One of the faces of our International Epilepsy Day awareness campaign is Paul Guy. Paul is a Marketing Director of a global tech company and is a person living with epilepsy. When we were shooting the campaign, we spoke with Paul about his journey with epilepsy so far, and why he wanted to take part in this campaign….
I was 17 when I first experienced it. On the day I started my Leaving Cert, I collapsed at school. My parents didn’t know what was going on. Back then, very few people understood epilepsy. Doctors said it was a chemical imbalance, but no one identified it as epilepsy.
Later in my career when I joined an architectural practice, my boss’ brother was on the board of a private hospital and he saw first-hand my situation after seeing the many seizures I had in work, put me in contact with a doctor who specialised in epilepsy.
Within 3 minutes he diagnosed me with epilepsy
I was both delighted and annoyed because for so many years no-one recognised it. But I’m so much better today.
I want to help change perceptions of epilepsy. When you have a seizure, people don’t know what to do. Medical experts can talk about the condition, but most of them don’t have it. As someone with epilepsy, I can share my experiences with the world and that’s what I’m doing by being part of this campaign.
Epilepsy affects families, friends and colleagues too. My kids have seen me having full-blown seizures. I was in a boardroom once, presenting to clients, when I felt a seizure starting. I couldn’t tell them because I couldn’t speak. So, I quickly wrote on a piece of paper - I’m having a seizure and can you help me. They were great. Once people know more about epilepsy and how to help, they’re very supportive. It’s simple – Time the seizure, keep them Safe by clearing any danger from the area and Stay with them for support.
People like me with epilepsy need to share our stories and debunk misconceptions. I’m not defined by epilepsy and I don’t let epilepsy hold me back – so it shouldn’t hold you back either!
Thank you Paul for being part of our #EpilepsyDay campaign. Don’t let epilepsy hold you back – take Paul’s advice and learn how to correctly respond to a seizure by visiting the seizure first aid section of our website.