Living with epilepsy, a neurological disorder, is challengingnot only for those suffering from the condition but also for their friends and family. This type of disorder is often linked to witchcraft or some evil possession in African communities. Epilepsy is one such disorder that may come with a burden of mental health illness due to discrimination. On the same note, it remains a battle to make people understand that while this may be inherited, it may also be caused by seizure from accidents or be a result of stressful pregnancy. Pulane Motsamai takes us on her daunting journey with epilepsy.
I was initially diagnosed with epilepsy in June 1995 at only six months of life. Evidence from my medical documents and explanations from my mother reveal that my condition was a result of injuries to my brain. I fell from my nanny’s hands – may her soul rest in peace – and I was not immediately attended to, hence development of seizures. At that very early age, I was to live with epilepsy for a lifetime.
Now, fast forward to my teen age which posed a direct impact to my condition. Curiosity made way to open discussions with my mum about my illness and this is when I learned more about epilepsy. I could say, somehow, lack of knowledge means less stress. It was another haul knowing that I am stuck with my condition for life but, “make peace with that which you cannot change they say”. I do not have too many stories from primary or reception, maybe then; I was too young to mind criticism from other pupils.