My name is Adam. I am a volunteer befriender for Epilepsy Action UK.
When I finally felt confident to share my family’s journey with epilepsy as someone with a son and brother who were both diagnosed with epilepsy at an early stage, I received a lot of positive feedback from people who felt inspired and wanted to do the same.
For years I could not speak up about their condition without fear of what others are going to think of us. I wanted to know more about the condition, so I started looking for epilepsy resources and have learnt a lot throughout the years.
Learning about epilepsy has given me the confidence to speak up about my families’ experiences without fear of being judged.
In addition, growing up – I’ve always enjoyed helping people. I am a natural humanitarian and enjoy aiding others in any way I can. Types of feedback I received from a job interview was that she (the interviewer) felt my positivity and that I should be out there changing people’s lives.
I believe my family’s unique experience with epilepsy together with my positive attitude can make a difference to the lives of our service users.
Service users just want to think out loud the many personal conversations that goes on in their mind without being judged, learn from similar peoples’ experiences and navigate through any concerns, feelings, challenges, etc., they have.
One of my previous service users was an older person who was getting all the help he needed from other similar organisations but was looking for a support group specific to epilepsy and for people with epilepsy. We located the nearest support group for him and also gave him the option to attend the virtual meeting groups.
Another one was a young adult whose driving aspiration was cut short due to her seizures. She was getting close to a year with no seizures and was looking forward to her “big meeting “she called it. She was getting anxious and worried about her yearly review and whether or not she could finally apply for a driving license. Her review came and it was all positive and she applied for her driving license.
She also gained the confidence to talk about her epilepsy to other family members which she found difficult to do prior to reaching out to the befriending team.
Finally, for me, being a befriender is my personal time. I call it the gift that keeps giving. When I speak to service users, I feel fulfilled and energised. It improves my mental well-being. It gives me all the “self’s” I need to carry on; self-esteem, self-image, self-compassion, self-belief, to name a few.
Thank you, Epilepsy Action UK, for this opportunity.