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Epilepsy Blog Relay: A seizure while driving made her hopeful

The car accident happened on a Wednesday morning, when I would normally be at work. However, a few days before, one of my roommates claimed that she had been raped by our landlord. I was in denial about this for a few days, because my best friend Emily was coming for a visit. She planned to stay with me that week. This was a trip we had been planning for years. Unfortunately, my beloved friend arrived at the worst time possible.

Stress is a seizure trigger

After a full day at work and a six-mile run, I packed up all my things and asked my parents to help me move out of the room I had been renting. I’d been living in a mansion overlooking the ocean, with a monthly rent that had always been too good to be true. My landlord came home to “talk” and make amends, so I called the police while I was packing.  He did not look me right in the eyes, and I was terrified. I took Emily to stay with me at my parent’s house (who live about 45mins away).

I was completely exhausted the next day, (I had been seizure-free for almost a year) but I desperately wanted to entertain Emily as she had paid a lot of money for this trip. Not considering how I was feeling, we went out to breakfast and began to drive back toward the city we had originally planned to stay in. Not a good idea.

The accident

I had an absence seizure while driving on the freeway and totaled my car with both of us in it. I remember Emily screaming my name and telling me to pull over. As I came to, I was able to pull off the freeway exit and park my car to the side of the road. Neither of us were injured, and the other car (a huge truck) had only a small dent in its bumper. When the police asked me what had happened, I could not speak. Emily told them I had a seizure, but they continued to question me. I was so delirious; I didn’t know where I was, and I took the strangest selfie of myself on my phone to post on Instagram. I cannot explain it.

This seizure was clearly stress induced. My landlord had terrified me to tears. I did not sleep well. And poor Emily. Lucky for us, I was driving in the far-right lane of the freeway, and there was an exit just as I was coming out of my absence seizure. Although my car was totaled, neither of us were injured.

“Sometimes I feel like I have a guardian angel”
– Lauren

Becoming hopeful

For those who haven’t read my first blog post, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 24 after my first and only grand mal seizure: just moments before getting in the ocean to surf, and just weeks before moving to China to teach ESL.

Three years later, my license has been revoked again, and my plans for the future have changed. Yet, I feel proud of my diagnosis. Weirdly enough, sometimes I almost feel like bragging about it. Before my diagnosis, I was the least adaptable person in the world. If things did not go as planned – rather it be in my career path or my plans for the day- I would have a meltdown. I would feel like a failure for not reaching my goals. Now, I can lose a good year of savings that I spent on a car, have my license revoked, change my career plans, and find a new home- all in one week. And I am not devastated. I am grateful to be alive.

Emily is still my best friend. She loves me even though I could have very well killed her in that car accident, and even though I was acting SO WEIRD after my absence seizure. I know that not everyone has that kind of love in their life.

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