My relationship to Epilepsy started six years ago. It started four months after being attacked and hitting the back of my head on a curb which caused a TBI. I spent two months in a comma but didn’t realize it when Family and my good Friends started visiting in the Hospital when I woke up. I kept telling them that wasn’t true that the Hospital would let me out on Friday and Saturday so I could go to work and be able to make money so that I could keep paying my bills then I would go back Sunday morning. Shortly about a month later I realized I must have been dreaming that the whole time so that my mind would stay active. I got to go home in the beginning of August and in September the left Flap of my Scalp was put back in and after four days I went home. It was the next week on a Tuesday that I had to be rushed back to the Hospital which they did some test and an MRI but they said they couldn’t find anything out at the time about why I had the numbness feeling in my head and got to where I could speak for a few minutes. Two days later I was at home by myself and it started up again. I called 911 and was only able to talk to the point of saying my name and where my location was. Once the Firemen made it to the house first I made sure I was in the Livingroom close to the front door so I could let them in and I was lucky that I was very close to the chair because I fell back into it and if I hadn’t been near the chair I would have fallen and possibly hit my head right where the TBI had happened. Once the Ambulance made it just a few seconds after that they did what was needed and after trying to talk with me and I could talk at all they said ok let’s get him in the Ambulance and to the Hospital. On the way there my left hand started flinging around and all I could think was please do not hit the glass windows covering where all the medical equipment and supplies was located. Once I got off the Ambulance my hand stopped moving and I could talk. They did the same test and possibly went a little deeper but that was the day I was diagnosed with having Epilepsy. Since then many things have changed in my life from what it had been for 44 years.

My relationship with the Epilepsy Foundation is: I have had the chance to meet quite a few people that work for the Epilepsy Foundation and as far as I know all of the Volunteer Board Members here. I do as much as I can to help with whatever I can here in Amarillo, TX whenever I can. I help set up and breakdown the Wallk/Run-a-thons for two years then the Walk/Bike-a-thon this year and helped set up and breakdown the “GREAT EPILEPSY STEAKOUTS” for the last two years and the three years before that I would always help with the breakdowns before I left. I also take my camera so that I can take photos of everything I can at those events then I post them all to my Facebook Timeline to share with my Family and Friends. If I know of a Hashtag (#) and word to use that will go into the Epilepsy Foundation’s Facebook Timeline I put that on every single picture plus in my comment so that they will all be seen in there as well and if there is not a Hashtags to use I put them on a CD to give to the Epilepsy Foundation office here so they can either post them in or send them to the person who can. Two Years ago we were told at the Epilepsy Art Therapy Program that the Foundation wanted to know if we would like to donate one of our paintings to be auctioned off at the STEAKOUT and I of course said yes but I had to do a redo of the one I was thinking about because I could not let the one I had already done go. Then this year I decided to keep with that idea and I did three paintings that did not match anything I had done before. Which I learned more about doing them from watching some YouTube videos which I watch a lot that has to do with paintings now. The only reason for that is I can actually do some paintings now that I could never do before as long as they are mostly abstract types. If there has to be anything that looks like a person or part of a person that is still a no. When it comes down to abstract I can do that and make it to where anyone can seem to see what I am meaning it to represent if and when it is a necessity to know if it represents anyone or any kind of item. I learned all of this starting in 2012 or 2013 which was my first “Epilepsy Art Therapy Program” I’m not sure when the first year was but it was one of those. In the beginning my thoughts were there is no way I’m going to be any good at this because I have never been before in the 44 years of my life but, it turned I was wrong and yes it took me sometime getting used to it but now I cannot stop and many of my Family and Friends Love what I come up with in my Paintings and some want me to do one for them which in time I will.

I practice self-care by making sure I take my medicine when needed and yes there has been a few times I missed but only one of those times which was the first time did I have what I guess was a partial seizure but all I had to do was just move from my laptop and sit on my bed watching TV shows for a while and I calmed down. It wasn’t until my alarm went off that I realized I didn’t take my morning medicine. I’m now back into going to Glod’s Gym like I use to but I have gone back and forth on going and taking breaks which it was I use to do many years ago when I first started going it usually takes three times and I am now on my third time so hopefully I will keep going so that I can get back in the shape I was in 2011.

I am most thankful that I am still here and that I have some really great and amazing family and friends that still care about me from just about all over the world since I have lived in several different States which started at the age of 29 and got to do a whole lot of traveling in the United States and some Overseas Trips.

My biggest struggle now is I still have some problems with what’s happened and some stuff is still happening. Anytime I see something that seems to remind me of what happened when I was attacked I get freaked out even though I have no real idea other than what I was told. There has been a slight bit of memory come back but not that much because it is buried deep in the subconscious area of my brain yet it will try to burst out when I am seeing anything close to what happened to me especially when watching any TV show that has any violence. I also cry just about every day sometimes it is sadness, happiness, and others I have no idea why I just know that I am just crying. I also go through different stages of depression sometimes I’m not but other times I am and I’ve never said anything about it or the crying part to anyone in my Family or my Friends.

My new normal is hard to explain. I know that some of it is still my original normal which is to always be there to help everyone I know out and often even those I do not know which I learned from my Mother and that just who I am, have been, and always will be. I guess it is I can now call myself a painter of artwork, I did take some online classes 3 years ago to learn Graphic Design which I did learn some new things but I of course I did better in Photoshop because I had learned that years ago with the Photoshop software by itself because I had studied an at home photography class which was for using film then. The only reason I studied it was not to improve my digital pictures but to learn how to put frames around the photos or how to crop them down to a have less in them or to make a card from them or some kind of sign and then I would have at least two pictures because I would not get rid of the original. I still dance, sing, and if I could get a piano I would do my practicing once again to get back to where I was and hopefully better.

I would like others to treat people with Epilepsy just like they would treat those who have no visible or known problems because we are all Human Beings just like they are. Yes there is a difference in all of us with the way Epilepsy affects us but guess what it’s the same with those who seem to have what’s considered a regular normal life.

What I would like the world to know about me is: I am me just like all of you are you and yes there is a difference in all of us but that is how it is meant to be. Treat me with Respect, Love, and Compassion the same way I would do my best treat all of you with Respect, Love, and Compassion.

William M. Lawler