A Day in the Life of a British Epileptic

James Prescott

James Prescott

Today I had the privilege to interview one of my favorite Brits, James Prescott. We met about 18 months ago through a shared writing course, and quickly discovered we both have seizure disorders, both write about how to survive with our faith intact in a busted world, and both attend Vineyard churches. Since then, we have become fast friends.

While epilepsy has many causes and can appear in a variety of ways across different individuals, here are some details about James’ history:

  • James was diagnosed with epilepsy at 9 years old and he was told he would be epileptic for the rest of his life. Since then, his seizures have ranged from once a month to no seizures for 4 years.
  • Aspartame increased James’ seizures dramatically. You can find out more about aspartame here, here, and here, and a list of drinks with aspartame is here.
  • “Epilepsy does not dominate my life, but it is a part of my life and I cannot escape it.”

Some of James’ more remarkable seizure incidents are highlighted in this video:

  • James fell off a platform and onto a railway track when he had a seizure. Only the kindness of strangers saved his life.
  • James nearly walked around the streets on London with a bloody face “looking like a homeless guy”.
  • He had a seizure while on the toilet and they had to knock the door down.


Other important things James talks about:

  • He has never driven anything other than a go-cart, but he loves THAT.
  • “The health of my soul is tied to my epilepsy.”
  • ‘After a seizure, you’re knackered because it’s like running a marathon in two minutes’ time.”
  • The guilt you feel when people pray for you and you don’t get healed…as if you’ve done something wrong somehow.
  • “I don’t have seizures because something is wrong, I just have seizures because my brain is wired that way.”
  • James has a very unique book about grace coming out soon, and he talks some about it in an essay he wrote for Sarah Bessey.

Hope you enjoy this interview:

If you’ve enjoyed learning about James, you can find out more at his blog, or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Please ask any questions or voice any concerns about epilepsy or James’ story. Would love to see some dialogue here about this illness, which is very dear to my heart.

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