The attacks didn’t last much more than 30 seconds but along with leaving me unable to walk, I struggled to hold a conversation because of the volume of black-outs I was having, couldn’t hold a bowl of hot food or have a bath without someone sitting on the floor to make sure I didn’t drown. It was basically, a pretty horrendous time, especially at 19 years old.
I made a 'miracle' recovery which, in itself, was 'overnight' but the lasting effects took months to heal. I struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time afterwards and was terrified of crowds of people. Now, I'm healthier and genuinely happier than I've ever been. My life has taken a completely different direction to the one I had expected.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. If I can run a marathon after this, you can do anything you want to do.
Thank you to everyone who pulled me through the dark times, you're my inspirations x
It's August 2010. A few days ago you set out to have one of the best weekends of your life with some of your closest friends at Reading Festival. I bet you didn't envision your weekend ending in a medical tent? Things are going to get worse before they get better, it's a rough ride but you'll come out the other side stronger.
You have Aaron and Christian to thank. They picked you up when you hit the floor. No one really knows what happened, you were struggling with your breathing after stupidly going to the front for Biffy - you'll go there again, don't you worry about that! But something changed during Dizzie Rascal, as you walked out of the crowd you just collapsed. It seems that someone kicked you in the head or stood on you, no one knows. Make sure you say thank you to your friends for getting you out of that crowd so quickly. It could have been a lot worse.
Thank your Dad for coming to pick you up, and your mum and sister for everything they'll do for you in the next few months. That will be literally everything; you're not even going to be able to bathe alone for a little while, but I promise you will come out the other side of this.
There are going to be lots of hospital trips, overnight stays and tears over blood tests (stop being such a wimp). Thank Ryan for holding your hand and not giving up on you, it would have been easy for him to do so. No one is going to be able to tell you what's wrong because no one knows. Don't listen when they tell you it's all in your head though, the people that matter know how much you're suffering but don’t overlook the fact they’re suffering too. You’re very lucky to be so loved.
Thank Karen for giving you wheels, they'll give you a tiny bit of freedom for a few weeks, ignore the stares from all the ignorant people. They don't know what you're going through. You can tell your mum and Karen that they’ll develop all kinds of crazy pillow skills, talents they won’t have to use for much longer, and as funny as I may seem, wearing a hoodie in a wheel chair is not a source of amusement!
Thank your Granddad, because he has the key to getting you the treatment you need. And thank your neurologist, Dr Chong, he knows he can make you better. You're going to be scared for quite some time, a few months. They'll be days you won't even remember because you have so many 'attacks', mid-sentence you'll just drop in to a different world, it's hurting people around you to see you like this. You're too young to be this ill, so try and smile when you can in the knowledge that this isn't permanent.
Let me tell you a bit about you now. You're working full time again, you've worked in London but you're back in Maidstone now, you've finally got a dog and you're living away from home - independent, some may say. But this is the part you won't believe. Right now, you can't walk 6 feet but in three years’ time you will have completed the London Marathon, and you will be planning to run twelve more marathons (may be this has had a lasting effect on your sanity). You've raised over £11,000 for charity with help from your family and friends, and you're now trying to help other people to raise more than double this amount. Pretty mental hey?
You are going to suffer for a while. The seizures will seem to go on forever. There will be days when it seems to happen thousands of times but every episode is an episode closer to the end. You'll go blind at one point but that's a sign things are getting better. One day, something is just going to snap and the problem will be solved. You'll walk again and in the blink of an eye, your black-outs will be a distant memory.
You might not believe it right now but you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Don't let anyone tell you any differently.
Your future self x