Gareth rediscovered his passion for music because of his epilepsy
This summer, musician Gareth de la Torre will step out onto the stage at the UK's rock festival Download with his band 'Cloud'.
The 45 year old believes it is largely due to a diagnosis of epilepsy last year, that he rediscovered a passion for music and is where he is today.
Gareth's epilepsy started in summer 2018 after he fell in his living room and hit his head on the coffee table. He says: "I remember being in pain and confused".
Living with frequent drop seizures, absence seizures and sometimes tonic clonic seizures has meant he could no longer work.
He says that initially he suffered a personality change and anger intolerance as he struggled to get his medication right with his neurologist.
So in a bid to keep his brain active, he picked up his guitar and started playing every day. And the rest is history.
He quickly discovered that on the days he was playing, he didn't have any seizures. "Playing the guitar has really helped me with my recovery," he said. "I'm glad I started playing again".
Gareth has been a keen guitarist since the age of 15 and used to play with his band "Cloud" in the '90s, but after they went their separate ways, Gareth didn't think about playing music again.
But when he discovered how much his music was helping his seizures, he got in touch with another original band member and talked about a reunion whilst they searched to recruit a third. Gareth said: "The band wouldn't have re-started if it wasn't for my epilepsy".
Cloud is due to play at a popular UK rock festival, Download, this June in Leicestershire. He says: "It's an amazing opportunity to be able to perform at Download. Our music producer said he'd get us to play there, and it happened quite quickly!"
Cloud have got an exciting year lined up. They currently have their songs on the music streaming service - Spotify, are playing a few gigs across the country (including Download), are making a music video and are doing a tour of America next year. Gareth says: "It's all very exciting".
Gareth admits he tends to sugar-coat his epilepsy sometimes, but says: "Epilepsy has opened my eyes, but I'm very lucky I've got great support around me".
He believes there’s not enough awareness surrounding epilepsy, as there’s so much that happens behind closed doors. He wants to try and raise as much awareness as possible so people who have the condition don't feel alone.
Although Gareth is not seizure free, he is grateful that his seizures are slowly getting better.
If you are interested in seeing Cloud perform at Download festival, you can get more information and purchase tickets here: https://downloadfestival.co.uk/ .
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Epilepsy Society