Many of us after we are diagnosed with epilepsy search of a reason as to how it’s entered our life. Here’s my story:
After being diagnosed with epilepsy it wasn’t long until I (and my family) began looking over my past trying to get a possible idea as to why this thing might have appeared so abruptly in my life.
I couldn’t understand how I had been perfectly healthy for so many years and then, one day, I had epilepsy. I felt that there had to be a reason.
I thought that even though I had been given the common ‘unknown cause’ to my diagnosis, at the time I thought that if I could pinpoint where it may have come from, I could work out how to get rid of it.
There was one notion in particular that played on my mind for quite a while and which I thought had caused my epilepsy. When you initially consider a theory like this your are filled with guilt for potentially giving yourself a lifelong condition.
When I was a child I was a tomboy and I loved climbing trees etc. and basically I was accident prone.
I cut my eyebrow open when I was 5, after I ran into a swinging-swing in the park.
I also split the top of my forehead open when I was 8 after sitting on top of some railings and swinging down and hitting my head on the bottom one.
So now I’m left with two scars on my forehead which I usually hide with a fringe.
I went to hospital after both these accidents, but it was only as a teenager that I realised, that the swing incident had briefly knocked me out. One moment I was seeing a swing fly towards me, and the next my friends mum was carrying me home.
Naturally I battled with the idea that this and the other knock to my head may have caused my epilepsy for a long time believing that it had definitely caused my epilepsy. But other relatives were also coming up with their own suggestions, from TB jabs to what I had eaten an hour before being admitted to hospital. I obviously dismissed these, and I know my family were coming from a good place but as you can imagine, sometimes this irritated me or even embarrassed me.
I have a particular memory of being in hospital and a doctor chatting to me and looking at my notes; he looked confused as he said to me:
‘It says on here you, ate some…cheese?’ I then had to explain to him that it must have been my dad’s crazy suggestion as he’s allergic to penicillin. He replied with, ‘I see’ and frantically scribbled it out.
For a very long time I truly believed that I had brought my epilepsy on myself even though the doctors could find no cause, and every test and brain scan has comeback clear – thankfully.
6/10 people living with epilepsy will never know what causes it for them, and I believe that is human to try to find a reason or cause when something alters in our health or life.
After I accepted my epilepsy I also accepted the fact that my epilepsy has no cause. When I consider the evidence, a 9 year delay for epilepsy from concussion is a bit unheard of. I think if my epilepsy was caused by my minor head injuries it would have entered my life much sooner.
The most important thing I’ve accepted is that even if I knew my epilepsy was caused by a particular thing from my past it doesn’t matter as it’s now in the past, the most important thing is the present and future, making sure that I don’t worry about things that I cannot change, and looking after my health.
Thanks for reading,