Interview with Rocío Mateos, president of the Association of Friends of the Epileptic of Badalona by MJN
Although the perception of epilepsy in society has improved considerably in recent years, there are still many stigmas to overcome. People are afraid of epilepsy, and we are also talking about those affected, who are afraid to talk about the condition they suffer and find it hard to explain at work, to friends, partner, family and so on, how they can help them.
Women, for example, are already more limited, more judged, we have more difficulty proving our worth at work … epileptic women suffer a double burden: being a woman and being epileptic. Hormonally we are different and those affected have difficulties for this reason. Questions arise, such as what happens with the medication for epilepsy if I want to get pregnant, what will happen if I have a seizure at work… an epileptic woman has to prove that despite being a woman she can do everything, plus the fact that she is also epileptic and people distrust her condition.
What would you advise someone with epilepsy?
What I always say is that you have to normalize the situation. First, keep yourself well informed: it is important to find all the necessary information, talk to affected people, associations, relatives and professionals. When you go to the doctor, always ask about everything without fear – even the simplest questions about your day-to-day life, your relationships, and your habits. It is not right that those affected by epilepsy live hidden within their pathology. They have to express how they feel and have to explain to other people how they can be helped.
Confidence can help people suffering from epilepsy to lead a normal life
Society seeks perfect people, and epilepsy is detected as a lack of perfection. This stigmatizes those affected and prevents them from leading a normal life and we must work to improve this aspect. The only tool we have is information.
We got to know MJN because they came to a talk we give annually in Badalona. We are excited to see how they grow, all the prizes they are given and the good job they are doing. The device they are developing seems very interesting to us, as it can give a lot of self-confidence to those affected. Confidence can help people suffering from epilepsy to lead a normal life, an objective that, together, we all have to achieve.