23-year-old Michelle from London was the first person to access coaching through our new support programme for young people, Believe & Achieve.
Here, she tells us about her meningitis experience, coping with the after-effects of the disease, and what she thinks of the coaching she received.
"I was a toddler when I was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia, and was the first person registered at my GP to have contracted the disease."
"I went to hospital and was put into an induced coma and ventilated for five days to help me breathe. The sepsis had covered me from head to toe and my body began to shut down so badly, that the only vein I could be given treatment through was in my neck."
"Immediately after recovering, my parents noticed regression in my development."
"Prior to being ill I was your typical cheeky, chatty and robust toddler but this changed. I was no longer able to say simple things like ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’. I had to learn how to eat solid food again and even how to walk again."
"Growing up I noticed I would get sick really often - a lot more than my friends, and this meant I had to take a lot of time off school."
"I spent three Christmases in a row being unwell and one year slept all of Christmas Day, missing out on opening presents and celebrating."
"I was given lots of support throughout junior school and often taken out of class and given 1-to-1 teaching to help with things like my reading and numeracy."
"Growing up I’ve struggled a lot with tiredness, memory problems, and lack of concentration. I’d often come home from school and fall asleep on the sofa, and this is still something I struggle to manage now."
"In my teens I started to develop headaches and was eventually diagnosed with chronic migraines. More recently I have also developed seizures and although it hasn’t been directly attributed to meningitis, I have been told that epilepsy could be a possible after-effect."
"I'm currently at university studying to be a children’s nurse. After developing the seizures during my second year, I took some time out to focus on my health and get back on track. I am now finishing off my second year and will go into my last year of studies in September! It’s been a really difficult journey at times, but also incredibly rewarding."
Believe & Achieve
"I decided to take part in coaching through the Believe & Achieve Programme, with the intention of trying to gain some control over my life."
"With the nature and unpredictability of the seizures I had started to experience, I really struggled to feel in control, and needing to take time off university really knocked my confidence and motivation."
"Coaching has been a fantastic experience. It’s made a huge difference to my motivation, outlook and positivity, which has provided me with the security I needed to move forward in my life."
"I’ve learnt about ways to stay connected with myself in order to reflect on my own feelings, wants and needs; and breathing techniques which help me to feel in control and allow me the time I need to process information.
"I’ve also created a positive box to keep me striving towards my goals, as well as a mood board to keep me motivated."
"I’ve learnt techniques to help me with my memory, and how to be proactive rather than reactive. I really have a better sense of direction and clarity because of this."
"The coaching sessions have helped me learn not to be so hard on myself, to take risks, be more open, and that it’s okay if I can’t always think of the right word or get muddled up!"
"I would definitely recommend coaching to others. It can provide you with various tools to support you - not just at present, but throughout your life and in so many different scenarios."
"I’m really looking forward to completing my degree and graduating next summer - with lots of celebrating to be had of course!"
"I’m hoping to hold a charity fundraising event for Meningitis Now and raise some money to say thank you for all the wonderful help and support they’ve given me."
"I’m really excited to be attending the residential weekend for 18-25-year-olds, as part of the Believe & Achieve Programme, where I can meet others who have been affected by meningitis."