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Posted by STACEY on February 16, 2000 at 21:09:30:

Epilepsy is caused by sudden, brief changes in a person's brain activity. When brain cells fail to function properly due to epilepsy, a person's awareness and movements may be altered, perhaps dramatically, for a short period. These sudden physical changes in brain activity are called epileptic seizures.

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My name is Stacey. I am 27 years old. I got epilepsy at the age of five. I had contracted a virus. It was a virus known as encephalitis. Epilepsy has made me feel depressed at times and has gotten me down. Sometimes, having epilepsy has made me feel like an outcast. I have realized in the past couple years that you can do anything they want in life, if you try hard enough and put your mind to it. You need to understand that you can become your worst enemy if you let yourself. YOU CANNOT GIVE UP. You need to keep trying until you succeed. Very rarely does anything come easy. The percentage of people that are seizure-free from medications is not that high. Although, there are people out there who are seizure-free due to anti-epileptic medications on the market and this is what we need to focus on. It has been tough for me with all the testing and medical let downs, but I focus on the positive and try to avoid the negative. I have grown as a person from all these experiences both mentally and spiritually.
Mentally it has helped me mature and accept myself for whom I am. Accepting yourself is one of the most important steps to healing. You need to understand that yes, and I am epileptic and nothing going to change the fact that I am. Yes, I may find a drug that controls my seizures, but that does not change the fact that I am epileptic.
Spiritually I have learned a lot about myself; I learned what my wants and what my needs are. I have also learned that one cannot let having epilepsy control their life. Yes, I have epilepsy, but I do not have to stop living. Life goes on! One needs to be proud of who they are.
I am determined to live a normal life. You cannot compare your life to someone else's life. If you do that you're going to be unhappy. You need to love yourself and be satisfied with the life you lead and if you're not satisfied than change it! You need to realize also that there are plenty of people who take medicine and many individuals do not drive for lots of other reasons. You should not feel ashamed or feel different from others. We all have a special beauty within us. No one is perfect or has a life that is flawless.
So if you have epilepsy do not, be ashamed that you are epileptic. Someone that I met a while back taught me that there is nothing wrong with having epilepsy. It is very easy to begin to feel sorry for yourself until you realize that some people may have it a lot worse. It has also helped me feel better to know that there are many other epileptics in this world. We may have different seizures, but our feelings about living with epilepsy are all very similar.
I truly believe that all things happen for a reason. I believe that our lives are planned for us a head of time. There is nothing wrong with having epilepsy. Epilepsy is something that you should not be ashamed of or hide. Having epilepsy has taught me to appreciate life and appreciate what God has given me. It has helped me develop confidence in myself and to love myself for who I am. Epilepsy has also made me want to reach out and help others.

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