Epilepsy Talk

Damaged Goods | July 3, 2016

There’s something liberating in being expected to fail. No expectations, no explanations.

After all, “you’ll never amount to anything,” you’re damaged goods.

So you’re free to fall on your face. Or reach for the stars. I did both.

When I didn’t make friends, it was expected. Who would want to hang out with me?

I flunked out of Science and French. No big deal.

I was awarded first place in a writing competition. And I had to read my essay in front of the governor! Everyone was stunned.

Boys headed for the hills after just one date. “Well what did you expect?”

I jumped off the roof at college. “Poor thing. You’re a sick girl.”

Then I graduated from college Magna Cum Laude. They couldn’t believe it.

I keeled over at work. “See? We told you that you couldn’t hold a job.”

Then I got the job of my dreams. “It must be because you were lying to them.”

Promotions came easily. My parents didn’t know what to say.

I met the man of my dreams. My father had a stroke.

I was the only one in two generations not to get divorced.

I rejoiced. Damaged or not.


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  1. I know what that,s like, I was in and out of hosptial,s throuuh my high school year. I didn,t know I grad. untill I saw my saw my grad. pictures.


    Comment by michele metzger — July 3, 2016 @ 1:27 PM

  2. Oh, how miserable, Michele.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 3, 2016 @ 1:30 PM

  3. This is a great story of things coming full circle.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kate Jacques — July 3, 2016 @ 2:35 PM

  4. Thanks Kate. It was a rocky road!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 3, 2016 @ 3:17 PM

  5. Good For You, Phylis! 🙂 I’m Proud Of You!


    Comment by EJ Parker — July 3, 2016 @ 3:44 PM

  6. Thanks EJ. That means a lot.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 4, 2016 @ 10:35 AM

  7. Beautiful and encouraging – thank you, Phyllis!


    Comment by Lisa Urich — July 4, 2016 @ 1:53 PM

  8. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Lisa.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 4, 2016 @ 2:14 PM

  9. I can totally relate to your story Phylis, because mine has been very similar. Wow, just trying to keep staying strong. Not always easy.


    Comment by Susan — July 6, 2016 @ 5:03 PM

  10. Lots of obstacles in the way. BUT WE MADE IT! 🙂


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 6, 2016 @ 6:40 PM

  11. We may have Epilepsy but we don’t have to be damaged. I thought so when I was younger and deeply depressed. When work stressed me out and caused me to have seizures daily. But when I actually stopped working and relaxed. Got on disability. I found I could volunteer and help others twice a week. I also advocate and educate others about Epilepsy in my two groups. I am better and less seizures without working.


    Comment by epilepsyadvocacyblog — July 6, 2016 @ 7:19 PM

  12. I was 47 when I was diagnosed. Prior to that my life was invigorating, challenging, I was unstoppable. I worked, I drove, I lived alone. I was able to do sports, sew cook climb stairs. My life is completely changed. Dr’s cant figure out how I got it, I am medication intolerant, I am awaiting another hearing from SSI because the first 2 times I wasnt epileptic enough I admire your positive attitude. I hope to get there soon, i know I will, just not there yet. Thank you for the encouraging words

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Lisa A Way — July 6, 2016 @ 10:23 PM

  13. Lisa, Yes, you’ll get there. With your attitude and spunk, you’re sure to.

    Meanwhile, since you’re drug resistant, have you considered the Vagus Nerve Stimulator?

    Vagus Nerve Stimulation…Is it for YOU?



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 7, 2016 @ 10:11 AM

  14. I’ve had epilepsy science I was 18 months old. I have grown up with people telling me I will never amount to anything, I have proved them wrong and very happy to have done so !
    Thank you for all your articles Phylis they are wonderful !! 😊👍


    Comment by Bonnie — July 27, 2016 @ 8:41 PM

  15. Let’s hear it for Bonnie! And all of us who beat the “odds”.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 28, 2016 @ 9:31 AM

  16. I remember stories stories I was told about Jamie’s childhood. He has three siblings. He was made fun of when he had a seizure. Once he fell down a flight of stairs and smashed his face through a glass coffee table. He was scared of his seizures as a kid and would hide in a closet. Even today, when I try to get him to talk to me about it so I could understand more he says he just can’t because it brings up so much pain. He was a very lonely boy with no friends. There was another sick child in the family – with sickle cell. When he got too sick they wouldn’t let him see him and didn’t tell him he died until he was laid out for the viewing. I think he always saw himself as damaged, not normal. In the prison they won’t give him the medication he knows works for him and instead give him one which has bad side effects. I talked to the medical unit and was told they will never change it. Maybe it’s a money issue.


    Comment by SonniQ — August 3, 2016 @ 3:09 PM

  17. And maybe it’s just plain inhumanity…just like the other people in his life.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 3, 2016 @ 3:40 PM

  18. I’ve been treated like Im “stupid” for years. See, I don’t have “physical” seizures like full blown fall to the floor and convulsive. I have severe sharp pain through my head, massive migraines, memory losses, confusion spells, inability to comprehend certain things. …this morning I couldn’t read. Once I couldn’t remember my childs name or mine….this past week I have been having horrible reoccurring migraines the intense feeling of being dazed exhausted and completely confused. Off balance and slow. My husband is afraid to leave me alone. ..our blue-heeler checks on me almost as much as him. I have no insurance so im not on medications. …they never really helped anyway.
    Seems these occurrences are happening more often and getting worse. 😢 any suggestions or information that may help?


    Comment by Tess — August 28, 2016 @ 3:58 PM

  19. You DO have seizures and you DO have migraines.

    Please get diagnosed and treated.

    Look at the assistance links and see if they can help.

    Or else go to Social Services of your local hospital and explain your situation.

    I worry about you, Tess.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 29, 2016 @ 10:33 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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