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Breaking the Wall of Fear: Epilepsy’s Tainted Name

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It’s a curious look on the face of a person who has just discovered that a fellow colleague, student, neighbour, or friend has epilepsy. “The Look”, as I have grown to call it, can be accurately described as a mix between the confusion of someone who has just seen a UFO, and the nausea of one who has just found a bug in their salad. But mostly, it’s of fear. This fiery wall of discomfort has been known to immediately shoot up at the mere mention of “epilepsy,” and instantly become a blind shadow in the back of people’s minds of fear, uncertainty, and the potential of danger. What is very important to consider when it comes to epilepsy is that the disorder itself is never black, nor white: it is always shades of grey, and when faced with it, assumptions should not be made based on the portrayal in popular media.

Go ahead, close your eyes and picture a live seizure in your head. What does it look like? What is the person doing? What are you doing? Or do you even know? At times, seizures can be very difficult to spot, depending on what the situation is, and most are fortunate enough to never have the experience of being in the presence of one. But how can we be sure? I know that I actually have an average of 10 seizures in class each day, and nobody would ever guess. For the most part, not even my teachers can recognize my Petit Mal seizures because they look simply as if I am staring into space.

 

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