I never really understood hidden disabilities, I guess I just believed that a disability was something that could be clearly seen and identified. I was wrong.
My husband was diagnosed with epilepsy in 1983 and while this changed a lot of plans in his young life he never let it him hold back. At the age of 25 he was seizure free, able to pass his driving test and he was able to pursue all of the things that held him back previously.
He started work as a funeral operative, before finally embarking upon a career as an Embalmer. At the age of 47 Paul passed his exams and became a fully qualified Embalmer and member of the British Institute of Embalmers. I was exceptionally proud of him.
I met my husband in 2006 and he was still seizure free, but then in 2016 he was suddenly hit once more with epilepsy. It came out of the blue and we had no idea why it was back, but it was back with a vengeance.
We had no idea when the seizures would come… Eating dinner, out shopping, relaxing at home. It really was like living on a knife edge.
Paul couldn’t get his head around any of it, and slowly other hidden disabilities appeared… Anxiety, panic attacks, depression.
Somehow over the past two years he has managed to overcome his panic attacks and depression, though the anxiety remains somewhat. He is seizure free once more and life has settled back into the bliss that we are used to.
In 2018 Paul was Yorkshire Divisional Chairman for the British Institute of Embalmers, and at his AGM and Dinner Dance he held a raffle and collection for Epilepsy Action UK. We took the money raised to Epilepsy Action UK head office in person, which I think also helped him.
I am beyond proud of my husband. I love him to the moon and back, and if asked now about hidden disabilities I would simply say: be kind, be supportive, people are fighting battles everyday that nobody knows about.