Epilepsy: are you serious or just plain crazy?

 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.

Epilepsy: are you serious or just plain crazy?

Racism, a problematic term?

I read an article today about the term “new racism” which discussed how our negative views on certain groups in the society shape the things we associate that particular group with. I understood this as racism not just being depended on whether you are black or white, but also your religion, sex or a community/ethnic group(for example gypsies).

My view on how religious groups can be exposed to racism are for example on how Muslims often are associated with the “wrongs” in the society. And it is not a lie that most people associate a muslim with the word terrorism. Where I am from muslims (or immigrants) are very often the first community to blame when it comes to rape and I often hear the same type of comments concerning the subject.

Common quote: “There is a connection between muslims and rape because of their view on women.” (taken from several comments under several articles)

I believe that people get very intimated when you use the word racism and that people feel a need to defend themselves. We have learned to associate racism with prejudice against black or white, but I think that when a type of community often are associated with the same type of prejudice, that is indeed racism. 

It is about time that people accept that the term racism is not only for “a specific race”. The word race is too problematic to be used for describing the difference between black and white. One of the main reasons for the word race (for example during “The third reich”) was to describe the biological difference(s) between us.

“In recent years, the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the use of the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts, it is now often replaced by other words which are less emotionally charged, such as people(s) or community.” – Oxford dictionary

IngridBeya

Sources:

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/race–2

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007057

http://www.redstate.com/jollygiantsd/2013/08/15/the-new-racism-of-the-21st-century/

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2111369?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102790331173

p.s

I hope that most people understand that we are all human, and that there should not be a division of race, rather different communities. 

Racism, a problematic term?

Black history vs. African history.

There has always been a chapter at school I have been longing for during social sciences and history lessons. The one chapter in the book I always check to see how many pages it will be; Black history. But, it has always been such a disappointment to see the few pages, the little space it has in the curriculum, the way the teacher represents the chapter and the content.

Through my years in school I have noticed that the chapter about black history always seems to be about the same thing (just to mention a few of them); apartheid, Nelson Mandela, racial segregation and poor people in Africa. Is this really it? Is this all that black people have managed to get in to history?

I remember I saw an episode of “That’s so Raven” (when I was a bit younger), and they had dedicated the episode to black history month, which is celebrated every year in the US (also in Canada and the United Kingdom). They mentioned so many people I had never heard of, and I started researching and found out that these were important representatives for African Americans.  But still, are African Americans the only black people who are worthy to be in a history lesson concerning black history?

In high school I wrote an assignment about “The general act of the Berlin conference, 1885” and the scramble for Africa, when colonial powers carved up parts of central Africa. This was when I started to research on what happened in the Congo at that time and read about King Leopold II of the Belgians. I was surprised after some research, of how little or just nothing we had learned about this man in school and how his doing had affected the country today. My heart and brain was ready for more, more history about a continent we still know so little about compared to many other parts of the world. I feel that the message the schools are sending out is that black people have no history if it does not include colonialism, that is at least what I have managed to get out of the little I have learned in school.

But of course, I cannot speak for all schools, but if you take time to research this, maybe you agree with me?

IngridBeya

Sources:

http://www.anti-slaverysociety.addr.com/cx1885.htm King Leopold II/The general act

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbsqYdfHGw4 That’s so Raven episode

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history-month Black History Month

Black history vs. African history.

The road towards voting.

The election is just around the corner here in Norway and that means that people are eager to hear what your opinions in the society are, and if you are planning to vote.

Two weeks ago I was interviewed by the local newspaper and I told them that I had decided not to vote this year and I explained my reasons why. I have been eager to see how they would present my answer in the paper and thought that I would probably not be presented in the way I wanted to since it would only be a couple of words. Many thoughts came to my mind right after they were finished interviewing me: “Why did I not say that?” “Did they actually understand what I meant?” “Will people think that I do not care?” This is why I decided to write this article. This is not only something I wanted to do for myself, but for others to understand.

After I turned 18 I knew that I would be able to vote if I wanted to, but I decided not to. This was because I did not feel that I was mentally mature enough to do so. I feel that I have grown so much since then, but still have not felt ready to vote, as I have not had enough knowledge about the different parties. Maybe this is not a good enough reason for most people, but who am I to decide a countries future if I have not been actively following the different parties people are voting on? I agree and disagree with so many of them, but not enough to put my vote in a box. But just because I do not have enough knowledge, does not mean that I do not care; I care about the elderly, the young, the schools, the rich, the poor and the prisoners.

IngridBeya

Sources: Personal experience

The road towards voting.

Hair is so much more.

For an average black person, doing your hair is not easy. That is why we often tend to use extensions or relax our hair at a hair salon.

I have been thinking a lot about this, especially since I am from a country where the majority are white people and the hair salons in the city are mainly focused on Scandinavian hair.

I have always felt very uncomfortable going in to hair salons because I feel that I do not belong there since my hair is so different, and I wonder if they know how to take care of my hair? I have never asked. But I have thought of asking several times. Just for fun. Just to see what they would say. Would they throw me out? Would they tell me that they do not have enough experience? Or would they make up some kind of excuse? You, reading this, may probably be thinking, ‘what a stupid think to write about’. The reason I am writing this now is because I think that this shows one of many reasons to why black people are still neglected in the society.

I was Google-ing hairstyles for some weeks ago and guess what: 98 per cent of the pictures that showed were of white women, and my reaction was ‘do people of colour not have hairstyles?’

There are often many stereotypes about black people not having their own hair. This is often true, but not just because they do not like their hair or are hiding their hair for some other reason. It is often also because they do not have enough resources to fix their hair properly. TV commercials, magazines and all kinds off publicity have learned people, since advertising was on the rising, how women and men can do their hair properly, use the right shampoo or get a cut for just 5 pounds or 99 kr. But if you take a good look at these adverts you will see that 99 per cent of those are advertised for non-black people.

Ever since I was a little girl in kinder garden my friends have been asking me about my hair and why it looks like it does and why I change it so often. And I have noticed more and more how little they actually know. And to think I know so much about their hair, why is it that they do not have a clue?

This is something people rarely discuss out in the open. Even my mom said I should not write about this. I guess I am just a person who loves to bring awareness about neglected subjects.

IngridBeya

Sources:

https://www.google.no/search?q=hairstyles&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47008514,d.bGE&biw=1416&bih=740&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=M9ejUZHxEo_whQe01oDYBQ

Personal experience.

Hair is so much more.

Discovering the Okapi

Yesterday, I was searching the web a bit and I suddenly found a picture of an animal called Okapi. I started researching and read that they are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This surprised me, as I am also from DRC and I had never heard of this animal before.

Okapi is the last remaining ancestors of the Giraffe. It has a long neck and its most distinctive feature is that they have horizontal white stripes on the rear and legs, which is similar to a Zebra.

I showed this animal to my sister today and we talked about how this had become a big resource for zoo’s in England, but sadly DRC has not been benefiting from it, as one clearly can see.

I expressed my thoughts on how this animal had been transferred to England:

‘What kind of contracts was made? Who signed? Who is benefiting?’

For me, it all seems a bit suspicious. I read that it was Henry Morton Stanley who sent the first reports about the animal to the Western World in 1890, the same time as King Leopold II ruled the Congo. But Africans had already been tracking and hunting this animal for thousands of years before.

I am still sitting here and wondering how DRC is not benefiting on this animal. I was at the Zoo with a friend for a couple of weeks ago, even though I enjoyed seeing the animals, I started thinking about how the animals had been taken from different countries in Africa to be exploited in the Western World.

I can not help but think of how much of a benefit this animal could have been for the DRC. I bet people would pay thousands to see this rare animal at a ’safari’ or whatever.

I am a bit tired so this is a bit weaker written then I intended, but I just feel like this is something to bring awareness about. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who just discovered this animal and its origin. I will update.

IngridBeya

Other Sources:

http://a-z-animals.com/animals/okapi/

http://diglib1.amnh.org/articles/okapi/okapi1.html

Discovering the Okapi

Group work; how easy is it?

On Tuesday I had my first presentation at university with our group Empowerment. I have found that working in a group at uni has been even harder than I expected. All of the group members are intelligent people and we had some great thoughts separately, but together, we were a big clash!

Our lecturer gave us this experience because she believes that working in a group is a great way to prepare for life after university. I totally agree with this!

If you are planning on having a profession where you will need to work with other people this is the right statement. For example since I want to work as a journalist, we often work independently, but there is always someone you have to talk to so that everything comes out right(more on that another time).

Our assignment was to pretend that we were a campaigning human rights organisation making a new campaign and we were to present this to our classmates after some weeks of planning.

I was so lucky because my idea was actually chosen by the group (after some back and forth). But I experienced that the issue was so close to my heart that sometimes I felt like I had to be in control of everything, so that the issue was not represented in a wrong way. As I am a person how stresses so much that I actually get ill, this not only had a bad effect on me, but on my group members as well.

We did not communicate well as group and at our last meeting I had to say to them that I felt that we had not been a group. Right after those words came out of my mouth, I felt like I had stepped over the line.

But even though this was tough, we nailed our presentation!

I think that I have this fear of failing, and that I pushed my partners a bit too far, because many of them were not contributing much, even though I knew that this could damage my relationship to them.

 – IngridBeya

Group work; how easy is it?