Personal Stories: Rikki

I am involved in the epilepsy community because nobody else would ever be able to understand epilepsy unless they have it themselves.

I have partial complex epilepsy which is one of over 60 forms. It is not a highly recognised form but consists of almost 'blanking out' not knowing my surroundings or being able to communicate with others. It first started at 14 on a sports day where I displayed symptoms of a mini stroke (left side of face dropped, slurring speech and not being able to raise my arms) but it was never diagnosed. After that I had a fit and tests were conducted where I was finally diagnosed aged 16. Since then they have occurred every month around 2-3 times. They can be triggered by hormones, alcohol, lack of sleep and stress.

Because epilepsy is a mental illness it is hard to imagine and many people have no understanding which I would like to change. People are more likely to take notice when somebody they know has it. Also it is so common that I think it needs to be more widely recognised.

just want people to recognise that you can still be successful with epilepsy. People should not let it take over their lives as I have played football for West Ham Ladies in the Premier League and now go to one of the top universities in the country for sport with my aim to become a PE teacher. These are high aims and I will not let me illness stop me.

I have always had a positive outlook on life and when diagnosed I refused to let it stop me. The doctor told me I would not be able to drive, so I appealed for a free travel pass and got one.

Instead of living the boring life I chose to stand up to epilepsy, I realised that the episodes didn't last long and therefore they should not affect my whole life.

if I've got over one then I can get over anything. I always believe that there is someone in a worse place than you who people should be taking care of. To me I don't need any help I get on with my life and am very successful.

You can't let epilepsy take over you. It will put you in a negative place. However, it also makes you appreciate everything you have even down to the little things.

Personally for me it is just after my episodes that I realise how lucky I am to have everything other people don't have. I

In a way it even gives you an outlook on your own life which you will not ever have otherwise. Just don't let something which is unchangeable change you.

Read more at www.talksportnow.wordpress.com

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