As a child, Anky would regularly have generalised, focal and tonic clonic seizures. Growing up in India also made life difficult, due to the stigma and lack of knowledge surrounding epilepsy.
“My epilepsy developed from a brain injury when I was 7 months. I’d get seizures but they didn't get worse until I was 12. I was only diagnosed when I was 13 years old.
“I was raised in a traditional culture, where there is a lot of misunderstanding about epilepsy. People usually believed that my condition was some sort of a spell, and my parents would often be shamed by society for having a disabled child.
“Due to the nature and frequency of my seizures, I missed a lot of days in school. I spent most of my childhood behind closed doors because of shame. People did not know to take care of someone with epilepsy ten years ago.”
Anky has been seizure free since 2010, when she had brain surgery. She decided to travel the world to work with other epilepsy organisations. She hopes to pursue a career as a neuropsychologist. Anky settled in the UK in 2018, to pursue her master’s degree after finishing her bachelor's in the US. But she finds that raising awareness of epilepsy is still vital outside of India.
“There are still a lot of misconceptions about someone who has had brain surgery, and epilepsy. Even when forming romantic relationships, a lot of men out there would freak out when I told them about my passion for neuropsychology and that I used to get seizures as a kid. What they don’t understand is that your past doesn't have to affect your present, or your future.
“I think people like me have to speak up to debunk the myths. I can still travel around the world, help people with disabilities and continue to achieve my goals. Organisations in the UK provide a great support, for things like networking, skills, or even helping people to share their stories. I have been looking for this since I was a kid, and I have finally found this here.”