In advance of their recent annual conference, the Irish Epilepsy League (IEL) ran a competition for health science students to write a creative essay in prose/ poetry about epilepsy.
The Irish Epilepsy League are the Irish chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy. Their membership comprises of epilepsy healthcare professionals and the epilepsy research and scientific community.
The competition was open-ended and could be based on an experience in real-life; an experience through their training; or fictional stories from the patient’s perspective.
After a series of incredible pieces were presented to the IEL’s judging panel, it was decided that Isabel Azu’s poem, ‘The danger of déjà vu’, be awarded the top prize. Isabel is a 3rd year pharmacy student, currently studying in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Epilepsy Ireland attended the IEL’s conference back in September and had the opportunity to see Isabel read her poem live. The poem is incredibly impactful and is one which we are sure will resonate with many people living with epilepsy and indeed, presents a clear picture of what seizures can be like to the public. We are very pleased to feature the winning poem on our website.
We would like to say a huge congratulations to Isabel and all those who entered the competition. People we engage with occasionally make the point that their epilepsy can be misunderstood by those within the medical community or other members of the public. However the pieces received to this competition once again highlighted how the future is certainly looking bright when it comes to understanding of the condition amongst the next generation of medical professionals.
You can read Isabel’s winning poem in full below.
The danger of déjà vu by Isabel Azu
I have this recurring dream,
but it happens when I’m awake,
It usually starts the same way,
Deep greens, pale blues and pink clouds invade my field of vision,
Within seconds, they dominate my line of sight,
Fear rises up like smoke through my body and rests on my chest,
Its weight forces air out of my lungs,
I try to maintain composure,
I try to remain calm but,
panic descends on me anyways.
In an instant,
I am pushed into an ocean of nostalgia,
and for a second I don’t panic,
I am curious as to where I have seen this before,
The memory washes over me like a wave,
and pulls me out further to sea,
away from the shores of control.
I am submerged in it.
When I become lucid, my head pounds,
I wipe the drool from my chin,
My mind is muddled,
My thoughts resemble tangled old Christmas lights,
But I cannot find the strength to unravel them.
It wasn’t a dream.
It was a seizure.