Earlier this month, I spent a week in Nashville, TN, on a trip that seemed like just a vacation. But, in reality, it was a trip to determine if I was ready to move on with my life.

Being that I’m a senior (already) and our first semester is over (already), it’s time to shift my job search into full gear.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where I want to go next – I’ve wanted to explore all different places for a long time. I’m open to any city, really. New York, California, Florida, Tennessee, you name it. Right now, I am planning to move out right after graduation and get my career started. With that, though, comes some emotional challenges. One of my biggest challenges is going to be learning how to take care of myself, medically. Of course, I already know how to do that. But it’s easy here. I have my doctors close to home, a roommate that knows how to help me if I need it, and best friends to go to if I need a movie night.

Epilepsy has been something that has inserted itself into my life and has affected every single aspect of it. Literally. Thankfully, I have been seizure free for 11 months. I have been managing my limitations and daily life very well, largely due to the fact that I have had a lot of time to process everything and learn day by day.

However, moving away from my house in New Jersey and my college campus that I’ve called home for four years isn’t going to be easy. I bet the majority of college seniors you talk to would say that, too. One of my main concerns about leaving home, though, is ensuring that I have a good doctor and a support system wherever I go. As I’ve touched on what feels like a million times, epilepsy is one of those health conditions that most people don’t think of. Often, it feels like it’s just one of those terms that people have just “heard of”.

This is always scary to think about. Seizures are unnerving, in general. But people not knowing how to help someone is the worst part.

This is something that anyone with epilepsy would probably tell you. But that’s okay. It’s something we work through. As you could probably imagine, it’s easier to deal with that in a place where you’re comfortable. Where you have people who love you and are educated enough to help you if you needed. It’s important that the people around you understand the emotional support you’d need when going through something like this. It’s a disorder that doesn’t let up, not for a second. Especially when your diagnosis is for a lifetime.

While moving away from home has always been something I wanted, epilepsy was a challenge I had never expected. I took this trip to Nashville to see if it would be somewhere I would potentially want to live one day. I was expecting an adventure, spending time exploring an amazing place. And that’s what it was. It was time well spent, travelling in an incredible city. But, I didn’t expect the fear that came with the realization that I would really be going away.

A condition like this is tricky, in that it brings a whole new dynamic to everything. It’s nagging in the back of your brain whenever you try to do something. It’s frustrating and it’s scary, but it’s something that I’m going to have to learn to live with. And that’s okay.

To all of the epilepsy warriors, if you’re reading this, epilepsy challenges us every day. It pushes us past our limits sometimes. But, we were strong enough to get through the beginning, which is the hardest part. It’s easy to fold and let it break us, but it has actually made us stronger. It can’t stop us from creating the lives we want. At the end of the day, we can’t control epilepsy, but we can still control our lives.

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