In 2008 I began having excruciating headaches and was eventually admitted to a neurological hospital where I stayed for 6 months. I was diagnosed with a rare condition called cerebral vasculitis which is an inflammatory disease affecting the arteries of the brain causing a wide variety of symptoms.
I had a complete loss of function in my left side and couldn’t walk. My speech was affected and I became very confused. My memory, concentration and mood were also affected. One of the worst things was that I was separated from my children for 6 months as I was in a different part of the country when I was admitted to hospital and was too ill to travel.
Initially it was really difficult not being able to drive as I live in the countryside. I found shopping really challenging as it overloaded my senses.
It is hard for my family and children to understand how difficult things are for me sometimes as I look ok on the outside. I did try to return to work but it was too much to cope with alongside looking after the children and home life.
I have ongoing treatment for the cerebral vasculitis and the medication has given me many side effects which don’t help.
I have attended Headway Salisbury and South Wiltshire for the last 3 years, the monthly Peer Support Group is the only social activity I do and I feel relaxed at the group and enjoy the social interaction. Sometimes I feel different because my brain injury was not caused by trauma and I have ongoing treatment and that can make me feel even more isolated.