It is OK to be scared about not being well. I was utterly terrified. But know it can, and it will get better. You have more people around you who care about you than you realise.

Matt's Story

I have always considered myself fortunate in life. I grew up in a relatively well-off family, with 2 incredibly supportive parents, a brother who I get on incredibly well with and had loads of opportunity to play lots of sports, go on school trips and go on nice family holidays. I was never bullied to any great extent, I have always been someone with a close-knit group of friends around me that had my back and academics always came relatively simply to me, at least in the subjects I enjoyed. I don’t mean to sounds braggadocios when I say this, it is simply to paint the picture of a childhood where simply put I had nothing of any real note to worry about and I never had to ask anyone outside my parents for help.


When I was 16, I went away with school to America to take part in what was effectively a human experiment to see what happened when a bunch of kids from rural Wiltshire (where diversity is practically zero and vast majority of people are reasonably well off) are put into a school in inner city Washington DC, where the diversity is truly incredible and the spectrum of rich to poor is huge. The trip I loved and learnt so much about life from; I chose to go back the following year as a student leader to begin fostering a more serious relationship with the school.

However, when I went back the following year, I became really ill within the first few days of the trip. I went to the doctors who despite all of the tests coming back negative, gave me some antibiotics. The illness stayed for much of the trip and when I came back, I had more and more tests to try and establish what was going on. I ended up being diagnosed with a fairly minor illness after a series of negative tests.