Age approximately 13 I had my first seizure. A tonic clonic, in the middle of the school day in front of all my friends. I came back round baffled, scared and more tired than I'd ever been; nothing like this had ever happened before. This first seizure opened the floodgates, and I started having multiple seizures every day. Mostly myoclonic, with occasional absences and tonic clonics, and I vividly remember hearing my parents whisper downstairs, (my mum having grown out of epilepsy herself) "it's probably epilepsy, should we prepare her for it?"
It was epilepsy; Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. I was told I'd probably never grow out of it and that I already needed to start considering whether I'd ever want a child because my medication choices would impact my ability to have children. I asked the doc if there was anything I'd never be able to do, petrified he'd stifle my dreams of being an opera singer there and then: "Well, you don't look like a truck driver to me, anyway!" he chuckled. I took it on the chin, as is the family attitude. Everyone has shit they have to deal with, the negatives of epilepsy pale in significance to the amazing family life I'm so fortunate as to have.
I am now 21 and I still have a few myoclonic seizures most days. I get up earlier so my body has time to adjust to being awake, to prevent breakfast spillages and shower accidents.
Since diagnosis I have: sung at Buckingham Palace twice, sung the soprano solo at the royal wedding of Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall, performed leading roles in sell out shows at the Edinburgh fringe festival and received 4* reviews from magazines, played Fantine in a royal command performance of Les Miserables, received multiple scholarships to study my A levels at Gordonstoun and am just coming to the end of my degree in operatic performance at a music conservatoire where I've earned multiple music prizes. Epilepsy doesn't define me, but it is who I am, and I wouldn't change it or my story.