I was overjoyed and almost in tears after I read this story from Darla, who was lucky enough to experience that kind of bone-deep, cuts-you-to-the-core love I hope for someday…
One day I joined my friends who were sitting with a group I was unfamiliar with and somehow the topic of prescription drugs came up. One guy was explaining how he had ADD, or one of the girls had clinical depression. Someone said, “Seriously, who here is not on drugs?”
I was the only one.
It made me worry, a lot. I thought I might have a crush on one of those boys, and I was suddenly faced with the idea that something might be ‘wrong’ with him. Could I date someone who was somehow prescribed as broken? My brother has a disability, so it was not something that completely bothered me. I was just unsettled, worried, upset. I remember it eating at my mind.Knowing me, and knowing my background, it’s kind of weird that the idea scared me. I think I’m a pretty open person. But I guess anything if it is unfamiliar will scare us. One day I finally had to ask him, as he was venting about side effects, that the drugs make him tired so he drinks coffee.
One word, and I suddenly felt bad. There was ‘wrong’ with him, he had a disorder, one he barely accepted having. It was not something he could change. ‘It’ was not his fault.
Epilepsy was not him.
After that, I fretted over him for a good month before we started to date. We curled up together in a field and I asked him what it felt like to have a seizure.
I had my own issues, bad knees that used to, and still do, dislocate from time to time. I had double knee surgery and had to relearn how to walk before. Listening to him talk made me feel like everything I went though was worth it, just so I could almost understand.The first time I knew he had a seizure it was over the phone. He dropped the phone and I called him back. He was saying things that didn’t make sense, and it kind of made my heart pull. I told him to go take a nap and he did. I cried afterwards, knowing I was getting myself into something other people would run from. But I wasn’t going to run; he understood me better than anyone else. He made me laugh, and he made me smile. I was in love with him, and if Epilepsy was going to be a part of that. I would love that too.
I called him later about that, but he didn’t remember having that conversation.The first time he had a seizure in front of me we were at his house, alone. He was standing in front of me, and he kissed me. Then he grabbed my sweater, running his fingers along it. Then he walked away from me, and turned. For him that was a seizure, a momentary lapse of awareness.
He laid down on the floor and I spent the next half hour watching him sleep. He looked up at me and in that moment I knew he loved me. When you can’t control your body, it sometimes says the things you are afraid to. Looking into his eyes after a seizure was the most romantic thing that ever happened to me, and after that moment, the connection between us grew.Having a disability forced us to be real with our emotions sooner. Maybe that’s why people are scared of it. You have to be open, willing to take an extra step. But that extra step pushed me to fall in love harder and faster than anyone I know. He opened my eyes to the world, made me see things in a whole new way. It was not his disability that did that, but him. I was able to see that part of him as something beautiful. It was an unfamiliar, almost exotic, trait.
When I told people my boyfriend had epilepsy, I got a lot of “I couldn’t do that” or “You’re so brave”. I don’t think I will ever understand why people said that. I was not ‘doing him a favor. I was not trying to be heroic. I was trying to date the person I loved, that person had a disability.
Is that so crazy?
[Photos via Le Love]