Stevenage epilepsy sufferer who has four fits a day speaks about living with the condtion

Ruth Bussey, who suffers from at least four epileptic seizures a day, with her five-year-old daughte

Ruth Bussey, who suffers from at least four epileptic seizures a day, with her five-year-old daughter Starla - Credit: Archant

A life-long epilepsy sufferer who has ‘at least’ four seizures a day talks about her experiences in a bid to raise awareness about the condition.

Ruth Bussey, of Trumper Road in Stevenage, was diagnosed with absent epileptic seizures at the age of five and with tonic-clonic seizures when she was seven.

Despite years of medication, Ruth still has absent seizures – which cause her brain to shut down momentarily and can cause tiredness – every day.

The 30-year-old, who works at Tesco Extra in Stevenage town centre, also has tonic-clonic seizures – where her body goes into spasm – every few months and had her latest episode two weeks ago.

Speaking to the Comet ahead of Purple Day, marked worldwide on Wednesday, March 26, to raise awareness of epilepsy, Ruth said: “I was in hospital when I was told about doing this interview because I’d had quite a bad seizure at work and fallen over.


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“I have at least four absent seizures a day. They make me feel tired and I can appear a bit stupid but they don’t stop me from getting on with my life unless I have repeated ones in succession. They usually only occur in children and young people and most people grow out of it but they’ve stayed with me my entire life.

“I’ve had some pretty bad experiences. When I was in secondary school the doctors were trying to wean me off my tablets but it didn’t go to plan and I had 10 massive seizures in one day. I ended up losing five days of my life. I went to a sleepover with my friends which I can’t recall and watched a film I can’t remember.

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“I feel awareness needs too be raised on all the different types of epilepsy. The impact is not just the fits, it affects every aspect of my life.

“I’ve got a job and a five-year-old daughter and I constantly have to think if I’m capable of doing things or if it will make me burn out and have a fit. Epilepsy is so common but people are unaware to the point where I’ve had a seizure and needed a taxi but the driver won’t take me because he thinks I’m drunk.”

Around one in every 103 people suffer from some form of the epilepsy and national charity Epilepsy Action has been set up to support people with the condition and their families.

A spokesman for Epilepsy Action said: “There are 83,000 people living with epilepsy across the south east, and it’s a much misunderstood condition.

“Purple Day is a fantastic day to raise awareness of epilepsy around the world. People can do their bit by going purple for the day, be it dressing up at work or school, doing anything eye-catching and fun.”

For more information about Purple Day and epilepsy visit www.epilepsy.org.uk

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