Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR OF BEYOND MY CONTROL STUART ROSS MCCALLUM

I am honored to have Stuart as my very first guest spot on my new page “FROM MY THE WISDOM AND MIND OF AN AUTHOR.” Stuart shared with us some very private and personal thoughts and feelings on living with epilepsy, seizures, brain surgery and the writing of his very special book “BEYOND MY CONTROL.”


In your book “BEYOND MY CONTROL,” you write about a variety of issues you dealt with, first as a young man and then through your adult years. But you describe so clearly your epilepsy, seizures, and finally your brain surgery, by doing so you leave us all in a place of joyful love and hope in our own ability to weather hard times and help others to do the same. Thank you for joining me.

Hello Stuart I am so happy that you agreed to honor me and spend a few minutes discussing your book.

Thank you for inviting me today Marta, I am delighted to be here chatting with you.Stuart what was harder to deal with the seizure or the aftermath of the seizure?

In my case, the aftermath of the seizure itself, became (by far) the most difficult and worrisome facet of my particular form of epilepsy. Over time the character of my seizures changed and intensified dramatically. The previous after-effects of experiencing a tolerable headache were over. I began to experience a very ugly, sinister aftermath, medically known as entering (postictal psychosis) and losing touch with reality immediately after the seizure passed. During these occasions, I was often prone to violent outbursts that threatened my safety as well as anyone unfortunate enough to be close by at the time. I would recall none of this afterwards and be profusely apologetic about hearing my disgraceful behavior.

The book is a beautifully written and heartwarming story of strength, courage, love and support of family and friends.

Stuart what do you consider to have been the greatest asset to you during this time?Thank you Marta, I strongly believe maintaining my sense of humor helped me immensely. When I was made aware of my ludicrous actions, I would always attempt to see the funny side. During this time, I owned and operated a stained glass business. On one occasion while in my (postictal state) I stomped around my own shop glaring at our display of fragile glass and lighting. After a few minutes, I clenched my hand into a fist and randomly lashed out, striking the glass panels. Once I returned to normality I asked a co-worker, “What have I done this time?” When I saw the broken glass I said, “With the wisdom of hindsight, perhaps I should have opened a bedding or soft furnishings shop.”
Do you think your attitude made it easier for your friends, workers, clients and family to keep their support of you going?Absolutely, as people we all bounce off one another. If I happened to be a brooding type of guy filled with unpleasant thoughts, I am sure the amazing support from people closest to me would have lessened over time.Your book helps so many to not only understand epilepsy but any form of disorder and the ability to find hope, courage, empathy and understanding of these issues.

When you began writing it did you believe that this would be an offshoot of your story?
No, when I began writing, ‘Beyond my Control', I had no pre-conceived expectations. To have helped people broaden their knowledge and find strength in their own lives is to me, my greatest achievement.Where did you find the ability to maintain a sense of calmness and humor while dealing with such a debilitating situation?Many situations as I describe in detail, would undoubtedly be more than justifiable to be consumed with self-pity and feel like crawling into a corner. However, I believe a person’s attitude towards life’s adversities comes from within. I am naturally a happy guy which helped me greatly to get through some very difficult circumstances.After your surgery when you were going through recovery, learning a new sense of self what helped you most?During the many months of recovery was a difficult and unsettling time. I encountered many ultimately bizarre and worrisome happenings, which had a negative impact on my self-worth. To improve my mind-set and overall being, I put my heart and soul into my family. And tried to become the best father, husband, son, and brother I could humanely be. By doing so, I found it profoundly rewarding and beneficial for the family which in turn improved my outlook on life.If you had one thing that you would believe would be the biggest help to others who are either dealing with epilepsy, seizures, depression or the prospect of brain surgery what advice would you give them?It is vital when faced with many of life’s hurdles to reach inside and gain a positive outlook towards your particular situation. And ultimately, never give up hope; a cure for your individual condition could very well be developed today.What was the hardest thing to share when telling your story?Being a highly personal story, the many embarrassing circumstances written in detail were definitely difficult to share. However, the hardest division of my book (by far) was the recovery chapter. The experiences I encountered during this passage of time exposed the people I love to some incredibly weird and extremely distressing occurrences.

What types of things did you do as an individual that helped those around you to understand your disability and thereby making them able to be more understanding?Share my feelings and discuss epilepsy openly. For centuries epilepsy has been shrouded by myths and misunderstanding. By freely opening up and including people in my inner-circle to the often bizarre forms that present themselves, removes the isolation that a sufferer or someone who cares about the person may feel. I strongly believe an open line of communication without secrets is paramount for a greater understanding of the world’s most misunderstood serious brain condition.
Is there anything you can suggest that can help people become more tolerant and understanding of others going through an illness or disability?Think before pre-judging and stay quiet until you know the facts. There are countless people in our world who live and cope exceptionally well with a disability. We will never be able to eliminate cruelty and ignorance totally. However, by writing, talking and sharing, we will create awareness for many.Thank you Stuart for sharing your insights into this so often misjudged, misdiagnosed and misunderstood disease, you are an inspiration to many of us, me included. Your book “Beyond My Control” is something that I truly believe everyone should read even if they do not have any medical issues. It brings so much light into dark places. Thank you for agreeing to be the first on my new page “From the Wisdom and Mind of an Author.”

You can find Stuart's book on Amazon.com and on his web page http://www.beyondmycontrol.net By Stuart Ross McCallum

8 comments:

  1. Great interview. It is so easy to read Stuart's story and be fascinated, but imagining what it must have been like is something else entirely. Stuart, I am so glad that you wrote BEYOND MY CONTROL. I have no doubt that it has helped far more people than even you know.

    Marta, thank you for this wonderful interview. :-)

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  2. This is a wonderful interview. Stuart is awe-inspiring, and I'm so happy to have read his memoir. It is an experience reading about his life, and it's one I treasure.

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  3. Fantastic interview, Stuart. You have been a great source of inspiration for so many people and I'm honored to have your friendship. Beyond My Control is a book that everyone should read!

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  4. Thank you, Beth, Jen, Lisette and (of course) Marta, for the wonderful opportunity to share. I appreciate your sincere comments and amazing friendships greatly.

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  5. Stuart, your interview with Marta was excellent, if alas, too short. But having read your book, all I can say is, you have enlightened me even more through your interview. My compliments to Marta, and my thanks to you for having allowed yourself to be interviewed. Thank you again, Sutart.
    Charles Roth

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  6. Great interview. Stuart, I never cease to be in awe of the dynamic way you have managed, and the selfless way you share your experience.

    You Marta conducted a fabulous interview!

    Thanks,

    Sammy Sutton

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  7. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback from people who I admire and respect.

    Thank you, Sammy and Charles, for your wonderful comments.

    Stuart :)

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  8. Thank you Lisette, Beth, Sammy, Jen, Charles and of course Stuart for reading my interview with Stuart. He is such an inspiration and it was such an honor that he agreed to be interviewed.

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Wee Three Book Trailer voice over Marta Moran Bishop