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Living Alone and Getting Around with Epilepsy

"Stress is my biggest trigger, so I want to be packed and ready early".

UCB Advocate Anita is unable to drive due to her epilepsy, and she lives alone. However, that does not stop her from finding creative ways to navigate her city, while learning life lessons in the process. 


I’ve taken a break from packing for my very first cruise to write this blog post. 

 "Stress is my biggest trigger, so I want to be packed and ready early".

For some people, it is not a big deal to just hop on a ship and go on a cruise. For me, however, it means much more. And even though I am so excited to travel thousands of miles away to see some amazing sights, I sometimes find it challenging to travel a couple miles down the street.


Let me explain. I live with epilepsy. Finding transportation has always been hard. I remember very distinctly the day I had to push the crosswalk button for the first time you know, the one with the lighted little man or the red “stop” hand? I needed some things from the store and it hit me: The only way I was going to get milk or groceries was to press this button. After years of driving a car, I realized I hadn’t used the crosswalk since I was a little girl.


Then, there was the first time I got on the bus. I had never used public transit before! I looked at the bus driver and told the man, “I don’t know what to do.” I felt handicapped. Disabled. That was kind of a blow. Suddenly, I felt like I lost my power lost my independence.


But you know what? I learned you just can’t sit in your house. Every step is hard, and every step is an obstacle you have to conquer. Epilepsy is not a bad thing. Epilepsy doesn’t make me ugly, horrible, or weird. Nobody is going to laugh at me walking across the street to get some milk. But I have to admit, it’s an ongoing process.

Check with your public transportation system; they might have some discounted services for people living with epilepsy. And look at the bright side: If you can’t drive, you don’t have to pay a car payment, insurance, maintenance you don’t even have to worry about having the latest model!


These days, I get groceries delivered to my house. Public transportation where I live is not convenient, so I use a ride-sharing app to get to my doctor’s appointments. At first, I was a little hesitant to get in a car with a stranger, but I just prayed about it and said, “Lord, take care of me.” Hey, when you get in a taxi, you don’t know them either. Would driving be easier? Maybe, but I’ve figured out ways around it and it works for me. On the bright side, someone else does my grocery shopping for me!

That brings me back to my upcoming cruise. If I have a seizure and I look weird, I say, “OH WELL!” I’m not giving up this chance to go on my very first cruise. It’s not every day you get to see a glacier up close in Alaska. This opportunity is mine, and if I have a seizure, I will deal with it when it happens. The key is not to quit.


Living with epilepsy is hard, but it is not insurmountable. I’m not going to say that epilepsy doesn’t affect every part of my life, but I certainly won’t let it destroy it. Now I need to go finish packing. Bon me!

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EpilepsyAdvocate is a community of people living with epilepsy, their family members, and their caregivers.