Basingstoke Team Parish

Christy: It took an admission essay for a teaching course to make me realise how far I have actually come with PoTS.


Describe a significant experience that illustrates what you bring to the diversity in a college.

"It is our experiences that mould us into who we are, during times of adversity our true character will show." - Celestine Chua

In hind sight most people wouldn't change what they have experienced throughout their lives. Some people argue life experiences make a person who they are.

Sharing my experience has helped me really comprehend how far I have came and how much I want the future I am planning for.

The first sign of trouble was when I started falling asleep at school I was constantly hungry and tired. I would plead with my teachers to let me eat in class and I started to loose weight uncontrollably. I made an appointment with my doctor because I felt lethargic and I had an abnormally huge appetite. I had also fainted in the week leading upto the appointment. With no real concern from my doctor I was bewildered I couldn't understand how somebody could dismiss my explanation of how I was feeling. Within 6 weeks I'd lost control over the blackouts they became more frequent and more difficult to recover from. I had collapsed for the forth time on a particular day and I woke up to an oxygen mask on my face and an explanation from paramedics that I'd had a panic attack. My mum insisted I was taken to hospital. On arrival I was greeted by an ill mannered abrupt nurse who advised that I should calm myself down and that panic attacks can easily be prevented. Not long after my arrival at A&E I found myself on a heart emergency ward attached to several machines and drips. They suspected at first that I may have suffered a heart attack.

In the 3 years that followed I was tested on. I had a tilt table test, I had the functions of my nervous system tested, I had a heart scan, I wore heart monitors and I was tested for genetic conditions. I was prescribed various medications including beta blockers which doctors later discovered I was actually intolerant to. Although I explained my intolerance to a doctor, I was given beta blockers during a stay in hospital. I took a turn for the worst due to a doctors negligent decision which set back my recovery further.  I was doubted by many medical professionals, at one point I was being monitored during my visits to the toilet as doctors believed I was loosing weight due to having an eating disorder. Which was disproved when I eventually got a confirmed diagnosis.

In the past 3 years I have been through a great amount of loss. I lost parts of myself to the illness that you couldn't imagine possible. My personality, my sense of humour, my appetite, weight, my social life, friends. At one point my illness controlled every aspect of my life or what little I had of one.

My strength and motivation came from how I eventually chose to over come these losses. At first I thought I would loose my life to this illness. I gave up hope, I gave up my future and my aspirations. The most simple tasks such as showering or eating where sometimes more than I could manage. It killed my mum to see the life drain from me and she was set on the fact that I could be a medical miracle she was determined I would recover. Her determination infuriated me at times. I was sick, she wasn't a doctor. What did she know? My mum slowly convinced me to change the way I thought about my situation. I felt I'd lost control over every aspect of my life but she helped me to realise I had control over my thoughts and the mind is powerful. My mum would read testimonials from people who recovered from illnesses with the power of the mind. She empowered me to change my mindset and to use everything I had in me to find any positive I could in my situation. Admittedly I was awful at first I'd set out to be positive and practice positive thinking but it wasn't as easy as the testimonials made out. I worked out I had to focus on my future. This took an immense amount of patience to fantasise about how happy I was going to be when I was overcome with fear and self doubt. This positivity became a crutch any adversity I faced I put a positive spin on the situation and it was a lot easier to process and deal with.

I still haven't reached complete recovery yet but the day my mindset altered was the day I gained control. I begun planning my life and my future filled with health happiness and success. I promised myself it was never going to get the best of me.

I have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS). My heart beats so fast I can burn calories sleeping. I have syncope and pre syncope episodes, I am light sensitive, my body has trouble regulating my temperature, I have palpitations, orthostatic  headaches, I get brain fog, I shake, I suffer visual problems; greying tunnel and glare, gut problems, chest pains, bladder problems.

The nature of my condition is irrelevant to what I bring to the diversity of any environment. The way in which I have dealt with my PoTS experience is what adds to the diversity of a college. I am patient, appreciative and have an outlook on life that is very rare for a person of my age. I am mature, sensible and loyal. I was lucky enough to have a support network around me during this experience who are faultless. I would love to offer the same quality support to children in the future. I would like to empower children to feel they can achieve things they wouldn't have even dreamt of. I want to instil the importance of positivity and gratitude within the education I provide. I will admit life got harder when I became ill with PoTS but living got easier! I have a lust for life I appreciate every day I am gifted with and I strive for the life I could only dream about at one point in my life. I will achieve it if not for myself for all the people who believed in me. I've found during significant experiences in life not only do you find your untapped strength and courage but you find the potential you have and you strive to reach it because you have an altered awareness of what a blessing life is and how opportunities come to those who will appreciate them.

Living, dealing and being diagnosed with an invisible illness.

Christy cormack

View all stories