Model has a seizure live on Instagram to show the reality of living with epilepsy
Social media is a great platform for activists who want to spread awareness, and when you're scrolling down your Facebook or Twitter feed when you're bored, it truly is amazing the ways in which you can be alerted to social issues you might not have paid a thought to otherwise. One person who has truly managed to harness the power of social media in a responsible way is 24-year-old model Sophie Wilson-Smith, who took to Instagram to share a live video of herself having a seizure in order to raise awareness of epilepsy.
Sophie, who hails from North London, only realised that she was epileptic in April of 2017, after suffering a terrifying episode while at work at a shop. She was rushed to hospital, and doctors initially believed that she had a hemiplegic migraine; in which one side of the body becomes temporarily paralysed.
At one point Sophie was having approximately five seizures every month and felt the tell-tale symptoms building up for days on end before one occurred. However, a later CAT scan revealed a diagnosis of epilepsy triggered by severe stress, and after that Sophie's life changed forever.
Commenting on her epilepsy, Sophie stated: "Lots of people don’t realise there are different types of seizure. It’s not always the typical fit you see on TV, where a person is on the ground shaking. The ones I experience are almost unnoticeable, yet I’ll be freaking out inside."
"It can make you feel very alone. I’ll feel this uncomfortable, almost anxious feeling in my stomach, before the room gets bigger and smaller. My vision will feel odd, and my hearing is as if someone has their hands over my ears. Afterwards, I’ll feel really disorientated and upset."
"I didn’t fit the typical epilepsy symptoms, so it took a long time to be properly diagnosed, but the medication I was given didn’t help me ... Over the course of a year, I was having more and more focal seizures. Doctors were convinced they were hemiplegic migraines, but I didn’t agree. It was incredibly frustrating, and I ended up feeling down and depressed. Life was changing so much for me, and yet nobody seemed to understand."
"It’s something I still struggle with now. I worry people will stare and judge if I have an episode in public. I remember being on the Tube in London once when I felt a seizure coming. I explained what was happening and asked for a seat and this person just started at me, without moving. I ended up having one standing up, and on that packed carriage, only one person asked if I was okay.”
"Personally, when I’m in a seizure, I need people to remain calm, sit with me and wait, helping me come back down. There’s nothing worse than someone panicking, shouting and shaking you. Everyone should inform themselves about epilepsy, as it can happen to absolutely anybody. It just hit me out of the blue, and we’re all still trying to work out why. What people like me need is as much kindness and understanding as possible. Judgement doesn’t help anybody."
If you'd like to learn more about this neurological condition then you can visit Epilepy.org for advice and further information.