Celebrities Living with Disabilities: Epilepsy
While they might seem next to invincible up on stage or fighting crime on the silver screen, it’s important to know that famous actors and musicians also deal with serious chronic illness and long-term disabilities. Today, we share another blog in our series on Celebrities with Long-Term Disabilities, with a focus on Epilepsy. Click here to read other posts in the series, on Skin Cancer, Lyme Disease, Lupus, Diabetes, Brain Aneurysms, and HIV/AIDS.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Epileptic seizures can have a huge impact on a person’s life, affecting their safety, their relationships and even limiting the type of work they can do. The condition can affect people of all ages and although it can often be linked to brain injuries or a family history, the causes of Epilepsy are unknown in most cases.
Epileptic seizures can result in physical injuries like bruises and broken bones. They can happen anywhere at any time and can be brought on by a number of factors, including stress, flickering lights, alcohol use or even simply a lack of sleep. Thankfully the seizures are controllable with medication in most cases, but even with treatment, there’s still a serious stigma that accompanies the disorder.
Hugo Weaving Living With Epilepsy
“I was diagnosed as Epileptic when I was 13 and had seizures once a year until my 40s… With every fit, my last thought was always: ‘I’m dying.’”
As a result of his Epilepsy, Weaving was never able to obtain his driver’s license and still doesn’t drive to this day. “I can’t be bothered. It’s easier to walk. At least, that’s my excuse.” The seizures that accompanied his Epilepsy weren’t the only thing that had a serious impact on Weaving’s life. The medication he was prescribed to treat his condition altered his mood and personality for decades.
“People always thought I was laid back, but I was basically doped for 30 years on epilepsy drugs. I ran out of my meds filming in the desert and went cold turkey. I was on a moderately high dose and it was masking a nervous anxiety I didn’t know I had.”
Weaving’s seizures stopped in his 40s, but not everyone is so lucky. Rocker Neil Young has been living with Epilepsy since still his early years and still lives with the condition well into his 70s:
Neil Young Living With Epilepsy
“I thought I had it licked.... Epilepsy is something nobody knows much about. It's just part of me. Part of my head, part of what's happening in there. Sometimes something in my brain triggers it off.”
For many, like Young, Epilepsy is a lifelong medical challenge and one that can affect many aspects of their personal and work lives. Seizure signs and symptoms may include temporary confusion, staring, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, or loss of consciousness or awareness. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Were you surprised by any of the celebrities who live with Epilepsy? Do you know any other celebrities who have the disorder?
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Sources: The Guardian, Rolling Stone
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A note from our long term disability lawyers
Taking a medical leave from work is not an easy decision to make. Concerns about providing for yourself and your family and keeping your job may cause you to want to push through your pain, but this won’t make your problems go away. Stopping work is often the smartest decision for your long term health and well-being, and your disability benefits are there to provide you with financial support until you can return to work.
If you have made the tough decision to stop working and apply for your short term disability or long term disability benefits, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and have questions that your employer and your insurance company are not able or willing to answer. Share is There to see you through and answer your questions.
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We understand that things have not been easy for you over the last little while. Your health has been suffering, you are unable to work, and now your insurance company, who was supposed to be there in your time of need, has decided they will not pay your disability benefits or respect your disability claim. These benefits exist to provide you with the financial support you need so that you can focus on your health and rebuilding your life. It is unfortunate that your insurance company has not lived up to its promise. If your disability claim has been denied, we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Our disability lawyers have helped thousands of Canadians get their long term disability benefits over the past 35 years, and we can help you too.
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If you are unable to work, your disability benefits should be there to provide you with the financial support you need. While your insurance company may be focused on finding ways to avoid paying your claim, our focus is on what is in your best interest. When Share Lawyers gets involved, you have an entire team of lawyers that are there to support you and to fight for what is yours.
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In this video, we explain the role of a long term disability lawyer and how we can support you when you have been denied your long term disability benefits.