I’m Famous! Or Epilepsy Awareness and Depression

In honor of Epilepsy Awareness Month I had the chance to chat with Michelle Fischer, who broadcasts A View from My Window on the Indiana ARC website. Her hour-long interview with little ‘ol me, A View Into Epilepsy, was uploaded today and I encourage you to listen to it.

The Story of Me — Why the Cafe is a “Real” Kind of Place

In talking with Michelle, I typed up notes on Epilepsy, on Life, on this crazy life of ours.

And I realized something.

While I can’t always update as often as I would like here at the Cafe, my posts are real, honest, and represent a part of me that I have a hard time showing sometimes. Not because I’m some mysterious person, but because I’m human.

Dealing with an Epilepsy diagnosis, living with life and death epilepsy, juggling other diagnoses of autism, Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome … all these things change a person, change a family. But they don’t have to change it, transform it beyond what you can handle.

My hope is that my talk with Michelle helps someone, anyone, out there who might not get that being real about epilepsy means accepting you don’t have to be perfect – that it will be hard to deal with sometimes – that you will be overwhelmed and disillusioned. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.

Admitting  a Harsh Reality – The Stress of Being a Special Needs Parent

Something I haven’t written about here at the Cafe too much, but something that undeniably changed me during the earliest years of being a special needs mom, was my slide into depression.

After Andy was born and we were dealing with one diagnosis after another, I put more pressure on myself than ever before, and I struggled and I strived so hard to be ‘perfect.’ I wanted to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, able to handle every diagnosis and the well over dozen weekly therapy appointments … you guessed it, perfectly.

And I couldn’t.

And I hated myself for that weakness. I punished myself for that weakness. I spiraled under the reality of depression and the amazing stress of those early years. I tried the unthinkable and was hospitalized for attempting suicide.

I didn’t get better overnight. This isn’t a 30-minute sitcom where depression gets better because of a magic pill, or I feel so much better that life is *insert cheesy music* ‘worth living again’ — I’ve struggled and I’ve fought to do better for myself and my family.

Ten years later, I can look back and see my spiral happening, I can see how I set myself up to fall. Not because I happened to be a special needs parent, but because of the combination of epilepsy, autism, brain damage, vision loss, rare disorder … and of my own inability to see beyond my need to be perfect. I set myself up to fall.

This wasn’t a one-time situation – I have a chronic issue with depression, and while I am doing wonderfully these days I still catch myself having limiting thoughts, and small thoughts of ‘perfectionism.’

Life is a journey, not a race, and with depression you go through the valleys sometimes.

But you also get to climb to the top of the mountain and look back at the road you’ve traveled. I’m stronger, wiser, healthier, and more emotionally capable of dealing with being the best mom and wife I can be … not perfect by any means. And I hope that reality might help someone else see that perfection is an illusion – reality is a life filled with challenges and triumphs, tears and laughter.

So my talk with Michelle started out about Epilepsy and life with these amazing guys, and it hinted at what I’ve shared in more detail above. But I think it’s more important than ever that you realize I am only human. I make mistakes. I grieve. I love. I learn. I go on.

When you are dealing with the added stress of being a special needs parent, the fear of epilepsy and uncertainty of autism and so many other diagnoses, it’s okay to step back and realize that you are only human.

I’m okay with that.

Your Turn: Do you or a loved one deal with epilepsy, autism or other diagnoses and struggle with depression? Have a chance to check out my interview? Want to share your own thoughts on special needs parenting and epilepsy?

Katrina Moody

Katrina Moody

Graphic Designer, Wordpress Addict, Blogger at Kat's Media & More
I'm a special needs parent before just about everything else in life, but also a passionate advocate for my three boys and husband, who all have a bit of awesomeness about them. Awesomeness = Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome, Autism, Epilepsy, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, and more. It all adds up to some awesome kids and an amazing family.
Katrina Moody
Katrina Moody


  1. says

    Me! It’s hard, being a parent and realizing that you may lose control of your body in front of your kids. It’s hard to push on and not get discouraged. I never saw it as “special needs,” so I find it interesting that you put it that way. Growing up with the Epilepsy diagnosis, I never even considered how hard it was on my parents, because they–especially my mom–took it in stride, not showing how scared she was. Thanks for this post. It’s nice to see that people did observe Epilepsy Awareness Month!! :-)

    • says

      I tend to view special needs as a collection of awesomeness, Kim. I know there is a bad connotation to it. but I view it as a way for me to specify all of the different things that my kids have going on with them because the challenges with a face very real. Epilepsy, of course, is about the biggest challenge that we have going on with Logan right now and I think that it’s a lot more difficult — maybe even more special of a special need because it’s about life and death.

      I can imagine having epilepsy and small children that would be so difficult. My hats off to you and I pray that you are seizure free for as long as possible!

    • says

      Thanks Denny, I really appreciate that coming from you, as I think highly of you! I think honesty is so important when it comes to parenting in general, no matter if there are special needs involved or not. The added stress just makes transparency even more important.

  2. Julie says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Kat. Even those of us without special needs children can find ways to stress out and set up for failure and depression. We just have worse excuses for pushing ourselves over the edge! Seems like if life doesn’t fill up our plates we’ll find a way, lol! I know it was hard to admit I wasn’t as perfect as I wanted to be, and I sunk into depression too. That experience taught me the power of positive thinking, and that has helped me ever since. Bless you, Kat, and thank you.

    • says

      Thanks so much for your comment Julie, positive thinking has been such an amazing strategy for me. As I’ve matured I have understood more than ever how important positive thinking, envisioning, and affirming truly are. I’m still learning, but it definitely has helped me after the stress of life proved to me how important it was to step away from the common limiting beliefs that we take on ourselves when depression is part of the equation.

  3. says

    I love when you said “I still catch myself having limiting thoughts, and small thoughts of ‘perfectionism.’” That is what depression is. Limiting thoughts that won’t allow us to ponder the possibility of anything better. Knowing this is much of the battle won :)
    I struggled with perfectionism as well. Gotten better but still affected in some areas. It really puts a choke hold on a lot of ourselves when we do this, because no matter what, nothing is ever good enough.
    Wonderful honest post. I appreciate it, and you for your honestly!

    • says

      Thanks so much Suzanne! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and I know that it’s my perfectionism that causes a lot of those problems … have recognized it for a while now, but it’s taken me some time to learn the master those limiting beliefs for myself!

    • says

      Thank you for comment Pamela. I think it’s really hard sometimes to share the hardest parts of ourselves, but it’s also so much more important when we have people that look up to us, so I appreciate you saying that.

      Hope you have an amazing weekend.

  4. says

    When I found out my daughter had a form of autism i climbed in a deep dark hole of depression that I had to seek treatment to get out of. Thanks to awesome people like you I was able to see the light and stop blaming myself and claiming the joys again. Thanks for everything you do Kat!

    • says

      Thanks so much Elizabeth – I treasure our friendship and the chances I have to know some great ladies like yourself – if I’m able to help one person then I know God has been able to use me 😀

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing your story. Things come up. Just got to focus on the solution. You are right when you said that we are only human and this picture of “Perfection” is blurred when we face trials- what’s important is how to deal with them.

  6. says

    Wow Katrina, I didn’t know all of that and the depression. I’ve dealt with depression but I’m sure nothing like what you describe and know how hard it can be to even see that it’s there let alone deal with it. Thanks for sharing this.

    • says

      Thanks Michael – I think it’s important to be honest and can help others as well. Everyone’s bout with Depression is an important and difficult part of their own journey!

  7. says

    What an inspiring story Kat! I liked it when you stated that perfection is an illusion. We’ll just have to live each day with a positive mind, healthy body, and hopeful soul. God bless you and your family! =)

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