November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. Please pick up a copy of the book where today’s blog is from. Underwater: When Encephalitis, Brain Injury and Epilepsy Change Everything

I despise being interrupted. When speaking my portion of a conversation, an interruption, though well-intended, becomes a thief breaking in and robbing my mind. 

When interrupted, I feel lost at sea. My location isn’t it easy to find. Where was that? Where am I? How do I locate myself again, and my word again, and my thoughts again? 

An interruption becomes the conclusion. My verbal adventure stops suddenly. A wall appears. Another step feels impossible. I wait and wait and wait for an opening, for a memory, for a word. Nothing emerges. 

Finally, I locate another word as a substitute. 

Or I ask for help. 

Either way, I do not like this. 

But I’m learning this. 

I am learning this life—this life of failure, of frustrations, of dependence, of forgetting. This life of interruptions. This life with baggage. This life at sea. I’m adjusting to this life of always knowing a seizure is possible. This life with epilepsy. 

It feels like a caution light blinking and blinking. Do I stop or slow? Do I turn? 

I choose, usually, to not frown when facing those facts. I smile. People with epilepsy have boundaries, but don’t all people? Yes, we need sleep and the care of others and sunglasses, but all people do. We need the caution light’s reminder of these words: be careful. All people do. We are unique yet not controlled by our conditions. 

Well, let’s get back to the interruptions. Words, often difficult to locate in this brain, frequently take time to be stated. Much time. I try. They hide. I try hard. They refuse to reveal themselves. A noun. A name of a person I know. A verb. An action I’ve known well and long. Hidden, distant, afar: words. 

I merge memories and mingle experiences. I try. I fail to find words. 

But the process is worse when interrupted. Let me try and fail, then ask for a name. Don’t invade my endeavor to recall. 

Though, if I sat in your seat and listened to my weak attempt to remember, if I stared at a frustrated face like my own and craved to offer assistance, I would interrupt. I’d bid a solution if the situation was opposite. I get it. 

But I’m helped best when those close to me realize they’ll never fully get it. They just choose to endure the wait—hearing my conversation stop, seeing my facial expressions of frustration, desiring to rescue me from the war of forgetfulness, hurting with me—while hidden words merge their appearance slowly if at all. 

Give me a little time even if I request otherwise. 

Give me a little time even when my search engine malfunctions. 

Give me a little time until I can invest no more effort in the adventure of recall. 

Give me time underwater. 

And, please, give me your acceptance even when my attempts to remember or stay calm or seem normal all fail.