You can get epilepsy by jumping over urine

12:33:00 PM

Purple Day in my purple shirt and purple nails feeling all PURPLY!!!
Generally, Kenya’s healthcare facilities are not youth friendly so once we do the awareness drives and one sees that they may have a mental illness, they find it hard to go to a health care facility and get sufficient help. Starting wellness clubs and centre is one of the ways Basicneeds UK and the One Mind Campaign are venturing into to bridge this gap. So yesterday saw me in Kibera with the mental health crew for  our first consultative meeting with children and young people from St. Charles Lwanga Primary School and St. Kizito Vocational Training Institute.

A consultation meeting is almost similar to the recruitment and awareness drives but unlike the former two whose aim is to introduce the One Mind campaign and general mental health to young people, the latter aims at establishing a need for mental health services in the identified region.

Kibera to me is more than a slum, it is human resource, resource that be beneficial or useless like anything else if only properly channeled. Yesterday also marked the day when the six main suspect of the Post Election Violence(PEV) were coming home after their first visit to The Hague to face the ICC judges. PEV, The Bomb blast, Molo clashes are some of the major events that have happened in our country that have left people scarred in more ways that we can imagine but yet little is done to ease their pain. Taking the mental health consultation meeting to Kibera where a lot of fighting took place during PEV given that it is Raila’s threshold, was something significant to me in more ways than one. My greatest dream now is to have something similar at the Coast since drug and substance abuse are among the major triggers among young people who are my forte in this campaign.

Their line of thought
During yesterday’s talk with the young ones, one of the girls mentioned that they think people can get epilepsy if they jumped over an epileptic’s urine. By show of hand, more than half the class confirmed that they believed the same. Before we urge this out, I will give some 101 on epilepsy; An epileptic attack occurs when one has, in simple English, a short circuit in the brain. What the person needs most is air, oxygen,  to undo the short circuit not restraining spoon and wood action. Yes they MAY bite their tongue but they will lose more oxygen making it once, a bitten tongue can heal, lost oxygen cannot be reversed.

So loosen any tight clothing, loosen, no stripping…let there be no crowds, it is not a show…if you can put them in recovery position stomach down, leg folded do it, if not, watch that head, made sure the patient does not knock their head; trauma is one of the things that cause and make the short circuit worse, so put something soft under their head.

Dizziness, urinating and zoning out are some of the other things that can happen but differ from person to person. So unless their urine, has some traumatizing, head banging short circuiting effect, you will not get epilepsy jumping over it as you try to make sure their head is good and their clothes not tight fitting. Once they come to, they might be confused, take time bring them up to speed with where they are, see if you they are under any medication and help them with some water to take it as they may have had an attack because they handy taken their meds, hunger is also bad news so they may have fallen because of hunger, buy them a snack and in a few minutes they will be back on their feet.

Purple is for Epilepsy
When I wrote the seizure affair, I was not an ambassador and had never stepped into a class or had any form of interaction on mental health except with self. The reverse is happening now and it seems like all my interactions are about mental health, this is where I thank God for my best friends and could be boyfriend, yaay someone is about to so watch this space, for they are getting into it day in day out, I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
When I did my seizure affair, I talked about witchcraft ok in passing because it is one of those things I don’t give much thought of, so yes I have heard about being bewitched and different myths come my way with every meeting I have with different groups. When we had a meet up with the Muslim community sometime back, they introduced us to some of the beliefs from their side and it came to me that as humans we all need some kind of explanation for everything around us. The explanation about me doing what I do is the joy of knowing someone out there will read my blog and know that they are not alone, that someone goes through the same thing and wakes up happy and ready to conquer the world, ok except on special days.
Among the things I blog about and that we discuss in the awareness drives, are some of the signs, symptoms and causes of mental illnesses combined with epilepsy. I will however point out that epilepsy is not a mental illness but is inter-related with some of the mental illness receiving the same amount of stigma and misunderstanding. Like any mental illness it can be treated and contained and people go back to be productive members of society, look at me J , ok I am on my way there but hey look at me.
A few short Saturdays, March 26th, was Purple Day. Purple is the color for epilepsy and on the day, loads of info on awareness on epilepsy was passed worldwide. In Kenya, KAWE, Kenya Association for the Welfare of the Epileptic, organized awareness stands at Sarit and Village Market.
Remember that there is medication to contain it and one can live a productive life. That’s all I have on epilepsy, if you have any other stories you have heard on causes or how to deal with the epileptic feel free to share. PS: If you know a group of young people either in schools, church group, CBO, an NGO dealing with the youth, kindly direct me to them, we need as many young people in the One Mind Lend your voice campaign, not just for number’s sake but to have as many people as possible aware of mental illnesses and epilepsy, let their rights as human be respected. Most of all, they are the leaders, they are the decision makers, they are the people who can make or break our country and the universe at large if they have the right info and use it right.
Campaign Update
The One mind Lend your Voice Campaign is getting places, we have activities happening almost every weekend and more and more opportunities, partnerships and acknowledgements give us the strength to keep at it. We initiated a psychosocial group last weekend, yaay, and I am looking forward to the engagements, towards a mentally healthy Kenya through and through; and I think this is where I say, Radio queen Caroline Mutoko nominated me for the Acumen Fund which I pray to get through and interact with East Africa’s great leaders, seeing how we can incorporate mental health with all forms of leadership, by now you know there is no health with no mental health and how will we as young people, leaders, lead when we are not of good state of mind?


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  1. I've always wondered why purple is my favorite color. Now I know why :) amazing.

  2. Glad to see we are many in the club. How are your experiences? Would like to hear from you.xoxo