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Do You Think Attitudes to Epilepsy Have Changed? Well, Maybe.

Trigger Warnings: Discriminatory attitudes to disability, discussion of asylum treatment methods, discussion of mental health, historic offensive language describing seizures

Author’s note: Some of the language used is now considered to be offensive, similarly they mention historical treatments which are also considered offensive and awful now. The language used is quoting what is used in the video – and it is important to use these quotes fully. 

It was ‘Epilepsy Awareness Day’ or ‘Purple Day’ on 26th March, where people wear purple to raise awareness about the realities of epilepsy. During the promotional build-up, UK-based charity ‘Epilepsy Action’ tweeted a video from 1957 highlighting historic attitudes to epilepsy. They asked, “Do you think attitudes have changed?” As I watched the video with horror and sadness at the stigma people lived with, my initial reaction was a resounding, YES.

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I Thought my Epilepsy was Something I had to Hide, now I’ve Accepted it

TW: This article contains use of an ableist slur

I was 17 when it first happened.

I was in my bedroom when I suddenly lost all control of my body. I could feel my arms, legs and jaw violently convulsing. I could only watch in hopelessness as my body gave way and I collapsed. Still conscious and watching helplessly, I was trapped in my own body and simply had to wait for it to be over.

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