You are stronger than you think
This post is starting with a throw-back to thirteen year old me. I remember when I was thirteen it was a really tough time with epilepsy and my mental health. My seizures were the worst they had ever been and I was missing more school than ever. This also had an impact on my mental health. Following on shortly after this, my health became so bad I had to become home schooled for a couple of years At this time I remember thinking to myself ‘I am never going to be able to like everyone else, I am never going to be able to live independently or go to university, I just wanted to be like my friends’. However I am very pleased to announce that twenty-three year old me has just finished my BA hons degree in Graphic Design.
"I am never going to be able to like everyone else, I am never going to be able to live independently or go to university, I just wanted to be like my friends"
As mentioned previously on my blog education, especially secondary school time has been a struggle for me, whilst managing my epilepsy. Finding the right supportive system and coping with the social side has been challenging. But the determination pays off. My education has certainly been a rollercoaster of a journey but I am very lucky to of found a university which has amazing disability support, is adaptive and understanding. On reflection when I look at the past three years my lectures have done what any kind, good teacher should do, they have offered me support to do a degree whilst managing my health. And previously I haven’t been that lucky with teachers being so understanding. I am very grateful to of had such amazing lectures and disability support. And for me this shows that even with the challenges of epilepsy with the right support and having people who listen you can do it. Which is something thirteen year old me thought was not possible.
I also wanted to touch on living independently, which I have done for the past five years. As I have spoken about before I lived in halls for the first year and a student house for second and third year. This whole process was certainly made a lot easier by meeting my incredibly kind and amazing house mates. But being able to have that independence, whilst living in a student house and knowing if I were to feel ill or have a seizures I felt I was safe. My friends knew what to do which is very important and also it enabled me to settle and feel at home.
I am so grateful to of met so many amazing and supportive people both at university. And reflecting on this and how I made my experience a smoother journey. I think it is down to being open and honest about my epilepsy and how I feel. This is something I could never have done at thirteen or even eighteen. It has definitely taken time to understand myself, my condition and what I need to tell people. I did this by taking small steps, having chosen a university that had an incredible track record for support, I felt comfortable talking to disability support about my condition and how it could affect me in a lecture of my university work. This then leads to building to discussing with the lectures and throughout the three years I made sure to keep them up to date on any changes in my health or if I was struggling. Then with my friends and house mates. Firstly, telling my house mates early on was important so I felt safe in my new environment and then as you are living with your friends they soon learn and understand how my condition affects me. I will be forever grateful to of met such an amazing group of friends.
This blog post has been a bit all over the place in terms of information and advice. But overall, I just wanted to communicate education can be challenging when having epilepsy but finding that supportive environment is so important. And I know from experience that personally if that support isn’t their then I really struggle. But having an environment that is understanding, safe and encouraging you can thrive like any other student. I was able to live independently, socialise, learn and live like all my peers. I have to say a huge thank you to my parents and family as they have always been an incredible support and my rock. Bouncing back to the start of this post, ‘I am never going to be able to like everyone else, I am never going to be able to live independently or go to university, I just wanted to be like my friends’. Well through a supportive environment I managed to do all of following, live independently, go to university and be like everyone else! I did it!
Hi welcome, to my blog! Come follow my journey and read my experiences of living with epilepsy.