We can all agree there’s no perfect way to prepare for hearing the words “you have epilepsy.” We don’t know what lies ahead for us, or how many people will be affected by it. Epilepsy is a long roller coaster ride that tests us both mentally and physically. I was lucky to have my dad put me in wrestling at a young age because that sport truly has prepared me for everything epilepsy has thrown my way. If you are a wrestler, you know why, if not, here’s how it shaped me to fight epilepsy.
1. Mental Toughness
Only a select few will ever step into a ring going one on one against an opponent. Preparing for matches comes with challenges every day. Whether it was running the stairs for an hour or going live one on one in practice for two hours, I couldn’t quit. Figuring out how to train my mind to say “I can get through this” took time, but helped me during those white flag practices and in matches. The mental toughness carried right on through to my epilepsy knowing that anything that came my way I could get through. Some challenges will be harder than others just like wrestling matches, but the “you can get through this” mentality gets me through anything.
2. Facing Struggles
Wrestling comes with plenty of struggles, from being embarrassed on the mat to falling short of what the coaches want in practice. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a great wrestler, so I had my fair share of struggles throughout the season. I just learned to fight, grind, and continue to move forward. Epilepsy comes with its struggles. From medication trial and error to brain surgeries. My attitude from wrestling allowed me to continue to fight and move forward. The medication changes and brain surgery had no chance at slowing me down ;)
3. Self Awareness
Being on that mat for six minutes against your opponent teaches you to rely on only yourself. Yes, you have coaches and teammates that guide you, but they can’t help you on the mat. When you win it’s the most rewarding feeling, and when you lose, it plain out sucks. This has allowed me to be more aware of myself when it comes to handling my epilepsy. From talking to my doctors to managing my health insurance. Sure, I have people that can help, but this is my life with epilepsy and I’m in control.
Wrestling was a part of my life that I will never forget. It taught me so many lessons that I carry with me to this day. I’m grateful that I had the chance to wrestle making me a stronger person both mentally and physically. Most importantly, it has prepared me for my life with epilepsy.