Stigma on Epilepsy

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As I sit here watching an episode of “Different Strokes”, I am gaining more insight of other things that can cause issues in someone’s life with Epilepsy. In this episode the epilepsykids make friends with a street performer and she has a seizure in front of them one day. Of course, it scared them, and they no longer wanted to be her friend. The youngest child, Sam, thought her condition was contagious and ” creepy”, while Arnold was afraid but still made fun of what he observed. The old saying holds true that what people don’t understand they make fun of it or ostracize those that are dealing with it.


The character with Epilepsy was once a school teacher and had a seizure in front of her class one day. The employers suggested she shouldn’t return to her position because she scared the kids, and so she quit. She said she applied for other places to work in her field, but once they learned of her condition she never received a call back.  This left me wondering two things; 1) why not let her speak to the kids about it, and explain 2) does this still happen often today?  I have seen people have seizures before I became a nurse, and of course I am around people that experience this now. But I have never thought it was contagious or creepy, I can say I was afraid for the person having the seizure.  As a child seeing someone go into convulsions I can understand the fear, but I do not understand why the adults in their lives would not help to comfort them by educating them the best way the could.

I understand that everyone raises their child differently, but I cannot imagine not trying to comfort my babies after seeing something that could be terrifying to them.  The stigma placed on those with Epilepsy are unfounded and ignorant. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Medications help decrease the episodes for some, but is not always better for others.20140725-204611-74771418.jpg

In today’s world the woman in this show would’ve had a lawsuit against that school to defend her right to teach the children at that school. We have to be more diligent in educating our communities about conditions like Epilepsy and many others. If that should include reaching out to our schools then so be it. But it’s time for those that know better to do better and help stop the ridiculing. If we truly look at it this is a form of bullying.  You cannot use the excuse of being unaware of someone’s condition, or the problems that come with it, as a way to belittle or single them out.  We as human being simply have to start speaking out and speaking up more.







Do you know someone with Epilepsy or any condition that they have been teased or ostracized about? Comment below on how this issue makes you feel. Don’t forget to share, like and subscribe.~ Tina


  • I do know someone who has epilepsy. Her case was so bad, that around 45-yars-old her brain was continually seizing–kill more of her brain each time. After multitudes of tests, she had over half of her brain removed, and it helped tremendously. The doctors said that the living parts of her brain were already compensating for the dead parts transhemispherically. Her recovery was quick and there was no interruption in her function. It was a great thing for her, her quality of life, and her family.

    Also, my daughter has a mitochondrial disorder. Hers is basically a hidden disorder that causes her a lot of difficulty and a lot of people misunderstnading her special needs. You can read more about Rory and her issues on the About Me page of my blog.

    Nice post. 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

    • TinaWillis says:

      That is awesome news for your friend and her family, so glad to hear that. And I will most definitely go and read about Ms. Rory. Thanks for commenting and letting me know about these two special ladies in your life. 🙂

  • I used to know someone who had epilepsy. She died 🙁 Such a horrible disease!

    • TinaWillis says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. It is a horrible disease and I am so glad that they continue to try to find ways to decrease the seizures. Hopefully they will find a cure soon.

  • Jaime Nicole says:

    My daughter suffered a severe traumatic brain injury as a baby and due to the diffuse axonal injury, she has tonic clonic, absence and focal seizures. Thankfully, the tonic-clonics are controlled by Carbatrol but the absence and focal aren’t. She doesn’t so much get made fun of (at least that I am aware of and I think it’s because she obviously has other disabilities but I am concerned as she gets a bit older and she has a pronounced left sided hemiplegia and limps) but because she has behavioral issues, it’s hard to tell if she’s ignoring you because of a seizure or because she is unwilling.

    • Tina says:

      I’m glad she doesn’t have to deal with being made fun of, as children seem to do it the most because of not understanding things. From my understanding the tonic-clonic seizures are the most debilitating, so I am glad to hear they are under control. You are an awesome strong mommy and I commend you on a job well done. I know your daughter loves you big time!!!

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