When I was 3yrs old I suffered a head injury which led to me having epileptic seizures every day. I had to take high doses of medication and attend hospitals to be tested and investigated which I hated. Later, in addition to epilepsy and brain injury, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which means that I find it difficult understanding social things that people take for granted such as how others think and feel, particularly in relationships.
My life started to change when I was 16yrs and bought a guitar. I became facinated with music and began to play bass guitar. I still had to take my medication daily as it controlled my epilepsy, even though it made me tired and hard to concentrate.
I studied performing arts and musical theatre at school and then moved from home to a college in Gloucestershire which supported Asperger students as, although my parents were and are wonderful, they lived in a remote part of the country which I found boring and dull. I needed to be with people of my own age and live my dream of becoming a rock star.
After three years residential college, I moved to a shared flat with OPENhouse. At the same time I succeeded in gaining a place at Stroud College studying a National Certificate in Music Technology. OPENhouse staff helped me to work out a support plan that made sure I paid my bills, kept my flat safe/tidy and attended college. At the beginning, I did not want to acknowledge or accept that I had Asperger’s or Epilepsy. I would not talk about my worries or attend hospital appointments. Eventually, OPENhouse staff encouraged me to deal with these issues directly. I went to see a consultant who reviewed and reassured me about my epilepsy and I learned about Asperger’s and what I needed to do and think about to make relationships work. I learned to talk to staff and share my fears, frustrations and dreams. I studied hard taking extra guitar lessons twice a week to develop my guitar skills and apply for Rock School guitar grading.
My confidence grew and in 2011, I was offered places by two leading music colleges. I eventually accepted Access to Music in Bristol where I am currently studying Level III Performance Musician and Songwriting.
I moved to a flat in Bristol Sept 2011 and find it hard to believe I have achieved so much. I plan to continue studying music to degree level and eventually pursue a career as a music session artist.