My name is Léa Julien and I’m 27 years old.

I can’t remember a life without epilepsy. My first seizures occurred when I was just 4 years old, and I was diagnosed two years later. Even as a child, I was a fighter. Every night, I would have over a hundred seizures. My seizures occur only when I’m asleep. I wake up suddenly, feeling as if I can’t breathe. The air simply doesn’t get to my lungs for about 30 seconds. Then the attack ends and I go back to sleep. The same scenario can happen again until the next morning.

Fortunately, although sometimes difficult to bear, there are a ton of medications available to control this condition, allowing me to live my life. Because, after all, epilepsy is far from defining me, even if it does take up a lot of space in my life.

I love spending my free time with family and friends, reading or writing, or dreaming about my next trip to Walt Disney World. I love setting up projects, each one more beautiful than the next.

Today, I lead a wonderful life, despite the hardships that life has thrown my way since I was a little girl. I’ve always had a passion for reading.

For me, books and writing are ways of escaping into beautiful worlds, to escaping reality for a short while.

From now on, I hope to enable others to escape as I do through my story.

Today, I’m lucky enough to work in a library and to be the author of my first novel, À bout de souffle, about epilepsy in adolescence. I’ve had the privilege of traveling all over the world and realizing my wildest dreams, thanks to my never-ending determination. I persevere every day to make my dreams come true because I know that anything is possible as long as you believe in it.

Epilepsy hasn’t stopped me from living. Of course, it has sometimes put a brake on my path, but it has also enabled me to appreciate and live each moment of happiness to the full.

This battle of mine remains a constant adaptation. Having genetic epilepsy, it won’t go away. But I will never let my health deprive me of the happiness to which I aspire. I’m not fighting against illness, I’m fighting for happiness and the life I aspire to.

I hope, through my story and my novel, to inspire a few people to see life the way I do. To see ourselves as normal and make people understand us better.



The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance/ Alliance Canadienne del’Epilepssie is a Canada-wide network of organizations dedicated to the promotion of independence and quality of life for people with epilepsy and their families. We achieve this through the provision of support services, information, education, and public awareness.