W4 Activity: I Have Epilepsy

Illness narratives are a great method of spreading awareness to friends, family, healthcare providers, and others who are also suffering from the same condition. They serve to inform people about the disease itself, how it has affected you, and how to treat/come to terms with it. It gives you a lot of perspective on what ailing people are going through and promotes empathy. Not only do illness narratives benefit those who are listening, but also it also greatly helps the person who is suffering. It is a cathartic experience that allows the person to express their hardships and how to overcome them.

In the episode I chose, two young women who suffer from epilepsy give their illness narratives. Throughout the episode, both women discuss how the disease has negatively impacted their lives and their struggle to find a treatment that works for them. They have so much difficulty being independent, maintaining jobs and living overall normal lives. Watching this helped me make a lot of sense of what they are going through and how seizures can really wrack your body and emotions.

The narrative theme that was frequently expressed in the episode is chaos, with a little bit of quest.  I chose chaos because they are both suffering from a chronic and debilitating disorder that causes them physical, emotional, and mental issues.  One of the girls seemed to have a much harder time of getting her seizures under control and recovering from them, which lead her to isolate herself. I also chose quest because each woman tried new methods of improving their condition/lifestyle, such as new treatments from doctors and exercise. Both had trouble with the ‘sick role’ and issues with feeling like they are a burden to others for accepting help and having to constantly be accommodated.  For example, one of the girls talked about how she cannot even use a knife to cut fruit because she can begin seizing at any moment.

One thought on “W4 Activity: I Have Epilepsy

  1. Hello Michelle,

    For me the idea of Epilepsy is very saddening simply because these neurological disturbances are associated with many restrictions. Although there are a great deal of medicines to help with this condition they are still constrained to a certain type of safety prone lifestyle. I found the illness narrative “Living with Epilepsy” by Jenny LaBaw to be extremely inspirational and heart-warming. In the video she makes a statement about not letting the restriction of not being able to get a license or have children, and etc., deter her from her dream or take over her life for that matter. I believe this video could be very informative for anyone with this condition.

    Here is the link I believe reviewing this will shed some positive light on our illness narrative perspectives of Epilepsy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc7yHtLTWlA

    You mentioned in your post that throughout the episode of true life that both women discussed how the disease has negatively impacted their lives and their struggle to find a treatment that works for them. My advice in comparison to our patient’s journeys would be to try and see the positive of having this disorder and as Jenny would say never let anything or any stop your dreams or goals. Of course, you and I would never truly understand their pain because we haven’t experience this condition as they do daily but I believe in optimism and have faith the will find the treatment for them in the near future! Great Post!

    “Jenny LaBaw:Living with Epilepsy.” YouTube. Accessed July 3, 2015.

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