Songwriter Turns Epilepsy Struggle Into Music - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

Songwriter Turns Epilepsy Struggle Into Music

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

There are three million people in the U.S. facing epilepsy, but it's something few people ever talk about.

November is epilepsy awareness month, and a local man has made it his mission got bring epilepsy out of silence and into song.

Music is in Gary Campbell's blood.

He had a long career as a songwriter until one day when his seizures started – while on stage and on tour.

"Drop down to one knee and there's nothing you can do. You have an aura, and if you're on stage, it's embarrassing, but that's why I'm here now," Campbell said. "You can't get out of it. There's nothing you can do. I had over 130 seizures this year."

Certain smells and stress can trigger seizures for Campbell, and he's not alone.

Dr. Emily Klatte, and OhioHealth neurologist who specializes in epilepsy, said the condition has so many facets, but the seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It's hard to predict.

"Usually it's spontaneous and unpredictable, and that's what's so hard. If we could predict when a patient was going to have a seizure, life would be a lot easier," Klatte said.

Medication works for most patients, but there's also surgery and brain stimulation that can help reduce seizures.

Campbell also uses his music for therapy, turning his symptoms into lyrics.

"I can't get it out of my head. I'm so powerless," Campbell said.

Epilepsy may have interrupted his career, but it didn't stop it.

"I kept telling myself, I'm only halfway there," he said.

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