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A Guide to Safely Working Out with Epilepsy

TW: This article discusses exercise, body image and eating habits, as well as descriptions of having seizures.

It’s 2:30am. I feel the rustle of scratchy blankets and hear passing voices. I open my eyes, confused. Then, I remember. I’m in A & E. It’s Wednesday night and no one else is here.  The last thing I recall is getting back from a run and turning on the shower. After that? It’s all a bit of a blur. 

Then I remembered. I’d had a seizure, fallen back and hit my head.

The trigger? Going on a run. Not cool, epilepsy.

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‘She’: Epilepsy, Mental Health, and Self-Detachment

TW: This article includes discussion of mental health, seizures, medical ableism and discussion of to eating disorders.

I recently sat down to write a poem for a competition entry. It was only when I re-read my work I realised in several stanzas, I referred to myself as ‘she.’ To my surprise, I changed them all to ‘I’ – but then, the poem didn’t feel right. So, I changed them back.

I’ve previously convinced myself that I’m nothing more than a consciousness. It’s usually when I’m in bed and have a chance to think. The more I think, the more life starts to unravel at the edges. The idea that individual souls are connected to individual bodies feels ridiculous, absurd.

The sensation mounts, and then something snaps. Sometimes, it feels like my actual bodily form is changing, until I half-believe that someone completely physically different is lying in my bed. 

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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.