Did you know this week is National Epilepsy Week? I went down to London a few weeks ago to meet the team at the Epilepsy Society for their Explain Epilepsy campaign. The campaign is designed to make more people aware of Epilepsy and what to do if they see someone having a seizure. There were stars from TV, football, YouTube, music and me! All discussing the perceptions of epilepsy and what people knew about it.
The Epilepsy Society conducted a study to see if people knew what to do if they saw someone having a seizure. Only 1 in 3 people would know to put a person in the recovery position. Did you know there are over 40 types of seizures? Most people could only name one or two. Sometimes you wouldn't even know if the person was having a seizure such as an absence seizure. There are six types of generalised seizures. Everyone reacts differently to seizures and some have them every few months/years and some have them several times a day, like me.
Many people saw epilepsy as a barrier to work or a social life. People were reluctant to tell people they had epilepsy in case they didn't hire them or were cautious of them. They were worried it would put employers off. It also caused problems at school with children not understanding how to deal with someone with epilepsy and the bullying that goes along with that. There is very little teaching of epilepsy and it is our job to educate people and spread the word as best we can. We want to bring awareness that epilepsy shouldn't be a stigma and a lot of people lead normal lives with it.
Living with epilepsy is really hard and it would be so much easier if people understood the condition more. As I don't have the typical tonic clonic seizures people find it hard to class it as epilepsy. I get asked all the time if I just fell but it was actually a seizure. I also have myoclonic seizures which are jerks and can be very subtle. People don't realise I'm having them but they can make me physically tired.
This is my video on dealing with life with epilepsy:
Here are some handy tips to deal with someone having a convulsive seizure. Remember not all seizures are like this and some won't require this response.
Make sure they are in a safe place
Note the time the seizure starts
Stay with them
Cushion their head with something soft
After the seizure has stopped put them in the recovery position
Stay with them until they have fully recovered
Don't hold them down or put anything in their mouth
If it doesn't stop after five minutes call an ambulance.
For more information about epilepsy, go to www.epilepsysociety.org.uk
If you would like to talk to someone about epilepsy, call their confidential helpline for information and emotional support.
Epilepsy Society Helpline 01494 601 400 Mon and Tues 9am-4.30pm, Wed 9am-7.30pm