Epilepsy Awareness Day: Purple Day

There is not enough awareness of epilepsy out there – but Tuesday was Epilepsy Awareness Day. To raise awareness of the condition, people were encouraged to wear purple, and the Blackpool Tower was lit up purple in support of the day:

The Blackpool Tower Lit Up Purple For Epilepsy Awareness Day

And I think it looks great. Thanks to everyone at Blackpool Tower for supporting us on that day, and everyone else who took part.

Coincidentally, on that same day, a friend was asking some questions which I’m sure had been eating away at him for ages. He’s very much into his organic foods and we began talking (via email) about how so many more children are being diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and autism nowadays – they used to just be ‘naughty children’.

I very much believe that autism is a condition, rather than just a label, and that it has been around for many years (having trained to be a teacher and worked with children, I can tell an autistic child and an autistic adult from miles off). ADHD seems to be a new condition, and I’m not sure whether it is triggered by additives put in our food (as he seems to think) or something else. Or whether it has been around for years. Or whether we are ‘over-diagnosing’.

But this brings me onto my main point – the lack of awareness of epilepsy. My friend then went on to say that he knows more people with epilepsy than he did years ago, and perhaps this is similar to ADHD and autism. He went on to say that it could be triggered by additives in food also – this being what causes epilepsy rather than seizures themselves. And my friend is a very intelligent, well-educated person. I was in shock.

I explained to him that it must just be coincidence that he knows more people with it now – and that diagnosis is getting better (like autism). But many people inherit epilepsy, so there is no way that food can be the cause. In my cause, my late grandma was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 89 so I am unsure whether it is genetic. However, you can also get epilepsy as the result of a head injury – which again, is nothing to do with food.

For the rest of us, epilepsy is as yet unexplained. But my parents didn’t eat chicken nuggets and chips constantly (though they didn’t eat organic food constantly either, since it wasn’t available in 1984) – but why doesn’t everyone have it, if this is the cause? What we do know is that epilepsy is located in the brain, and when the signals aren’t properly sent, then you have a seizure. Everyone has a seizure threshold, and if you have epilepsy then your threshold is lower than most, making you more susceptible than most to seizures.

Saying that, I know that some childhood epilepsies are treated with a strict diet – and so perhaps food can trigger seizures themselves in certain cases. However, I don’t believe that the food we eat does cause epilepsy – and that people need to be made more aware of what does cause epilepsy, and the different types of seizure.

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About katesds

I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy when I was 11 (though I was having what the doctors thought were febrile convulsions up until the age of 5). I'm now 28 and have absence and tonic-clonic seizures, triggered by tiredness. I've been on every AED going but it's still not fully controlled. I'm waiting for the magic cure. Epilepsy affects my life in every way but I try not to let it control me. I am not an epileptic, I am me with epilepsy!
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6 Responses to Epilepsy Awareness Day: Purple Day

  1. It’s great to see my home country is becoming aware! The Empire State Building, did the same yesterday! Spread the word.

  2. crispinjohn says:

    What a fab blog! I’ve been living with epilepsy for 22 years – so say a result of a forceps birth although I had nothing out of the ordinary at all until I was 12. I didn’t have a particular liking of chicken nuggets either so I guess maybe it’s just the way we are, and it’s my wish as well that more people would be more aware of what it all means. Anyway, really enjoyed your post – thanks!

    • katesds says:

      Oh, I hadn’t heard the forceps birth idea one. As far as I’m aware, forceps weren’t used in my birth. Thanks very much for your kind words!

  3. I love the tower. It is a beautiful display of support and awareness.

    I would guess more people are finding out a greater number of acquaintances have seizures due to the fact it is becoming less and less of a shameful condition. Seizures used to land people in insane asylums. After that phase, seizing children were sent to orphanages. Now, there is still a shame harbored by some. It is interesting if you research the number of celebrities who have experienced seizures. Yet, they still hide the fact it happened. With more towers and buildings being lit up, we are chipping away at the quietness epilepsy holds over the patient community. Thank you for your note of awareness!

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