Having a medical condition such as epilepsy has an impact on your relationships with others. In my family it brought me and my mum much closer because she felt like she needed to protect me from the world. I was her little girl.
However, it caused the relationship with my sister to go in the opposite direction. My older sister was the one who found me having my first ever seizure, when I was 8. That changed our relationship.
We used to be best friends. We would do everything together but after she saw me have the seizure that was it, we stopped playing together. Suddenly we weren’t as close, it was like we no longer sisters. She became scared in case it would happen again. It broke my heart, one minute she was my best friend and then she was not, and all because of a seizure.
At night my mum and dad would take it in turns to sleep in my room because they were worried that I would have a seizure. This was obviously extremely embarrassing, and I didn’t tell anyone. No 12-year-old wants to have their mum or dad sleeping in their bed.
“My real friends accept the fact that I have epilepsy and they respect that I can’t do, or watch, certain things because it might trigger seizures.”
To help change this the hospital provided us with some seizure alarms that went on my mattress. They pick up any motion. If it detected something it made a loud noise in my mum and dads’ bedroom to let them know something might not be right.
In school I used to get bullied by some girls. When they found out that I had epilepsy and it was triggered by flashing lights they thought it would be funny to turn the torches on on their phones and start flashing them in my face to see what would happen.
All of this affected me and my relationships with others in a big way. I didn’t want to let anyone else in or be friends with anyone in case they turned and did something as cruel as those girls. Now I’ve come to realise that not everyone is like that. My real friends accept the fact that I have epilepsy and they respect that I can’t do, or watch, certain things because it might trigger seizures.
Telling people about your epilepsy can be scary, worrying about what their reaction might be. It can feel like everyone will think you’re ‘weird’ or they won’t want to be your friend again. It can be a worry that people may treat you differently. It’s completely normal to feel this way, but I don’t let it stop me telling people now.
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