“My plus is my courage. In my first semester as an English literature undergraduate student I underwent emergency spinal surgery and narrowly avoided permanent paralysis. I kept up with my studies throughout the vigorous rehabilitation process. During the long hours at home where I was often bed bound with pain or recovering from physical therapy I would read and research extensively, desperate to keep up to my reading list. As a result, my passion for literature flowered more than ever. I was eventually strong enough to return to lectures, with a fierce determination to pursue my subject. After three years as an undergraduate, I went on to complete a Master’s degree.
Managing chronic pain alongside my studies, while holding down a part time job and trying to retain a social life often left me completely exhausted and burnt out. I had a hard time mentally and went through bouts of severe depression and anxiety. I also developed fibromyalgia, however, I never gave up and was determined that my disability would not limit my academic achievement. My disability pushes me to be courageous. I may never be pain free and my mobility problems are permanent. Knowing this, it often still takes me a great deal of courage to face each day, but this courage is also my strength. Without the challenges I faced, I would never have realised my full strength to stand courageous in the face of adversity.” – Charlotte Murgatroyd