Speaker Biography

Julia Schonfeldova

LEAF Academy Slovakia

Title: Living with epilepsy, how epilepsy affects mental health and vice versa

Julia Schonfeldova

Júlia Schönfeldová, 19 years old, high school student aspiring to study neuroscience andclinical psychology later in university. Her passion towards this field and her desire to be onceprofesionally helping others struggling with epilepsy and/or mental illness stems from her ownexperience with idiopathic epilepsy, as well as with psychological disturbances that very unrarelyaccompany the condition. After 3 hospitalisations, EEGs, CT, MRi done, medication adjustments, shestill sometimes struggles with multiple absence and focal seizures during the day and sleepdisturbances. Her epilepsy type diagnosis was changed more times and right now it is not specified bydoctors.


Our bodies and minds are connected. How we feel physically determines how we are going tofeel emotionally. Oppositely, our emotional state often takes on the physical form. After having aseizure, I feel tired and depressed. My bad mood coupled with stress, in return, triggers more seizures.It is a never-ending cycle.

Not only that generalised convulsive seizures are usually what the public associates with epilepsy,they are also often regarded to as “the most harmful ones”, this not exluding the medical community. Iperceive this statement as widely untrue, given my experience with the mental fatigue and pain thataccompany my so called “petit” seizures. Even though it has been a relatively short time since cominginto terms with them, noticing a cloud of slight disregard towards absence and focal seizures is rathersomething unrare in my life. “You are well off with taking medication as prescribed, these seizuresare harmless anyway ”, I am told. What many do not realize, however, is that every type of seizure isharmful, even when on medication. One of more reasons being, seizures impose limits on the patient.This including problems in academical and work settings or intolerable side effects from medicationas such. These and many more are affecting patients mentally and are worsening the quality of theirlives.