Living with Epilepsy


Photo submitted.

Skylar Jacobsen, Staff Writer

November is known as Epilepsy Awareness month. Why is there just one month to spread Epilepsy Awareness? People need to be more aware of Epilepsy. The more people who are aware, the more people can help.

1 in 26 people in the United States will develop Epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. I am one of those 26.

Not many people are aware of Epilepsy except that it is associated with the word seizure. Seizures are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain.

Out of the blue I had a seizure one day and after a year and a half of many hospital stays, doctors’ appointments, tests and needles I finally got a diagnosis: Epilepsy.

No parent wants to hear that their child has a chronic disorder which has no cure. No one wants to watch their loved ones suffer in pain and not be able to do anything about it.

Even with today’s medication, Epilepsy CANNOT be cured. Epilepsy is a chronic medical problem that, for many people, can be successfully treated. Unfortunately, treatment doesn’t work for everyone. At least 1 million people in the United States have uncontrolled Epilepsy.

There is still an urgent need for more research, better treatments and a cure.

When people do not know about epileptic seizures, they tend to make the situation worse because they panic and don’t know how to help.

There are a few steps to follow when someone is having a seizure.

First you need to stay calm and look around to make sure the person is not in any danger. Do not move them unless necessary.

After you note the time when the seizure began, stay with them when they are coming out of the seizure and gently talk to them.

Cushion their head if they have fallen to the ground; however, DO NOT hold them down. They can seriously injure themselves if they are too restrained.
Make sure there is nothing in their mouth as they can swallow the item and choke.

Check the time again and if the seizure hasn’t stopped after 5 minutes call for an ambulance. After the seizure has stopped help them sit up slowly and stay with them until they are fully recovered.

As someone who has this medical condition, it is painful. I have to take medication every day and night. I take medication to help with not only my seizures but also for the nausea, headaches and anxiety/depression. All the medications I take have one side-affect and that side-affect causes me to take more medication with another side-affect — the cycle just goes around.

Living with Epilepsy is definitely not easy. I have missed school days, I can’t play sports, and I can barely get out of bed on some days.

I missed half of my sophomore year and my whole junior year, which is why I am still trying to get caught up on my junior year in order to graduate on time.

I ask why is there just one month to spread Epilepsy Awareness? There should be awareness every day so more people are educated and can learn how to help if they are ever in a situation where someone has an epileptic seizure.