In 2015, Tayah had her first experience with seizures at the age of 10, though not formally diagnosed with epilepsy until 2021. She noticed herself randomly freezing and losing memory of what had happened before.
“I was having over 100 absence seizures a day. After speaking with a neurologist, I was told that I would grow out of it during puberty and they gave me medication.”
Five to six years later, after multiple tests, Tayah was told she was in the clear and began slowly stopping her medication. But things took an unexpected turn a few years later in 2021.
“I was on my way to the beach in the car with my family when all of a sudden I had my first big tonic-clonic seizure. All I remember is waking up in the hospital not knowing who everyone was or where I was. My family then told me what happened. We got an emergency neurologist appointment so I could get some more tests and I was diagnosed with epilepsy.”
Initially, Tayah found the diagnosis hard to process. She feared she would lose some of her independence, such as being able to drive – something she had always looked forward to doing. Tayah also struggled with the stigma and how others might perceive her.
“I didn’t really want to tell people because I was embarrassed and I didn’t want to be ‘different’. I wanted to be normal like other people.”
The Epilepsy Foundation has supported Tayah on her journey and, today, Tayah is proud to say she has overcome her worries associated with epilepsy. She currently works at a day care, and has a love for shopping and NRL footy.
“(The Epilepsy Foundation) has helped me feel no longer alone and different. It has taken me a while but I finally have stopped being embarrassed of it and live my life to the fullest.”
Tayah wants to reassure other people living with epilepsy of their strength and to remind them that they don’t have to go it alone.
“I want people to know that they aren’t alone and they should be proud of who they are. You are so inspiring and I’m proud of you all.”
Donate to support people living with epilepsy, like Tayah, by visiting fundraising.epilepsyfoundation.org.au/donation