I don’t know if readers know this about me, but I’ve written a few books about my life with epilepsy. My latest book, entitled ‘Time Well Spent with Epilepsy’, was published this year and is out now.
As a person with epilepsy for over 60 years I had not read personal accounts of coping with the condition. Rather than giving a medical view of epilepsy, I was keen to show that people could have a successful career and a successful family life while coping with epilepsy.
I want the book to convince people with epilepsy and their families that positive outcomes were possible. I used many of the positive stories in my own life to emphasise that all was possible despite the downsides of epilepsy.
Prejudices and misunderstandings have dogged people with epilepsy and their families for centuries. For example, it was not until 1971 that British lawmakers repealed laws that allowed marriages to be annulled on the grounds of epilepsy. But recent decades have witnessed improvements in understanding conditions like epilepsy. To my mind, misconceptions and related stigmas are slowly being better understood.
That said, I believe there is still a long way to go to better understand the condition. There’s more work to be done to understand the medicines that are used to control it and their side-effects. And there is more to learn about how social stigmas and prejudices associated with epilepsy for generations can be reduced.
My hope is that my new book can show through my experiences across six decades how some of the negative effects of epilepsy can be overcome. I also hope it will show that the condition can provide its own positives. It’s not just a downhill ride.