A silhouette of a person's profile with a purple awareness ribbon circling the head.

Epilepsy Awareness Month: "I Am More Than My Epilepsy"

November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. In celebration of our community's incredible strength and resilience, we wanted to highlight all of the many things you are outside of your diagnosis.

So we asked our Patient Leaders: Tell us why you don't let epilepsy get in the way of who you want to be. Your goals, successes, joys – why haven't you let epilepsy stop you?

I am more than my epilepsy

A photograph of patient leader, Natalie Y. Beavers  on a purple background.
"I've lived with epilepsy for 40 years now and have experienced many difficulties, but it has not and will not stop me from being a mother, advocate, and helping so many around the world who are just like me. I am more than my epilepsy!"-Natalie Y. Beavers

A photograph of patient leader, Tim Ulmer on a purple background.
"I've got to be more than my epilepsy, because my beloved wife needs me to tend to the household that she provides for us. My blossoming daughter needs me to be more than my epilepsy as she wrestles with pressures from school and growing up. I've got to be more than my epilepsy for the people with epilepsy who look up to me in my articles, TV show, and church and community groups. If my epilepsy was greater than me, then I wouldn't catch the smile or hear the 'thank you' that any of those people might give me – and keeps me living." -Tim Ulmer

A photograph of patient leader, Nisshaa Muniandy on a purple background.
"I am more than a woman with epilepsy. Epilepsy is a part of me, not the whole me. I have been living with epilepsy for 16 years and even though I experience seizures, I live a full and active life. Sometimes the body and the mind need rest for a better quality of life. That's all. Despite having epilepsy, I managed to be a wonderful teenager, college student, teacher, writer, daughter, friend, and companion. Epilepsy has not prevented me from living a normal life – instead, it has made me a better and stronger person." -Nisshaa Muniandy

A photograph of patient leader, Gabrielle Foote on a purple background.
"I want my children to understand that you can have a disease or disorder but it does not need to control your life. I want my children to see their life through the lens of love and possibilities. I don't want them to focus on letting their potential disorder/disease stop them from having their best future. I am the example from which they will learn. Focusing on my family, friends, advocacy opportunities, church activities, art, writing, and studying allows my children to see that I have epilepsy but it does not control me." -Gabrielle Foote

A photograph of patient leader, Derra Howard on a purple background.
"I am more than my epilepsy because I have so much to do! My faith in God really keeps me going. Every time I doubt Him, I'm reminded why He is able. When I started having seizures again recently, I was extremely sad. I remember asking God, 'Why am I going through this again?' It is not my place to question Him. I trust Him and believe in the process. I know for a fact I couldn't do anything without faith in God. I never stopped pursuing my goals since my seizures started. I may have paused for a day, but I don't stop. I’m more than my epilepsy because God has me." -Derra Howard

YOU are more than your epilepsy

We want to hear from you. Tell us: Who are you? And why don't you let epilepsy stand in your way? Share your story in our forum!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The EpilepsyDisease.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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