Epilepsy: More Than a Seizure
By Annii | @mybeautifulbrainbattles | June 7, 2019
The first time I saw someone having a seizure, I was six years old. I was walking down the street with a friend and her mum and the man in front of us dropped to the ground and started shaking. Blood was pouring out of his mouth where he had bitten his lip. My friends, mum covered our eyes and hurried us in the other direction. When I asked her, what happened she awkwardly replied, ‘Sometimes certain people lose control of their body. Just don’t think about it sweetie.’ Little did we know that 13 years later, I would be one of “those people.”
Epilepsy entered my life loud and aggressively, my first seizure happening half way through my first year of Medical School. My seizures look like I am day dreaming or just rolling my eyes weirdly, but they leave me with as little control as the man I saw on the ground all those years ago. One in twenty – six people will have a seizure in their lifetime, it is not a rare disorder but yet, it is an illness that is still whispered about with fear and unease as an undertone.
Epilepsy took almost everything from me; my independence, control of my own body, my hearing, my confidence and almost my career.
I was miserable and then that misery became anger. I was so angry at the world; that this had happened to me. I was a good person! I had dedicated my life to the service of others. I didn’t deserve this. And that’s where I found my problem. Yes, I didn’t deserve this but neither did anyone else. If 60 million people have epilepsy in the world, what was stopping me from being that lucky candidate? If 0.1% of people with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy will lose their hearing in part or fully, why was I any better than the rest in order to be spared? Those people deserve it no more then I. This realisation is what has gotten me through the toughest of times; the realisation that I am no better, or no worse and that this wasn’t a punishment or a gift, it just is what it is. If anything, epilepsy has allowed me to become a better doctor; to understand what it is like to hear that your life will change forever. It has also made my priories clearer. I am more focused about what I want from life and who I want in my life. I have learned to treat my body with more respect and to value good days, rather than dwelling on the bad.
Generally, during awareness days/weeks/months for epilepsy, I would talk about s seizure first aid, how to recognize a seizure and educate the public to the fact that epilepsy; however, this week being epilepsy awareness week, I prefer to shine a light on what it is to live with the disorder, rather than just naming facts, because we are more than just facts and figures. I have epilepsy. I will always have epilepsy. But first and foremost; I will always be Annii – daughter, friend, niece, cousin, student doctor, person and that’s the type of awareness I would like to promote this week.
Annii is 21 years old and is a student doctor. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy in her 1st year of medical school which, during a prolonged seizure three months later, caused profound hearing loss and a variety of other complications. She hasn’t let this stop her practise of medicine and is specializing in Neurology. She started up an Instagram page, documenting her struggles and experiences with chronic illness, called @mybeautifulbrainbattles