Thursday 5 April 2012

Bully for you: Lucy's Story

When I met Lucy a couple of years ago through an event to raise awareness for Epilepsy, she was there representing the young persons group she mentors, that discusses Epilepsy and bullying.
After I went for coffee with her, I understood just how much she does for the young people she works with, not just because of the help and advice she gives, but because of the incredible role model she is herself.

The problem with speaking openly about the issues of bullying, is in order to speak about it properly, you also have to talk about the things which maybe you're lest proud of in your life, or sore points. If they weren't, it wouldn't hurt so much when people made fun of them or pointed them out.

For bullies, Epilepsy is like an all you can eat buffet - I should know. When my Epilepsy was at it's most severe, people used to make fun of my seizures too. I've heard of most things, vibrating phones, mocking speech issues, accusations that people should be put in a mental institution, unfortunately I could go on. But some of the stories Lucy had talked about, shocked even me.

The most shocking story of all however, was the one that Lucy told me about her own experience of bullying. She has incredibly bravely said, "I'd rather you published it so people know what we're up against".

This is her story of 5 years of bullying, which started in 1994 until she had to move school in 1998, because it got so bad, her family and dad in particular asked her if she would like to move.

Lucy developed generalised Tonic Clonic seizures age 8 after she was involved in a car accident. She had the seizures approximately once every 3 or 4 weeks. She didn't get a warning before she had them and already had to deal with adapting her life to keep herself safe.

On top of this, she also had her friends turn on her and they began to make her school life a living hell.
One of the boys at her school went as far as bringing a small torch into school and flashing it in her eyes while she was held down by other pupils, as he thought it would induce a seizure.
It culminated in one of her previous best friends, bringing her mum into school to complain about Lucy, saying that she should have to sit at a desk alone as she was a danger to the rest of the pupils.
The school had to ask Lucy's parent's in to discuss the matter because another parent had complained and it was the final straw for her dad.

The amazing thing with Lucy is the way she speaks about the bullies. She hopes they're okay now and that they don't have serious domestic issues they need to deal with or had a tough childhood.

As if Lucy's attitude wasn't astonishing enough, after leaving school, she went to Oxford and gained a 1st Class Honours degree in Psychology.
She explained that she is just thankful she doesn't have to be a young Epileptic now with all the ways online like Facebook or through forums, young people can be an anonymous bully. She says she always learns new things and finds "new inspiration" from the young people she mentors.

The good news is that for anyone who has Epilepsy, Lucy is the best possible example of the amazing things that are to come and that even if you experience bullying, you can have a fabulous life after school. She has so much integrity, knowledge, maturity and intelligence that she could do anything with her life. She is just simply, inside and out a beautiful young woman.

If I would take the advice of one inspirational friend Tanya, to "keep on learning", you can bet the first person I would go to, to learn more about my brain is another inspirational friend - Lucy.

Lucy has recently gone 3 and a half years seizure free after finding a medication that worked for her. She's now driving, working as a Clinical Psychologist in London and is due to get married this summer after meeting her fiancé at university while they were studying in Balliol College, at Oxford.

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