Type of epilepsy: As a child I had grand mal seizures, and as adult I now have complex partial seizures
When were you or your family member first diagnosed, and what were your thoughts after the diagnosis? I was first diagnosed with seizures at the age of 2. My thoughts of growing up with seizures initially scared me due my epilepsy being unexplained. Once I learned how to properly manage epilepsy effectively, it put me at ease knowing I was able to manage my seizures in an independent manner.
What is the hardest part about having epilepsy? The hardest part of having epilepsy is often interacting with other individuals on a daily basis. There are times where I get confused in various situations. Often I am unable to gauge in the morning what type day I will have . Sometimes I start off feeling good and I have a sudden mood change, which is out of my control. Also, I am transgender, so I often worry there will be adverse effects with taking my medication and doing my transition.
What is one of your greatest successes despite having epilepsy? My greatest success with having epilepsy is that I became a Engineering and Information Technology intern. In addition, I graduated high school with a 4.0 and became a National Honor Student. I believe I can do anything I put my mind to. Also, I have learned to live independently on my own with help from my parents, which is a great feeling.
How do you manage your epilepsy? I manage my epilepsy by taking my medication, getting plenty of sleep, and utilizing cognitive therapy to understand myself better to help overcome issues within. In addition, on a daily basis I do as much possible to limit my stress, as this is leading cause of my seizures. Furthermore, I make sure I’m eating a balanced diet and keeping myself hydrated.
What advice do you have for people who are newly diagnosed? The advice I would offer to people recently diagnosed would be, don’t allow the disability to disable you. Know you can do anything you put your mind to with perseverance. In addition, educate the people around you so they understand the possible issues which may arise with you having epilepsy. It helps if you have support from friends and family who deal with epilepsy. Often, we don’t see the direct issues which affect us at times.
What do you want others to know about epilepsy? I would like people to know that epilepsy is difficult to deal with at times. Sometimes we slur our speech and are confused about various situations. Furthermore, epilepsy is more than just seizures, as it often has other accompanying conditions associated with it. Oftentimes, poor memory, mood issues, depression and anxiety walk hand in hand with epilepsy.