Epilepsy isn’t always convulsions, eye rolling, and loss of consciousness. When a lot of people imagine a ‘seizure’, this is what they picture. In fact, pre-my own diagnosis, it’s exactly what I pictured a seizure to be. I however suffer from complex partial seizures.
I realised I was having these at the start of my second year at Uni, when I would start to phase out during lectures and lessons and experience intense deja vu. To any ‘normal’ person, that sounds fun, right?! Absolutely not. I have so many people say to me, “but I LOVE deja vu!” This is like you’re living your normal life, then somebody takes your soul out of your body and puts it into the worst nightmare you ever had and you re-live that for two long minutes, whilst your stomach is rising (like when you’re on a rollercoaster), ears ringing and sometimes I’d even be sick. All this while I’m trying to take notes? Wasn’t easy. And that was just the start.
Anyone who knows what partials are like know that there are lots of types of seizures, most of them I black out for about two minutes and can’t remember what happened. This is not easy when you’re trying to read, listen or do anything remotely studious, if I’m honest. One of the most annoying things is that after a seizure, it really knocks you for six. I feel super poorly afterwards too and all I want to do is sleep, so it can take up so much of your time.
One of the worst things, for me personally, was losing my driving license. Obviously, the blackouts meant that I’m not road safe for a year after my last seizure. I’m not just a student but I’m a mum too. I have a seven year old and losing the ability to get in the car and get out, ESPECIALLY in a year like 2020, was really, really hard.
Add to this whole mess, the medication is just so draining. I really mean it when I say; It. Is. AWFUL. On a good day, I can just about see straight. On a bad day, I can’t eat, look at my phone, I can barely move. I’m just so tired all of the time, I can’t retain any information the way I used to, people speak to me and it honestly goes in one ear and out of the other. I’m forgetful, agitated, and dizzy. But, they control the seizures. So it’s not all bad. It does the job.
I don’t know anybody who has partial seizures, and it can be a very lonely place. The seizures are scary, they are exhausting, and they make life difficult. My advice to anyone suffering the same, is to utilise the support from University, utilise Disabled Students Allowance funding because the equipment is seriously useful, and to reach out, because you’re not alone.
If you are living with a disability, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service to discuss how we can support you at Essex.