My life with epilepsy began in 2016. I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) after having a serious tonic-clonic seizure. As the years went on, I had further tests and was diagnosed with generalized and focal epilepsies. I am sharing my story to emphasize that perspective is key: you have the choice to sink or swim.
At the beginning of my journey with epilepsy, I decided to sink. I let my epilepsy silently consume me. I was afraid of having seizures because they can cause pain, injury, and death without warning. I feared the unknown and was convinced I would be viewed as abnormal for the rest of my life. Throughout high school and some of college, I experienced depression, weight gain, and heavy insecurities to the point where I felt like I was drowning. I allowed my epilepsy to control me.
In the Fall of 2021, I felt like I was about to die. I woke up and realized that I needed to advocate for myself and stop feeling sorry for myself as a victim. I found a better doctor, dietitian, new medication, and listened to motivational speakers, all of which boosted my confidence. These small changes gradually transformed my life. I turned my past trauma into fuel and chose to embrace my epilepsy rather than hide it.
I created an Instagram account to document my life transformation while living with epilepsy. With the help of my dietitian and countless days of heavy research, I learned that a ketogenic diet, along with daily exercise, is proven to reduce seizures and can even get rid of epilepsy in certain cases. I feel my best when I am in ketosis.
Now, I am almost 21 years old. I’ve found that the key to living a happy life is focusing on what you can control. Even though I can’t control my epilepsy, I can control almost every other factor in my life: my doctor, medications to control my seizures, diet, fitness, and my mindset, just to name a few. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.
I no longer sink with epilepsy, I swim.