Like every other teenager in high school ,I too faced this question ; “What do you want to do after you finish school? “, asked my mother when I was too young.
Having been battling epilepsy since birth till the age 14 and undergoing a rigorous day and night seven years course of medication, it was finally that the EEG screen in the neurologist’s cabin showed smooth waves with minimal spikes, indicating normal brain activity. This came as a huge relief to my father, mother and of course to the neurologist who had been treating me from age 6 to 14 years.
Living with a chronic illness like epilepsy is undoubtedly a challenge. The risk of having anabrupt episode of seizure, the medical expenditures that arise due to long term course of medications,the series of brain MRI scans, follow up EEG’s and much more ,over the years made me realize how difficult life would be if one is not blessed to be born with sound health. Seeing my parents spending enormous amounts of money on my treatment for years ,made me feel that my illness came as a burden to my parents. However, being blessed with extremely supportive parents, my dad had always told me that good health is the greatest wealth and never stepped back at any point when it came to spending on my treatment. Seeing this, I often pondered over the question that repeatedly struck my mind, which was;if I had to give back something to my parents for all the financial hardships they had to go through during my illness, what would I give them that would bring them immense happiness and pride in calling me their daughter?
I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to inspire people and share with them my journey with battling epilepsy ,which is why I wanted to become a motivational speaker.I also remember a quote from one my father’s speech at one of his office event where he said,”no matter what I am or where I am in the next twenty years, I promise you all that I will leave behind my two wonderful daughters to serve the world to the best of their abilities and I know for sure that they will put their best foot forward in making the world a better place to live .”I remember having tears moisten my eyes when my father said this and to top it all,he won the best speaker award at the event!
That day was exactly the day when I was certain that at some point in my life, I wanted to go around the world as a motivational speaker who has battled epilepsy since the day I was born, but refused to give up hope on leading a normal life free from illness someday. So the answer to my mother’s question on what I wanted to do when I would finish school was clear.I wanted to become a motivational speaker .However my mom insisted that I could make motivational speaking as an alternative career option and pursue my mainstream career in a full-fledged subject. I hence chose to become a doctor because of my love for helping people and thus pursued MBBS. Today I am an intern doctor and I dream to grab an opportunity to stand tall and deliver motivational speeches and become one of the world’s most well known motivational speaker.
In my opinion, here are my solid reasons which make my desire to pursue motivational speaking as an alternative career stronger:-
1)First and foremost is my desire to speak out to end discrimination against ill-health persons
In today’s world, very few people who have fought life threateningillnesses and have emerged victorious share their inspiring stories with the world. There arenumerous reasons behind why they remain unwilling to share their story of their journey with illness, the most common which I believe is the social stigma and judgement attached to chronic illnesses. Take for example, an ambitious college going girl suffering or having suffered epilepsy or any other long term illness. She would like to voice her thoughts on her milestone of making it till college in spite of her serious illness. However, she begins having second thoughts that her college mates and professors would begin to look at her from a different perspective and treat her differently if she made them aware that she has a medical illness. She would thus come to a conclusion that her college is not right platform to share her inspiring story and hence silences her thoughts and voice.This is what societal judgement and discrimination can do!
But I have always been a very strong minded girl myself and having been told my father often, “Go push aside the negatives that the world tells you.Be confident because your parents care for you more than the world cares for you. You fought your hurdles with epilepsy by your own willpower so now go make the world know that your abilities overpower your disabilities”. I hence know that I am very confident and will never shy away in speaking about my challenges or my battle with epilepsy and overcoming the same.I believe that I am a people’s person, I love connecting with people, meeting and speaking with people ,which is why I believe my communication skills and confidence will help me make my alternative career as a motivational speaker flourish.
2)Enthusiasm and eagerness to spread awareness about an illness battled personally
I am a firm believer of the saying “when u know better, you do better”.
In addition to battling epilepsy myself, being a doctor too gives me immense enthusiasm in raising awareness in all aspects of this illness. I am well aware about the triggers of seizures that must be avoided in epileptic patients,the obstacles faced in their day to day routines,the kind of daily activities and surroundings that may provoke a seizure and thus ought to be avoided,the first hand management of emergencies by family members themselves in case of a fateful event in such patients.
Battling this illness myself since early childhood, my doctor and parents had always stressed on taking preventive measures by making me aware of all that I should know in order to defeat epilepsy. Hence,I believe that using my very own experiences, in my 14 years battle with epilepsy,I can raise awareness to increase understanding as to what safety measures must be taken to achieve longer seizure-free periods and live life at more ease and comfort.
3)Fund raising to support the medical expenses of those in disadvantaged positions
For a few disadvantaged people suffering an type of illness, be it their inability to afford medical tests or purchasement of medications, a promising financial support system would be highly appreciated which would fund them during their course of treatment. I believe that as a motivational speaker being given various platforms to speak on,there would definitely be a few generous people among the audiences who would come forward and lend a helping hand to those disadvantaged persons who are in desperate need of financial support to fund their treatment
4)A chance to travel round the world to address the masses
Motivational speakers are often invited to speak on big platforms in different parts of the world, such as TED TALKS,school and college gatherings, university graduation days, empowerment foundations, support groups and so on. Opportunities to travel round the world in order to convey motivating messages and address people of different nationalities, religions, casts or creeds is something that not everyone gets to do.This is one of the main reasons which I believe makes the career of a motivational speaker unique and stand out.
5)Making a name of for one’s self
Motivational speaking is about how well the message reaches out to the audiences. It is single-handedly the speaker who puts forward the message, leaves a positive impact and uplifts people’s emotional drive to success .Audiences who have been driven to success, would look back and say that it was because of this motivational speaker that I didn’t give up .Hence, it a career where one not only makes name and fame, but also one who receives gratitude in return from people.
6)Role of social media
Last but not the least,social media like Instagram, Facebook have follow pages such as Goalcastmotivationvideos ,Ted talks and so on. Since most of us cannot live without one form of social media,motivational speech pages would play a role in promoting motivational speakers on this media. Hence,In my opinion ,of the best alternative careers would be motivational speaking as it permits one to speak with a full heart without being judged and allows following one’s true purpose of life .
And most importantly as an epilepsy survivor myself,it is important that I put forth my effort to work through the trauma, by speaking out loud.
Writer: Trish Miranda, Pimpri, Pune, India