Monday, March 26, 2018

Purple Day 2018 Talking About Epilepsy

Purple Day 2018 French Village Diaries talking about Epilepsy
Purple Day 2018 French Village Diaries talking about Epilepsy
Today, 26th March, is Purple Day 2018, a day to talk about epilepsy to raise awareness and understanding of the struggles people living with epilepsy go through.

Four years ago, almost to the day, I was elected onto our local council. This was a big thing for me, it gave me a feeling of being accepted into the community that I now call home, it would be a big step in terms of developing my French language and opened up the possibilities of new experiences for the future. I searched back through the blog, to remind myself what I’d written about it, but there was nothing there. Four years ago, I wasn’t in a particularly good place.

In February 2014, epilepsy gate-crashed my life once again, after an absence of over twenty years, leaving my confidence levels at rock bottom. The future felt dark and bleak, and the excitement I should have been feeling for my new role was replaced with anxiety. I retreated within, not able to share what I was feeling inside. Time is a good healer and in 2016 I shared my epilepsy story on the blog and I know I am lucky, aside from a few wobbles, epilepsy has left me alone since then, but I now know it is not, and never will be, something I can ever put out of my mind.

I am once again on the brink of change and looking forward to the challenge of working in a fully French environment for 22 hours a week. It should not be a particularly stressful role and it won’t be too demanding physically, but I can’t pretend I’m not a little anxious of the challenge ahead. I am a worrier and having the shadow of epilepsy hanging over me doesn’t help when the what-ifs build inside my head. However, I’m also stubborn and refuse to sit at home and do nothing. Saying no to a dream job that found me, just in case I may have a problem is as daft as not ever getting out on my bike again. As with cycling, I won’t take any unnecessary risks and as it probably will be tiring, although more mentally than physically, I will make sure I don’t overdo things. I am slowly learning to channel the positivity of the what-if worries, without letting them take over – as long as they are there it does at least mean I will never drop my guard, take any risks or forget that epilepsy is there.

I am also very lucky to have a lot of support from my family and some good friends in the village. Chatting to my exercise buddy about epilepsy this morning, she thought talking about what to do if you are confronted by a seizure would be something worth mentioning today, so here is a handy guide, from the Epilepsy Action website.

Protect the person from injury - (remove harmful objects from nearby)
Cushion their head
Look for an epilepsy identity card or identity jewellery
Aid breathing by gently placing them in the recovery position once the seizure has finished
Stay with the person until recovery is complete
Be calmly reassuring

Restrain the person’s movements
Put anything in the person’s mouth
Try to move them unless they are in danger
Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
Attempt to bring them round

Call for an ambulance if...
You know it is the person’s first seizure, or
The seizure continues for more than five minutes, or
One tonic-clonic seizure follows another without the person regaining consciousness between seizures, or
The person is injured during the seizure, or
You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

Please feel free to share this post with your friends. The more people who are aware of what to do and what not to do when someone is having a seizure, the better.

You can read my full epilepsy story here.

Purple Day 2018 French Village Diaries talking about Epilepsy
Purple Day 2018 French Village Diaries talking about Epilepsy

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