When Bryn Overton was 10 years old, she began suffering from her first petite mal seizures. It began in gymnastics when her father noticed that Bryn kept zoning out. It was a scary time for Bryn and her family... But she grew out of the seizures by the age of 16 and epilepsy seemed to have become a thing of Bryn's past. Until she experienced another petite mal seizure while driving, leading to a car accident that scared Bryn and her entire family. Then, about a month after the accident, Bryn experienced her first grand mal seizure.
"I got really depressed as a kid, I was different. I was so excited when I got off the medications, so getting re-diagnosed with epilepsy really took a toll on me. But it taught me to cope with everything, just deal with what happens. It is what it is, you can't change it. I mean, it definitely takes a sense of humor to deal with what you've been handed, so I just try to keep positive.
It could have been worse."
Who has been your biggest supporter in this?
"My parents have been there for all of it. They've shared laughs and tears with me. My brother has been a huge support. I talk to him about my travels, when I'm really nervous. He always responds with "It's going to be fine. We're going to take care of you." My best friend, Heather, too. She's luckily never seen me go through it, but she always makes sure I'm okay.
They're my rocks."
Favorite adventure you have embarked on since your diagnosis?
"Being a heli-ski guide in Valdeez, Alaska. I get to go out and spend time 30 miles outside of town, working in a lodge and skiing in the backcountry. Getting to
go in a helicopter and ski runs that only a couple of thousand people have skied before is pretty amazing. Best job perks ever. I also got to take a summit flight of Denali in a 10-person plane and fly around the summit. Now, I'm in the Grand Tetons, kayaking, rafting, and horseback riding."
When you get scared or overwhelmed, what do you think to push past that fear?
"Other people can do it, why can't I? If anything happens, I have friends and family that care about me. I just have to do what makes me happy. Becuase I know that the feeling at the bottom of this mountain is going to make me so high. Total adrenaline junkie."
Do you have any dream adventures?
"Oh yeah! Heliskiing is checked off the list. Southeast Asia is on my list, which I actually just got my passport for. 2-3 months of backpacking. I want to go to Italy and eat pizza and pasta. Oh and see the Alps, and climb in Yosemite. A big wall climb, like El Capitan."
What would you say to others living with epilepsy?
"Whether you have your seizures under control
or not, just work to get through every day. Remember the good times and cherish every minute you live without a seizure. You can lose it any day. But every day is a new day."
Bryn is currently preparing for an extended backpacking trip through Southeast Asia and living big every day. Happy trails, Bryn!