I started having seizures in 2015, when I was at uni studying marine biology. At the time it put a downer on things, as it stopped me from being able to dive. I thought I was never going to become a marine biologist or work in the field I had wanted to my entire life. But I went on to work on a number of natural history TV programmes and pursue my passions, including paddle-boarding and sailing. Due to the field I was in, I found I often had to hide my epilepsy and put on a front, especially after I suffered a seizure, to make it appear like everything was fine. But in reality it’s really hard to go back into work the next day if you’ve been concussed or suffered other injuries. Repeated seizures can take their toll, both physically and mentally.
During lockdown I’ve been on a bit of a journey. I was living in Bristol at the start and had quite a number of seizures. This was maybe due to a change in medication. But the added stress of starting a new job didn’t help. I then moved to London in June and found another job. I also decided to start Couch to 5k, as I have definitely become obese and put on weight over the years. Since I’ve started running, I’ve begun to enjoy it. It’s still a challenge, but it’s done wonders for my mental health and I haven’t had a seizure since. Now I’m in a good daily routine with my sleep, work, meds, and I feel generally more energised and healthier in myself, especially as now I’ve lost a stone. I feel like I’m starting to see the rewards.
In my industry jobs are contracted and you get turned down - maybe not because of the epilepsy directly, but someone might more diving experience, or someone else can drive and you can’t physically do these things. When you are having seizures, slowly everything builds up and gets you down. So feeling good in myself is really important and running has definitely helped. I’m still a bit wary of how it will go on Sunday but I ran the Great North Run back in 2016 and I didn’t train and was super unfit… so I’m hoping that this time round I’ll be faster and can go for longer without stopping. I think in life everyone has setbacks. Hopefully, I can show people that no matter what your medical condition or disability, you can still achieve your goals.”