The Epilepsy Foundation applauds legendary rock star Prince for sharing his childhood experiences with epilepsy.
The award-winning musician said, "I used to have seizures when I was young and my mother and father didn't know what to do and how to handle it, but they did the best they could with what little they had."
Prince said he had to deal with a lot of things in life and attributed his past flamboyant behavior to being teased as a child. "Early in my career I tried to compensate for that by being as flashy as I could and as noisy as I could." He said he had never spoken publicly about his epilepsy before, but he enjoys this time in his life when he can reflect on his experiences and talk about them openly.
To get past the teasing from his peers, Prince said, "I went into self and taught myself music." He stayed with it, practicing constantly, and soon the neighborhood kids were talking about him—this time with admiration instead of ridicule. He said, "Once I got that support from people, then I believed I could do anything."
Prince revealed he had epilepsy during PBS's Tavis Smiley show.
Want to tell your friends?
It's ok to feel nervous about telling your friends. You might be worried that they'll start treating you differently or that they won't handle it well. But chances are your friends will surprise you and, you never know – you might discover that they have epilepsy too!
You might want to hide your epilepsy, but that can be dangerous. If you have a seizure, you want to make sure your friends are prepared and they know what to do. If you need to ask for rides, or need someone to join you when you're swimming or biking, you might find it's easier to ask when people know the reason.
For some people, talking about epilepsy feels as natural as brushing their teeth in the morning. For most people, it's a little harder. Keep reading for tips on how to bring up epilepsy and how to answer some of the questions you might receive.
Epilepsy Advocate, Sara-Elizabeth Clark, tells us:
"I want to share my feelings on being considered different because I have epilepsy. I enjoy being called different, not because I have epilepsy, but because I AM different in many other ways. That's what makes me who I am. Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder in the United States and affects nearly 3 million Americans (and 50 million people world-wide). Despite its prevalence, the condition is often overlooked and misunderstood".