I’m Epileptic & Can’t Scuba Dive (As Told By GIFs)


Hey guys! Well after I canned my former blog, Not Done Travelling, and started this one, I intended for a long time to put some of my favourite posts from the old site up here. Unfortunately I just never got around to it. But I was thinking about this one the other day and decided to put it up. Here is the post that was my most popular from my former travel blog. Enjoy!

There’s something I haven’t told you guys. I’m epileptic. It’s really mild and I haven’t had a seizure since 2006 (when I stopped taking my meds for a few months and then went without sleep for 48 hours). It really is a complete non event; I work, I drive, I do whatever the hell I please. It certainly doesn’t stop me from travelling, hence why I’ve never mentioned it before. It’s more of a pain in the butt having to tell people that I’m epileptic than it is actually having it.

I also desperately want to learn to scuba dive one day. And until this week I must have been living under a rock, because I had no idea that would be a problem.

Let me explain to you how the devastating verdict unfolded.


So, I like the ocean right?



I cry when people throw plastic into it and I think everything that lives in the sea is cool.



I think sharks are cute and I totally want to kiss and cuddle them.



I never shut up about Sea Shepherd and my whole identity is wrapped up in being that girl who loves whales. I actually believe I was a mermaid in a previous life.






So far I’d never gotten around to learning to dive, because in the past we’ve spent our money on other things. But I figured that eventually in my travels, it would be a natural occurrence for me to learn. Right?



After all, what brave adventurer doesn’t embark on a lifestyle of long-term travel without learning to scuba dive?



Then the other day I was reading a blog post by Rika at Cubicle Throwdown, who is a dive instructor in Honduras. She mentioned that people should have their medical forms sorted before they come to the dive shop. I was like, “Oooh! I should probably ask! Is epilepsy a problem?

Before waiting for a response from her, I did a little Google search.



I was like:



Then I was like:



Listen, Internets! I understand the Law of Attraction, so if I want to scuba dive, I’ll frickin scuba diva!



You just let my neurologist worry about what I can and can’t do! Who are you to tell me I’ll die?



But the whole Interwebs was pretty clear on what the outcome would be.



Rika was like:



And I finally realised there might be a problem.



I decided to email a few random dive shops here and there, to see if they would take me on, provided my doctor gave me the all clear. Only a few responded.



I wasn’t too happy.



There was a lot of swearing.



Tantrums may have been thrown.



I was completely jealous of other travel bloggers who had posted numerous scuba diving pics on their sites.



How dare you do stuff I can’t do!



I went through the 5 stages of grief.




“Screw physics! I’ll go diving and if I have a seizure I just won’t drown! You’ll see!”




“**** THIS ****ING **** I WANNA ****ING DIVE!”




“Maybe if I promise to do certain things and get the okay from three different doctors the dive shops will taken me on?”




“I had a dream called scuba.  It died, it died…”




“I can still snorkel anywhere I want. I think I’m okay with that”.

I also stumbled upon a UK website run by diving doctors where they state that they give approval if a person has been off medication for 5 years.  Last time I saw my neurologist he discussed taking me off my meds completely, so there could be hope.



So I’m at peace with the whole thing.



Footnote: While I won’t pretend it doesn’t suck that I likely will never ever get to learn to dive, I’ve been able to let go of my attachment to the idea. I’ve realised how lucky I am just to be able to travel at all, and I can still enjoy the ocean, just in other ways. I’ve told Michael he must learn to dive though, because I want to live vicariously through him, and let’s face it, somebody has to get diving pics and video for this blog.

I genuinely may get the option to do it one day in the distant future, depending on what my neurologist says, so you may see an update on this topic at some point.

This post first appeared on my previous site on 12 July 2014.


EDIT May 2017: Well it’s three years later and still no progress. But it’s okay. My insatiable love for the sea remains but I’m still on medication and it doesn’t look like I’ll come off it for a while. But I’m seriously still fine with it. And because I don’t have any appropriate GIFs for that feeling when you’re okay with something and it’s really not a big deal at all, here’s something completely unrelated but is my favourite GIF at the moment.



Your turn! Have you ever been stopped from doing something you wanted to do because of a medical condition? How did you cope with the news? Tell me all about it down below.




  1. I like your gifs, they’re really cool. And lol I also want to cuddle sharks.
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  2. Karyn, I’m so sorry!
    I actually can’t scuba dive either because I’ve blown my eardrums out too many times and they’re too scarred. My doctors all say no. So I empathize. Hugs.

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