Carol McNeil, Peer Mentor and People’s Forum member
One of the features of Epilepsy Futures is that as time goes on, we will be recruiting four mentors from each group, who can provide support to people in the next intake.
Having experienced the benefits of taking part in the programme themselves, they will be in an excellent position to support people to begin their own journeys. For our first group, which started in November we had to involve some of our existing volunteers from the wider organisation.
Today’s post is written by Carol McNeil, one of this first group of mentors. She is a member of Epilepsy Connections “People’s Forum” a group of volunteers who work with the Board of Epilepsy Connections to maintain and develop services. Carol also helps our Forth Valley Fieldworkers Gill Wilson and Ewan Roy, in supporting people at social groups and other events.
“My name is Carol McNeil and I am 58 years old. I live in Grangemouth and have two daughters and three grandchildren.
I have had epilepsy for 44 years and been in numerous situations due to the seizures. I was diagnosed when I was 14. I have tonic clonic seizures but three years ago I had a couple of drop seizures. With the support of family and friends I have managed to lead a relatively normal life.
I worked as a legal secretary then as a paralegal in a Solicitors office for 17 years. I am not working at present. I love to keep active and go to the gym when I can. I enjoy the internet and socialising with friends. I am delighted to be part of the People’s Forum as I feel that together we can help to improve the lives of people with Epilepsy.
When Peter asked me to be involved as a Mentor with the Epilepsy Futures Project I was very excited.
This is a great initiative and has the ability to reach and help many people whose lives could be dominated by epilepsy due to the lack of confidence, employment issues and social aspects that living with epilepsy can cause.
Futures encourages and motivates – it builds confidence in people who previously had none and lets them see that there are others “in the same boat” so to speak. People are able to voice their opinions thus building an inner strength.
I attended the Projectability Art Workshop in December – what a wonderful experience for everyone in the group, and who knows what talents people have until they try?Futures is giving us the chance to try different experiences.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as Mentor and have met some wonderful people, some of whom I hope will become lifelong friends. I hope I have encouraged and listened and have answered any questions as best I can having lived for a lifetime with epilepsy.
Someone said to me “I feel like I did before I was diagnosed with epilepsy four years ago with regard to confidence and the ability to look forward positively” . I give you my case for Epilepsy Futures.”
Peter Dale & Carol McNeil
#livingwithepilepsy #selfmanagement #Mentors