Epilepsy: The Shameful Misunderstanding | Documentary Idea

by Eric
(Portland, Oregon)

I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 8 years old. Over the years, I was shunned and fell victim to stereotyping by many people in the close knit community that I still live in with my family, though many now have quietly accepted the fact that I have epilepsy. I am very open about being an epileptic and talk about it to whoever asks me about it.

The idea for this documentary came from a seizure that I had in March of 2012 during a church service. The parish priest still believes I faked the seizure just to get attention for myself, which of course I was not. He even threatened to force my head into a baptismal font if I said anything more about “having convulsions.” {He has not forced my head into a baptismal font, which I am glad has not happened.}

This documentary would address the following to try and set the record straight on epilepsy:

1.} What epilepsy actually is and how more people can be diagnosed.

2.} Why people believe in epilepsy-related stereotypes and why people need to stop believing in such stereotypes.

3.} How to increase more awareness of Epilepsy with a message that people with Epilepsy can live fulfilling lives without discrimination.

Another inspiration for this documentary came from a documentary called Bully, which was released last year. Growing up with epilepsy, I never realized that a lot of people never thought of epilepsy very much, which would explain why I fell victim to stereotyping.

The title comes from many people who believe that epilepsy is a disease, which of course it is not, and that such people should be ashamed for believing in such a misconception. This documentary could be the first part of a series of documentaries if received well.

Comments for Epilepsy: The Shameful Misunderstanding | Documentary Idea

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Apr 05, 2018
I would direct that story...
by: Ande

I am an independent director looking for a project to jump into... This idea touched me because I had a seizure disorder growing up, and I can relate to the stigma. I think it is important people know more about epilepsy and seizure disorders and are not quick to judge or give shame to someone who has seizures. Anyways, I would like to hear more about your idea if you are still interested in pursuing the filming of it.

Aug 16, 2016
Pride is Prejudice
by: Anonymous

Some people think they are too good for problems. They do need sensitivity training. The naybors may wish they changed their attitude.

May 20, 2013
Doctor's Notes
by: Scott

I agree with the Desktop Documentary questions about your preacher...maybe you were being a dramatic in your recounting of how your preacher treated you when you had a seizure in his church. I almost want you to make a documentary about him (and your church). But I digress...

Having a camera follow you around is a nice start to build the footage you will need to make a trailer. Maybe you can interview some doctors in your area to get the medical description of epilepsy. Are there any others in your community that suffer from epilepsy? Having some other faces on camera, I think, will help to show that the condition is not as "rare" as one might think. (Or maybe there are no others in your area with epilepsy and maybe it is that rare).

It all starts with getting some "action and dialogue" on tape so you can make a trailer. With the trailer, you have something solid that may give people just what they need to throw some money your way so you can complete this project.

Make a trailer and use that to raise funds and awareness.

Best of luck!

May 18, 2013
epilepsy documentary
by: Desktop Documentaries

Oh my goodness, what kind of church are you attending? Sounds like your preacher needs some serious sensitivity training!

And that seems to be your point.. that maybe we ALL need some sensitivity training.

Have you ever thought about carrying around a camera and documenting your life to show what it's like living with epilepsy day to day? Would family members be willing to help videotape? Once you had a good bit of footage, you could get help from a filmmaker to put it all together.

Curious what other epilepsy films are out there and how this story would be different.

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