Hello, my name is James Murwa most of my friends call me Jamie, I am your average nineteen year old just going through things above average.
I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I have had everything in life, I have always been a ladies guy, I am intelligent and I was nicknamed Einstein. My dad is a cardiologist and my mum is a lawyer. My dad and mum were always there for us despite the fact that their jobs were demanding. They have always worked hard to ensure I get the best, from education to healthcare.I only have one sibling, my sister, Katie. She’s the apple of my eye, she’s beautiful alright, dripping melanin, she has really beautiful eyes and her voice is so soothing. She’s my world, I would do anything to protect her, she’s only twelve. Life was perfect I tell you, my sister and I never understood the meaning of “lack”. It was something that never existed in our vocabulary. We had family holidays to Mauritius, Dubai in UAE, UK, Australia I had practically travelled the whole world and I was always interested in aeroplanes and my dream was to be a pilot. My life was planed out, I had to read and pass my A levels then go to an aviation school. Life seemed all easy, a bad day for me meant that my Emperio Armani watch didn’t look good with my Calvin Klein shirt.
Things came crashing all at once, like a house with a bad foundation. My life was turned upside down. It was on 24th May, 2014 at around nine in the morning when it all happened. I was in a psychology class presenting a project. I was meticulous when it came to my academics but on that day my voice was quivering I was no longer exuding confidence. The room started getting dim, then I passed out. The next thing I knew I was in the emergency room at The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. I honestly did not understand what had happened to me. I saw saline flowing through the IV line. This was the beginning of my nightmare, this was the devil’s composition alright. The doctor thought it would be better if I were admitted in hospital as they run some tests. As we waited for the admission process to begin (it’s usually a long wait), I felt funny. Funny in the sense where I was having hallucinations, I saw things that weren’t there. I felt raw fear engulfing me then I felt my muscles contract and relax. It was like a turbulence but the pilot doesn’t have control of the aircraft. When it happened I felt every moment, I felt the twitch of the muscles, the lack of breath, the pain in the muscles, it felt like my head is being knocked against the wall. I kid you not.I felt excruciating pain, I felt the jerks as they come and all I can do is hope they stop. I never imagined that I would be seated in a neurologist’s office but I was there listening to him, what he said was gibberish to me. He recommended an MRI, he was also recommended an EEG (electroencephalogram) and some other tests I don’t recall. I feared the results, the MRI was perfect but the EEG was gut wrenching, abnormal electrical activity they say, they call it epilepsy. For all those ignorant buffoons, epilepsy is not jerking or convulsions, it is abnormal electrical activity in the brain resulting to a seizure. I was started off on medication, Epilim, this drug is a monster.
My decade long dream of being a pilot was crushed within minutes. I have dealt with stigmatization and bullying. I lost most of my friends, very few people talked to me. My best friend even said I was mad and he wishes I die. I have received really nasty comments. I have battled depression and I get tired of dealing with ignorant people. Have you ever been told congratulations for not going to hospital this month? Do people ever realise the impact of this statements? I have heard all sorts of statements, from epilepsy is witchcraft to I fake my condition. I feel like I no longer have a quality life, I’m just living because I’m still breathing. I can’t be too happy, I can’t leave the house alone. I live in constant fear of a seizure. Having a seizure is like being told the engines of a plane have failed and the hydraulics aren’t working so you wait to crush. I no longer swim, that was my life. I quit aviation club and now I am in Science club, I figured if I still want to work in the aviation industry I’ll do something like aeronautical engineering and be an inflight engineer. It’s cumbersome and hurts sometimes but I’m a warrior.
This is project Chronically Beautiful it has been started with the aim of spreading epilepsy awareness. In Kenya, it is estimated about 800,000 people live with epilepsy. It is time we fight the stigmatisation and ignorance. Join me in spreading awareness on epilepsy, please post a photo or change your profile picture to any photo that supports epilepsy awareness and tell all your friends. In Kenya we have the National Epilepsy Coordination Committee whose aim is to spread awareness on epilepsy,please visit their website for information http://www.epilepsykenya.com. For more information on epilepsy you could read about seizures on Epilepsy Foundation at http://www.epilepsy.com