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Michelle
MICHELLE

I’ve been the “special case” since the age of 17.

A lot of people remember their first year of college to be packed with drinking, parties and classes. Me, not so much. I remember my first year of college by the paramedics at my house, and being at the hospital multiple times.

I was diagnosed with Epilepsy on March 26th as a college Freshman.

I thought back then it was the end of the world. How did I get diagnosed with something so terrible - I didn’t know better back then. Epilepsy to me was a nightmare, something I was ashamed of, and never really felt open to talking about.

My life changed so quickly. I was put on countless diets. “You can’t eat or drink this” and “You can’t be around smoke, you can’t drink alcohol”. I was put inside a bubble and felt like 'Michelle' no longer existed. I now thought of myself as “sick”.

I spent a good two years in this bubble. My first medication didn’t work. I was having seizures, even more than before and worse. I had a watch on which would detect seizures and it wasn’t at all fashionable to wear. I felt stuck. I couldn’t go anywhere without my mother on the phone, “Mich, are you okay?”.

I hated everything, I was depressed. Who was I? Who had I become?

It was around this time that I started dealing with severe depression, and anxiety. It was like nothing was going right and I was sinking further and further.

But looking back now, that didn’t last too long. It was a long year and a bit before I was given a green card. 'Michelle' was going to be okay. My second medication was working fabulous and I started celebrating the milestones of being seizure free year by year.

However, I was still a tiny mystery. No one knew why I had epilepsy. No one really knew why it had even happened. Not even my MRI’s gave them that answer.

You know what sucked the most? Five years, almost six years later, I’m still scarred by hearing the words “sick” when describing me and my state. But it’s built me up to be a stronger woman. I take pride in my scars, my downfalls and my Epilepsy because it’s made me become a more loving, selfless human.

Yes, I have Epilepsy but I’m Michelle. You don’t see my Epilepsy or the medication I take every day and for the rest of my life. You see the happy, bubbly, goofy Michelle and that’s all I care about. Epilepsy does not define me, or what I can and can’t do. It’s simply part of my life and something I don’t have to hide anymore, or feel ashamed or scared about.

#SeeThePerson

*stories have been condensed and edited