Personal Story: Life of a Student with Epilepsy

Personal Story: Life of a Student with Epilepsy

One night I was getting ready to go out to a party. I fixed my eyelashes in the mirror and suddenly woke up delirious, looking at the EMT surrounding me. I could not get my mind straight and was disturbingly confused as to why the ambulance was here. I began to look in confusion and started panicking and asking what is going on. I was being asked, “How old are you? What is your name? What year are you in? How many fingers am I holding?” 

This was my first experience with epileptic seizures – the first of four “tonic seizures” or grand mal seizures to this date. I’ve also had petite mal seizures. 

The next thing I remembered was waking up at the hospital connected to an IV and many other things. I had an MRI done and was told I had a seizure, and the cause may be stress or not enough sleep. I was thinking to myself, I’m stressing over school, and I had many personal problems at the time. It was my freshman year attending Victor Valley College, and I was struggling with my classes which took a toll on me. I knew I was facing some obstacles, but I didn’t realize it would become like this. I felt like I hit rock bottom.

Months went by, and I went to take some tests to see what could have caused my seizure. With Covid being around, I had to wait to get my tests done by my neurologist. I was nervous and overthinking that I had something terrible. Once I took my test, my results came in, and my neurologist told me I had epilepsy since I was young, but a series of events caused it to come out now. My heart dropped, but I kept a strong face in front of my family, telling them I’ll be okay and that there was nothing to worry about even though I was super scared myself. I wanted to make it seem like I was okay so they would be okay.

I was rethinking my whole life and just stressing on the past rather than focusing on the present. I realized that I wasn’t helping myself and my mental health. I needed a change for the better. I debated taking a break from school because it was one of my stresses, but I could not go through with it. I knew that I could defeat anything as long as I took care of myself and realized that school will always be there. 

I had to begin taking medication (Keppra pills), but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to because of the long-term effects. I decided to wait it out because I did not want to believe I had epilepsy. 

Months went by, and I experienced another seizure. I felt very off for a couple of days, and I didn’t realize I was experiencing signs of having another one. I decided to go to my room and lay down for a bit, then the next thing I knew was waking up with my back and tongue hurting. My parents came to me, and I was confused and not mentally there. My neurologist explained to me that I had another seizure and should consider the Keppra medication. If I wasn’t alone, I could have had a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

It finally hit me that I wasn’t taking my health seriously. I didn’t know what signs and what I had to do for my condition. I experienced petit seizures as well, which were signs of having a tonic seizure which is what I have. Tonic seizures are a loss of consciousness, cry out, fall to the ground, and have muscle jerks or spasms. The signs of having one are staring into something that’s not there, slowly stopping talking, and becoming confused, which are petit seizures. If I ever have seizures, I have to be put on the side so I will not choke or bite myself, I have to be positioned in the right way so I will not hurt myself, make sure something is under my neck, and if they last more than five minutes, the ambulance must be called. 

Dealing with epilepsy made my life a little challenging because whenever I had a seizure I would hurt myself and be feeling bad for a couple of days. I could not attend class or work because I wasn’t feeling well. I had to stop playing soccer because I could not get injured. It has been a rollercoaster going through this, but I thank God that it isn’t worse because I would have to stop doing everything I loved. Having this condition made me realize that my mental and physical health is essential. I will face obstacles throughout my life, but it matters how I handle them. I took out all the negativity in my life and focused on the positives. I stopped being afraid and became more cautious. I wasn’t living for myself, but now I am, and I feel happier and healthier.