On Wednesday, February 5, influencer Camila Coelho opened up about her daily struggles with epilepsy. The 31-year-old revealed to People that she was diagnosed with the neurological disorder when she was nine years old.

Camila recounted the first time she had a seizure and said she remembers that day “clearly.”

“I was playing with a friend and all of a sudden I feel my hands closing — my fingers, one by one,” she said. “I told my friend, ‘My hands are closing!’ and she was like, ‘Stop joking, Camila. I don’t believe you.’ Then I remember just fainting. When I woke up I heard my mom saying, ‘Camila, are you okay? Just talk to me.’ I wanted to respond, but I couldn’t.”

After her initial diagnosis, Camila said that her mom assured her that she was a “normal child” living a “normal life.” At first, the fashion and beauty expert said she felt like everyone else, even when taking her daily medication. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that Camila started to feel “insecure” about her diagnosis.

“I felt different, and I didn’t accept it. Why do I have to take medicine every night?” she explained. “I didn’t tell my mom, I didn’t tell my doctor — I decided to just stop the medicine.”

Everything changed for her after she had a seizure in front of her entire school. The influencer remembered it as “the most terrible day” of her life.

“I learned something very important when I was 17,” Camila said. “I have this medication that can take my seizures away. I know that a lot of people, even taking the medication, still have them. And there are people in the world who have much more severe diseases, so why am I complaining? Since then I’ve been grateful for my life every single day.”

Ever since she went public with her diagnosis to her 8.6 million Instagram followers and 4.7 million YouTube subscribers, Camila said she feels “liberated” and hopes to help others with her openness.

“I regret not sharing when I was young because I could have been more free. But opening up is definitely helping me, and I hope it helps others too. I’m in a very happy place,” she said.

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