My name is Joe. I am 54 years old and I live in Ontario, Canada. I have controlled Temporal Lobe Epilepsy for which I was diagnosed at 26 years of age. I take Tegretol. After trying several AED's it is the one that works best for me, though it is certainly not without side effects.
When I was a boy I had (what I now know to be) countless absence and simple partial seizures. These were often revealed by way of me shaking my head from side to side, like I was saying “no.” It wasn't done violently, it was noticeable, yet I was not aware I was doing it. It reached a low point one day when I was 6 years old in first grade. Our teacher, an older woman near retirement was showing us how to tell time with one of those large black and white analogue clocks that hang at the front classrooms or offices. She had taken it off the wall. Out of the blue (it seemed to me) she became enraged. She glared at me, raised the clock above her head with one hand and screamed at me, “if you don't stop shaking your head I'm going to throw this at you!” The turning of all my classmates heads to stare at me confirmed that I was indeed the object of her rage. I was stunned and scared. I don't remember if I cried, or if I said anything. Next day I was too frightened to return to school so I told my mother I was sick and stayed home. I was also too ashamed to tell her about it, but eventually she did hear about the incident from a friend. My mother took me to the doctor who brushed the head shaking off as “a habit that I would grow out of.” I never did. At 26 I had my first Tonic-clonic seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Over the next dozen years several more Tonic-clonic seizures followed until I began taking Tegretol. I have been free of seizures for 16 years. Thankfully, I am able to drive and lead a relatively normal life.
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