Dis-Ease This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


by Elizabeth L., Rogers, CT I recently read "I Have A Disease" in your February paper. I was very touched by the article, and agree that anorexia is a very serious disease. However, I feel that too much attention is put on anorexia, since many already are aware of the basic facts. Like the girl in the story, I also have a disease, one which goes unnoticed. I have epilepsy.

I was first diagnosed with epilepsy when I was six years old. At the time, I was having from 150 to 300 seizures a day. Thanks to doctors, I was put on a drug that helped control these episodes. Though my seizures were controlled most of the time, I still had a number of problems. For years I was not allowed to do very much on my own. For instance, I could not ride my bike alone; I could not go swimming with my friends unless I was with an adult; and I often found myself lost in daydreams during classes.

At sixteen, I've had one thing on my mind for the past year: driving. Because I am an epileptic, I have to be seizure-free for a year before I can even think about driving. Right now my chances look pretty good. In the future, I plan to have children, and because epilepsy can be hereditary, I hope I won't pass it on to them.

I always had a hard time telling people I was an epileptic. I thought my peers would say that I was a freak and retarded. They'd laugh and tease me. I grew up thinking that nobody cared. But when my parents started to talk to neighbors, we soon discovered four other people in the neighborhood also had epilepsy.

When I entered high school I grew very attached to my English teacher. While talking we found we have something in common. We both have epilepsy! When I heard that, and thought of how successful she has been in life, I knew I was anything but odd. I was special! So I did the best thing I could. I made an oral presentation about epilepsy for an English project. I instantly felt better because I had shared the feelings and horrors I had kept inside for years. I also made a commitment never to be afraid of who I am.

Having epilepsy does not mean that the world is coming to an end. It means that you're special and are obligated to make everyone aware of epilepsy. I hope that the Epilepsy Foundation will help educate people because anybody can have the disease and some day your children may have it. You might even be around someone having a seizure and, if you don't know what to do, the consequences can be serious.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 10:32 am
i love this so much!
writinglikecrazy said...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 8:08 am
I can very well connect to you. I also have epilepsy but was diagnosed at eighteen months. And was not allowed to swimm in the pool unless w/ an adult and was wering a life suit. Laugh and teased could lay out my life. Check out my memoir "Up from the dark: An epileptic girls struggle for her achidemics and voice.
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