Why does society ridicule people with epilepsy?
Q: My query has less to do with medical science and more to do with the reaction of society to illnesses. I have been an epileptic patient for the past ten years. It began with myoclonic jerks and was restricted to shaking of hands. Then due to insufficient medicines it increased and I fainted three times. I have been getting better since last three years with the dosage of medicine being reduced. I now take 400 mg of sodium valproate tablets (epilex). I will be 27 years old this October and my parents are contemplating marriage. However, the doctor we are consulting (who happens to be a world renowned neurosurgeon) has explained to my parents that no one will marry me (in an arranged marriage) after knowing that I have a history of epilepsy. Though I have a career of my own, this has been quite upsetting for me. Please explain why epilepsy is considered a taboo and why am I suddenly feeling so embarrassed/outraged to have epilepsy. What makes epilepsy different from any other disorder in the sense that the reaction of society is so different to it than to any other disorder? What are the reasons a person might back out from accepting a matrimonial alliance with an epileptic patient (who is now getting better)? How should I cope with this situation?
A:I do not think that epilepsy should make anyone feel bad about himself, as illness does not come out of choice, and a person can only treat an illness but not cause or prevent it. Also this taboo towards epilepsy is more a stereotypical view that defies such logic, as there have been very famous successful people who had epilepsy. But this stereotypical views of the society at large, makes them look at it differently as compared to any other medical illness. One cant change the view of the society at large in a short span of time, it would need more of it. Meanwhile you need to move on with your life, and not let this thought process effect you and your self esteem.