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Epilepsy and I

Story: Confessions of an Epileptic

By Elia

 

At the age of 12 and shortly after my mother died I was diagnosed with epilepsy. When I was first told that I am epileptic, I did not know what the meaning of this was. The moment I started to realize that it is a disease was the moment that seizures started to multiply and the doctors’ appointments increased.

 

The most difficult period was puberty, which is a very sensitive and tough phase in each person’s life. My school years included mostly, seizures, doctors’ appointments, experimental treatments and what can be caused due to all of that. The fact that I had just lost my mother from cancer at the same period I was diagnosed with epilepsy, made things harder for the rest of my family but not for me as it took me a long time to process her loss.

 

Due to my condition, I also faced difficulties in my studies as I lacked concentration and suffered from loss memory. I remember myself fainting in the school yard, in the streets, restaurants, and cafes. I remember people asking what is wrong with me and sometimes looking weird or even being scared. I got very lucky as I had very supportive friends with me along this difficult way who remained closed to me and looked after me every time I felt bad or insecure.

 

Usually, when going through a tough situation like this we tend to put a lot of burden on ourselves in order to look and feel stronger. We might get distant from other people because we feel the need to protect ourselves. We might feel reluctant of getting into a relationship because we feel ashamed of our situation. We might avoid going into events or social occasions due to the fear of criticism or even worse, bullying.

 

What I want to point out here is that living with a chronic disease is a very sensitive area and it can affect negatively our lives, our routine and our self-esteem as well as the lives of people around us. But, it can also give us strength and it can bring us closer to people we love and value. In some rare cases, it can also open doors to new opportunities.

There are diseases that might never go away but at least they are controllable. This is my case too. Today, at the age of 29, I am OK and I no longer suffer from seizures. I am grateful for what I have and I strongly appreciate the values of health and love. I take daily my medication and I visit my doctor every 2 or 3 months.

 

Remember, you are not alone in this!