Posts

Showing posts from 2017

The Shame of the Seizure

Image
We’re closing down another year, and my wish for 2018 is that we together end the humiliation that many of us with epilepsy feel.To begin, we need to ask the simple question of why.Why do we feel this way in today’s culture (at least the culture in the area I live)?What about other conditions that cause seizures?For instance, are people with diabetes or hypoglycemia embarrassed?They also have seizures.Maybe, they’re ashamed, but it’s not likely.
As for me, I hid my epilepsy for more than 30 years before escaping the secret, bringing it to light.I’m open and find most people around me simply want to know more about my condition rather than associating it with something evil, as they may have in days past.
However, when I have one of my tonic-clonic seizures, I force down shame, distressed by how ugly it must have looked and if I scared anyone.Did I urinate? Did my eyes roll back?Did I turn gray?Were there children around who were terrified?How many people did I inconvenience or worry?…

Creativity and Epilepsy

Image
This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™, which will run from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, 2017.  Follow along!

Epilepsy can provide masses of inspiration.If not the source of creativity, then we most likely need not feel it has diminished after our first seizures.At least that’s how I see it… but, I guess, everyone doesn’t think the way I do.
I learn what others with epilepsy are thinking and feeling by reading responses to questions posted on www.myepilepsyteam.com.The differences in ways they interpret topics and queries is fascinating.So, I asked about creativity and whether they feel their epilepsy made them more or less so.By and large, a couple of themes surfaced:
1.They were creative before their epilepsy presented and, happily, continue to be. 2.They associated creativity with IQ, saying that they experienced declining cognitive skills after their first seizures.Their creativity sometimes did and sometimes didn’t diminish.
These, of course, were the most frequent answers, not all of th…

Guest Blog by Shan O'Meara: Tough Skin

Image
Those of us suffering from epilepsy have to have a tougher skin than most. It causes those of us who have it to change their lives dramatically. For example, you shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking anti-epileptic drugs. For a limited time after a seizure, it is illegal to drive. Again, some people do anyway. Risky, but people still drive, regardless. The length of time varies in each state, from only months to several years. Some drugs necessitate eating a certain way or not to eat certain foods. Epilepsy is not a sickness, not a disease. It is a condition. There is no way to “catch” it from someone else. Epilepsy is not like the common cold or a broken limb, which, if given time, will mend or run its course through your body. Often, without surgery, it will not go away. It is forever. There is no way to determine how, why, or when you will have a seizure.  That’s what makes this condition so hard to understand. Some people get an infection and the seizures start. Some people have it …

Epilepsy and the Job Seeker's Dilemma

Image
There’s a great deal we agree on when it comes to our epilepsy.We need to get regular sleep.Taking meds on schedule is a must.It’s better for us to be open with others about our condition.Back up.Open with others?Here’s where the arguments begin.There are some people who have been traumatized by others’ reactions to their letting people without epilepsy know about their troubles and argue unequivocally for keeping silent.Others, such as I, fight to be open. A more complex situation arises, however, when thinking about whether or not to tell prospective employers about one’s epilepsy during the interview.It’s a tricky one.
On the one hand, we know that employers legally can’t let a disability such as epilepsy influence their hiring decisions. The only point they can consider is whether or not possible seizures will get in the way of performing assigned duties.
But it’s not a perfect world with managers and HR professionals bringing completely dispassionate thinking to the hiring pro…

Why I'm Going to Stop Apologizing for My Epilepsy

Image
I look up into all the faces – the concerned, the horrified, and the ones rushing to lift the stretcher. “I’m sorry,” I mumble.And then I lose consciousness again.
I’ve just had a tonic clonic seizure, and I’m embarrassed and overwhelmed by the fact that I’ve caused so much trouble.I know.I know.It’s not my fault that I have epilepsy, though the “I deserve its” of adolescence still creep in from time to time.Nonetheless, I feel I must apologize.
But what am I apologizing for?Is it that I have epilepsy or something else? Here’s where I squint, trying to find the source.My seizure definitely has been an inconvenience, both for others and me, and it’s scary, especially for those who don’t know I have epilepsy.I forgot to take my meds, which is what led to all of this trouble.I need to apologize for that, but I also should apologize for not having told some of the others that I have epilepsy and instructed them on how to deal with it.
Rationally, I’m clear on what should be the bases of t…