What I Should Have Told the People Who Made a Seizure Joke
I was diagnosed with epilepsy about 12 years ago, when I was 15 years old. When I was first diagnosed I was embarrassed, scared, and ashamed. A lot has changed since then. I’ve become very outspoken about my epilepsy and educated countless people about epilepsy. However, back then, I was very insecure. The fact that I heard several people making fun of seizures didn’t make it any easier for me.
I remember being at a friend’s birthday party when two boys around my age, 15 or 16, were drinking pop and pretending to shake, having the pop come pouring out of their mouth. They were laughing so hard. Meanwhile, I was standing not too far away watching them with tears rolling down my cheeks. If they ever experienced a seizure, they never would even think twice about making fun of someone for it. I never said anything to them, I was too scared and too embarrassed. Nowadays, if I found someone so ruthless making fun of my diagnosis I would educate them.
However, this past weekend someone I knew made a comment about a seizure. It was harmless and not so ruthless like those two young boys I knew in the past, but it still really got to me. I think they forgot, or maybe didn’t know I had seizures, but regardless, it caught me by surprise. I sat in silence, biting my tongue, thinking to myself, “Did they just make a seizure comment? Yeah… Yeah they did.”
After confirming again that they did indeed say it, I kept arguing with myself, “Do I say something and make it awkward, or do I bite my lip?” I chose to do the latter. Mainly, because I know it wasn’t meant as a hurtful comment. However, it hurt.
I was shocked by how much it hurt. I’m not easily offended. Maybe it reminded me of those two boys making fun of me, or for all the people who get made fun of and aren’t able to say anything because they feel embarrassed like I had. I should’ve said something, I should’ve educated them. So here I am now… educating.
Your comment was meant as harmless, but you never know who is listening and who will be affected by it. I never thought in a million years I’d be affected by it, but I was. Having a seizure can make you feel like you’re so alone. You can feel lost, scared, and feel awful. When people make fun of something that you can’t control, it doesn’t help. Next time please be more considerate of what you say, how you say it, and whom you say it around. Thank you.
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