The ‘techie’ flameless candle!
This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™ which will run from November 1 through November 30. Follow along and add comments to posts that inspire you!
I walked into the computer room with trepidation hoping against hope that I wouldn’t once again be the center of such unnecessary attention. I took my place in front of the computer screen and Mrs. Donovan came breezing into the room ready to bark out the weekly exercises which, to my understanding, seemed purely just to warm up our fingers and joints. As we all began tip tapping away, the longer I looked at the screen the greater the familiar stabbing sensation in my head began to return and I closed my eyes hoping that it was just in my imagination.
A few hours later I was home, lying in my bed, and desperately trying to get off to sleep. The connection? Computers and epilepsy.
I struggled as a child with computer lessons. Numerous occasions saw my return from school trying to sleep off the piercing headache I would get shortly after looking at the screen for the required amount of lesson time. It was similar with the Gameboy – yes, I know I’m showing my age here, but that must have come out when I was around eleven. I had a friend who lived on a farm and I always looked forward to visiting because I knew I would get to use all the cool up to date games that she had including this Gameboy. How I loved Tetris! It was on the drive back that my Mum would put two and two together as I’d zone in and out and have a lot more absence seizures when I’d been playing with it. Eventually, to my dismay, it became a no go area when I went over to see my friend but, as always, I thought I knew better so I’d just play it when she wasn’t looking, she’d never know! As I blanked my way through conversations, unsurprisingly, she guessed what I’d been up to. Looking back now I can’t help but laugh at the fact I genuinely thought she’d never notice!
So, with those particular incidents in mind, with technology developing fast through my teen years, going from a Walkman to a Discman (I was tuned in wherever I went); my school work requiring to be done on a computer without much wiggle room to contest with the teachers, and the idea of this mobile phone that could be taken with you wherever you went, I had to surrender to the growing influence of electrical gadgets.
Many times over the years when I’ve tried to find a rhyme and/or reason as to why my seizures are bad at a particular time, technology has always had a big question mark above it. Why? Well, it’s a simple theory. I couldn’t tell you for certain if it was the cause but common sense denotes that when you have earphones in your ears which are connected up to an electrical device sending music to them, you’re sending extra electrical impulses to your brain to process which in turn is adding to the extra electricity which is already there providing your seizures; hence, it’s just fueling the fire.
However, that aside, I return to the present and I think about life today. As an advocate for epilepsy, without technology would I have created Finding Freedom for Epilepsy? Probably not. I wouldn’t be able to reach out to all the people who read my blog worldwide. I wouldn’t be able to connect up with all the neurologists and people who work for and advocate for epilepsy associations internationally. I wouldn’t be fortunate enough to have my articles retweeted on Twitter by those who feel moved by them and least of all keep in touch with my friends worldwide and ask for their support, of whom many I have known since childhood.
Both as an epilepsy advocate and epileptic, technology is essential. Available to us on our mobile phones alone are hundreds of applications that can be downloaded, it’s truly astonishing. There’s the seizure tracker, the epilepsy diary, yoga for epilepsy, epilepsy chat, tool kit, seizure detector, apps with basic epilepsy information and there are so many duplications, some of which work better than others, so dependent on the needs one can be found that works best. And of course, I haven’t even touched on research, EEG and hospital equipment.
So while I deliberate about the amount of time I spend on the computer a day studying and writing and what it could potentially be doing to my health, all I can really do is try to maintain balance by taking breaks, being outside and continuing to fill my house with plants, Himalayan salt lamps and air ionizers whilst I continue to fight for the cause!