In February 2022, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, which was a surprise. Until then, I was told the seizures and falls I was experiencing were from malaria. After a few days in the hospital, I started going for follow-ups and was placed on anti-seizure medication, which had side effects that felt as bad as the seizures. I felt like I had to choose between studying and taking my medications, and most times, I chose the former so that I could study.
I was doing fine until one day in May when I woke up and couldn't see clearly. I went outside, thinking maybe I needed to be in the sunlight to clear my eyes, but nothing changed. I went back into the house, and before I knew it, I had a seizure. I fell and hit my head on the floor. Although I couldn't see what was going on, I could hear. My siblings were screaming with fear and calling my dad. My dad came over and held me while asking me to hold on. I could sense the fear in his voice, but I couldn't stop the seizure. After a few minutes, the seizure stopped, and then I slept for so long. I felt much better in the evening and even moved around.
The next day, though, I got up and couldn't walk straight. After an hour, I couldn't walk or stand up again. I was experiencing postictal paralysis, and it lasted for 24 hours. I experienced frequent urination, and I still do. Sometimes I felt like such a burden, and instead of calling my mum to help me out, I would crawl on the floor instead of trying to walk. It was such a dark moment for me. If anyone had told me I would get through that time, I wouldn't have believed it.
I didn't have the means to keep up with my medications, so I only got worse instead of improving. I was bedridden for two months, and it was believed I was facing a spiritual issue rather than a medical one. I created awareness on social media about epilepsy and received help buying my medications. I went for several months without another seizure.
I was scared to share my story because there are a lot of misconceptions about epilepsy. I remember one time someone asked me if I ever felt embarrassed about my seizures, and I said, "I'm fighting for my life and not concerned about how embarrassing it is." I decided to share my story because I wanted to be a voice for people with epilepsy, especially in Nigeria. I want people like me to know they are not alone, and I also want to educate people about epilepsy. I found a community by sharing my story on social media, which makes me very happy.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world. It is unique to every individual in that the symptoms one experiences differ from what another individual can be experiencing. I want people to know epilepsy is more than seizures. It is anger, isolation, anxiety, migraines, confusion, vertigo, fatigue, sensitivity to light, not being allowed to do many things, scars from wounds, and more.
I also want people to stop sharing misinformation, learn the facts about epilepsy, and spread kindness.