Fundraiser focus: My Ben Nevis challenge

 

Murray is climbing Ben Nevis in March 2021 to help raise vital funds for Epilepsy Scotland. This extreme challenge is set over an entire weekend. Murray explains what this challenge means to him.

From around the age of 13, I was experiencing these random weird moments. Happening roughly a few days in a week and then nothing for a month.

I just thought it was something to do with my sleep or hydration levels, once I had one, I needed a super early night sleep. Back then I didn’t know what a seizure even was!

When I went on to revising for my Nat 5 exams, things became more frequent. It was only when trying to revise for English with the support of my Mum that she witnessed me zoned out, muttering, and rubbing my fingers (at first, she was thinking I wasn’t bothered with the work).

It was when I didn’t stop doing this for a good couple minutes and was non-responsive, she knew something wasn’t right.

Just a month before doing my first year of exams, I was told I had a DNET tumour (slow-growing, non-cancerous) in my Temporal Lobe which was causing me to have complex partial seizures. I was now diagnosed with epilepsy.

 

My social life became very difficult

From then, the academic work capability was starting to become more difficult. Not that I was not capable of the work, it was the epilepsy that was impairing my true capabilities.

The seizures were increasing, medication after medication and none were showing any true potential. Some only made my life ten times worse.

My social life became very difficult, super low confidence and depression made things get so confusing for me through my teenage years.

I didn’t exactly know what to do in life and felt very isolated.

At the beginning, I found it very difficult to tell people what I had and kept it a secret for a bit. I then told my group of friends at school.

That was okay at first but I soon noticed a rhythm of only seeing their backs and was missing out on the parties. This only made me doubt myself in telling folk, and this was where the difficulties started to rise.

 

My family and true friends

When going to university, a similar story happened. I had hit rock bottom! Seizures happening every other day.

The closest folk (and honestly near enough the only folk) that I could trust, was my family. A huge number of my friends had a noticeable change in personality with me, which let me know who my true friends were.

When it comes to dealing with this though, there has been my family and these true friends that I have to praise big time for what they have done and gone through to support me throughout the years – thank you!

 

Ben Nevis

True grit!

There are times I get that sort of thought of “oh great, I’ve got a brain tumour and epilepsy!”

Although, it always makes me think of my good auld Grandpa and one of his favourite sayings – ‘True Grit’.

I believe there’s always been that sort of fighting spirit in my family and that he is always watching over us.

Sports, music and the relaxing scenes of the country have been a huge benefit to me, giving me greater positivity when feeling low.

Doing sport and being out in the countryside has led me onto setting life challenges for myself. Cycling and camping the NC500, hike The Great Glen Way, and the main one of bagging the Munros!

 

Take on the challenge and keep going

Climbing up a Munro is a physical challenge in itself, but it also gives a great mental challenge too.

Where, on the second half of the Munro, that feeling of needing to stop and basically give up happens. This is where I mentally give myself a telling not to give up and keep going.

This also applies to life in general. Although seizures cause so many invisible challenges that other people cannot see or even experience without having epilepsy themselves, we just have to move on at our own pace and in some cases bite the bullet.

If we keep our chins up and don’t let anything stop us, not even a ‘bloody’ big bog, we will the reach the top.

If you would like to sign up for our Winter Ben Nevis challenge, please click here or email fundraising@epilepsyscotland.org.uk.

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