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Beth

Hello my name Is Beth and I am 17 and I have had epilepsy nearly four years. Here is my epilepsy experience:

April 7th 2011 was where my journey began it felt like I was waking up from a bad nightmare. I was in bed when I woke up to find police and paramedics surrounding me and my mum no where to be seen. I was clinging on tight to my God mother, our next door neighbour and my mums best friend. My mum had called for an ambulance but where she was so afraid she was screaming at them saying "it's my baby, please help me". The initial reaction from the operator was "has she taken something" to which I hadn't. I was taken to hospital where I had several tests done including an EEG, I was told that everybody is allowed to have one seizure so was sent away but monitored to see whether I had any more seizures. In the summer of 2011 I had a further second sezuire but this time it was worse, I was confused, couldn't talk and slept all the time for 3 days I was kept in hospital for 2 weeks as they discovered I had contracted encephalitis which is a brain virus. The consultant said that this was why I had a seizure and I still wasn't diagnosed.

Eventually on September 26th I got diagnosed with Juvenile Myclonic Epilespy after another sezuire within an hour of waking up. I had a few cuts this time and a massive bruise on my head where I had fallen.

Going back to school was the hardest part, I was afraid about the stigma attached to epilepsy and I genuinely believed that I would have to give up my dance, hockey and swimming. I struggled to remember things that I had learnt and found it hard to catch up with work that I had missed. However I had amazing support networks at school that got me through it. I eventually finished school with 10 GCSE's and I am now at college about to start university to become a peadiatric nurse.

Getting my driving licence was tough and I had to wait 9 months after my birthday  for DVLA to say that I could have my licence, it was hard for me watching all my friends pass their driving tests and get their cars but in the end it was well worth the wait. I'm now learning to drive and have booked my driving test.

I had counselling as I suffered from depression and found it hard to accept what I had, it taught me one important factor of "I have epilepsy, it's not got me". The support of my family and friends has been brilliant and I never could have got through it without them. Even now my parents will ask me if I've taken my medication or check on me in the night to make sure I'm ok ,it was frustrating at first but I know it's them just looking out for me.

Beth
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