What Do People Think When They Find Out You Have Epilepsy?

When you hear of someone who has epilepsy, what comes to your mind? Disability? Fighter? “Special needs?” There are a lot of stereotypes for people with disabilities, but do we truly know what other people are thinking? With the help of my college friends, I now know what people think when they find out I have epilepsy. After reading these, I found out that at least in my social circle, people are more interested in wanting to help or learn more about epilepsy than judge negatively.

“When I first knew you had epilepsy, my thoughts about you and who you were as a person did not change at all! I think my initial reaction was “OMG are you OK?” “Is there anything I can do?” “How bad are your seizures?” “What would I do if Kyle had a seizure in my presence and how could I help?” I knew seizures come in different forms, but I didn’t know how strong yours were and what kind of repercussions would occur. Basically I didn’t know what happened to you when you would start seizing.” – Christina

“I knew people with epilepsy, but never had any close friends who had it. I knew I wouldn’t treat you any different than my other friends and would help you any way I could if you needed it.” – Kevin

“I think I first found out you had epilepsy from Kevin, but it didn’t really change my opinion of you or make me look at you any differently. The only thing that changed was that I was more aware of when you were experiencing a seizure and to make sure I was ready to help you (or find someone to help you) if anything serious happened.” – Scott

“Honestly, my first thought was that I knew someone that had an epileptic seizure and I wanted to understand the effects it had on you on a daily basis. I truly wanted to understand how I could be of some help/assistance in any way possible. So like when you would have those mini seizures, I would know to keep track of how many seconds went by for you to understand how long they were. As a friend, I just wanted to be able to help in any way possible.” – Christian

In light of these comments, I think it’s important to recognize that if you have epilepsy, you’re probably not being judged the way you may think. You are a fighter, and other people do realize that.

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