Dating With Epilepsy: 3 Ways to Navigate Dating When Your Seizures Are Active
Dating is a task within itself.
I had been seizure-free for 3 years, up until recently. To be honest, epilepsy has been my little dark secret. The thing that I feel makes me vulnerable and at times weak. These are hurdles I have to overcome on my own. So, to factor in epilepsy and dating together has never worked out for me.
It could be because I'm a serial dater and once something serious like epilepsy creeps back into my life – all bets are off. The fun is over! I usually stop dating and distance myself until I get myself together. However, I'm going through this new thing of accepting myself and my epilepsy. And I want those around me to be able to accept my epilepsy. Understanding I'm not a burden and those who will be there will always be there. As my mother would say, "Of you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."
My tips for dating with epilepsy
Be honest about your epilepsy
I have found through trial and error that honesty is the best policy. If you decide to converse with someone and you aren’t comfortable enough to tell them about your epilepsy – that's a red flag!
Anyone you have in your company should know your seizures are active and how to perform seizure safety. A few years ago, my seizures were active, and I was trying so hard to be "normal." The guy had no idea my seizures were active nor that I had epilepsy. He came to pick me up for the date and we went to a nice restaurant. About 5 minutes after we sat down, I had a seizure. I fell face-first on the table.
Luckily, a nurse dining in the restaurant assisted him. I woke up in the hospital with a black eye and a swollen nose. The poor guy was so nervous that he couldn't stop pacing back and forth. I could only watch him, I was too weak to do or say anything. I texted my parents and they came over right away. Weeks following, we talked and went on one date afterward.
Be an advocate for yourself
By being an advocate for yourself, you can openly explain what epilepsy is to the person you are dating.
You must be comfortable with your epilepsy as well. Let this person know how they can assist you during a seizure. Be able to explain how epilepsy affects you when a seizure occurs. It is important that the person accepts you and your epilepsy. That's why being an advocate for yourself is vital.
Teach seizure first aid
Seizure safety is very important! After being honest, then explaining how epilepsy affects you, finally, teach them seizure first aid. According to The Epilepsy Foundation of America, use the 3 S's of seizure first aid. Here they are: stay, safe, side.
Stay by the person until they are awake and alert. Make sure to keep the person safe. Turn the person on their side if they aren't awake and aware. This knowledge will help you and the person you are dating along the way. If they know what to do during a seizure, then they are fully equipped to support and protect you.
Finding the right partner to support your epilepsy journey
Epilepsy is a journey, but you do not have to do it alone. You can find support from the right partner. You can weed out who's up for the challenge and who's not. At the end of the day, you have to feel safe and protected.
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