this was especially hard for me as epilepsy brought me a lot of rejection in my vulnerable high school days. So, I continued to drive and put myself and everyone else on the road in danger.
When I finally told my neurologist I was still having seizures (I think I was 23 at the time), I felt like I was a criminal turning myself into the police for constantly drunk driving or something and I was waiting for a horrific sentence in jail. After being told my license was revoked, I uncontrollable balled my eyes out my whole drive home. I still can’t help but resents my neurologist for being the instigator of this as I am unable to get a license that isn’t expired and walk around with my passport instead. It took me two years until I accepted that driving may not be in my near future and sold my car. This was also an extremely emotional experience.
The idea behind not driving is so much more than one would think. It restricts you in what you can do and accomplish and forces you to depend on others. It is a huge power grab and can make you feel hopeless. Sometimes the not driving part feels more restrictive than the actual seizures. However, this is a restriction that I had to accept. I wonder what my limitations will be when I have kids and then I am a mother who cannot drive their kids to their soccer practices like every other mother. What kind of restrictions or maybe even resentment would it give my children?
Now I ask myself not only if I will get to drive again but if I want to? Do I want to risk it? What happens when I start driving and am bombarded with happiness because of it and then I have one seizure and am heart broken again? I could easily forget to take my medication one day. I feel like that is setting myself up for a great amount of disappointment and almost tragedy. What happens if the seizure happens while Im driving? Is all this really worth the risk? But, do I really have to accept the fact I might NEVER drive again?! I don’t think I can do that. It puts me in such a state of confusion. I just take it day by day.
What has gotten me through this is by realizing that not driving has brought me so much in disguise. It has saved me so much money it is insane, taught me to only go places that I really want to (for if I really want to- I will find a way), find friends who are giving and care for you without judgement, find an ability to accept other’s help and increase my fitness as I walk and bike way more and not place judgement on people who use busses. It is actually nice not having to be the driver. I can sleep in the car whenever I want and can always have a drink at a party.
It is about not judging yourself for not driving first of all, and secondly, not caring or even thinking about what others think. I am not that 27 year old who is too lazy to get my license and makes everyone else drive me around. I am someone who simply cannot drive.
Try not to care, it will Drive you crazy.