‘Fits and Starts – A memoir of living with Epilepsy’ by Franziska Thomas

I am writing this because I can, because time really does heal all and because I need to start being honest. I have epilepsy. I was diagnosed with tonic clonic seizures aged 15. I’m never going to get better, but I will get worse and then improve. There will be moments of suffocation, recovery, elation, frustration followed by a return to half- normality before the process starts all over again. I will be high, and I will be low, but whoever I am, wherever I go, my life will be measured from the floor up.

The title of my book ‘Fits and Starts’ is if nothing else recognition of what it’s like living with epilepsy and two small children. Nothing runs according to plan, most of what I do is at best chaotic and at worst chaos.

Everything I do is on fast forward. I talk quickly. I move quickly. I eat quickly. I exist quickly. I am a devoted follower of the ‘just in case’ philosophy, except for me it’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’. I do as much as I can in the time that I have – soon time will stand still and my life as I know it will be suspended. I live in East Dulwich, many of you have seen me, many of you have helped me. I’ve never thanked you, I’m thanking you now: to those who have sat with me on the cold wet pavement, to those who have held my children’s hands whilst I writhed on the floor, to those who have spoken to my husband and parents waiting for me to come round, to those who have called the ambulances, to those who have not called the ambulances. This book is my normality.

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