I have suffered from different types of seizures over the years. It does not matter what type of seizure disorder is affecting your life, people's reactions often hurt you more than they think. They often do not realize the importance of their reactions as they are primarily the reflection of their fears and ignorance on the subject.
As a toddler, I started suffering seizures that were later on diagnosed as Epilepsy. This was caused by a brain trauma that happened at birth. I had to take medications that were too strong for me resulting in not remembering years of my life. During this period which lasted for ten years as I was later told that I outgrew Epilepsy because of my body's changes during my teenage years I had to face people's reactions. I may not remember much of this decade but I vividly remember the pain related to the cruel comments, being excluded and especially, the ignorance of some members of my extended family.
You see, in these days, the terms Epilepsy and seizures cave life to uncontrollable fears in people. Some excluded me because they though I was mentally challenge, others thought that if they played with me, they would catch it. Others, like my own grandmother were convinced that I had to pray every night as she thought that I was possessed by an evil spirit as a punishment for my parents' sins. I was also picked on and laughed at by kids because of my lack of coordination and focus. It did not matter, who said nor did what, hurt and these painful memories still break my heart today.
As I later grew out of Epilepsy when I became a teenager, I started to suffer from seizures related to Hyperventilation. I was told that several people that had Epilepsy in the past were affected by this disorder as a result of extreme stress. Well, even my own mother thought that I had Hyperventilation episodes because I was looking for people's attention. Little did she know about the abuse that I enduring at the time.
Then during the first seven years of teaching, I experienced pseudo seizures which are also related to high level of stress and the fact that I was on heavy medications due to a wrong diagnosis of Epilepsy. Later on, I was told by a former principal that if I would look for a teaching position in her school, she would have to turn me down, not because of my teaching skills which she liked but for the fact that people with Epilepsy need to take more sick days than others according to her, which would be costly to the school division. Is not it a great example of discrimination or what?
Finally, since the birth of my youngest child, I have been experiencing some seizures related to my hypoglycemia. As a result, my husband has asked of me not to drive anymore as he is concerned for my safety, my children's and others should I have a seizure while driving. Others seem to think that I am not capable of handling stressful situations very well and tend to underestimate my potential and abilities which can make you feel inadequate at times.
What do I suggest as a solution to this problem? The answer is simple. Let's educate people and provide them with adequate information about any seizure disorder that you may be affected by right now. Ignorance is nobody's friend. It only creates heartache despites people's good intentions. Let's help them avoid hurting your feelings.