The specific Out of the Shadows campaign is over, but Evanescence singer-pianist Amy Lee won’t ever stop bringing to light the realities of epilepsy. Her brother, Robby, had his first seizure when he was 8-years-old.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. Seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain.
Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.
Lee became the American chairperson for Out of the Shadows in 2006. Donations to the site at the time went towards epilepsy awareness and education.
“People don’t know what to do when someone’s having a seizure,” Lee told Samaritanmag, during a recent promo visit to Toronto for Evanescence’s forthcoming album (out Oct. 11).
“People freak out if someone is having a seizure. They think there’s something wrong with them or they’re on drugs or demon-possessed. I think, especially in young people, we have enough against us to make us feel awkward and different that things like that we should be able to understand because it’s totally not that weird. We all have our little differences and quirks about us. And I want to spread awareness. It’s really common.”
So what should we do — or more to the point, says Lee, what shouldn’t we do?
“If somebody has a seizure, you don’t put a wallet in their mouth; don’t put anything in their mouth; that’s this big weird stupid thing – they’re not going to swallow their tongue! That’s physically impossible,” Lee says. “You just want to make sure they’re not going to hit their head and give them some space and let them breathe, and just let them get through it. That’s it, and just don’t freak out. That’s part of it too. It’s normal. It’s gonna pass in a second. Call an ambulance if they need an ambulance.”