As of the time of writing this I’m a 25 year old with idiopathic epilepsy, I learnt about my condition when I was on a weekend away with my youth group and collapsed in a public area having a seizure, promptly ruining everyone’s weekend. Needless to say I was unimpressedwhen I was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy (2009) which by definition has an unknown cause, that fact alone did and sometimes still does make me feel incredibly vulnerable. The knowledge that I can drop down and have a seizure at any time even when: I’m taking medication consistently, sleeping right and avoiding stress is a burden I don’t like bringing to my family, friends and my workplace.
However, despite my epilepsy causing me to move from full time to part time during my studies Bangor university (North Wales) and a few seizures during my dissertation year, I was able to successfully complete my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in academic year 2016. However, for the immediate months after graduation I felt like my epilepsy really started to feel like anchor weighing me down, my inability to drive was a deal breaker in many a job application and phone interview and even though by this point I had been seizure free for a long time my health concerns about a relapse seemed to restrict my options further.
During this period is when I came across Epilepsy Action I began to volunteer at a coffee and chat support group in South Wales and gradually got more and more involved in the organisation as the months went on. Being able to consistently meet more people with epilepsy was and is an amazing experience. Volunteering for them made me feel like I was at least contributing something whilst I was unsuccessfully job hunting for several months. After moving to Cumbria I wanted to be able to do more with the organisation so I applied to be a trustee as well as applying to be a part time support worker for adults with learning disabilities and oddly enough both organisations accepted me at around the same time.
At this stage March 2017 I’ve only been a trustee for 3 months and I’m excited to be a part of an organisation that can help people with epilepsy.