Lesley Donnelly

Six things you can do to help reduce epilepsy stigma

Lesley has been living with epilepsy for 49 years. She shares some things that she feels can help reduce the stigma associated with epilepsy.


Know the facts

Educate yourself about your type of epilepsy and the type of seizures you experience.

Check out Epilepsy Scotland’s website to find out more about epilepsy, i.e. triggers of seizures, side effects and so much more.


Choose your words carefully

Be cautious about how you speak to others. Be kind and give support to anyone that has epilepsy but is withdrawn and finds it difficult to discuss the subject.

Be a friend, join a group, or find someone to share your feelings with. There are many epilepsy groups such as Epilepsy Scotland’s Facebook support group that one can join and share information with.


Educate others

Teach people about epilepsy, share research and information, together with your experiences, and explain to them how epilepsy has affected your life.

Explain your types of seizures, give them support, and advocate both for yourself and others with epilepsy. I have advocated for several years now and love what I do.

You can do the same by educating the community, getting involved, and showing them that you are a role model.

My goal, when diagnosed at the age of 16, was always to be an advocate for epilepsy. This has always been my passion, i.e. advocate, educate, and support.

I have and always will continue to fulfill this role by having determination, patience, and understanding for people with epilepsy.


Focus on the positive

Stay positive if possible, and do not let others’ negativity run you down. I have learned to take one day at a time.

If it is a bad day today, know that tomorrow will be better. The past has gone, so one must live for today; we do not know what tomorrow will bring!


Support people

Advocate for both you and others affected by epilepsy. Join groups, find friendships, get advice, and let your voice be heard.


Include everyone

Know that 1 in 26 million people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.

People with certain conditions could be at greater risk so include them in your groups of friends, make conversations with them and help them understand that THEY ARE NOT ALONE!

Remember, you have epilepsy; epilepsy does not have YOU!