On the 1st July 2000 I was involved in a motorbike accident. Initially I spent one month in a coma initially with breathing tubes, cables and monitors. My family were in shock and at times denial, there was also times of misunderstanding.
Immediately after regaining consciousness it was like regressing back to my toddler stage of life but not having the one hundred per cent consciousness of an adult to hold back my behaviour.
Everything had to be relearned. Everything you take for granted, I’ve relearned or ‘re-filed’ everything but not everything fits back where it did and so becomes ‘new’ again but new takes a lot longer to learn.
All immediate family were involved during the early stages. My Brother still lives in denial because I believe, he wasn’t around so much at the beginning of my recovery.
My life has changed completely, I lived back with my parents for the first 5 years, eventually married someone who completely understands disability and also the idea of invisible disability. I was a Design Manager and then freelance designer in London at time of the injury, with an offer to work for the Financial Times two weeks before the event, I had a full social life and ‘everything was looking rosie’ as they say. I was a percussionist/drummer with a positive future in this realm, although after my injury I lost nearly all coordination, so drumming is now almost impossible. What is more frustrating, is that I can play the drums in my head but my limbs will no longer ‘pay attention’.
The concept of me simply being alive and surviving the ordeal helped me come to terms with what has happened. Counselling helped me come to terms with the situation and living with a person who not only understands but has her own disabling problems can sometimes put perspective on my own.
Design was my initial career choice and still being able to do this to some degree gives me great satisfaction. I am certainly living a ‘second time around’ and this gives me the ability ‘second time around’ to perhaps make the right choices although due to my ‘less than satisfactory’ memory, I find a lot less advantages than disadvantages.
Being in groups with many people talking does help, especially at the Headway ‘peers’ meet every month. We all have brain injuries of some sort at the meeting so we don’t talk over each other, like everybody else does in society.
On the anniversary of my accident I celebrate my survival in a small way now, by just simply acknowledging it to my closest family.
If I could sum my whole situation up since my accident I’d have to encompass my whole being as, pessimism. I don’t see any family trait or that I was pessimistic before this incident but because of it, I am now pessimistic.
Peer support meetings are where you can meet different people who don’t judge, they understand what you have and what you are going through. Contact with Headway staff for help with understanding aspects of life that I’m sure, would’ve been simple before.
Unfortunately, or from a different perspective ‘Fortunately’, each Head Injury, Brain Injury, ABI, TBI… (The list goes on ,Google It), is different. I believe it is as different, as your fingerprint. Nothing is as it seems, even though there may not be a physical scratch on the patient and the brain damage can seem irreparable but the human body/mind is incredible and you can literally rewrite medical history, just give them time… things will change.