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.

Sincerely,

Diagnosed Epileptic

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: Digital Vision.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Epilepsy

Why I Find Humor in the Nickname I Was Given Due to Epilepsy

“Mrs. Drops-a-Lot.” My brother coined that nickname for me when I was 14. It’s definitely a good one. It’s exactly what I do. I drop – a lot. When I was 14 I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I had grand mal seizures that took me to the ground and I usually hit anything around me. [...]
Pills spilling from bottle.

Why I'm Stepping Up to Oppose Step Therapy for Chronic Conditions

Note: While I write for the epilepsy community, this is an issue that affects most if not all conditions across The Mighty. I recently spent a day at the Massachusetts State House with my friends from the Epilepsy Foundation New England (EFNE), and boy am I charged up! We were seeing to our table on [...]
Two friends talking about epilepsy while having coffee.

Why People Are Surprised When I Tell Them I Have Epilepsy

For most of my adult life, I’ve kept epilepsy in my closet like an ugly coat. I didn’t want to cloak myself, so to speak, in what I used to see as a shameful disorder. Of course, it’s far from that, though some others may react in shameful ways when they hear about it. I [...]
Silhouette of a woman.

10 Things Having Epilepsy Has Taught Me

Before I became ill, I was a person who planned everything from A to Z. When I became sick all of those things had to change. All of a sudden my illness controlled my life. It was hard for me to let go of the reins and just live my life. Here are 10 things [...]