In On The Edge, filmmaker Louis Stanislaw takes us inside his world - and through the challenge that is life with epilepsy. Though it affects three million Americans directly, and millions more through family members, friends, co-workers and caregivers, epilepsy is widely and grossly misunderstood.
On The Edge looks unflinchingly at the alienation, depression, and loneliness that epilepsy can bring. Told through the stories of the director and epilepsy patients and their families, this film documents the difficulties and misunderstandings at every turn: from family life to school and friends, to leaving home and starting a career and forming lasting bonds.
Life with epilepsy can be unpredictable; medicines that control seizures can have staggering side effects; seizures can be frightening and dangerous, they can be mistaken for aggression with tragic results; reactions and improper treatment can have devastating consequences. In a life with daunting hurdles, ignorance is usually the biggest one for people with epilepsy.
Deeply personal and honest, On The Edge examines this complex disorder and dispels the myths that surround it, ultimately seeking a path to understanding, effective treatment, and a cure.
- More than three million Americans have epilepsy.
- One in ten adults will have a seizure at some point during their life. Many returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are rapidly increasing this number.
- You cannot tell who has epilepsy by looking at them. A seizure can be as mild as eye-blinking for several seconds, or as severe as falling to the floor.
- For many people with epilepsy, the reaction of others to their disorder is worse than the seizures themselves. Rejection and exclusion can cause low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
- The medication that controls the disorder has side effects that can further complicate these effects.
- People with epilepsy respond to the disorder in different ways: Some withdraw from others only to become isolated because they feel rejected; Some people with epilepsy fall victim to emotional problems such as depression; The luckiest find much needed friendship and support through self-help groups.
- Epilepsy - and the fear of a seizure - can affect dating, driving, drinking, swimming, flying on a plane, even going out on a boat or to a movie.
- Epilepsy remains mysterious and often frightening to the public at large. Profound misunderstanding and prejudice surround the disorder; this makes life very difficult and even dangerous for the people who suffer from it, and keeps the issue from being discussed openly and freely in our society. This documentary is designed to help change all that.