Epilepsy brings out the mean in people sometimes

I don’t generally direct my irritation toward individuals or specific sites in this blog, but I came across something today that is just grossly upsetting.

ImageIt comes from this site: http://illogicopedia.org/wiki/Advertising_Epilepsy, which might be one of the meanest things I’ve come across in years on the Internet. I wish this site was the exception, and in a certain sense it is, because it is so rude as to be obnoxious, but I’ve learned people are afraid of epileptics.

When people are afraid, they say and act weird, or cruel, or just plain avoid you altogether. Unfortunately, this is what we’ve experienced in my family, especially now that we have TWO epileptics rather than just one. It’s like we are creatures from another planet. Some people struggle to see my daughter as anything more than this:


but that’s not the whole truth. Truth is, she took this picture when she was trying to figure out her iPod, and it came out pretty funny. It makes her smile, so she kept it. But she not just some weird face with a creepy eye – she is also this:


She just a precious girl, made in the image of God, who happens to have seizures for some unknown reason. Her smile can light up a room. Her laughter is contagious. Her innocence is something we could all learn a bit from in this dark world. But some people can’t see past the seizures, and she becomes a label with skin on, a statistic with bones, an anomaly without feelings….but that’s just not true. And now that I am also officially diagnosed with epilepsy, I worry that I will be minimized in the same way. Even worse, that my whole family will be ignored, shoved to the side, mocked, feared, and belittled, like the website above.

My prayer is that we will find those will are not just tolerant of our epilepsy, but go beyond that; friends who understand the difficulties our seizures can create, but don’t judge us for them; individuals who see us as more than the sum of our diagnoses.

I am sure that at least one of you reading this has to deal with labels that seem to define you to the outside world. How do you deal with that? Overcome it? Rise above it? Teach those around you to see more than the problem and find the real you? Any thoughts on how I can help my daughter deal with the mean bigots of the world?


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