‘The Chronic Problem with our Schools.’

Last month I was invited by Ignite Cardiff to speak at their July event. I was given the opportunity to give a talk about my past experience with our education system as someone with a long-term health condition, and give my opinion as a hopeful future educator. It was in front of 300+ people, and my first taste of public speaking, so as you can guess I was absolutely bricking it. Honestly, it was an incredible night and I’m so grateful I had the chance to get to speak about about something I’m so passionate about. After teaching myself my exams mostly from home and  hospital I want to make sure no other student out there who is already fighting for their health feels like they have to fight the system for an opportunity to be educated. I know that hundreds of children and teenagers are being failed by our current education system every year due to something they themselves have no control over, and this HAS to change.

I’ve included a transcript of my speech below if you can’t watch the video.

Continue reading “‘The Chronic Problem with our Schools.’”

41 Things Chronic Pain Has Taught Me

Chronic pain has been an element of my life since I was about 15, and I think in the last (nearly)  7 years, I’ve learnt more about my strength and inner self than I ever will in my life again. Here are a few of the things I’ve learnt:

  1. Real friends are precious and wonderful.

  2. It’s better to have five close friends than 10 fake ones.

  3. All pain is valid and deserves treatment.

  4. Pretending your condition doesn’t exist will always end in tears.

  5. Rest is important to athletes so it makes sense that it is vital to those who don’t feel well.

  6. Find a creative outlet – whether it is writing, drawing, singing. Find something that makes your heart happy.
  7.   Remember you and only you know what feels normal to you and your body.
  8. Always trust your gut instinct.

  9. Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.

  10. Education is so important, but remember it has no time frame.

  11. Believing in miracles or magic is not stupid or silly, sometimes it’s exactly what you need to keep you going.

  12. Every medical personnel you meet should treat you with respect and dignity and not judge you. If they don’t, that is on them – not you.

  13. Remember the healing process is never linear.

  14. The human body is a magical and beautiful thing.

  15. You have not fallen ill because you are a bad person, it’s just a bad hand of the “life” cards. (Thank you to the person who told me this)

  16. The hope that things can be healed one day is a very powerful thing. Hold onto it.
  17. If something costs you your peace, it is too expensive.

  18. You are strong enough to face it all, even if you don’t feel like it.

  19. If someone is trying to bring you down, they are already below you.

  20. Love is powerful, and where there is love there should always be respect.

  21. Sleep is a healer.

  22. Do not compare your middle to someone else’s end. There is no timeline or manual to life.
  23. Kindness is never a bad idea.

  24. Don’t water dead plants – only keep people in your life who care for you as well.

  25. Stepping back or away from drama is not a sign of defeat, it is a sign of maturity.

  26. Sometimes struggles can come from wishing or thinking things were different and can be self-inflicted. Keep checking in on yourself.
  27. “Doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of burnout.

  28. Sometimes social media can be a toxic thing. There’s no shame in switching off for a few days. The world will not end.
  29.  If someone in your life uses your health as an excuse for bad behavior towards you or against you in any way – cut that toxicity out of your life.

  30.  Maya Angelou said a lot of beautiful things.

  31. Never be afraid of the solitude that comes with raising your standards.

  32. If you’re feeling like you don’t need a medication anymore, it probably means it’s working.

  33. A bad day does not make you a bad person.

  34. Always allow yourself to be proud of the progress you’ve made.

  35. It’s OK to live a life others don’t understand, not everyone will always “get it.”

  36. A positive mental attitude goes a long way.

  37. Remember what others think of you is their choice, what you think of yourself is your choice.

  38. Teachers actually want you to succeed, and if they don’t help you then they are the ones failing you. You are not failing them if you are doing your best.
  39. A little progress each day adds up to big results.

  40. A little rebellion never hurt anyone – go to that party, let yourself make memories. Yes, looking after your physical health is key, but looking after your mind is sometimes more important. It’s OK to be a normal young person too.
  41. Finally, let yourself have bad days. It’s OK to feel down and defeated. No one has it together 24/7, not even your favorite celebrity. Logically, we cant distinguish a “good” day without knowing what a ‘bad’ one is.

This is edited from an old article I wrote a while ago for another website, but each lesson still rings true with me and I think always will.

E x