Why My Epilepsy Is Like a Computer Glitch


The human brain has long been compared to computers. Over the years, I’ve found that comparing my epilepsy to a computer glitch helps me communicate the frustration, stress, and utter annoyance of having a seizure.

Picture this: it’s 2 a.m.; you’re almost done with a paper you’ve been working on all semester. Then bam! Your computer decides to shut down for seemingly no reason. You pound the power button, you try an array of techniques your friend tells you might work. But alas, your computer is a goner. And of course you forgot to save your paper to an external hard drive.

Now imagine this happening to your brain. Luckily, I’ve always been able to reboot, so to speak. But a lot of times what I had saved in my memory has been wiped. It’s incredibly frustrating to say the least. And if I’m with people who don’t know about my condition, I usually end up in the hospital.

Doctors are like the repair people at a certain computer company I won’t mention by name; they usually don’t know what’s going on. That’s not to say the doctors I’ve been to haven’t been incredibly caring and intelligent. The fact is there’s a lot we don’t know about epilepsy, especially when seizures seem to have no physiological cause (such as a tumor).

So what do you do when your computer crashes? You buy some firewall software, make sure not to go on sketchy sites, and just hope there’s not a hacker out there with their eye on your credit card information. Working in cyber security, I know sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes the hackers win. And sometimes my medical condition hijacks my brain and body and there’s nothing I can do. Believe me, if I could pop into a store and upgrade my brain, I would.

But there’s also something special about that one computer you grew up with. You know, the one running DOS that you used to play Oregon Trail. It holds a special place in your heart, and you’ll always be excited when you meet someone that can reminisce about these more simple times. So while a new operating system for my brain would be nice, I think I can live with my glitch.

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