Angel was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 14, nearly four years ago. She has had very mixed experiences in public.
“My seizures are usually once a month and can be triggered by stress. Last year I was seizure free and then in January this year I had 2 seizures. I have tonic clonic seizures but also bad memory problems, chronic headaches and chronic fatigue syndrome.
“Once, I was on the bus and started to have a seizure. My sister screamed for the driver to stop and he didn’t. A lady told my sister to calm down, but my sister carried on and then they finally stopped the bus. An ambulance was called. My sister told me that people were complaining because they wanted to go home. Another time I had a seizure on the bus, the driver immediately stopped and gave me first aid. He acknowledged the situation and wanted to help.
“My mum had asked my secondary school if they were all trained for first aid. She told them they could get free training for students and teachers from an epilepsy charity. They declined and said that they were all trained. Then I had a seizure at school. I fell off my chair and no one knew what to do. My teacher was swearing, people were crying, and my classmates had to run and get help. Another teacher said it wasn’t important. I got a concussion and a massive bump on my head and my right arm and leg were all bruised.
“I think people should get over the fact that seizures look quite ‘traumatic’. We’re the ones who go through it. At the end of the day you don’t have a bitten tongue, swallowed blood that upsets your stomach, an extreme headache, and feel extremely exhausted. It’s a life or death situation and not many people get that. I think it’s very important to know about epilepsy. It’s difficult because not many people know what it is until you or a family member has it. Epilepsy changes your life drastically.
For anyone who has epilepsy, you are brave, you are strong, you have fought hard and now look where you are. You should stand tall and be proud because if seizures can’t stop you, nothing can. Don’t give up, always have endless hope. Don’t let epilepsy bring you down.”