SO­PHIE, 13, has an arach­noid cyst, a fluid-filled sac on her brain.

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When I was 10, I had an MRI and they found an arach­noid cyst right in the mid­dle of my brain. At that stage,

I didn’t have any symp­toms, but in 2016, I started to get headaches, dizzy spells and I even fainted. It was re­ally scary. I learnt as much as I could on­line, but some­times it was over­whelm­ing. Around this time, I joined Livewire, which helped me re­alise I wasn’t alone and helped me be more com­fort­able with ed­u­cat­ing oth­ers. School was hard, as peo­ple said I was mak­ing it up be­cause they couldn’t see any­thing phys­i­cally wrong with me. My headaches got worse and I was hav­ing them con­stantly, so my neu­ro­sur­geon de­cided I should have surgery to drain the cyst, and I went on the wait­ing list. It was hard on my family, as we couldn’t make plans for months. I’d just started high school, so this meant an­other group of peo­ple would doubt I was sick. It made me feel low, but my friends were great. Don’t take neg­a­tive words per­son­ally. I did at the start, but I just shake it off now. I also talk openly about my con­di­tion with teach­ers, friends and family – it helps!

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