Skip to content

Epilepsy Health Center

Font Size

My WebMD: A Teen Copes with Epilepsy

This accomplished student used to be afraid to tell people she has epilepsy, but now encourages kids with the condition to let others know.
By Kayla Brown
WebMD the Magazine - Feature

I had my first real epileptic seizure when I was 5 years old. My mother says my eyes were rolling and I was staring off into the distance. She was terrified.

What I had is called a "petit mal" seizure or an "absence" seizure. It’s called that because there’s a lapse in conscious activity for a couple of seconds. It’s different from a "grand mal" seizure, when people have convulsions. That’s what most people think of when they think of epilepsy. A petit mal seizure may not sound like much, but it’s still dangerous because you can drown or have some other kind of accident in those few seconds.

WebMD the Magazine Now Available Online

The enormous popularity of WebMD the Magazine - previously only read in your doctor's office - is why we're proud to announce the release of WebMD the Magazine Digital Edition.

In each edition, you will get these features: 

  • Expert beauty tips
  • Healthy recipes
  • Celebrity health stories
  • And much more!

Once the doctor diagnosed me after that first seizure, we were able to learn about the disease and how to manage it. For instance, I take antiseizure medication daily, and that keeps my seizures under control. But I still get them sometimes, such as when I get dehydrated or stressed, or my medication level falls too low. I can tell when I’m about to have a seizure because I start to feel dizzy and my head hurts or I feel nauseous. If that happens, I tell an adult that I’m about to have a seizure. Afterward, I check in with my pediatrician and my neurologist just to make sure everything’s OK.

Coping with Epilepsy in School

But my epilepsy hasn’t really stopped me from doing things. I’m in 11th grade now at a public school. Most kids at my school don’t even know I have epilepsy -- you know, I dress normally and act normally. I’m an honor student at my high school; I have a 3.48 grade point average. I’ve been playing soccer for five years, and I bowled on a team for three years. I’m a Girl Scout, and I volunteer for the Red Cross as well as for a drug abuse prevention program. After I graduate from high school, I want to go to college to become either a forensic investigator or a lawyer.

Today on WebMD

human head and brain waves
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Grand mal seizure
How is each one different?
marijuana plant
CBD, a plant chemical, may cut down seizures.
prescription bottle
Which medication is right for you?
Seizures Driving
Questions for Doctor Epilepsy
Graces Magic Diet
Pills spilling from bottle in front of clock
first aid kit
Caring Child Epilepsy
Making Home Safe
epilepsy monitoring

WebMD Special Sections