We know that people who have epilepsy are not demonically possessed, but the neurological disorder remains a mystery for far too many people.
It took two years after being diagnosed with epilepsy for me to reach the point where I wanted to talk about it. Two years of struggling to try and understand what the condition was and how it was going to affect my overall health. Two years of discovering the impact it would have on my everyday life. Two years of being afraid that other people's perception of me was going to be different. The difference in my case was that there were many others, beyond friends and family, who already knew I was dealing with a medical condition. They had seen me experience a seizure before anyone had figured out what it was. There were a lot of questions. I just wasn't prepared to answer them yet.
March is Epilepsy Awareness Month, a time when many people with epilepsy share their story to teach people about it and reach out to others with seizures. I'm glad to be telling my story, but this hasn't always been the case. This time last year, I did not want to talk about having epilepsy. I was filled with anger, frustration, and pain.
It starts with the sensation of a light switch being pulled violently behind my eyes. I lose cognitive control quickly. I can't focus on even a simple task, and I forget what I'm doing while I'm in the middle of doing it. I have epilepsy. As a child no one realized I had been having seizures for many years. Instead, they misread my childhood behaviour as misbehaving.