Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stop the Epilepsy Stigma!

These days if one would to take a stroll in shopping malls, you almost cannot miss out on high end outlets carrying labels like Zara, Burberry, Louis Vutton, and other branded names that you can think of. To me, these outlets are the ones that are nice to look at from the exterior; those "See, no touch" and "See, no buy" kinda thing. Having said so, I must admit that it is still nice to have a second glimpse at these exclusive outlets.

As a person with epilepsy, the topic of labels never fail to trigger a sore spot in me. I have lived through different phases of my life where I was being labelled as indifferent, weird, totally dependent and abnormal. And I am certain a lot of PWE would have experienced my same problems at some points in their lives. This should never have happened if not because of centuries old stigma. To stigmatize and being stigmatized, this derogatory process has got to stop.

Stigmatized is defined as "If you stigmatize someone, you have given that person a label — and it's usually a label that is limiting in some way.

In Ancient Greece, a stigma was a brand burned into a slave or a criminal's skin to symbolize disgrace. In the 1500s, the word stigmatize meant literally "to brand or tattoo." Nowadays, to stigmatize is to shame or brand a person in a more symbolic way."

If living and coping with epilepsy is not enough, PWEs are frequently challenged and confronted with problems arising from stigma like low self esteem, self rejection and self blame to name a few. To make matters worse, there are also issues like driving, employment, marriage, pregnancy and friendship to look into.

One ought to be extremely thankful if he or she does not have to live with epilepsy. But does that mean that he or she has the right to discriminate those of us who have epilepsy? Do not be quick to judge, criticize or stigmatize others when you are not walking a mile in their shoes. You can help by being more considerate and understanding towards others especially when you have no knowledge about their condition. What more, if their condition is a hidden condition like epilepsy.


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