Running with Epilepsy

So if you’re not part of the Epilepsy community you may not know but today (and every March 26th) is Purple Day which is a day to raise awareness for Epilepsy. I thought I would do my small part by explaining what it’s like to run with Epilepsy.

I do get asked quite frequently “but if you’re sick how come you can run?” For one, unless I am lying in a hospital bed post seizure feeling sorry for myself I do not consider myself ‘sick’ I just have a neurological condition which over time I have learnt to deal with. Seizures often have triggers, for some it’s alcohol, lack of sleep, lights or noise. For me it’s stress. I’m really crap with stress. If something’s upset me I don’t like talking about it as I feel like I’m just burdening others with it which leads to internalised stress (basically hiding your feelings) this can then manifest itself in different ways but for me muscle spasms, absences and memory loss are the most common.

So why do I run? Well firstly I love it but most importantly it relieves stress. After a run I feel amazing. I’ve thought through everything and 9 out of 10 times will then go and talk to someone about it. It’s also about general fitness. My cocktail of anti seizure medications over the years have made me gain weight. They also make me feel really lethargic and down. If I kick myself up the bum and go for a run I can fight this tiredness. The most important point of all that I would like to get across is for all the medical reasons I run I mostly run for me. Running makes me feel powerful, like I can do anything. It gives me back the confidence that was stolen from me by Epilepsy. A few years ago I wouldn’t go out of the house without someone else because I was terrified I’d have a seizure now I’m training for 10ks and half marathons. That is the power of running.

Runing hasn’t just helped me deal with my Epilepsy. It’s changed my life and I will be forever grateful for that. I mentioned above that I’m currently training for some half marathons. One of them is The Royal Parks Half Marathon in October which I will be running on behalf in the most amazing and supportive charity Epilepsy Action and it would be amazing if in the spirit of Purple Day I could raise some donations towards my run at my Just Giving Page. I hope by reading this you’ve learnt something about Epilepsy. I know it’s a difficult one to understand I didn’t before I was diagnosed and truthfully I still don’t but if we can all come together on this day then surely that’s not a bad thing?

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JJ x