“When I was a kid it scared the life out of me.”
After AFL star Buddy Franklin‘s epilepsy diagnosis was made public knowledge yesterday, former Today Show host Ben Fordham came out in support of Franklin and revealed his own struggle with the condition.
In a tweet that has since been shared over and over, 38-year-old Fordham said he is one of 900,000 Australians living with epilepsy.
Fordham, currently a radio host on 2GB, was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was just seven years old.
Following his very honest tweet, Fordham spoke to The Daily Telegraph about his battle and said when he was a child, he remembers even a mild seizure would leave him feeling “seriously afraid of the world”.
“When I was a kid it scared the life out of me,” he said.
“The first time it happened to me, I didn’t know what was going on. I felt seriously afraid of the world. I didn’t recognise my own brother or sister.
You can listen to an honest, revealing interview that Ben Fordham did with Mia Freedman for No Filter below. Post continues after.
“I was there but I wasn’t there. I used to describe it like hearing voices but it was more an overwhelming sense of looming catastrophe – something really bad was about to happen when in fact it wasn’t.”
Fordham said he has been on medication for the condition since he was a child.
It was confirmed yesterday that Sydney Swans player Franklin, 28, has a mild case of epilepsy – a separate issue from his mental health condition – following reports he suffered a seizure in a Sydney coffee shop on the weekend.
It’s incredible that a condition which effects 900,000 Australians is so rarely talked about, but as Fordham said, it’s positive that Franklin has publicly disclosed his condition.
“I’m 38 and the only people in my life that I can think of having epilepsy are Wally Lewis and Buddy Franklin – that’s why I say well done for coming out with it and bringing it into the public arena,” Fordham said.
Responses from the public on both Franklin and Fordham’s social media profiles have been overwhelming.
Messages of support from fans about both epilepsy and mental illness have dominated Franklin’s Instagram account, while Fordham’s tweet elicited a huge response from other silent sufferers.
One commenter on Franklin’s Instagram seemed to sum it up best when she wrote, “Kudos to you for admitting it and voicing it. It’s massive step and gives you power. Good luck.”
You can click through the gallery below for some of the supportive comments (Post continues after gallery):
Leave your message of support for Franklin, Fordham and other epilepsy sufferers in the comments below.