I wrote a blog last year about doing Headway's media course.
Recently, the course started again, with a difference.
This year, I'm assisting, as a volunteer, which I cannot describe how much of an honour it is. Having done the course, I can give something back, and hopefully, pass something onto someone else.
This represents a huge change in me; how much my brain injury has changed me: I have become more selfless.
My aim is to one day say: "my brain injury is the best thing to ever happen to me."
Other than meeting Amy.
Let me explain. I would not consider myself self-centred, but Amy likes pointing out attributes associated with the order you come in your family. For example: she is the oldest, and has looked out for younger siblings, putting herself last. I am the youngest, and therefore, used to siblings looking out for me, which Amy loves pointing out!
As well as meeting people who have suffered brain injuries, Headway have enabled me to see people more in need, instead of myself. I can, therefore, celebrate achievements more, because when I overcome something, such as learning to walk again, it feels more significant.
My brain injury has made me more patient as many people I have met have suffered injuries worse than mine, so appreciating what I have is important.
I now appreciate triumph and achievement more.
The people who run the course suffered strokes, meeting them was inspiring.
I won't name them, so let's call them "X" and "Y".
"Y" is from Liverpool, where I went to university, so it is nice to reminisce about somewhere I lived, and jog memories. He is not from Liverpool, but what we "honorary" Liverpudlians call: "across the water" - the Wirral. The language of Liverpool is football, with Everton and Liverpool enjoying success, so in football terms; he is from Tranmere.
The course has allowed me to give back after years of working for newspapers, so hopefully, I can help others. In the first session, we read through newspapers, picking out stories appealing to us, and why. It was great seeing one of the papers I work for, The Citizen, on the table, because I could say: "I work for that newspaper." Hopefully, providing inspiration for someone, because I was in their position; doing the course.
As we went round the table introducing ourselves, everybody told their story.
It reminded me of what my journalism lecturer told me, which was: everybody has a story. It is journalists' jobs to extract them.
Another thing which stuck out was the phrases being used.
I have said I feel I have a sign on my forehead saying: "I have suffered a brain injury."
Television presenter Richard Hammond recorded a piece for the programme, saying he felt he had a t-shirt saying: "I'm alright."
I'm so excited about giving back to Headway as they have given so much to me. The course is running for a number of weeks and will result in a complete radio show written and recorded by the media group. Having more responsibility and a chance to be useful again has given me another boost in my confidence and a way to give back to this amazing community I am part of. Long may this continue.