I had my own business as property maintenance. It was a very successful business, around Canary Wharf. My daughters were only 10 and 20 years old when I had my ABI.
I had a berry aneurism, that I inherited from my dad. It burst. I went to hospital twice; first time I was sent back home, next day I collapsed in the shower. My partner took me to hospital, where I stayed for 1 month. I received rehab to walk and talk again, then they sent me home.
My personality changed, I was verbally aggressive and used to talk about sex all the time. This happened 5 years ago. I still receive therapy to help me with anger management.
No one could run the business for me, so we lost it. And I lost my house too; my partner and I split up after being together for 25 years! So, me and my younger daughter moved out.
I bumped into a member of headway staff on my way out of hospital, who gave me a card. When I arrived home, I realised I couldn’t read or do maths anymore – even though that was my thing, I even have a BA in maths! That impacted a lot in my confidence, really shocked me. That’s when I called Headway, and got into the waiting list.
Headway has helped me and my family a lot. I access the therapy team, day centre, art studio; I even baked in the kitchen! This place has helped me with my personal relationships, especially with family. I wasn’t that nice with my daughters in the past, is good to realise it now. Me and my partner are back together.
Lockdown has been both good and bad. My auntie passed away. During the funeral, we couldn’t touch each other…very sad. It has also been good because I become a grandmother. I have been surrounded by people all the time, which is a bit weird for me. It was jarring. I still had my therapy sessions by phone, which is been very important to me. Thomas and Kat (staff) came to my house to visit. James (key worker), regularly called me. I’m happy to be back at the centre now.
Marie Claire helps staff at Headway East London deliver training sessions: in-house training and Member Led Training, delivering lectures to university students.
I am hoping for the future to be able to be productive again, to be able to work…for instance.
I would like people to know how hard brain injury is on the family. They bring home a brand-new person and they have to adjust with no help. And also, how absolutely scary it is to have a brain injury. It robs you of who you are and the struggle to accept your new reality is REAL.