Epilepsy Talk

Dating Disasters and Epilepsy | May 7, 2019

When I was a teen I fell down, walked into walls, bumped into virtually everything in my path, and almost drowned in the shower.

So, you can imagine what a disaster dating was.

Of course, in my infinite wisdom, I would never tell my dates that I had epilepsy. 

My parents wouldn’t even utter the word, so rather than become a pariah, I kept my mouth shut.

Bad idea…

For example, I was lusting to go out with Ricky Schwabacker for 2 years. I mean, he was a big-time senior and I was just a lowly sophomore.

So finally, he asked me out and we went to some kid’s house whose parents weren’t home. Oy.

Everybody sat in a circle and smoked dope. (I didn’t, because drugs were far from “recreational” to me.)

Then a very stoned Ricky and his friend sat down to play chess.

Suddenly “BOOM!” My head went crashing through the wood chessboard and I was out cold.

They thought I was dead. And they couldn’t figure out whether to call the police or not.

If they called the police, they’d be busted for dope. So, they decided to just sit it out until they figured out a plan.

When I suddenly regained consciousness, everybody was relieved (especially Ricky) and Ricky took me home.

Needless to say, that was my last date with Ricky.

Then there was Tommy who took me dancing.

Unfortunately it was the disco era.

And we walked into a room with a mirrored ball spinning, strobe lights flashing, and rock music booming.

I tried not to look (ha!) and went onto the dance floor, gyrating with everyone else. The difference was, I was having a seizure!

When the music stopped and everyone drifted back to their tables, I melted down to the floor. The crowd was no longer propping me up.

So you can see why I wasn’t everybody’s first choice for a date. And why I felt so alone… 

Nobody knew how to act around me.

My own parents didn’t even know what to do with me.

Epilepsy became my “dirty secret.” Like it or not…

But after those many fiascos (and MANY years later), I met a guy at work who became a buddy and we started hanging out.

The first time I was in his apartment, I had a flaming seizure. I figured: “Oh no. Here we go again.”

The guy was so sweet and gentle and considerate, I couldn’t believe it.

Kind to ME? Little old damaged me?

Instead of running for the hills, he asked if I was having a seizure and what he could do for me. (It turned out that one of his best friends since second grade had epilepsy).

Yes, I had hit the jackpot.

A warm, caring guy who accepted me as I was, no problem. (But many seizures!)

I decided: He’s a keeper.

We’ve been married for 40 years.


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  1. WOW !!! I went through all the same things in school in the mid 1960’s & 70’s, BUT there was never that special girl then or lady now, who cared then or cares now to add a little burden & hardship in their life. Forget how I may had felt about them. When you have seizures, the rules change, and you become unlovable for having a keeper for life when it is the guy with the seizures. I am glad though that you have had your special mate for life since 2nd grade. I could not imagine really back then just HOW kids were so judgmental but I know they learned it ALL from their own parents & teachers who believed they knew all there was to know about having seizures & epilepsy & WHAT THAT does to a kids brain. REALLY ? It’s the same ways & attitude today in 2019. The advocates of CURE & EFA & others have not done much to make ANY POSITIVE changes in how we are thought about in 2019 no different than as we were thought of in 1969. Strange too how ALL medical & drug experts are so much more educated in this, YET THEY never have had a seizure TO KNOW & EXPERIENCE REJECTIONS from others, in all walks of life when THEY KNOW YOU HAVE SEIZURES, but THEY DON’T, so ” you can’t know as much or more than they do”. THEY ARE WRONG,, as it does rain on the just and the unjust, in all DUE TIME.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by C D — May 7, 2019 @ 1:38 PM

    • I was very lucky after all the discrimination, rejection and hurt that I experienced.

      I’m sure many people go through the same thing.

      But I found my magical miracle man who has been with me, even through a near death experience.

      Always right by my side.

      (My parents almost had a stroke when he asked me to marry him. “He’s too good for you!” I guess that didn’t prove to be true.)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 7, 2019 @ 1:44 PM

  2. The story made me cry, I could see myself in the scenes can relate , still going thru the seizures since them medications can’t control.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by elena rivero — May 7, 2019 @ 2:27 PM

  3. My brother had seizures and it killed me everytime to see him go through them. Your husband must be a very nice man. I wish there are more people like him. Around an epileptic surely makes you tensed but its just a phase. I believe if you love a person these things don’t matter. Always be happy

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mohmy — May 7, 2019 @ 7:36 PM

  4. Maybe Rose will find a”keeper” in a few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Flower Roberts — May 8, 2019 @ 10:00 AM

  5. Let’s hope so.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — May 8, 2019 @ 10:57 AM

  6. My (ex)wife ran out of the bedroom, when I had, ‘the big one’. I had told her about my seizures’, before we got married. She couldn’t cope. We got married one week after my 25th birthday(i will be 52 in 8 days). I divorced her in 2000, and refuse to have any contact with her. I won’t risk my life communicating with her in any way.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Christopher Range — May 8, 2019 @ 4:50 PM

  7. Hi, I shared your link suicide and epilepsy on my blog hope it’s okay. I feel strongly about it since l face it daily. And I must say all your blog post is like reading about my reality with epilepsy. Keep your informed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by violatogom — May 13, 2019 @ 4:18 AM

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience. This is a sad story with a beautiful continuation up to this day. It’s wonderful that you’ve found true love. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this condition but you’re enduring well. I hope soon we will see God’s promises fulfilled and no one will be sick or deal with conditions like epilepsy anymore (Isaiah 33:24). Until then may you both have many more years of true love and happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by heatherjo86 — May 30, 2019 @ 6:14 AM

  9. You Are *A Winner, Phyllis. So is your husband. I pray the two of you have a Blessed, Happy 40th Anniversary. It’s not too far away. We Celebrate With The Two Of You! Well Done.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Effie Erhardt — April 29, 2020 @ 6:45 PM

    • Actually, our 40th was rather quiet, due to the lock-down.

      But we had champagne and toasted to our good fortune.

      Every day is a celebration — of life AND love!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 29, 2020 @ 8:10 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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