Ten years ago, on 6th January 2011, my life changed forever: I contracted viral meningitis. I didn’t know it at the time, but many of the things I took for granted on a daily basis, I would never do again. I would be thrown into the world of chronic illness, dealing with doctors, and pharmacies, and a whole host of issues I’d never had to grapple with before. Cliché as it is to say, my life would never be the same.
In the years since, I have grieved for what I lost that day. I lost the privileges of being able-bodied, I lost people I thought were my friends and would stand by me, and I lost my naivety.
However, I have done more than grieve over the past decade. I have learned from my experience, developing personal skills to deal with disbelieving doctors and relatives, practical skills in energy conservation and pacing activity levels, and have found a hidden passion for activism.
Despite the setback meningitis presented, I somehow managed to complete my GCSEs, moving on to A-levels, a degree, and then a job. I made new friends, developed new interests, and explored my own identity and personality.
If Hollywood were to be believed, I should have spent this past decade becoming a resentful hermit. Instead, I’ve gained skills and confidence, and quite honestly if I had the ability to go back in time and prevent the meningitis from happening, I wouldn’t even need to think about it; I would let my younger self go through hell to become who I am right now.