Going Purple … With Pride
The Blue Jay (my oldest daughter) had her first seizure when she was 13 months old and she was diagnosed with a “seizure disorder” when she was 2 years old.
Despite the doctor passing me a pamphlet from our provincial epilepsy association when he gave us this diagnosis, it was quite a long time before I actually put two and two together. And realized that “seizure disorder” was just another way of saying epilepsy.
It’s amazing how huge language is. How it can so easily hurt. Come with so many stigmas attached. Can be used to build someone up. Or tear then down. Sometimes without the speaker even realizing it.
And so it is with the word epilepsy. There’s a certain stigma attached. Although it doesn’t carry as much baggage as the words “mentally retarded”, for example, for some people there’s still a certain sting to it. And if you doubt that, try the word “epileptic” on for size and see if you feel any differently. Think of it applied to your son or your daughter. Or yourself.
And so it was understandable that 9 year old Cassidy Megan didn’t want to tell her classmates that she took seizures. That she had epilepsy. She was afraid they would make fun of her. Can you blame her?