Removing Oneself from the Shadows: A Heuristic Inquiry to Understand the Lived Experience of Epilepsy in Young Adult Women and their Epilepsy Disclosure
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures (Stein & Kanner, 2009). The purpose of this study was to understand the essence of being a young woman living with epilepsy using heuristic inquiry (Moustakas, 1990). The research was built upon the assumption that each experience is unique, yet commonalities exist. Five women aged 22 to 28 years living with epilepsy were interviewed. Additionally, the researcher described her life with epilepsy. Participants characterized life with epilepsy as a transformative journey. The act of meeting and interacting with another woman living with epilepsy provided an opportunity to remove themselves from the shadows and discuss epilepsy. Three major themes of seizures, medical treatment, and social relationships were developed revealing a complex view of an illness requiring engaged advocacy in the medical system. Respondents frequently make difficult adjustments to accommodate epilepsy. This study provides a complex in-depth view of life with epilepsy.