“If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” – Marvin J. Ashton
Recently, I read an article, courtesy of a loving wife whose husband had encountered a seizure in public. No one wanted to help him. It was quite a powerful article I truly must say. She speaks openly and inspirationally about how important it is to not turn away in times of need. I encourage you to read the article and share your thoughts on the story in the comments section afterward.
The story that Leza Warkentin shared about her husband who was diagnosed with epilepsy earlier this year, was one that struck a chord within my heart.
Fear and stigma still to this very day exists in just about everywhere you go. Here are just some of the common fears and stigmas still in existence today:
- The unknown
- What is happening before their very eyes (To the person having the seizure)
- The thought of harming the person should they attempt to assist them
- Getting harmed in any way
- Getting involved in business that is not theirs
- Becoming accused for something
- This person could be violent
- This person could be a drunk/on drugs
- This person could be insane/mentally ill
- This person could be contagious
Do you know of any fears of stigmas that you would add to either of these lists? Feel free to post what you would include in the comment section afterward!
It is because of these fears and stigmas that so often, the general public are reluctant to want to lend a helping hand when they notice someone going into a seizure.
What Can Be Done To Make A Positive Change?
- Continue to educate the general public/the world about epilepsy! Knowledge is power!
- Shatter the fear surrounding epilepsy (Speak up/Speak out about your journey)
- Advocate to everyone that you can. To everyone that you know. Family, friends, Co-Workers etc.
- If you are in the business that can reach the public (television, radio, music etc.) make time to educate the public
- Encourage and invite those in the public eye to join in and get involved in making a difference. Epilepsy awareness deserves just as much exposure and funding as other conditions have.
Do you have any other positive changes you would like to add to the list? Feel free to post what you would include in the comment section afterward!
Epilepsy can happen to anyone. At anytime. Epilepsy doesn’t care who you are, how old you are, what race you are, how healthy your lifestyle is, if you’ve never smoked a day in your life, if no one in your family has ever had epilepsy before, epilepsy doesn’t care. If epilepsy is meant to happen to you, it will knock on your door and it will become your brain’s new “best friend”.
I have no other family member who has epilepsy. It’s just me. I was moderately healthy. I could have been healthier. One seizure at 16. Six years later, epilepsy knocked on my door unannounced, and told me that it was staying for a long time.
I have only ever had two seizures in public to my best recollection. The first, at the gym, each person was astoundingly kind and went out of their way to help. From the staff to the public. They offered their assistance in any way they could. Of course this information was told to me by my loving husband. The second occurrence, at the clothing store. Some were curious, asking if I needed assistance, or if I needed an ambulance, some felt a whole lot better distancing themselves back, just watching. Peeking over the clothing rack as I seized and tried with all my might to regain stable vision, hearing Chris say “Can you hear me? It’s going to be okay. I’ve got you.” In regaining full consciousness, the two of us walked off and no one said a word to us. Gone. As if we had not been there at all. I wasn’t wanting a parade, no, but I was struck with confusion. Where were the signs of compassion?
If I Have A Seizure: A Call For Compassion
If I Have A Seizure: DO’S
- Ask if I/the person with me need(s) assistance
- Remain calm
- Calm those around you
- Call Paramedics – If you don’t recognize me, if I have become injured, if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, if it is apparent that I am pregnant or you know with certainty that I have a medical condition aside from epilepsy.
- Check for medical identification – If I am alone, you can check for my contact information, for information regarding what seizure medications I currently take, drug allergies, and emergency contact information.
- Offer reassurance
- Perform Seizure First-Aid if I am alone and you are knowledgeable in this area (Don’t know Seizure First-Aid? Check below for image)
If I Have A Seizure: DONT’S
- Restrain me in any way
- Offer me food or drink
- Place any sort of object in my mouth. You could injure yourself or me.
- Perform CPR. – Don’t attempt cardio pulmonary respiration or artificial respiration unless I have stopped breathing when the seizure has come to an end.
- Just walk away/ignore what is happening
- Simply watch and do nothing to help
Do you have any other DO’s and DON’T’s that you would like to add to the list? Feel free to post what you would include in the comment section afterward!
As Leza stated prior in her blog,
“Sometimes the simplest act of compassion can be the greatest help to someone in crisis.”
We all have the ability within us to be compassionate to one another. Let us always remember to call upon that very compassion stored within our hearts when we see someone in a time of need. We are all on this journey together. We look out for one another. We take care of one another. We rise above epilepsy together.
It’s so important that we continue to let the public know. Let the world know about epilepsy. The condition that could happen to anyone at anytime. Let them know until they take it serious enough and the fear is replaced with the will to fight.
May there be a call for compassion always, and recognition for those who are compassionate already. You are a shining example to so many near and far.
Let us continue to be a beacon of greater understanding to everyone around the world as we make our way to a cure as one united force. We are so much stronger together than we are scattered.