It was past my 17th birthday and I was so excited to finally start driving lessons. Most of my friends were already driving and I wanted in! I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was around 14/15, I just accepted and didn’t realise how it could affect my life. My seizures were controlled so I was able to have driving lessons. However I was due to have University so I never got to take my test, if I could turn back time I would have made sure I took it. As I went through University I had no problems with my epilepsy at all.
I decided after University I was going to start driving lessons again. Unfortunately before I got chance to I started having seizures again. After then I realised that I couldn’t learn to drive unless I was seizure free for a couple of years. I was absolutely heartbroken. Several years on and I continue to live my life without having a driving license and being able to learn to drive. The normality for me lies with getting around with my disabled bus pass.
There is quite a stigma around the epilepsy, not everyone realises how epilepsy can actually effect driving. I thought I’d share with you some of the questions and opinions I’ve encountered from others:
“You have epilepsy doesn’t that mean you can’t drive?”
Wrong. Due to my seizure activity being uncontrolled I’m unable to drive, yes, but that’s not the same for everyone. It all depends on a person’s seizures. There are many people with epilepsy that can drive. One day I might be able to be one of those people.
“But what if you have a seizure when you’re behind the wheel?”
This is something that always plays on my mind. What if I finally get my seizures and myoclonic jerks controlled. Would I want to drive. Part of me would love to drive, the independence I would be able to have with the children. However the other part of me is scared of the prospect of driving. What if I did have a seizure around the wheel, it’s not only me I could hurt. It’s a funny situation to be in.
“Just don’t declare it to the DVLA”
As fab as this sounds but if you have a medical condition You are responsible for reporting this to the DVLA. GOV.UK state that you can be fined up to £1,000 if medical conditions have not been alerted and you can even be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result of your seizures. It’s important to be truthful and to know that these guidelines have been put in place to help protect us.
Epilepsy wont stop me reaching my dreams and succeeding at things I want to achieve. Unfortunately I do have to jump through hurdles to get there and the subject of driving is just one of many hurdles. There’s so many times I’ve wondered what the freedom feels like… and then I remember that my disabled bus pass is free of charge and I don’t have to pay for insurance, petrol and MOT! I have found the positives from the negatives. If I didn’t I would always be on a downer about not being able to drive.