My name is Angie Bryant and I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 19 years old. My seizures were simple and started off as staring spells but graduated to harsh, violent seizures. After treatment life resumed to a new normalcy for the next ten years that resulted in work, friends, and single life. Epilepsy was not focus but always there at the back of my brain. Blessings from a job promotion came along and stress kicked in that was when my episodes of epilepsy in adulthood started. I had to take a medical leave that has resulted in a four year absence from company to heal.
Seizures have a way of making a person feel less than what they really are and play on their emotions. I did not want to feel dark, depressed, or left out. I choose for myself to heal and wanted to find out why my body was reacting to the environment is such a fashion. Upon my search I came to the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia website where a listing for art therapy was on the tab for people with epilepsy. I was excited and interested so I signed up for the program not sure what to except nor whom I would meet.
The time came for the first art therapy session arrived and everyone was so quiet and nervous. We had several walks of life dealing with epilepsy in a small room and I realized that this was my first time meeting someone face to face with epilepsy other than myself. For the first couple of sessions the room stood still and no one breathed but then we started to open up. Now four years later the same people in that very small room are now my good friends. Art therapy is where we could let out our emotions, anger, joy, and express how we want to be in other mediums than words. It was nice to be with people who got how I felt when dealing epilepsy because so many people whom do not just simply don’t. Art therapy provided a sounding board and safe haven at the same time. I could be among people of the same “like mind.”
Since joining art therapy four years ago, I have been blessed to go to National and speak on behalf of the epilepsy community for advocacy. Also, some of my fellow art buddies and I have joined in a couple side projects that have started to develop. One of the projects currently is a children’s art book and another is fundraising. Art therapy has given me the confidence to get out and live my life again and accept my epilepsy in a new, positive way. In many regards, I feel that attending art therapy help pull me out of a really dark place and I am deeply grateful. Also, the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia and many sponsors have been so kind through the entire process, development, and moving forward in my life. Thank you!