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Progress’s Unsteady Path

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Progress is never guaranteed. Not much in life is.


Last week, I wrote about an experience that changed my life. I had a seizure and found myself in the emergency room. Now, I am trying to recover.


The doctors had told me that Kepra, the anti-seizure medication I must take every 12 hours would make me tired, could give me muscle aches, and could cause headaches. At the time, I did not think much of it. My first thought was simply to get home.


It took me twelve days from that day I arrived home to open the folder that had come home with us. Inside, was a list of the signs that a seizure might be coming on: headache, dizziness, a feeling of an auditory or visual aura, weakness, and nausea. Just below that list was another, describing the side effects of Kepra: headaches, muscle weakness, nausea, tiredness, and dizziness.


I put the folder down. From the time I got home, I have been having trouble sleeping. My seizures happened (one at home and one in the emergency room) when I was asleep. All I remember is waking up confused, my head pounding, feeling nauseas, and everything in my body aching, as if I had been put through a washing machine.


Now, when I try to sleep, I wonder if the nausea I feel means another seizure is coming on. When I wake up in the middle of the night to drink some water, my head is pounding. I cannot get comfortable in any position.


I tried to drink some wine the other night thinking it would relax me. After only a small glass, I could not sit up. I also could not sleep.


I do not know how long these things will last. I do not know if I ever will feel like myself again. However, I do know this: Growth does not come without challenge.


I also know this: We do not always get to choose our challenges.


I do not know if I would have chosen this. What has emerged, however, are lessons that I might not have learned in any other way.


I do not have the energy to argue; to waste time on discussions that are fruitless. I do not have the energy to worry about things that are out of my control. For the few minutes I can ride my horses, I can only sit passively. I can only enjoy the ride. I can only enjoy them.


The neurologist had told me when I left the hospital to be careful not to overexert myself. I never imagined how powerful those words would be. Because, what I believe he was really saying was: Only focus on what matters.


Do not spend time thinking about the unfair, hurtful, or unsympathetic things people will do. Do not overexert yourself thinking about things that will not change.


What really goes through my mind is all of the things that can possibly lead to a seizure: a bad argument, resentment, regret, frustration, and worry.


These are things that can do damage to my brain. They can do damage to anyone’s brain. I’m beginning to think that they are things we should all avoid.

Progress’s Unsteady Path

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

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APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2019). Progress’s Unsteady Path. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Feb 2019
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