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ABC Presenter Jules Schiller Reveals He Hid Epilepsy Diagnosis out of Fear of Discrimination



A Diagnosis & Fear of Being Treated Differently

ABC Radio Adelaide presenter Jules Schiller has revealed he hid his epilepsy diagnosis from friends and colleagues out of fear of being treated differently.

Schiller, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at 27, is one of 250,000 Australians, according to Epilepsy Action Australia, who lives with the neurological disorder which causes seizures.

He discussed living with the condition in a video today for Epilepsy Awareness Day, or Purple Day.

A Terrifying Experience

The presenter said he was first diagnosed with the condition after he walked into a costume shop, blacked out and was “suddenly surrounded by an ambulance crew”.

“I was confused, I was scared and it is difficult dealing with the fact that suddenly you have a trigger in your brain that could go off at any moment,” he said.

“A week later I appeared on (television show) The Panel I sat there, my palms were sweaty, knowing that if I had a seizure over a million Australians would see it.”

Fear of Disclosing Condition

Schiller first revealed his condition on radio in April 2017 when he said he had to miss a radio sports show because he was being rushed to hospital.

“Like many people with epilepsy I deal with it very effectively through lifestyle and medication,” he said.

“Still, I was afraid to tell my employer, I didn’t tell many girlfriends, I thought they would find me unattractive.

“I didn’t tell some friends because I thought they would treat me differently, and that does need to change.”

Discrimination Faced by People Living with Epilepsy

Epilepsy Action Australia’s Carol Ireland said people living with epilepsy often faced discrimination and avoided disclosing their diagnosis.

“Nobody can really be at fault for having a seizure, and people don’t do horrible things when they have a seizure,” Ms Ireland told the ABC.

“It’s quite common for people — and especially young people — to not want to disclose their epilepsy. They just want to be seen like everyone else.”

Importance of Understanding & First Aid

She said it was important for people to understand basic first aid for when someone is having a seizure and know when to call an ambulance.




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