In a recent coaching session Kim was introduced to a simple but powerful tool called CIA – Control, Influence and Accept, a technique for dealing with life’s frustrations and the events that cause them, this is a blog post she wrote to demonstrate the power of acceptance to her work colleagues:
Understanding whether you can control the cause of the frustration by changing your actions or behaviour, influence those people who can help make a change and help you achieve your goal or alternatively you must accept the situation as it cannot be changed, provides a productive way of dealing with situations that otherwise can hold us back.
I have personally experienced this with accepting Toby’s illness. When he first started having seizures when he was 8 weeks old we had no experience of epilepsy and had no idea how life threatening they were going to be. We desperately tried to control his seizures, working with the neurologists and paediatricians to find out what was wrong and how to stop it.
As we struggled through the first couple of years of his life, the seizures became more serious with ambulances at the house every week and Toby ending up in a coma for 5 days. After trying a dozen anti-epileptic drugs and the ketogenic diet, we realised that we’d run out of options and controlling his seizures was not going to happen.
Once we realised we couldn’t control his seizures, we moved on to trying to influence them. Heat, illness and excitement all cause seizures, so we did everything we could to stop them before they happened, desperately trying to keep him cool, giving him paracetamol on top of his three antiepileptic drugs and limiting access to things that he would enjoy, such as the bath, swimming or a trampoline. This had some effect however it didn’t prevent them and meant he wasn’t allowed to have any fun. We’ve got a lovely happy, little boy, there was no way that fun was going to be banned.
Our breakthrough came when we finally accepted Toby’s condition, and realised that he is not going to get better, the current drugs that are available don’t work and we can’t live our lives not letting our little cheeky boy have some fun. This acceptance has freed us from the constant battle of trying to control something we can’t change. Giving us more energy to cope with the day to day challenges Dravet throws at us.