A Difficult Christmas

December 1, 2012

I went to see my consultant. He wanted to ween me off my epilepsy medicine. I was taking phenytoin. It was not known if I had epilepsy but I was on the medication as a precaution after suffering seizures in hospital. It would take 6 weeks to come off the medication. As I was coming off the medication there was a high risk of having a seizure if I did have epilepsy. Family had to be told of what to do in the event of a seizure.

December 2, 2012

I had mixed emotions coming off the epilepsy medicine. It felt good that I was in a position to come off the medicine. On the other hand, I felt worried about a possible seizure. It was just another challenge. What will be…will be. Keep moving forward.

December 7, 2012

I was finding work tough. I was a million miles from carrying out my normal duties. Basic tasks were difficult. My memory was poor and my attention/concentration span was minimal. I decided to speak to my neuropsychologist to get some advice.

December 8, 2012

One thing I was finding a challenge was keeping up with conversations. Especially in groups. It was nearly impossible. By the time I thought of something to contribute the conversation had moved on. I just couldn’t keep up. This was deflating and made me feel isolated.

If you’re supporting someone with a brain injury, then it’s important to be mindful of this challenge. I recommend asking one question and then giving time to respond before moving on with conversation. Remember to slow things down. One subject at at time. Go at their pace so they will feel comfortable.

December 9, 2012

I was thriving at the gym. Exercising and eating well was giving me a positive focus which also helped to maintain a good sleep routine. This healthy lifestyle helped me so much in recovery.

I was taking photos to evidence my transformation to Men’s Health. I really wanted to give other people with brain injuries hope and show that good things can still be achieved after brain injury.

December 14, 2012

Having a positive focus in the gym was the best thing that I could have done for myself during recovery. It was the gym for me but it could be anything else for others. There is always a way – just don’t give up!

December 15, 2012

I spoke to my neuropsychologist about work. I told her about the things I was struggling with and she offered advice. My biggest problem was that I was too proud to listen properly. I noted it down, but I just didn’t put her advice into practice. I’ll be OK, I don’t need to use strategies like that. This was a big mistake!

December 17, 2012

My relationship with Gemma was still feeling the strain. We were doing our best, but things change after brain injury. It seemed impossible to have the same relationship. I was a different man. I was living with brain damage, struggling to keep up and make sense of what had happened to me. Relationship skills and thoughts for others were lost.

December 18, 2012

The half marathon and fun day event was coming on a treat. Lots more friends were signing up. The way things were going I would have fifty people signed up before Christmas!

December 20, 2012

Christmas was around the corner. I love Christmas but this year I found it extremely hard. Christmas is such a busy time. There is so much to think about in the build-up. Organising presents etc. is hard work when you’re sound of mind, never mind with a brain injury. I tried to keep up, but it wasn’t any good for me. I felt stressed and overwhelmed. This didn’t help my recovery.

December 21, 2012

If it’s your first year at Christmas with a brain injury and you’re struggling to keep up, then try not to put any unnecessary pressure on yourself. I’m sure you can still play a small role in the festivities. Be honest with your loved ones and ask for support to help you manage. Enjoy the occasion as much as you can. Be kind to yourself.

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas – all the very best everyone.

December 27, 2012

Despite feeling the strain, I was still smiling. I was happy to be celebrating the festive period with loved ones. Seeing my family excited for Christmas made me happy. I prayed that the new year would bring better things. I had the fundraiser to look forward to and potentially Men’s Health!

December 28, 2012

Looking back, I found that Christmas tough. I was slow cognitively and still had a poor memory. I was struggling with work. I could not drive. I had little money. My relationships with people were different. I was suffering with depression. I had an upcoming crown court trial to deal with. Life seemed like really hard work.



Hope with memories and jumping hurdles