Dear Cheryl: I have epilepsy, which has made my life difficult, both medically and financially. When I tell people about it and what it entails, they (friends, family, authority figures, such as police officers and doctors) tell me it must dictate my life. For that reason, I've chosen to focus on academic and professional goals.
Now we come to Barbara. We've never met, but I've known her for almost a decade. She lives in Pennsylvania. I live in Colorado. We speak on the phone occasionally and text almost daily. She recently told me in a text message that she's "given up on men."
I currently live with my parents, as does she. My parents think we should meet one day to see if we hit it off. When I told them what she said, my mom said, "That's because she's waiting for you." I don't buy that because I don't think women in today's culture will wait a decade for a guy to get his professional and financial situation sorted out. Does it make any sense in terms of female psychology?
Because of my medical condition, I've chosen to stay single for life. But I'm having a difficult time with the mixed messages I get from people. On the one hand, they tell me I should stay in the house and not do anything. On the other, they say I should go out, try to find that special someone and get married. — Confused In Colorado
Dear Confused In Colorado:
1) Stop listening to negative people.
2) Join a support group for people with epilepsy who want to exchange information, not hold a pity party.
3) Find a supportive doctor who's committed to helping his patients live full, normal lives with as few restrictions as possible. The right support group can help you with this.
And now we come to Barbara. She hasn't really given up on men; she's just turned off because of some bad experiences. She's not "waiting" for you, but she might want to meet you. And if it doesn't work out with Barbara, there are thousands of other women you could connect with. But first you have to put yourself out there.
Here's the deal: You got a bad break. You can let it define you and restrict you, and you can settle for less of a life to avoid disappointment and embarrassment, or you can say "I'm going to have the biggest, fullest, most wonderful life possible despite epilepsy." You can refuse to rule anything out unless it's absolutely necessary.
You're at a turning point in your life. That's why you wrote me. Act now. Don't let another day go by full of negative thoughts about what you can't do. Go for broke. And stay in touch.
Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."