I thought it was about time to write a new blog post. This time I wanted to share with you an “article” I wrote on Facebook for some weeks ago. It was about a diagnose you probably do not know much about? I believe this is a very important subject, so continue reading if you are interested…
Ignorance against different diagnoses is both scary and dangerous, especially the stigmatised diagnose, Epilepsy (EP). Many people do not know what to do if someone has an Epileptic seizure. For example some people think that you should pull out the tongue of a person having an epileptic seizure. Did you know that the person having the seizure might die by doing so? EP is not a deadly diagnose, but if you do something wrong, you can end up killing the person.
The types of seizures that come with this diagnose are often not the way people think they are and the way to help stop them are very different within the same diagnose. That is why more people should learn more about this. Sadly, there are not put enough resources in the society to do so. Why do people know so much about cancer and not epilepsy? Not to compare the two, just to make you aware of that epilepsy can be awful for many to live with. But, the people diagnosed with it experience it very different. Some may have seizures every day and it might be every 5 minutes, some may have it months apart. I once thought that you must be born with epilepsy to have it. But no, this is not true. You can get it if you are 5 years old or 60 years old, it does not matter.
Like I mentioned, there has always been a stigma against EP. The society has thought that the people with epilepsy have been possessed, contagious, hallucinating or just crazy. And believe it or not, this is often the case today. Some EP diagnosed may lose their job, risk losing friends or their boyfriend/girlfriend, if they find out or you tell them. So often they choose to keep it for themselves. This is also a reason for ignorance in the society, because people with EP, do not dare talking about it due to the stigma.
There are over 40 types of epileptic seizures, but the type the society hears the most about is just one. I bet you can guess which? Yup, the falling on the floor, loosing consciousness, body stiffening, shacking, rolling eyes, you name it. Also called “General tonic-clonic seizure.” This is actually the one that you might see the least of. The ones you may see, even without knowing it is the Simple partial seizures. These seizures depend on where in the brain they come from and there are 3 different types of this type of seizure, confusing right? Just to make it easy: It can change the muscle activity, can cause changes in the part of the nervous system that automatically controls bodily functions and it can cause psychic seizure that change how they think, feel or experience different situations. Such as emotions, and feeling that you are outside your body such as déjà vu (Have I been through this before?) or jamais vu (This is new to me).
Also a part of this type of seizure is the one that you may have thought the people you are seeing are drunk or just plain crazy. You’ve seen those people who just suddenly start laughing? Or do not respond you because they are busy taking of their clothes. As with all epileptic seizures, whatever you do: Do not stop them! Just be there for them. There are people who have been arrested, but then it turns out that they were having a seizure. No wonder many think people with epilepsy are crazy. But they are not doing it on purpose, they will not remember what happened. They will not understand why they are standing in front of a car almost hitting them.
Epilepsy itself is not a disease, but your brain has a disease that is causing epileptic seizures. Everyone has electric activity in their brain, but people with the diagnose get sudden uncontrolled disturbance of the electric activity. All humans can get an epileptic seizure, you may have had a brain tumour, hit your head very hard or it may come of an unexplained reason or you may have had it for several years without knowing it, but suddenly there is something that triggers it and you start having seizures.
Those who are diagnosed with epilepsy have lower threshold than others, and therefore tend to have repeated attacks. This is why they must take an EEG, showing the electric activity in the brain and if it is normal you most likely do not have epilepsy. But since it is a complicated diagnose, you might only have disturbance of the electric activity when you are having a seizure, and this makes it difficult, as people rarely have a seizure when they are hooked to the wires.
After reading this, I am sure that you are very confused, but I hope that you understand that this is a very complicated diagnose. I want people to understand that there is not just one side of the story. I hope that this post may have educated you a bit about the diagnose and that you will maybe take time to find out what you might have to do if someone has a seizure. I will let you know this: Don’t call an ambulance before the person has had the seizure for 5 minutes, just be there for the person.
– Ingrid Beya
Sources: Personal experience, several epilepsy institutions.