Have you ever noticed that if a particular word, object or observation is brought up in conversation you begin to see/hear it absolutely everywhere? This happens to me A LOT!
Having developed a heightened interest in photosensitive epilepsy, I began to look at probable triggers that occur in everyday life. It all began with a warning that a fellow epilepsy sufferer had written about. It was in regards to a movie she had seen and there had been no warning prior to entering the theatre to inform people of the intense flashing lights and flickering within it.
Those with photosensitive epilepsy will have their own individual triggers and to varying degrees but having read this piece explaining the content of the film flicked an internal switch for me. I have become more conscious of aspects in daily life that could be potential triggers. Here are a few that have really stood out for me.
So, cycling. I’m all for cycling. It’s eco-friendly, reduces your carbon footprint and serves as a method of exercise. The public bicycle stations for people to use have begun to pop up, and now litter the city. It’s a super scheme to implement and to encourage use. As a cyclist you need to make sure that your bike is safe with all the right ‘gear’ and lights are a vital part of that. However, here in the US, the lights I have seen attached to the front flash and I don’t really understand why! I don’t remember ever seeing a bicycle light that flashed in England and to be honest I’m not really sure of its purpose. Is it more effective than a light that has continuity? I err on the side of thinking perhaps not.
When I see them coming towards me it always reminds me that it’s an awfully strong activation for seizures and one that’s preventable. If anyone happens to know why flashing lights are preferable do let me know as I would love to understand and have this question laid to rest!
An additional related matter is that I have found so many cyclists here in Seattle don’t cycle on the road. Not tarring all of you two wheeled wonders with the same brush of course, but there are lanes which have been created offering greater safety but simply aren’t getting used. In light of that, with speedy cyclists on the sidewalks plus their flashing lights you could have a recipe for disaster brewing.
Not having such an issue with flashing lights depending on the speed and intensity myself they appear in the majority of movies, video games and television shows. There are notices on the back of the video game boxes and for those who follow my Facebook page you will have seen the link I posted regarding the connection between video games and seizures (‘The Royals in New York, as Viewed from the UK’ dated 9th December 2014). It covers television footage of the Royals and the photography by the paparazzi. If you missed it you’ll find the link below and there are a number of very interesting seizure related articles alongside it. You’ll find included the research undertaken to discover which video games have been deemed safe to play and which ones haven’t, plus they explain how they have tried and tested them to prove their outcome.
Not too long ago I was on a long train journey to see a friend on a beautiful autumn day. It was chilly but with blue skies and bright sunshine. As I was looking out of the window taking in the scenery, we traveled through a long line of trees that were fast losing their leaves of reds, browns and yellows. With the speed of the train, the sun and gaps between the trees gave the effect of a flick book only much more intense. Even I had to look away as it continued for quite some time and as I said, this component doesn’t tend to affect me. That’s Mother Nature, so how do you contend with that?
My two examples are simply a drop in the water when it comes to triggers, and that just validates how essential it is to consider this issue within society. I know that eliminating all these possible triggers is both impractical and unworkable; however, there are definitely improvements that could be made in order to lessen the probability of seizures through these means. The need to raise greater awareness remains in order to bring the change for those that suffer and to take into consideration the difficulties that could be rectified so simply.
‘We need to have complete certainty that things will work out, not because we are righteous or wise, but because of the time, effort, prayers, and the tools we are using. From the awareness we are given about some bigger picture or mission, we have to have complete focus on what to do to get to that place.’
– Yehuda Berg