“But you don’t look sick” Kellie’s Story

Name: 

Kellie 

Your Invisible illness(es): 

I have Bacterial Meningitis, also Epilepsy and Depression.

Explain about your journey and how long a diagnosis took:

I was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis when I was 10 weeks old, Epilepsy at 12 and Depression in 2016.

I guess I should start at the beginning of my story, when I was born I was a very healthy baby until I was 10 weeks old. I was in hospital and the doctors told my parents I had Bacterial Meningitis, and had only 12 hours to live. My parents had to deal with that (diagnosis) and also with the fact that their first born baby was going to die.

12 years later, I had my first seizure and missed Christmas day… My parents didn’t know what was happing to me.

During a family holidays (aged 12),I was staring into space so when my sister finally got me in the shower. My dad heard someone screaming, thought  it was my younger sister screaming about a spider or something (because she’s afraid of them); but when my dad came in I was naked and having seizure.

My dad called the ambulance and we went to Mayo general hospital, where I was then diagnosed with Epilepsy. Before this diagnosis came, I’d had to attend a different school than my sister because my brain was slower than that of a “normal child”. I have been bullied for going to a different school than my sisters by kids… and even adults. One of the worst seizures I’ve had was at home, I ended up in hospital, my seizure made me end up on a heart ward.

I don’t look like I have had Bacterial Meningitis, Epilepsy or suffer with Depression; my illnesses are invisible to everyone else but they are there! I’m now nearly year and half seizure free. I try not let my Epilepsy run my life! I can only work so many hours a week because of my illnesses and I can only learn how to drive once I’m over a year seizure free. I can’t travel a lot because I could lose my medical card.

What does invisible illness mean to you?

It’s hard having Epilepsy, it’s a struggle every day! Not many people speak out about hidden illnesses I have, so my story can help others.

My invisible illness means that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean I don’t have one!

Has your understanding of an Invisible illness changed over time?

Yes my thinking has definitely change over the years.

The worst part of having an invisible illness?

The worst thing about my illness is I can’t work full-time or travel.

The best part of having an invisible illness?

My invisible illness makes me stronger and more confident woman.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception?

People only think Epilepsy is only triggered by lights.

(There are a number of triggers, all of which can be different to each person.)

What are your hopes for the future?

I want others to finally realise my illness doesn’t define or stop me from living.

Social Media handle:

Instagram: @Kelliemarieaoife

Editors notes: A huge thank you to Kellie for sharing her journey with invisible illnesses, it’s been great to get to know Kellie better and she will be back as a guest blog in the future – focusing more on her journey with Depression xox

chronic illness health and wellness Invisible illness

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