A photo of a head with gears.
Geralt / Pixabay

Living with epilepsy is extremely difficult. I know because I’ve been dealing with it since I was 17.

Most people see me and automatically assume I am 100 percent healthy. Unfortunately, as with other family members who have lived with epilepsy, that is not the case. The stress of coping with that disease is magnified many times by being homeless.

Epilepsy gives me headaches, makes me depressed, diminishes my appetite and impairs my memory. My neurologist has told me not to work and to limit other activities.

I don’t like that; as a child I was taught to work because nothing is free.

That’s why until recently I never applied for disability insurance. Many people past and present have called me stupid for not applying until the age of 37. But I have always felt others need it more.

Even now I feel that where there’s a will there’s a way. I met a Street Sense vendor a while ago and decided to try selling the paper until I got another job. Every day I feel someone looks at me differently because of my epileptic seizures. Being homeless makes that feeling worse. I want people to understand that I can live a normal life.

I can do a lot, just like everyone else. I’m not perfect, of course. But I get frustrated when I think about being discriminated against either because of my disability or my living situation. I’ll always have issues in life; it’s about whether I deal with them successfully.

No one should be treated differently just because she or he is coping with life’s problems. I was taught to treat others how you want to be treated no matter your color, your gender or any other characteristic about you.

Yes, I am homeless, though of course I wish I weren’t. But I am also learning from my situations and working hard to improve them.