When I decided to work, I was already 24, I was married and I had already been diagnosed with epilepsy (I was diagnosed at 17). So it seems that my husband married me knowing what baggage I had and he didn’t mind. He’s always been my greatest support. So when I decided to work, with the burden of epilepsy, it didn’t occur to me that it could be an inconvenience.
I didn’t even think about it. I prepared some exams to be hired by the administration and joined the Treasury department, in La Coruña, where we lived then. I did my work without problems. A few years later, in order to become a civil servant, I took an official exam, which I passed, and I then got a permanent position at the Social Security. There I had a seizure at work. My colleagues reacted very well. An ambulance was called and they took me to the hospital. When I went back to work, no one harassed me or gave me any unpleasant treatment because of my condition. They offered me positions of more responsibility and I accepted them.
“The way we look at ourselves is very important. If we see ourselves capable, others will see us capable”
Then we moved to Madrid, so I changed jobs and colleagues. I’ve had no problems because of epilepsy in either of the two work locations I’ve been in Madrid.
The way we see ourselves is very important. If we see ourselves as capable, others will see us as capable. It’s true that there are still a lot of ignorant people who don’t know or don’t want to see, but we have to trust ourselves and our capabilities. In 80% of cases of epilepsy, performance in class, at work and in life in general is equal to that of any person.
I’m aware that there are people with epilepsy with real problems in the workplace. My association, the National Association of People with Epilepsy (ANPE), works so that companies, trade unions and public authorities know what epilepsy is and shake off their fear and become involved so that the stigma of this condition disappears.