A YORK man has told how a delayed reaction to the trauma of his mother’s death almost two decades ago has led to him suffering from seizures.

James Shipley, 25, of Haxby, spoke out about his experiences of ‘non-epileptic attack disorder’ as he planned a fundraising walk from York Minster to Scarborough beach for two organisations who have helped him deal with his condition.

He also revealed he had released a video on Facebook in which he explained his condition and showed footage of him having episodes to raise awareness and tackle the taboo over discussing such matters.

James, a former Joseph Rowntree School pupil, said he lost his mother Diane to cancer when he was just six years old - too young to understand and process what had happened.

But in 2018, while living and working temporarily in Vancouver, he began talking about his loss for the first time and found himself increasingly in tears.

Then he began to suffers seizures, initially just occasionally but then more often and more severe.

Doctors carried out numerous tests and treatments before eventually concluding that he did not have epilepsy or any other physical cause for the seizures. Instead, he was suffering from ‘non-epileptic attack disorder’, involving dissociative seizures.

The Epilepsy Society says these can happen as a cut-off mechanism to prevent bad memories being relived. “The person splits off (or dissociates) from their feelings about the experience because it is too difficult to cope with,”it said.

“The seizure happens because their emotional reaction causes a physical effect. These seizures are an unconscious reaction so they are not deliberate and the person has no control over them.”

James said his life had ‘become a little more complex’ because of the seizures, for example preventing him from working currently.

“But thanks to my family, friends, medical professionals, and two amazing charities, things are becoming easier,” he said.

He said he was planning a walk from York to Scarborough on September 26 and 27, when he would be joined by a group of at least 15 family and friends to raise money for York Mind and FND Action, (Functional Neurological Disorder Action.)

“I have been having counselling with York Mind since February and FNDAction are a charity doing all that they can to raise awareness about my condition and helping those who have been diagnosed,” he said.

*James has already raised more than £900 in sponsorship. To add your support, go to www.justgiving.com/team/Ajourneywithjames