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Self Image

Dr. Nicole Danforth

Nicole Danforth, MD
Psychiatrist, MGH

This is a transcript of a video from the Growing Up with Epilepsy Web site. For more information visit

Dr. Nicole Danforth: One of the things that children with epilepsy will often talk about is that they have a boo-boo, but no one can see their boo-boo. If a child breaks his leg, he's in a cast, has crutches, and his classmates will rush up to him and often want to sign his cast, for instance. For the child with epilepsy, there is no cast and there is no visible boo-boo. But there is a mystique. And it can be sort of frightening, both for the child and the family, but also for the child's peers. And what we know is this ends up having a negative impact on the child's sense of self and the child's self-image. So, often I'll talk to kids who will say, you know, "I'm broken" or "I'm not quite right." And this leads to sort of some impaired self-esteem. And I think often kids with epilepsy will say, "Nobody is like me. "No one really understands me and I'm flawed. I'm somehow no good." So, one of the reasons that we are so eager to get kids with epilepsy into sort of, you know, try to get them to master their world and to do things that all other kids do is that important piece of getting a good sense of self and saying, "Hey, I can do this, too. I'm just like everybody else."