Thursday, May 1, 2014

Me, an author?


“You should write a book.”

At first, the idea seemed ridiculous. Who am I to write a book? I thought.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m just some random girl. Why would anyone want to read my book?”

“That’s exactly why you should write the book,” he replied.

I left my professor’s office feeling slightly intrigued, but not overly motivated. The thought of writing a book still seemed weird to me. To be honest, I had toyed with the idea in the past. But I always assumed that no one would care about an unknown girl’s epilepsy, so I would just let the idea die. This was the first time that someone else, someone I highly respected, had encouraged me to write a book. So for the first time, I actually thought about it. That night, I couldn’t fall asleep, and I fought my insomnia by writing chapters in my head. By the next morning, I knew that I was going to do it.

My book is going to be about life with epilepsy, and it’s going to be raw. I don’t want to edit out or sugarcoat the unsavory details, nor do I want to make things sound worse or more traumatic than they actually are. I just want it to be real.

I was thirteen when I was diagnosed, and I would have loved to have a book about it. Even though I was not terribly upset about my diagnosis, I was still confused. There was so much new information being thrown at me, and it was strange to think about the fact that my life was truly never going to be the same. I had so many questions, including ones that I hadn’t even thought of yet. It would have been so nice to have something that could help me ask and answer all of my questions, and that would capture the life of someone with epilepsy. The only people I really talked to were doctors. While they were of course knowledgeable about the condition, they were not teenage girls living with epilepsy. I needed to hear true stories, and I hardly ever did.

I recently posted on Facebook that I was planning on writing a book, and the response was overwhelming. So many people thought it was a great idea and were already showing their support, which meant (and means) so much to me. One of the best parts that came out of sharing this was that another young woman I know with epilepsy asked if she could write a guest chapter. It was so amazing to see that storytelling could have such a snowball-type effect. Maybe if I tell my story, other people will too. The more people talk about it, the less others will fear it and stigmatize it.

Honestly- I sometimes still feel weird about writing a book. I wonder if people will think I’m just looking for attention. I wonder if people in the epilepsy community will not think I’m a credible source since I’ve only had a few seizures, and my epilepsy really only affects me positively. But if it can help even one person, then I think I might as well try it.

~Sammi

P.S. The working title is “Shaken, not Stirred”