Living & coping with Epilepsy – with author Cara Coles

81ouCm+srnLCara Coles was thirty-six when she developed adult onset epilepsy. Within two weeks she saw everything she’d built – from a wonderful career in healthcare, to a busy exciting social life crumble around her. Her book ‘Living and Coping with Epilepsy, My Way’ shows how she re-built her life using the Law of Attraction. Her book offers much needed support for others. Not only those living with epilepsy, but anyone who has encountered similar life changing illness. She demonstrates how illness can be viewed as an opportunity to grow into our spiritual self, live from our truth, and become more than we were before.

Cara takes us back to when she was first diagnosed.

‘There are so many challenges for people with epilepsy.  My first challenge was finding more out about it.’ 

This seems to be this way for people diagnosed with epilepsy in the UK – a bombshell they are left to deal with alone. Cara goes on to explain.

‘When I was diagnosed I was given no information about what it really was, what the best way I could deal with it was, nor how I could keep myself safe. Thankfully, there are some great charities for people with epilepsy, and they have tons of information for people. But, I do feel that more information should be given to people when they are first diagnosed, even if it is just links to the charities’ website. That would be better than what I had. It was more like, ‘yes you have epilepsy, try these tablets and see you in three months.’ 

Not only that, but Cara had to deal with many other hurdles her epilepsy presented.

‘I had to face losing my driving licence, the feeling that I had lost all independence. Then there was the fear of losing my job.’

As Cara was a health care professional, you can imagine the pressure she was under. She admits that she was fortunate though.

‘I am one of the lucky ones with epilepsy, a lot of restrictions were put on me, but I was able to keep my job, even if it meant mainly doing an admin job until things got sorted.’

Yet despite feeling fortunate, Cara explains that she experienced awful anxiety at that time.

‘I had to get over the fear, the fear of having a seizure whilst out in public; going to sleep at night fearing I’d have a seizure while sleeping.’

I asked Cara how she coped with these fears and whether that’s what sparked her interest in The Law of Attraction.

‘One of the main challenges for me, and I didn’t start to notice this until I had been having seizures for six months, was memory loss.  Something that isn’t always talked about with epilepsy. I never knew it could happen until I started to forget things from my past. It was this that really started to get me down. And I knew I had to do something about it. I don’t remember how I found out about the Law of Attraction. I think a friend gave me a book, but as I read the book I wondered…can I really have anything I want out of life?’ 

Interestingly, Cara goes on to say, it was not the healing aspect, but the investigator within that really wanted to test the Law. She was soon motivated into action.

‘Before I had epilepsy I was a paranormal investigator, I spent my spare time disbelieving what people would say and find alternative reasons for it. So I was very skeptical about the Law of Attraction. Having had to give up the research, one of the many things I had to give up, I started to wonder if I could put the Law of Attraction to the test. My plan was to spend a year living the life as the Law of Attraction tells you to. Of course my skeptical mind took over and I believed it didn’t. At the time I needed something to believe in. When you have something like epilepsy that suddenly takes things away from you bit by bit, you need that bit of faith to keep you going.’

As Cara’s ‘skeptical mind’ had taken over, she explained how she planned to overcome her doubts.

‘For me to see if the Law of Attraction worked, I needed something that would blow my mind.  So I turned a negative into a positive. With the memory problem I was having there were some things I simply could not remember doing even though there are photos of me doing these things. I simply could not remember them. So, one of the events I had been to, but couldn’t remember, I decided to make a new memory of it. I came up with some wishes and that was one of them. Then I said to myself, ok if this Law of Attraction works, it has one year to prove it to me. I found out so much about myself as by using the Law of Attraction, my life has changed so much. I never thought I’d do so much, even having a book published! I know people find this odd, but I give thanks to my epilepsy because without it I would still be working full time with all the extra shifts I could! Nothing would have changed. Now I work part time, I’m writing my first novel with more, I hope, on the way!  All these amazing things, that I may not have realized were possible, are happening in my life because of the epilepsy.’ 

I won’t give anything away! To find out what happens you’ll have to check out Cara’s book Living and Coping with Epilepsy, My Way.

So, what does Cara think are the biggest misconceptions about epilepsy?

‘There are many different types of epilepsy and I don’t think there is enough understanding out there about all the different types, and the side effects of this condition. I knew about the seizures and the pain that happens afterwards, but I had no idea about any possible memory issues. That was completely new to me until it started to happen. Also, there were no symptoms that I had epilepsy, like a lot of people with epilepsy, the first thing I knew about it was after my first seizure. I had two seizures before I was diagnosed with having epilepsy, which seems to be a common thing. Each person who has epilepsy faces their own challenges, but I do think the lack of information when being diagnosed is perhaps the hardest to deal with. Every step of the epilepsy journey, there is a new challenge and we have to work a way through that ourselves.’ 

What can we do to help a loved one who’s been diagnosed with epilepsy?

‘For me it was to have someone to understand and talk to when things got bad. I try not to do regret, but the one thing I wish I had done was talk to someone rather than trying to pretend I could deal with it alone.  After about a year and half of having seizures, I went into deep depression. It was hard having to admit to people I wasn’t coping.’

What impact did this have on you, your friends and family?

‘It’s a hard balance and it’s something people close to the person with epilepsy will need to talk about. How much help that person wants, how their families and friends can support them, I cannot say enough how talking about it and asking for help when needed is so important. My parents found it hard, they live a two hour drive from me. All they wanted to do was to come down and look after me, which I could understand because I was living alone at the time. It’s hard watching a person you love go through this. My biggest support came from my best friend, she lived closer to me than my parents and she really was my rock throughout that time.’ 

I asked Cara if this inspired her book – the desire to inform and support others.

‘When I started the year project I liked the idea of having a book published, but again I didn’t really think it would happen. Back then I believed things like that don’t happen to someone like me. I kept a journal. One day I was reading the journal and realized that what I wanted was really happening, it really was coming true! And that’s when I really wanted to share my story to highlighting how bits of the Law of Attraction helped me through certain areas of my epilepsy journey. I want to show other people with epilepsy that it may look bleak, but look at me! My life is so much better, ten times better, than my life before epilepsy. Since the book has been published, it’s wonderful to hear from readers how my words have helped them, encouraged them to go and get the life they want. At the end of the day we have epilepsy, but it doesn’t have to control us.’

What occurs to me from speaking to Cara is that far too often illness is seen as negative in many healing/new-age circles. What Cara manages to do in her book is challenge our preconceptions about illness. Not just epilepsy, but as a whole. This I believe is a much needed reassessment of what will befall us all – illness, vulnerability, and loss of independence. At some time or other this will become our experience – if we view it as a negative rather than an opportunity, initiation, or new way of experiencing ourselves and what it means to be alive, we can suffer greater pain than the illness itself. We can become locked in self-reproach, blame and regret. Cara’s book opens the possibility that once we have felt and grieved our perceived losses, there is the chance to create a new life. One full of joy, laughter and the fulfillment of our dreams.

Follow Cara her on Twitter

Grab a copy of Cara’s book ‘Living and Coping with Epilepsy – My Way’ by clicking here

For further information on epilepsy visit Epilepsy Action or The Epilepsy Society 

Much love to you all

Alex

©Alex Clarke 2016

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