Gavin Sillars had his first seizure in January 2022 and was later diagnosed with epilepsy. Earlier this year, Gavin’s band, Gavin and the Laas, released a song called ‘Julius Seizure’ about his experiences of being diagnosed with the condition. Gavin shares his story.
“Back in January 2022, I had a tonic clonic seizure at work. It was my first one and I hadn’t shown any previous signs of having any problems, but the doctors found out I had acute hypophosphatemia which they suggested could have caused the seizure. I had a series of tests, MRI, CT, EEG and ECG scans, and I started a course of B12 injections. My life changed dramatically at this point. Nutrition and exercise became a bigger part of my day and we also looked at stress and tiredness as possible triggers. I was then free from seizures for 15 months until sadly in March 2023, I had a second tonic clonic seizure. I was referred to a neurologist and was officially diagnosed with epilepsy and put on a course of Levetiracetam.
“The biggest challenge I’ve faced is no longer being able to drive as you realise how reliant upon driving you become for work and social gatherings.
I love driving; I passed when I was 17 and to have that taken away aged 38 was pretty devastating. My wife is now my chauffeur and she’s been so supportive and understanding of my condition and what that means for our family, including our 8-month-old daughter. I also started a course of anti-depressants to stop my mood from dipping. I keep reminding myself that it’s only temporary and I’ve started to enjoy walking more.
“I write and record my own songs – I love the freedom and creativity.
Music has always played a huge part in my life as I was in bands throughout high school and college. I write and record my own songs – I love the freedom and creativity. For me, music constantly evolves. You hear something new, or you learn a new lick on the guitar, and it can be really rewarding. It helps me to zone out and have that little break where all of life’s stresses just leave you.
I was so overwhelmed with the whole epilepsy thing and I had all these feelings that I needed to write down, really personal thoughts that I knew would make me feel quite vulnerable. I spoke to family and friends and decided that writing a song about epilepsy would be a good coping mechanism for me, especially if I could keep it upbeat and quite raw. The song helped me to come to terms with living with epilepsy. It’s a reflection on the time immediately after the seizures in hospital when I was frightened and in a state of total confusion. I spoke to my brother over the phone and the first thing he said was, ‘Alright Julius Seizure’. We laughed a lot and it really helped me to get through a tough time so it became the title of this track. The feedback so far has been really positive, and it’s even been played on BBC Radio Leicester.”
Listen to Gavin's song
Improving your self-esteem
If you are trying to find something to help keep your spirits up whilst living with epilepsy, check out our page on Self-esteem and epilepsy.