RELATIONSHIPS & EPILEPSY
High school is the time in your life when you develop life-lasting relationships. It’s hard for everybody to make these solid friendships with people you can rely on. I’ve been pretty lucky. I met one of my best friends when I was little at my brother's baseball park. I met her a few years before I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Before I wrote this, I had to ask her how she found out I had epilepsy because I honestly forgot how I told her. She remembers me telling her I had a “bubble in my brain.” Baby Sofi was definitely thinking outside the box for that one. Later her mom explained it all to her. It was probably a little bit outside of my 7-year-old self’s comfort zone. Nothing changed in our relationship, we are still best friends to this day, and I’m so comfortable talking to her about literally anything you can possibly think about. My other best friend I met in high school, so a little more recent. When I asked her how she found out, she said I just brought it up in conversation, which I realized was my tactic in my freshman year. Thankfully, she kept me around and has been a huge supporter when it comes to me having epilepsy (She is the vice president of my Club Purple!).
This is all great, but trust me, I’ve had a few cases where having epilepsy was just too much, apparently. I’m so picky with my friends. I just have a small crowd. But I feel like everybody has that era where they had to branch out and meet new people. Mine was early sophomore year. I was struggling with everything epilepsy-related. Socially, I tried to pretend it didn’t exist. I wasn’t putting any effort into starting my Club Purple because I knew it would just be a public announcement and “embarrass” me. I remember this conversation I had with one of my classmates that made me feel like I had just destroyed my entire social life in one sentence (thanks for the dramatics sophomore sofi!). I talked to this girl, and she invited me to a party. I was so excited it would be my first real high school party. I knew I should have been responsible and asked about the flashing lights, so I did. She said it was like a Hawaiian theme until she asked why I was asking. I decided to tell her I had epilepsy and was just wondering. I then got into a fight about my own disorder. She explained to me that it was a mental disorder and that I was wrong. Obviously, I told her she was wrong and that my brain is physically messed up. Suddenly she was inspired to have flashing lights at the party. Safe to say, I did not attend.
The most problematic part of high school, in my opinion, is dating. Before I start, let me state that if you need relationship advice, you are in the wrong place. I am in my junior year of high school and have not been in a successful relationship. My first crush was a very nice guy during my freshman year. I didn’t tell him I had epilepsy. We were very good friends for a good while. One day he was walking me to cheer practice when we had to stop at the guidance office so I could sort out something for my accommodations plan (which I didn’t tell him). He stayed waiting outside, and unfortunately for me, my guidance counselor talked extremely loud. At least I didn’t have to break the epilepsy ice. It was one awkward walk to practice. As a surprise to freshman me, he didn’t have a negative reaction. In fact, even though we never ended up dating, we are still very good friends, and I’m very comfortable with him when it comes to my epilepsy.
When I told my mom I was going to write about this, she brought up a good point. She told me that some people need to wait a long time to find out how real somebody is. I can find out by saying one thing. I had no comment because I’m a 16-year-old girl who never acknowledges good points till 24 hours later, but here I am acknowledging it (Hi Mami). If you have epilepsy and are scared about being able to form close bonds because you are embarrassed about having epilepsy, you have to remember that at the end of the day, it is part of you. Never have a friend that treats you less or makes fun of you for something you can’t change. I can guarantee you that you will find your people. I’m so happy I found my people at such a young age, and I love them so much. My two best friends mean the absolute world to me and have gotten me through so much. I hope that after you read this, you can learn from my mistakes and tell people straight up so you can know if they are real. Real friends won’t block or ghost you. They will love you no matter what.
That’s it for now!