I started taking mixed martial arts (MMA) classes at the end of May in 2023, and during class, my coach noticed I was having "staring spells" during class. My coach, being very familiar with this as a potential seizure, discussed her concerns with me, and I went to see my neurologist, who I was already seeing for a different health condition.
I went in for an EEG the day after emailing my neurologist about these episodes, and I got the results the following day. I was diagnosed with generalized epilepsy and absence seizures on June 14, 2023. My doctor immediately put me on anti-seizure medication. I haven't seen results yet, but I am still working on finding the right dosage.
It is odd to be diagnosed with these types of seizures at 26 years old, but my neurologist and I think I may have been having these seizures since I was a kid, but it went unnoticed because they are so short. This theory makes sense because I was often told, "You're spacing out again," or "Stop daydreaming in class." I think these episodes went unnoticed because they aren't the typical seizures that people think of when they think of seizures. It's easy to overlook them. If my parents, teachers, or pediatrician had been more aware, I might have been diagnosed much younger.
It has been a significant adjustment, but I was determined not to let epilepsy interfere with my life from the beginning. I am still working towards my master's degree, taking MMA classes, auditioning and acting in local plays and films, and will be working again this fall.
An official epilepsy diagnosis is new, but keeping my sense of humor has helped me adjust to my situation. I like to say that my seizures are a "glitch in the matrix" or that my brain took the phrase "seize the day" literally, making it slightly easier to deal with. I am sharing my story to connect with others with epilepsy. My best advice is to make other friends who also experience epilepsy or seizures. The friends I have who also have epilepsy have been helpful and supportive.