I was thinking… Just thinking, the other day, about what I want to do with my life, and all I could think is… “I want to help others by writing.” Then I wondered, “How am I supposed to do that?” As I pondered this incredulous thought, I realized that I couldn’t be the only person feeling this way, so I ended up here. I want to share my story with you.
A few years ago, I started having seizures. Keep in mind that I don’t remember most of it; epilepsy wreaks havoc on your memory. But with that first seizure, I distinctly remember waking up beside my bed, wondering why I wasn’t on my bed. When I tried to get up, my mom came in and pushed me down; she told me not to move and said that I had just had a seizure. It was so frightening and surreal. For the first time in a long time, I began crying, and I told her I was scared.
After that, emergency medical technicians came. I got to ride in an ambulance, which was fun, I will admit. But I ended up dealing with epilepsy for years… I went through a lot of rides in an ambulance. Keep in mind, here, that epilepsy is not pretty; it’s actually gross. One side effect is dizziness and nausea. Once, in an ambulance, I had to throw up, but I did not tell the technician in time; I ended up vomiting all over myself.
During a seizure, you literally lose all control of your muscles. I once peed myself during a seizure. This may sound funny to you, but it was humiliating to me. I went to change before going to the hospital, but in the bathroom, I had another seizure. Seizures often occur in clumps, meaning multiple seizures can happen in a short period of time. I fell and banged my head on the ceramic tile; I still remember how enormous the bump on my head was as a result.
I was forced to do home school. I had to give up my dream of dancing professionally. And, worst of all, my friends abandoned me. Most of them were scared of me, or scared of what happened to me when I seized. Luckily, I later found God, and I am proud to say that Jesus healed me, although you may not believe that. It is fully true; I have been seizure-free for over a year and am now a licensed driver.
However, I was forced to face the reality that… People who do not have epilepsy are scared of us. This past weekend, my church held a Youth Convention. Kids from all over the state came. During worship, one began to have a seizure.
Keep in mind that this was a large crowd, and the room was dark and noisy. I leaned down to try to help the kid; specifically, I wanted to get him on his side. In case you did not know, people need to be on their side during a seizure; otherwise they can choke. At the moment, he was face down on the ground. But nobody helped me, they all stood far away from him in fear. When a youth pastor finally came over, he would not listen to my plea to get him on his side; he told me to “give him space” instead. As if that would stop him from choking.
Apologies to all of you, but you know nothing about first aid for epileptics. The fact that a youth pastor would not listen to someone who had been through this, however, was even worse.
The youth pastor asked us to stay calm, pray over him, but worship so that nobody else in the large crowd would get scared. When the seizure was over, the boy tried to get up. I tried to stop him because I knew that after a seizure he needed to lie still until help arrived. Again, the youth pastor stopped me.
Later, I realized that the youth pastor didn’t know I have epilepsy; he may have thought that I thought the kid was possessed. That is how he appeared.
When he came out of the seizure, his eyes were rolled back in his head; like the rest of the muscles in his body, he had lost control of his eyeballs. I had done this before too and knew they would go back to normal. Since he had seized face down and his head had hit the floor over and over, his face was already starting to bruise.
Everyone around me gasped and moved back; I was the only one who tried to help this person. I am so completely saddened by our society’s lack of knowledge about epilepsy and their lack of acceptance for those with the disease. More people are trained to help in CPR than in epilepsy first aid; yet one-fourth of the population will have at least one seizure in their lifetime. How would you feel if you were one of those people?
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. I encourage you to go find out some things about epilepsy and see how you can help. Most of all, if you know someone with epilepsy, I encourage you to accept that person as part of your community.
Basically, you will either see this as a bunch of BS, or you will actually take it to heart… I know there are two sides to a coin, and I’m not stupid. Either way, thanks for reading this.