Nicola Egan lives with pain – but like many similar people I have met in my role as mental wellbeing explorer… she finds a way forward to wellbeing and happiness.

Nicola is one of the most upbeat people you could ever meet. She started teaching makeup artistry at The Waverley Academy over 3 years ago .

She is a breath of fresh air around the college – bubbly and bright at all times – but more importantly – she cares about her students…and the role of makeup artistry in making others feel good.

So it came as a big surprise when I found out she had been living with pain since the age of 6… Meet Nicola Egan (Chapter 1)

“At 31-years-old I am a college student in my final year of a teaching degree, a makeup teacher at The Waverley Academy and setting up a freelance makeup business.

I live with a chronic illness from the age of 6 which for the last 14 years I have not had control over, it had control of me. I’ve decided to share my story living with colitis and Crohn’s Disease in the hope it will help others.

To get a quality of life back I needed a new G.P, consultant and hospital. As a young woman I decided to take charge of my life. The norm for me was four A&E visits a year and being unable to work.

This caused a difficult relationship with myself. I had to learn to avoid stress because that brought on flare ups of the crohns. I also have depression and crippling anxiety. Symptoms of crohns are chronic pain, ulcers and fatigue.

The side effects of treatments and medications can be as difficult as living with the illness itself. It seemed like all the roles in my life, daughter, friend, sister, employee was all under the umbrella of my role as a patient. Without health no role is manageable.

Being diagnosed with a life long illness at age 11 means a windy road ahead, In primary, secondary, third level and adult education the journey of lifelong learning. My experience means I have a different outlook as a person, a learner and in my role as an educator.

I am a creative person and makeup is a way of bringing creativity into your daily life. Not only that but it’s a way of being creative and caring for others in ways you wouldn’t believe. Making someone you love, know or have just met there is nothing better than making them feel good about themselves.

It could be a minimal day look where you subtly enhance their natural features or a glamorous evening look with lashes, glitter and red lips. Awareness and acceptance are key in living with any debilitating health condition.

You find what makes you happy and in turn things start to fall into place. For all this to happen for me, they had to fall apart first.”