My First Book!

My First Book!

Hello everybody, hope you are well.

My original plan was to write a blog post every week, but obviously, I haven’t stuck to that. Sometimes, I just don’t have anything interesting to say, or my brain has been causing too much trouble. But, something pretty cool has happened, and because of that, I do have something interesting to say. I’ve had “write blog post” written on a (very long) to-do list for a while, because…



So, in May 2017, I finished writing my book and sent it out (with cover letters and book proposals) into the literary world; to agents, firstly, most of whom gave me the kindest rejection emails you’ll ever read. I was prepared for rejection. It’s never easy, whether it’s your entire career or your high school crush, but I had read about so many successful authors, who had been rejected multiple times before any of their work was picked up. I also knew that no matter how many deep breaths I took before opening a yes-or-no, make-or-break email, I’d still have to deal with its contents. There was one literary agency I was especially hoping to see in my inbox; they get so many submissions that their system is to reply to the writers they’d like to represent, but if you don’t hear from them within a certain amount of time, then unfortunately, the answer is no.

Some of the things I learned from my rejections:

1)    It does not mean you’re a bad writer.

2)    It also doesn’t mean that your manuscript is completely underwhelming.

3)    “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” But don’t pester. No is no. I didn’t pester, because I’d researched the publication process and knew not to, but one of the kindest, most advice-filled emails I received made me want to beg. But, seriously, no is no.

4)    It doesn’t mean that agents are mean or cold – they’re not out to hurt your feelings. They want to do their best; for themselves, but particularly for you, as the author, and if they don’t feel they can represent you in the best way possible (for many different reasons), then they won’t put you through it.

5)    If an agent takes the time to advise you on anything, you should definitely take that on board. If they are not offering to represent you, they aren’t obligated to help you.

I’d also submitted my work to a few independent publishing companies across the country – sometimes, you don’t need agency representation in order to work with them – and it was one of these that gave me a “yes” and sent me a contract.

I. Was. Ecstatic.

But, having a sensible side, I didn’t sign the contract there and then, knowing my excitement (and my mum’s proudest smile) would cloud my judgement. I waited, then I read it again, and thought it sounded fine. Then my very level-headed uncle read it, and thought it sounded fine. Then, our family friend (who just happens to be a solicitor) read it, and she confirmed that it was, in fact, absolutely fine. I signed my contract with Austin Macauley Publishers in late September 2017.

Now, we’re in August 2018, and my book has been out for almost two months! The company, my family and my friends have all been so supportive, as I knew they would be, but I think the most rewarding part for me is the messages I have received from people I didn’t know; people who heard about it, read it and sent beautiful messages of thanks to me. Because they’re struggling too, with epilepsy, with different neurological problems, with other chronic illnesses, with mental health, and something in my book has helped them feel less on their own. A few people have said they feel less alone and more hopeful because of my book, and that is the BEST response for me. Being complimented on my writing is great, but to know that my first, difficult, very honest book has given hope to another person… that is everything.

My book is called Freaks Like Me, and is about my life before, during and after the diagnosis of a very rare, life-changing brain disorder. It is available at Amazon (UK and US), Waterstones, Foyles, WH Smith, Barnes & Noble, Austin Macauley Publishers website directly, and can also be ordered into independent book stores. Ask questions and/or let me know what you think on Instagram or Twitter, and you can use the contact page right here on my website.

So, for the last couple of months, my family have been running around sorting things out for a launch party, in which I also wanted to raise money for Mind. (Mind is a mental health charity, and they do incredible work for people in need; they’ve helped me quite a few times before, and mental health is very much an ongoing battle, for me and for so many others.) I worked hard trying to forget my “normal” insecurities, like the fact that I’ve gained a lot of weight, as well as my epileptic insecurities, like praying “please don’t have a seizure” etc.

The room looked fabulous. The atmosphere was perfect. It was one of the best times of my entire life. I was reminded of how much I adore my family and my friends, regardless of how much or how little I see them. So, to you all, I say THANK YOU. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for being proud of me. Thank you for having a part in who I am today. I think you are sensational.

Earlier in the week, I was ready to cancel this party for a few reasons, all related to my health, but on the night, I have to tell you, I felt very genuinely happy. Isn’t that #goals? Because, even though I know I’ll destroy myself about how I look on pictures, I didn’t think about that in the moment. I thought about my family and my friends. I thought about the charity we were supporting. I signed books. I danced. I talked. I made sure everybody knew that the candy wheel was mine and my friend’s genius idea.

When I got home, way past my usual old-lady-bedtime, I wrote “even if I end up in A&E tomorrow, or I can’t face something mentally, or I’m just scared or sad or hurting, tonight I am happy and life was good.”

Love, Georgie xox


Then & Now

Then & Now

Hello everybody!

So, I wasn’t originally planning to make this a blog post, but there is something I’ve been thinking about lately: how my old life compares to my new life (though it’s not all that new anymore – nearly 8 years!) Old me compared to who I am now. It’s not necessarily bad – certainly not all of the time – but I think about it a lot.

My ‘before’ life just doesn’t fit me anymore.

When I was diagnosed, I believed I was trapped. Which I am, to an extent. I started to idolise my old life because I thought I was free then. I thought I could do anything, and I took it for granted. Which, again, to a certain extent, is true.

My 17-year-old life is not, even the slightest bit, similar to my 25-year-old life. I know, so many people – ill or not – could say the same thing. The world has changed them. Life has changed them. Work has changed them. Love has changed them. A movie has changed them. I don’t know. But, I do know something for certain: I am not who I used to be. I’m not the same, and that life doesn’t fit.


You know when you just don’t feel like doing something? No proper reason, you just can’t be bothered? Well, I hardly ever have that feeling anymore. I want to do it all, probably because I know I can’t. It’s a true phrase: ‘we always want what we can’t have.’

Sometimes, it can be hard to get through to people, even the most understanding souls, that I can’t do it all. Because I take tablets – multiple medications – that make me more tired than tired should be. Because I have seizures all of the time, and even if I’m not unconscious and convulsing on the floor, I could still be having them. Absent seizures. My brain is still playing up for the majority of my time. And sometimes, I’m probably not telling you (unless you’re my mum!) that I’m feeling ‘off.’ Because we’re having a nice time, and I don’t want to mess it up. I don’t want you to take me home, or feel like you should go home. So, I try my best to remember what you/we were saying or doing. I try to remember everything. Even if I forget it later – which happens a lot – at least I’ll know for now.

These are just examples, but I used to walk a lot. Alone. It wasn’t, like, a weird thing. I’m just often surrounded by people, which I enjoy and am so grateful for, but sometimes, I need a break. Pre-diagnosis, I could take that break. Now, I can’t.

Things need to be planned. It all takes thought and preparation. I need someone to be with me. I need them to have their phone, with enough battery to call 999, a rescue medication, water. I also need my inhaler. I can’t really go if it’s ridiculously hot outside. I can’t go if its rainy, stormy weather. Sometimes, getting sick can’t be helped. But, I won’t do anything that has a high chance of making me sick. Because then, I’ll have more seizures. I don’t like walking on main roads because if I have a seizure, everyone will see the commotion.

That’s what my life feels like sometimes. Those five words. “If I have a seizure…”

I used to go on public transport. I mean, I was never its biggest fan. I’ve always preferred the car, but I could jump on a train. Easy. Buses were harder because I just feel anxious on them. That’s without a brain disorder or mental health issues. But still, I could do them if I had to. Now, I can’t.

I can’t be guaranteed a seat, and I need one – if I’m going to fall, it’s going to be easier from a seated position. Again, I need someone with me the whole time, and again, they need a charged phone and a rescue med, and the confidence to administer it. They also need the ability to calm me down, because if a train is crowded (or even if it’s not), the mixture of fear, stress, that feeling of the walls caving in, the worry about if I have a seizure, how everyone will react if I do… that’s going to bring on a panic attack. Probably major. I’d be surprised if it didn’t. The motion on a normal train also makes me feel sick. Which makes me scared that I’m going to puke. Which also makes me panic.

I can’t just go out to eat, to the beach, to see a movie… I can’t just go to the gym. (If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know that I recently had a seizure on a treadmill. Scary!) I mean, I can’t even use the knife to chop up salad for our dinner tonight. But, I guess that’s a good excuse for never having to contribute to making dinner.

I know your (meaning whoever is reading this) life isn’t easy either. I know you might think I’m complaining too much. I’d say I’m not, but that would be wrong of me. I am complaining. Because it’s hard. It’s much, much harder than my 17-year-old self could ever have imagined.

I was writing this yesterday, late afternoon. Just to feel better in myself, because writing it down tends to help me. But, I got up to use the bathroom, and had 3 tonic-clonic seizures back-to-back, then 2 absent seizures when I finally came around.

The paramedics rushed me to hospital and were worried about the chest pain I was having. Turns out I’d hit that area during the fall. My neck and back twisted during the convulsing, and I have muscular damage to the left side of my neck, which means I can only move it so far before the pain stops me. I still have this kind of ‘numb’ feeling in a few of my fingers. I also have ligament damage to my right wrist.

Last night, I missed out on a family wedding party. Now, honestly, I wasn’t actually planning to go. My medication is changing, and I’m adjusting – mind and body – and I’m feeling ‘strange’ most of the time. So, as much as I’d have liked to go, it wasn’t the best choice. Still, I had a choice. But then, in the blink of an eye, I didn’t. And neither did my mum.

As down-hearted as this may feel, it’s not like that. I feel very very lucky. I feel like I must have some kind of guardian angel. Nothing can stop the seizures – not presently anyway (there is always hope!) – but something has stopped me from dying. I’m really sorry if that sounds blunt or horrible, but that’s the truth. That’s the worst-case scenario.

Today, I’m not feeling my best. Understandably. I’m tired. I’m in pain. I’m snappy, because of those things. I’m on egg shells. Like it’s going to happen again today. Later. In ten minutes. Right now…

Okay, well it didn’t happen right then, so that’s good!

I hope that if I really do have some kind of guardian angel, they can please let me have at least this one day, to rest. Most importantly, for my family to breathe. It’s not just me who goes through this. My closest people go through it for me too. I should probably remember that when I’m snapping at them…

Hope everyone is having a great weekend, and my next post will be super exciting! I have it all planned out, but I can’t post it just yet.

Love, Georgie xox

PS. My sisters brought me a goody-bag home from the wedding! Yay! They are #SisterGoals

Through The Eyes Of The Anxious

Through The Eyes Of The Anxious

Hello everybody!

Welcome to my third (and most difficult) blog post! I’ve considered posting something like this for a while now, but I always seem to talk myself out of it.

What if people think I’m attention seeking? What if it comes across like I’m sort of “capitalising” on my mental health battles? What if I’m laughed at? What if people don’t understand? But, that final “what if” was the one that made me want to do this. Because, really, why can’t I help people to understand? Why would I sit around, waiting and hoping and wishing that the general public will someday just “get it”, when I could be helping to achieve that?

Then, yesterday, something happened to me, and I thought I best do this now, while it’s still very raw in my mind. So, here goes…

A few years ago, I was at rock bottom. Mentally, I mean. The “lowest point” is different for everybody, and it probably changes with life experience too. I remember, in an episode of Friends, Rachel says “it’s like there’s rock bottom, fifty feet of crap, then me.” As bizarre as it may be to use a Friends quote in a mental health post, it’s pretty relevant here. At some time in life, you might reach a point where “lower” doesn’t exist. You’re at the lowest you can be. That’s where “the only way is up” saying comes into play. The problem is, what if “the only way” is stuck there? What if you remain stagnant, right at the bottom, watching other people live their lives as you become more and more riddled with fear and intense sadness, wishing you could be anyone other than you? Not fun.

It took a l o n g time, and a lot of nagging from the people who love me, but I finally accepted that I needed some help. I went to see my doctor, and was diagnosed with clinical depression and chronic anxiety. He also referred me to a therapist. Now, the depression side, I’ll go into some other time, but today, it has to be anxiety!

You see, despite the progress I have made (and will continue to make), and despite the multiple methods of help I have received over the years, I am still very much in this battle. And it is a HARD fight. That’s not to say I wake up every day feeling terrified to open my curtains (bearing in mind, I have been in that place before). There are times when I feel fine – pretty level-headed – and as ready as I can be to face what is ahead.

Now, since I have a unique set of medical circumstances, which make every day unpredictable, it’s pretty normal that I will always carry a bit of anxiety with me. But I’ve learnt that there is a huge difference between fearing a seizure, and fearing everything. That brings me to the events of yesterday.

I haven’t been very well, which is uncommon for me. I have seizures, and I experience side effects from my medications, but I don’t really get sick. (I’m lucky in that way!) So, I’m still not 100% and yesterday, I guess you could say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed! I still didn’t feel right. The cut on my tongue was still hurting from my most recent seizure. My hair was greasy. My face looked awful (redness, hormonal spots, acne scarring… if you are a teenager, DO NOT PICK YOUR SPOTS). Ran out of my favourite perfume. Hadn’t slept very well. Couldn’t find the top I wanted to wear. Irritable. Unintentionally snappy. I was basically hating on life a bit! I called a taxi because I was going, with my younger sister, to meet our Mum and older sister at the salon. Then, I lost some time…

The first thing I noticed was the unfamiliar surroundings. A man I didn’t know driving me to a place I didn’t know I was going to. I had no idea what was going on. Who is he? I need to get out of this car. I don’t know him. Where am I going? What am I doing? What is happening? By the time I’d realised that my sister, who can deal with these attacks like an expert at this point, was there and already trying to talk me around, it was too late. Had she not been holding onto me, I would have tried to get out of the car while it was moving.

Hysterical, I jumped out of the car as soon as it came to a stop, and she guided my jelly-legged self into the building. Still not able to comprehend anything, my older sister took me into a disabled toilet, where she talked calmly to me, and reiterated the breathing exercises I’ve been taught to use as a coping mechanism. Physically, during a panic/anxiety attack, I usually shake, pull at my hands and fingers, rock back and forth, my heart races and I feel like I can’t take a deep breath in. My speech can slur, and I repeat myself. Sometimes, I don’t make much sense at all. Most times, I do end up crying during and/or afterwards. (While it is possible to forget things, the absent seizure I experienced before yesterday’s attack was probably the reason for my temporary loss of memory).

Anyway, once I’d stopped sobbing, my sister helped me into a room with our Mum and younger sister, and our hairdresser and beautician – both of whom I know very well. (They have become real friends of ours, as well as making us look better!) I had a drink and sat on the sofa until I was felt calm enough to continue on with the day. We went to a supermarket, but I stayed in the car with Mum and we had a nice chat. Back home, I had a hot shower, ate one of my favourite meals and watched my all-time favourite movie with my family. Before bed, I wrote down everything that was on my mind (a simple yet effective way to clear your head!) and then, I slept.

This morning, I woke up and felt refreshed. I wanted so much to write this blog post, but I talked myself out of it AGAIN, primarily due to anxiety itself. But, one of my glorious friends talked me back into it. She reinforced all the positives, and made me see, as she always does, that there are people who want to listen. (Thank you Layla, my loveliest!) I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why I’m not brave enough to stand up and say “I’m not ashamed.” But, that’s the thing: I CAN be brave enough… and so can you!

This post is only a tiny fraction of my mental health journey, but I want you to feel free to message me, talk to me (or anybody you trust) if you’re experiencing any kind of mental health issue, or even if you’re having a bit of bad time and just want to vent, I’m here for you! I’m no expert, but I am a good listener.

DISCLAIMER: I have and will always recommend visiting your doctor/medical professional if you feel you are struggling with your mental health. Our minds need to be taken care of, just as much as our bodies do (maybe more in some cases). However, if you don’t feel ready to do that, then PLEASE open up to somebody, whether this be a parent, a sibling, a friend etc, or one of the great organisations out there, such as:

Samaritans (116 123 –*

Mind Infoline (0300 123 3393 –*

SANEline (0300 304 7000 –*

The Mix (0808 808 4994 –*

and many more!

It is SO important to talk.

Love, Georgie xox


*Please note these are UK helplines/websites.