And Speaking of Reducing Stigma…

When drifting off to sleep most nights, I listen to the Stuff You Should Know Podcast.

This was one of the first podcasts that made podcasts a popular thing. It’s been going on strong for ten years now and is downloaded millions of times per month. On the podcast, the hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant do a deep dive into research on some topic, giving listeners broad, introductory knowledge about it with a back-and-forth conversational style that is both informative and fun.

When I listen, I learn new things, though admittedly, I try to fall asleep to the episode, not because it’s boring but because it’s new material. And well, it works.

Sometimes, Ian asks me a playful question in the mornings: “What did you not learn about last night?”

The goal then is to share what the topic was, saying, “I didn’t learn about [ballpoint pens, waterbeds, Attila the Hun]!” I’ve usually learned something though. That’s when I share a factoid or two, and it’s always great when I can add, “and that’s really it,” because I fell asleep well.

In short, Stuff You Should Know has become a wonder for this occasional insomniac.

So last evening, a couple hours before going to bed, I decided to go ahead and look at what the topic of the new episode would be.

And… it was a whole episode… about Epilepsy!

I was delighted!

So I listened to it in total without trying to sleep, and it was so well done. It was also a good pairing with what I wrote yesterday. (See also, What If There Were No Stigma?)

Josh and Chuck talk about the history of stigma connected to epilepsy, along with odd, challenging medical treatments. Then they give such a great medical overview that is informational and humanized. They really normalize epilepsy, lifting up the challenges of its experiences, but dispelling myths.

So well done. As a kid, I did not have adequate understanding of my epilepsy while I had it, and what was experienced by me daily went undetected by most. What I would have given to have something like this many years ago — this is a great resource.

Epilepsy is much more common than people think. At any given time, about 1 in 100 people have it. And 1 in 26 people will have an epilepsy diagnosis at some point in their lives. That’s a huge number of people — people you know who have this now or have had it previously, without you knowing it, because stigma is strong and folks struggle to talk about their experiences.

And of course, talking about such experiences is always up to the choice of that person, as it should be, but how sad if people feel they cannot do so out of fear and shame. A lot of people feel those emotions.

So want to learn more? I’m going to start sharing this wonderful episode with people:

Stuff You Should Know: How Epilepsy Works

Renee Roederer

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