Sophie Wilson-Smith had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy, more than a year after she suffered her first seizure at her retail job back in April 2017.
Since then, the 24-year-old London native has been working to deal with her condition and raise awareness about the different ways it can affect a person’s life, as Virgin Media Television is reporting. In the case of the model, she doesn’t usually experience the fits most people generally picture when they think of a seizure. Her symptoms include confusion and disorientation in what she describes as being similar to a migraine attack, but without the headache.
In an attempt to raise awareness, Wilson-Smith filmed one of her episodes and uploaded it to her Instagram account. In the footage shared by Virgin Media Television, the British model and college student addresses the camera and explains she just had a partial seizure, noting she thinks she is about to have another one.
She explains that the partial seizure can last from just seconds to several minutes, and the symptoms include a feeling that her heart is beating out of her chest, and she feels unaware of her surroundings. During a focal seizure, the patient may also experience speech difficulties, vision problems, or confusion.
“The video was like a therapy for me, a way of educating others on the mental aspect of having to deal with this,” she is quoted as saying in the report. “Lots of people don’t realize there are different types of seizure. It’s not always the typical fit you see on TV, where a person is on the ground shaking. The ones I experience are almost unnoticeable, yet I’ll be freaking out inside. It can make you feel very alone.”
A new epilepsy diagnosis can be a worrying and confusing time. Epilepsy can start at any age and there are many different types. If you're newly diagnosed look over our About Epilepsy section – https://t.co/ZAOJwk102u
— Epilepsy Action (@epilepsyaction) November 14, 2018
Describing her first episode back in 2017, Wilson-Smith said she felt confused as if she were in a haze. She told one of her co-workers that she didn’t feel well, and then she simply blanked. Next thing she knew, she was surrounded by paramedics, she said.
Because she doesn’t experience the typical symptoms of epilepsy, it took over a year for her to be properly diagnosed. She was initially diagnosed with hemiplegic migraine, during which one side of the body becomes temporarily paralyzed, according to Virgin Media Television. But the medication she was given wasn’t helping.
“I’ll feel this uncomfortable, almost anxious feeling in my stomach, before the room gets bigger and smaller. My vision will feel odd, and my hearing is as if someone has their hands over my ears. Afterwards, I’ll feel really disorientated and upset,” Wilson-Smith said.