I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 7 years old however my experience with seizures date back to before I was even one year of age. The seizures of the time were discovered to be a symptom of a brain tumour in my right temporal lobe- the seizures that I experienced were absence seizures in which it would appear that I was starting into a corner and from what I’ve been told even Christmas lights on a tree were triggering my seizures.
In January of 1987 at the age of 13 months doctors surgically removed the tumour but not without complications- unwittingly causing a hermitage during the surgery I was left with a weakness down my left side and limited vision in my left eye.
Six years later when teachers at my school noticed that I was having absences I was taken to hospital for investigation as it was feared that the tumour could have returned. Eventually I was diagnosed with epilepsy which had resulted from scaring on the brain as a result of the extraction of the brain tumour.
In the years following on from my diagnoses I have been on a number of different medications and differing dosages.
I have been on:
Some have not helped my seizures at all, some have helped, at least one has caused me to spiral into a deep depression and I’ve had to change medication after a suicide attempt in more recent years.
As well as changes in my medication my seizures have changed as I’ve got older- I no longer have absence seizures as an adult but I do have seizures that range from versions intensities of myoclonic to tonic and tonic-clinic seizures. My seizures will always start as a myoclonic jerk.
My triggers have always seemed to be stress/anxiety and strobe lighting. I find however my seizures might not always be set off by a specific trigger.
I have also encountered my fare share of judgment in regards to my epilepsy- some have just been scarred when I’ve told them that I have epilepsy, others have gone out of their way to try to intimidate and harass me in order to provoke me into having a seizure as they thought it would be funny (usually whilst they were high after smoking a joint of cannabis.
Despite this I live my day to day life no different to anyone else as I don’t believe that any part of my disability should define me.
I tend to only discus my epilepsy with people who would either need to know or close friends that I know I can trust