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Shaunik’s Story

I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was nine months old and had seizures until I was seventeen. I used to have 2-3 seizures a month until the age of thirteen, and the seizure frequency slowly increased to 1-2 a day by the time I was seventeen. During all these years of having seizures, I was very depressed and frustrated with my life. After spending years in depression, I finally decided to turn my life around and live a life of purpose.

I am now seizure free for almost eighteen years. I have four degrees (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Research and PhD), and I am currently researching on Epilepsy as a postdoctoral scholar in the University of Iowa. I have won several research and teaching awards, played all kinds of sports/ball games, did skydiving, bungee jumping, acro-paragliding, rock climbing, downhill mountain biking and hiked on one of the most rough terrains in America.

Although I am seizure free since 2004, I still have to take precautions and do things everyday that are healthy for my mind and brain that keeps my seizures in control. These include taking proper sleep, less stress, stay calm, eat balanced diet, exercise, take my medicine on time, meditate 4-5 times a week for 30 min-1 hour, yoga (specially breathing exercises), stay with positive people and environment, read good books, practice mind controlling techniques etc.

The seventeen years of seizure free journey has not been so easy. Due to multiple injuries I had before 2004, my brain wasn’t very active and I use to have frequent blackouts for years. Many people walked away from my life during this time, and I got embarrassed on many occasions, and multiple times. Through years and years of daily practice and discipline, I changed my life around by doing all the things that keeps my mind and body healthy.

There is a say that you become what you think about all day long. What you think about expands. “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right”. During this journey I have learned that when there is a purpose bigger than ourselves, when we believe in a cause worth fighting for, then we can do anything. Nothing matters. If we have a big enough reason why, then we can always find the answer to how.