“I can't believe it's coming up to June again - nearly one year ago I was in hospital with meningitis.
“I still remember clearly calling 999, and thinking am I doing the right thing?
“On 19 June 2020 I was taken to hospital. Before this I remember suddenly a few days before having such a bad head pain, but I thought it was just stress at the time as I had a lot going on in my life.
"I contacted the GP a few times. I had a video call with a GP who thought it could be meningitis, but told me it would clear by itself.
“I remember I was so tired on the day I called 999. Earlier in the day I walked to the GP, practically dragging myself there with no energy at all, to collect some antibiotics.
“I was then violently sick and knew I needed further help. Months on, I know I made the right decision!
“I was in hospital for six nights. They thought it was a bleed on the brain after tests, but it was diagnosed as viral meningitis caused by chickenpox.
“When I left hospital no support was given. However, with research and a lot of lovely people, my recovery is heading in the right direction!
What happens now?
“I remember coming home and thinking what happens now?
“I was signed off work and was told to contact the GP if I needed more support.
“Luckily, I found Meningitis Now, and this is where things changed. All the support I needed was there.
“I sent Meningitis Now a Facebook message and Lucie called me back - and I remember getting off the call thinking, "Wow, I’m not alone and there is so much support in this group".
“I also then joined the Meningitis Now Peer Support group and shared my story with other meningitis sufferers and people who have been affected by this dreadful illness.
You are not alone
“Meningitis Now has made me realise you are not alone and whenever you need to chat they are there and will do anything they can to help you.
“My support worker Chris is amazing and so understanding. She has given me so much advice and support whenever I need it, and I can't thank her enough!
“I have also attended Meningitis Now virtual events, and these have been really great to speak with other sufferers to show support to each other.
“I still have headaches, earache, fatigue, concentration issues, neck/back pain and memory issues.
“I have found having a really good understanding of what viral meningitis is and how it can affect you moving forward is really important as it makes you worry less and can help you move towards a better future also.
Understands the after-effects
“I am lucky to also have an experienced neurologist who has dealt with many people before who have suffered from viral meningitis and really understands the after-affects.
“With coronavirus most meetings have been on Zoom, and I will always remember his words telling me I am lucky to be alive but should make a full recovery he hopes!
“He has helped with putting me on the right medication also.
“When I left hospital I didn't know where I would be month by month. However, what I want to share with you is that there is so much support out there. You will have good and bad days but remember as each day goes by, that is a day closer to recovery.
Hoping to go back to work soon
“I am hoping soon to be back in work. I know my future won't be the same, but I am grateful to have all the support around me and even writing that makes me a bit emotional as I know how lucky I am.
“During my time off work for recovery so far it's been hard to know when the right time to go back to work would be.
“Luckily I have a supportive workplace and a great manager.
“I have found it important to keep in contact with your workplace and let them know how you are doing along the way.
“The information I sent them from Meningitis Now has given them a good understanding of what I have been going through.
Be open and honest
“My best advice would be don't rush back to work as this can slow down your recovery and always be open and honest with your employer about what you can and can't do.
“I am having an occupational health appointment soon and it is important to be honest about what I can do when going back and how it has changed me through having meningitis.
“Having the right support has also been a major factor in my decision as to when it is right to go back to work and what I can physically do.
“I have found it important to listen to your body and you will know when the time is right for you. Recovery time is different for everyone.
“I want to end my story on this note - there isn't enough awareness out there about meningitis and the after-effects. Please remember though you are not alone. Meningitis Now is there, other people affected by meningitis are there and you can do this!”