Emma was diagnosed with epilepsy last year at the age of 25. However, she has not let it stop her working as a dentist. Here she shares her experiences.
How did you feel when you first found out you had epilepsy?
I had quite a severe seizure that lasted nearly half an hour. However, I was hoping that my symptoms would have been attributed to stress.
I was quite shocked and upset to be diagnosed. I found it hard to think about how my life has changed and the adjustments I would need to make. Also, I couldn’t stop worrying about when / where my next seizure would be.
Have you faced any challenges with your epilepsy in terms of finding employment? If so, can you give an example?
Thankfully I haven’t and everyone has been very supportive.
How have you managed your epilepsy whilst working as a dentist?
Being a dentist is very stressful and I contemplated quitting to prioritise my health.
However, thankfully I decided to persevere and not “give in” to epilepsy.
I’ve recently started a job in a maxillofacial unit in a busy hospital and despite the pressures I’ve managed to cope.
I never would have thought I could have done a job like this and I’m so thankful I didn’t give up.
What kind of support have you received from your employer?
I’ve changed health boards a few times and each time my employer has been great.
From accommodating my shifts, to making arrangements as I can no longer drive and regular wellbeing meetings to see if any other measures need to be put in place.
I’ve been really grateful and they’ve never once made me feel bad about my health condition.
Do you feel your epilepsy has stopped you doing what you want to do?
Admittedly, once I received my diagnosis I wanted to give up my job and hopes of having a family, as I was too worried about what could happen.
Yes, I’ve had to make adjustments, but I think it’s important to remember who you are, and not let epilepsy define you!
What would you say to someone who has been recently diagnosed with epilepsy?
I think it’s really important to reach out and engage with others with epilepsy, you can help each other so much, as it can be a scary time. With time, I promise it does get better.
If you would like to share your experiences of living with epilepsy, please email David Coates our Communications Officer on email@example.com or call 0141 427 4911.