Read our interview with Georgina Peterson who has wrote a book about her personal experiences of living with epilepsy.
Georgina Peterson was a typical teenager studying hard for a place at University and having fun with her friends at the weekend.
She had her entire life planned until one night she had a seizure, which turned her life upside down.
Ten years since Georgina was first diagnosed with epilepsy, she has written a book about the obstacles she has faced, her mental health battles and how she finally learned to accept her diagnosis.
Georgina said: “When I had my first seizure, which was in May 2010, I thought it was down to A-level stress and I kind of blamed myself.
“When I was diagnosed it was difficult because on the one hand it wasn’t stress, so it wasn’t my fault, but I had this rare condition with all these implications, so it was a difficult time.
“When I wrote the book I had two types of seizures, now I have three.
“There are physical challenges of that and not knowing when they are going to happen. There was a lot of exhaustion from medicines and headaches as well.
“Also, I had depression a few times and it was just an ongoing battle. I also struggled with anxiety and that is a very difficult thing to deal with.
“I know I am not on my own with that because a lot of people with epilepsy struggle with their mental health.”
Georgina was born and raised in Liverpool and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and has a background in performing arts.
She always liked writing but never thought about writing about her own life.
She said: “I just enjoyed writing and making stories up when I was younger.
When I went to University, I tried to get into a teaching role. I loved working with kids, but it didn’t work out. Then I was thinking of how I could get a normal job.
“But nothing was working out because of how bad my seizures are and how I don’t feel them coming.
“I just started thinking that I need to write. I was in therapy at the time and people have been telling me for years that I should write a book and that it will help people, but I was like no one wants to know about me.
“When I was in therapy, the therapist asked me to write something for the next week and I then got into writing that way and it then became a book. I never thought it would become a published book.”
Epilepsy is more than seizures
Georgina considers herself lucky to be creative and be surrounded by great people.
She is hoping her book raises awareness of invisible disabilities, mental health and bullying.
Georgina believes that epilepsy is more than seizures and there is a lot of misunderstanding.
She said: “It’s hard because it is an invisible condition that I think people judge too harshly because they can’t see it, it mustn’t be bad, but it really is.
“Sometimes I can struggle a lot because I feel like I am child since I don’t have much independence.
“I know that isn’t the case but because you can’t drive and can’t do things on your own, you do struggle with the lack of independence.
“Lack of dignity as well. I lose bladder control during seizures. During absence seizures, I have to be calmed down because I don’t where I am. This leads to me having panic attacks.
“It is really hard, but I think if you have got good people around you, you will be ok.”
Coming to terms with epilepsy
Georgina feels that writing has helped her come to terms with her diagnosis. She would say to people who have been recently diagnosed that things do get better and you can live your life.
She said: “Writing definitely helped me. At the same time, I do realise it is my own diary for anyone to read and that still overwhelms me sometimes.
“However, everyone has been really lovely about it. A couple of people have messaged me saying that reading the book has helped them open up about their epilepsy.
“Life does get better. You won’t feel how you do now forever, and you can still live your life and be who you want to be. You just have to be more careful than you would be without epilepsy.”
Georgina’s book Freaks Like Me is available to buy from Amazon and all good booksellers.