Hi, I'm Derrick. I can clearly remember the day I had my first seizure. I was 7. I was outside playing with my friends when I suddenly started to see stars and feel short of breath. I was later diagnosed with epilepsy - that diagnosis had a big impact on my life growing up.
As I grew older, my epilepsy scared me a lot. The initial stage before having the seizure was always horrifying. I was never allowed to lock doors or go to sleepovers as my parents were always worried. Every time my Mum heard a bang (which could have been a toy drop) she got really worried - she thought I was having a seizure. I always had to sleep with my door open as my sister once found me having a seizure at night. I'm 28 now and Mum still has that worry.
I've been seizure-free for a year now. The Epilepsy Action Helpline has helped me deal with the various challenges of epilepsy.
On some days my epilepsy is a reminder of how precious life is and not to take it for granted. Other days I suffer with anxiety, panic attacks and a lack of confidence. I also sometimes have my days where I feel extremely lonely and emotional.
It can be hard for my family and friends to understand because they don’t feel the way I do. After a while, people can get tired of always going to the hospital. This does not mean they don’t care, but it’s the truth. You can see it on their faces and it makes you feel sad and even more alone. This is why I sometimes prefer going to the hospital by myself.
I've never let my condition limit what I want to do. Instead, it has made me realise how short life can be so to make the most of it. Like most people with epilepsy, I had multiple tests over the years which have all come back with no final answer. Doctors were unable to determine the root cause of my condition or even offer me a permanent solution which rids me of my epilepsy. I now make it a point to stay on top of all areas of my life. I have every belief that I will continue to win my battle with epilepsy.
For Purple Day this year, I want to talk about the life-changing work of the Epilepsy Action Helpline.
The helpline is such a useful source of information and gave me that hope that everything was going to be OK. Everyone should know about the Epilepsy Action Helpline as a way of getting support and being able to speak to someone about what you’re going through.
Your donation will mean the Epilepsy Action Helpline can be there on evenings and weekends to answer more calls, emails and Facebook messages from people with nowhere else to turn.