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Gemma’s Story: It’s time for a change when you’re not seizure free anymore

Gemma’s Story

Today is the day I can no longer say ‘…but it’s okay, I’m seizure free’ when explaining my condition.

I have been diagnosed with epilepsy for over 7 years. I am the first one to make light of the situation, ‘No I can’t drive 🙁 but I get free public transport!!’

When I was first diagnosed I was in my early 20’s and didn’t really take it too seriously. I continued partying most nights and rolling into work for the breakfast shift.I continued having seizures, but as lack of sleep, alcohol and not taking my medication regularly seemed to be a trigger I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself it’s my own fault. It was only 2 years ago when I took a long look in the mirror and realized a change was needed.


Time for a change

When I have a seizure, I lose time – I lose the 10 minutes before and 45 minutes after. During this time I am in my own world. For me this time is funny. You get told all the funny things you have done or said and you have a good laugh at yourself. However, while you are laughing at the situation. Friends and family are laughing in relief. This is something I tried to ignore for a long time.

I ignored the way my mum looked at me for a week after she saw my first seizure, I laughed when she tried explaining how panicked and worried she was as my lips were turning blue. I ignored everything that brought any reality to my condition.

2 years ago was when I stopped ignoring this. This was the time I had a seizure on my way to a morning meeting, I cut through the busy restaurant where breakfast was being served. (I was Restaurant manager) As I went down I hit my face quite severely. The customers tried to assist me until the staff (my friends) came and took over. My first memory of this situation was trying to get up off the floor as I was late for the meeting, it was only as I was looking up and saw the paramedics and all of my friends that I released what must have happened. Then I looked at my hands that were covered in blood and all I could vocalize was ‘oh…’ I was taken to the hospital as my friends were left to literally clean up the mess.


A little bit of luck… and a sense of humor

The next day I called in sick to work, my boss laughing as he obviously knew I wouldn’t be in, however, I still hadn’t released the severity of what had happened. Looking at my self in the mirror, my face bruised and swollen. Stitches holding my lips together, I realized I was lucky.

So I got my act together, I took care of myself. and became seizure free. Until yesterday. I was frustrated, annoyed. I sat going through what could have happened, what I must have done to trigger this. After making an appointment with my specialist I thought about all the positive things that have happened in my life in the last 2 years. How much better and healthier I am now…. and how I can get my public transport card back…..

Obviously that last bit is a little joke but always look for the positive things they will help you get through the hard times.

This personal story was submitted by Gemma. Any positive comments from readers are welcome!

5 Responses

  1. Abigail
    | Reply

    thank you so much for this story, it truly helps.

  2. Lisa
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing! Yes epilepsy has its challenges. It has been a challeng this past year. My seizures haven’t been controlled for 45 years. I have them around my monthly cycle. Lifestyle modification health eating is so important to overcoming the effects of the condition. People who don’t have the condition really don’t understand. Friends that drink smoke or use drugs really don’t understand it. It helps when I am organized in mind body and spirit. Thanks so much for sharing. Finding the right treatment plan is challenging because of the high amount of side effects with medication so I have used vitamins herbs aroma therapy exercise to cleanse. When the side effects outweigh the purpose it scares me because that’s not healing it’s a gateway to other potential illnesses. The neurolocal meaning mind is so important to sustaining and maintaining life. Feel free to let me know your thoughts

  3. Gemma
    | Reply

    Hey Abigail, Thank you for reading!! I am glad it helped in some way 😀 xxx

  4. Gemma
    | Reply

    Hi Lisa, 45 years, my word that must be a challenge. 100% agree with the lifestyle change, that as well as my medication helped me control my seizures (well until recently) The side effects don’t seem to get better, unfortunately, however over time they have eased up, or maybe I am learning to live with them. Thank you for sharing your struggle and how you are dealing with it xx

  5. Melissa
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I have been struggling with becoming seizure-free again (I was controlled by medication for 15 years) unsuccessfully and today something awful happened. I had a petit mal seizure (I usually have grand mal seizures so this was a new one for me) after taking a dose of medication late in the middle of an interview for a new job. I didn’t even realize it had happened until well after I left. I hate using my epilepsy as an excuse for things in life (before this I was hoping to start driving) but I guess that’s all I can do. Has anyone else had an experience like this? If so, how did you handle it?

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