Welcome to my blog in 2018 and the continuation of the Confessions series. You’ll be seeing some changes around the blog in general in the coming months, but I so love the Confessions posts that those will keep coming! I hope you get as much out of them as I do.
Due to life stuff, which I won’t go into right now, I was unable to get Confessions posts up in January and February, although I had super posts from people. For the next few weeks, I’ll be doubling up on the Confessions posts in order to “catch up” and share the wisdom from these wonderful people.
First up, a good friend and amazing father, Chris Morris …
Confessions of a Falling Father
Hi, I’m Chris Morris and I have seizures.
Wait, maybe that’s the wrong type of confession. No, let’s go with it—let’s just start with the brutal truth. For about the last 5 years, I have averaged 2-4 seizures every day of my life. As a result of this, a number of unusual things are now a part of my normal:
- I don’t drive. Loss of consciousness while driving is generally frowned upon.
- I try to avoid stairs. Falling up or down them is not exciting.
- I run my own business now, because I have to. My previous employer and I agreed that I am not very employable right now.
- A swimming pool is a terrifying place to have a seizure, so I rarely swim even though we have a pool in the backyard.
I don’t mean to sound whiny, and I’m not complaining. I am giving you the warp and woof of my days so you can understand the depths from which I’m speaking about my life.
Most weeks, I fall to the ground at least once during a seizure. When I have seizures, my body often goes limp. If I am standing, this means I fall to the ground. So it’s up to my 5’2” wife and my three teenage kids to figure out how to catch me. Or deal with the guilt of not catching me (which is far worse for all of us).
Because I am a falling father.
Falling vs. Failing
And if I’m honest, it kills me every time I wake up and see them looking down at me. I have to battle the lie that says that they are looking down on me and thinking less of me. I have to almost forcibly tell myself every time that being a falling father doesn’t make me a failing father.
I used to lose that battle for my mind almost every day. Culture and Scripture tell me that my job as a dude is to be the protector of my family. That I am called by God to rise up and keep them safe. Instead, almost every single day, they have to protect me.
So the thoughts fly fast and furious in my head:
What kind of man are you when you can’t even keep yourself safe, much less your family? How can you expect to ever amount to anything? You’re a loser, a wimp, a coward. You just plain suck!
These whispers can overwhelm if I let them.
Dealing in Truths
Nowadays, I am getting better at fighting back. The anti-depressants really help, but even more powerful are a couple truths I’ve grabbed hold of lately.
I am not defined by any diagnosis. Yes, I have a diagnosis of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, and it’s true that a lot of doctors don’t even know what this diagnosis is or how to treat it. But, this is only a part of who I am—not the totality of my identity. The core of my identity is found in my faith in Christ. I am a child of God, even if I’m a falling, sometimes failing, child. He doesn’t love me less because I am ill.
My family is for me, no matter what. I have learned to be okay with shedding the façade of American masculinity that tells me I have to be strong and have it all together. My wife and my kids want to know what’s happening in my life and heart. The more I am able to let them in, the stronger our family is. In other words, I am not the only source of strength in this household.
I don’t pretend to understand the bigger questions about my health condition. I don’t know the source of my seizures, even though I haven’t given up hope in finding that out. I don’t know exactly how God fits into all of this, but I take it by faith that He is good, every day, all the time—even when He seems absent.
Instead, I hold tight to what I do know. I know that I am a beloved child of God, through and through. And I know that no seizure will cause my family to abandon me or tire of me. Most days, that’s enough.
About the Author
Chris Morris writes about the juxtaposition of faith and chronic illnesses on his site chrismorriswrites.com and conducts interviews with others in the chronic illness community. He is also the founder of Llama Publishing, a micropress that intends to influence the world of Christian thought with books that challenges the status quo.