Epilepsy Turned My Life Upside Down

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Courtney is sharing her eJourney about how epilepsy turned her life upside down

By Courtney Fraser

When I was 3 years old, a dead tree fell on my head as I was hiking in a local park with my parents. It was 1988 and only a few days before my fourth birthday. Not only did it cause traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it most likely was the cause of my epilepsy.

I wasn’t diagnosed with epilepsy until I was 15 years old. I was in eighth grade and on spring break in Florida at the time. I remember being in the bathroom at my grandparents’ house getting ready for bed. The next thing I know, I woke up in the hospital totally confused about how I got there or why I was there. I was being asked a bunch of questions that I didn't know the answers to since I could not remember what happened.

I later found out that I called out, “Mom,” and fell to the ground during a seizure.

My life felt like it was turned upside down. The doctors focused on telling me about all the things I could never do, but no one ever told me about things I could do.

After starting medication, I was seizure free for many years, so I was slowly taken off the medications I was taking. Then, I was hospitalized for my mental health where I had a breakthrough seizure and then another one while sleeping after I was discharged.

Now, I am back on seizure medication.

The biggest challenge for me has been going from a life without seizure medications when I was younger, to needing those medications. Then, after I was seizure free for so long, it was difficult to go back to needing to take seizure medications again.

One thing that has helped me navigate the challenges and changes of epilepsy was to do my own research and learn as much as I could. Always advocate for yourself and speak up for yourself.

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Reviewed By: Sara Wyen

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