I can relate to the feeling you had when they put you into a hospital bed.

Right before I came to Japan, I would stay at my parents’ house, because I had to quit my own apartment and all that. I’d sleep on their couch. Maybe I didn’t eat enough or sleep enough (I was constantly skyping with my newfound love the moment I came back from work until she left to go to hers)

I would get brief moments of what I can only describe as Spasms. I had those since I was 13. Only early in the morning, right after waking up, I’d have a hard time waking up. I’d lose control over my body just for a split second. Short enough to notice it myself, but too fast for me to stop myself. If I had a glass in my hand, I’d drop it or shake enough for its content to douse myself.

Back when I was 13 and my parents got concerned about these weird moments in the morning, they took me to a hospital. But the doctors said everything is fine with me. I blamed it on being quite underweight together with a bad habit of smoking. I thought my cardiovascular system is just too slow in the morning. You know, low blood pressure or something.

Back to when I was 24, planning my move to Japan, sleeping on my parents’ couch. I woke up one morning and my dad looked at me, wide-eyed. “What the hell was that?”

I just woke up, so I didn’t know what he was talking about. With his stern look it felt like a threat for a moment, as if I had angered him.

“I don’t know” I answered. “Just let me wake up in peace, please.”

A few days later, or maybe a few weeks, I woke up to what I can only describe as a nightmare. I opened my eyes to strange voices. The laptop with which I’d skype to my Japanese girlfriend was on, skype still running. For her it was evening and she was staring at the scene.

I looked around and saw two people I never saw before, right in the middle of our living room. Bright orange jackets, but my vision was too blurry to recognize the red cross on their backs.

My mom and dad were standing in the back of the room, watching. One guy pierced my arm saying “It’ll be alright”. He then turned to the laptop screen and tried to his best ability to explain to her in English that they’ll take me with them to make some routine checks.

What my girlfriend and my parents witnessed while I was asleep was an epileptic seizure. One that incited my parents to call an ambulance.

From that moment on, I got diagnosed with Grand-Mal epilepsy. After a week in the hospital, I took off. I didn’t want this to get between me and the girl in Japan. (I was planning on moving there to spend the rest of my life with her).

Over the next two years, I’d still suffer from epileptic seizures, but only ever in the early morning, while I was asleep. Irregularly too. I was treated with Levetiracetam and another pill the name I forgot of. After two years or so, it was gone. No more epilepsy. But I’ll always remember that first morning on the couch. I wasn’t even fully awake when those people took me to the hospital. Against my own will too. I didn’t even know what was going on.

And this response is the first time since I joined Medium that I actually mention my epilepsy. It’s gone anyways, and I was lucky, compared to most epileptics, who have to live with worse seizures for the rest of their lives.

But I know exactly how you felt in the hospital. Getting a diagnosis out of nowhere. Suddenly being told that something’s seriously wrong with you. It feels surreal.

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