One of the faces of our new International Epilepsy Day Campaign is Cara Martin from Mayo, a student at TUS Limerick. As part of our shoot for the campaign, we spoke to Cara about her experiences with epilepsy so far and her message to others living with the condition….
I was first diagnosed with epilepsy during my leaving cert – which certainly wasn’t ideal, but I became seizure-free relatively quickly, which I know is not a universal experience. That was until last year.
I was seizure-free for over 3 years when out of the blue, a seizure struck.
I was with friends, catching up, having a good laugh. Then someone asked me a question and I just didn’t respond. I have no recall of any of this, but apparently, I was just gazing into space while they waved their hands in front of my face and shouted my name to no avail.
I’ve always been quite open about my epilepsy and use every opportunity to raise awareness, but they just didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t a seizure where I fell to the ground convulsing, but a non-convulsive seizure where I was unresponsive – so I think that’s what caught them by surprise.
Luckily my boyfriend was close by, and he knew the symptoms and signs of my seizures and how to respond with the key words of TIME, SAFE, STAY.
He helped me out to a safer room with less objects and waited with me until I came round. Then he told me what happened.
The experience highlighted to me how people still don’t know how to handle a seizure, and how dangerous that lack of knowledge is for the person having a seizure. Had my boyfriend not been there, anything could have happened. This situation made me feel like people don’t take the condition seriously until they are confronted with something as dramatic as witnessing a seizure first-hand, and don’t realise the effects it has on a person.
That’s why its important to raise awareness and that’s why I’m taking part in this campaign, to help turn a negative experience into a positive – and help everyone learn more about epilepsy and TIME, SAFE, STAY.
Having a seizure after so long was definitely a setback. But since it’s happened, I decided to take it in my stride, keep going and try and achieve everything I want to do – all my goals and aspirations. There’s no point in letting epilepsy hold me back. It’s better to just keep going and be positive.”
Thank you, Cara, for being so open and honest about your experience; and for sharing in order to help others as part of our International Epilepsy Day Awareness campaign. Take Cara’s advice and learn how to correctly respond to a seizure by visiting the seizure first aid section of our website.