SOMETIMES I don’t know what I’m doing. “Well …”, people say, “We all get like that sometimes”. They don’t get it. Following an epileptic seizure it can take several days before you even go outside your flat, let alone know why you have gone outside. To get a newspaper? Some onions perhaps.
On the pages of the Epilepsy Action website you will find “What does epilepsy look like”? I wish I knew. But, of course, following a seizure you can either never remember what happened or, invariably, only recall minor details; where you were perhaps, what you were doing and then … blank.
It still amuses me that if I am in seizure — in a public place for ‘crying-out-loud’ — many ‘on-lookers’ will assume that I’m drunk. The chance would be a fine thing! I’ve been drunk, I don’t deny that but it hasn’t led to epileptic seizures; ‘hangovers’, may be, but for a lot of journalists of my generation that was in your job description. Didn’t u no dat your favoreet journos woz druuunc when dey rote?
Epilepsy is a peculiar affliction. As you get older you begin to be aware of warning signs; disorientation, shaking … “Sit down”, someone might say. Unfortunately, sitting down will not, necessarily, prevent me from falling off the chair and damaging a few more of those remaining neurones. The bruising isn’t very ‘sexy’ either. Often, I only notice bruises several days after a seizure. Did I literally walk into a wall or was I, metaphorically, banging my head against a ‘brick wall’? That’s a tough one to call. I have banged my head with the British left for many years; no wonder I have problems. Let’s leave that on one side, at least for the moment.
Imagine, if you can, epilepsy combined with bipolar disorder (or manic depression as it was still called when I was first diagnosed) and top it up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If my neurologists are right (sometimes they are) and I’m developing Multiple Sclerosis of some kind I will have become a nervous wreck, définitivement. Sounds like a ‘powerful’ cocktail. My advice, for what it’s worth, is don’t order a ‘double’; you’ll regret it in the morning. It’s a depressing thought isn’t it?
I can get ‘highs’ (more cost-effective than dodgy drugs) but the ‘lows’ are bad. In fact they’re not just “bad”, they’re very, very “bad”.
Left Unity in Britain, a new broad left party, of which I’m a member, is, I think, ‘bipolar’ and ‘epileptic’. The various currents and tendencies that formed this new type of left party don’t always ‘get-on’. No surprise! Is there medication? Probably not; but it talks about “doing politics differently”. It can ‘talk-the-talk’ but can it ‘walk-the-walk’? I hope so ✪
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