Epilepsy and Disability Rights
By BookishBeemer on May 17, 2011
Nine months ago, I decided to come out to the blogging world as an epileptic. Since then, I have written a great deal about epilepsy. It's been a journey--I never would have imagined when I began that I would end up sharing the things that I have: personal stories, many of which I kept from the people closest to me. But I felt that, by sharing these stories, that I would expose the ways in which our society, culture, and law discriminates and deliberately hurts those of us with neurological and physical disabilities. I wanted an outlet for my frustration. I wanted to educate people about epilepsy. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, some of those who had hurt me would read my posts and change, and maybe even apologize for hurting me. And maybe, my posts would prevent others from hurting someone else.
Below I have summarized and linked all of my posts about epilepsy: Note: The links will take you to my Wordpress blog.
Take Medication, Or Else--Yesterday I discovered the existence of the mental inquest warrant, a warrant that anyone can swear out in order for the police to arrest neurologically atypical folk in order to force them to take medication. I write about my reaction and share why this prevents the differently abled from being on equal footing with able-bodied folk.
Entitlement of the Able-Bodied--For some reason, anyone who comes into contact with me feels as I have an obligation to share my medical diagnoses with them. I share the reactions of those who find out I have not shared this information with them during introductions--they may surprise you.
The Balancing Act of Education and Privacy--I have struggled to strike a balance in my social circle in between educating others about my condition, and maintaining my privacy. I share how I've learned that there can be no balance, and how this has impacted my relationships with others, as well as my desire to live my life in peace.
Why I Didn't Take Them: Epilepsy and Medication--After nine months of blogging about my experiences with epilepsy, I am ready to share why I refused medication to treat my epilepsy for so long, and how that choice was taken away from me.
A Question We Must Ask Ourselves--I discuss the pressure from the able bodied to take medication--and highlight the things that able bodied folks may not consider when pushing others to take drugs.
Tales of Epilepsy: Internalized Ableism--I highlight one Saturday afternoon, when years of harassment from others finally get to me, and I do to myself what numerous others spent years doing to me.
The Deck of Ableist Cards--A post highlighting one example of harassment I endure for simply trying to take care of myself.
Why Repealling Healthcare Reform is a Bad Idea--I detail what goes into managing epilepsy, getting healthcare with a pre-existing condition, and my interactions with doctors and insurance agents. This is reaction to the American Republican's attempt to repeal healthcare reform back in January, so there are arguments against that, as well as some parallels and comparisions.
No Disableism After Yesterday's Violence, Please--My response to the January shooting in Arizona, when Representative Gabrielle Gifford's was shot. I plead with Americans to avoid dismissing Loughner as mentally ill, stigmatizing those of us with neurological disorders and painting us all as potentially violent.
Tales of Epilepsy: Refusing Treatment--I describe the harassment I've endured for refusing medication, and refusing treatment following seizures by friends, family, EMTs, doctors, and educators. I share the disturbing story of how I was forced to take drugs, both prescribed and not, while I was on a study abroad trip.
Seizures in the News--I discuss the Elizabeth Smart case, where the defendant had a seizure in court. I lay out why the tendency to refer to men and women who commit horrible crimes as mentally disturbed or mentally ill, and how that harms the neurologically atypical.
A Glimpse of an Employed Epileptic--I describe the reaction of my supervisors when I disclosed my epilepsy and informed them of my wishes should I have a seizure at work. Their reaction, unsurprisingly, was less than ideal.
Travelling While Differently Abled--I share the measures the differently abled must take while traveling, as I travel the American West Coast. I also share the interactions I have with locals as they question me about my status.