Hi, I’m Sammy. I hear from lots of Syncope suffers. Naomi wrote this note:
Living with RAS at school is hard because not many people know about it. Only my friends know and I’m not with them all the time. Even though some people do know about it, they treat it like a joke and think it’s funny. That makes me feel unhappy when I am around them because if I had a blackout, they wouldn’t know what to do.
The teachers and other pupils at my school are getting better at coping with this because I am willing to talk about RAS. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed. I like to be different!
If I were to move to a different school and on my first day I was feeling dizzy, I would tell a teacher. If I was moving to a new school, when being shown around, I would get my mum to explain RAS to the staff.
My school has raised awareness and fundraised by having a non-uniform day, selling cakes and wristbands and I have taken leaflets in.
Having a friend on the school council helps because they are able to suggest what charities to support throughout the year.’
That’s really good advice, Naomi, and I’ve thought of some more ideas which could help…
Making sure your teacher understands what can happen and how to help is really important!
That’s right, Everybody is different. Sometimes our differences- whether the colour of our hair, the shape of our body or having a condition like syncope- can make us feel alone and often embarrassed. We might feel that we want to keep some things about ourselves a secret so that we don’t get teased or left out. We want to be ‘normal’ and like everybody else.
HOWEVER, everybody else is different in some way too so there is no such thing as ‘normal’.
Having syncope is no different to having asthma, wearing glasses or having freckles. We are all unique in some way.
It is nothing to be embarrassed about. There is no need to keep it a secret. The people who you think might tease you would only do it because they don’t understand.
If you are open and honest about what happens to you sometimes, you are less likely to be teased because everybody will understand what is happening if ever they see you have a blackout. If people don’t know about it and don’t understand, they might be scared.
It is up to you who knows about your black outs, you may not want everybody to know. However, there is always the chance that at some point you might need their help, so you need to think carefully about who you want to tell. All of your teachers should know, but DO REMEMBER, friends can be the best people to help you! Talk to your family and share your ideas with them.
Telling somebody else can be tricky… it might help if a teacher did some of this for you – there are some ideas for teachers on this website! Or you could show your friends my story. Below is a list of ideas other children with RAS and Syncope have suggested that work:
- Think of a hedgehog, whenever the hedgehog faces danger it curls into a ball shutting itself off from the world to protect itself. This is like a child with RAS who falls down and has a ‘sleep’ when a ‘danger’ has temporarily (that means, just for a little while) stopped his/ her body working.
- Using an example of a car can help explain the ‘jerking’ movements that your friends might see happen to you when you have a black out. Your body is similar to a car trying to start on a cold morning; it stutters and shakes to get itself working when the cold has slowed everything down.
- Or may be try this: ‘I tell my friends that I am the lucky one because if I hurt myself I have a little sleep until the nasty thing has gone away.’