Last week we listened back to the radio show we recently made at Headway. I mentioned some time ago, at the start of the media course, how I was now assisting on it as a volunteer, having once done the course myself, as a fully-fledged participant. We went to the University of Gloucestershire, here in Cheltenham, to record it. The head of the course, who suffered a stroke eight years ago, then went away and edited all of the recordings together into one pretty half-an-hour package for us to all have a copy of.
Listening back to it was massively helpful and inspiring - it showed me I'm not alone on my brain-injury journey, or it is not just me going through all of this, or in fact other people have suffered far worse injuries than mine, so I should appreciate what I have. Sometimes you cannot help but just look at yourself, or how YOU are actually feeling, like you are trapped inside your own head, with only your thoughts to hear.
I don't like using other people to make myself feel better, or comparing someone else's situation to mine, because it is unfair, but sometimes, you cannot help but look around at life at Headway, and think: 'I really have been incredibly lucky.' Even though you feel your whole world has crashed down around you, there are actually plenty of other people out there who have it worse than you.
I wish I'd always had this realisation and then I wouldn't have spent so much time worrying about the "little" stuff before my injury, such as 'have I put on weight?' Or 'where is my career going?' None of that really matters in the big picture. Without trying to sound preachy, but I really didn't know how lucky I was.
There are people at Headway in wheelchairs, or who cannot control their emotions and burst into tears sporadically (like I have) or people who must sleep during the day because using their brain wipes them out (again, like I have experienced). There are also people who do not survive a brain injury.
So I ACTUALLY thought I had it bad before my brain injury? What an idiot. There is also a case of saying: 'I think I have it bad now BECAUSE of my brain injury?' What an idiot! Stop moaning! You don't know how good you have it! As I have said before, I'm now able to really recognise and celebrate "achievements." Everything is an achievement to me now. Getting out of bed in the morning, walking down the street, or showering myself. And as I say, so many more people have it much worse than me. My injury is mostly hidden, even my scar is hard to find.
Many people do not have the "luxury" of being able to do things like that, on their own or not. So please, if you can take one thing away from these blogs, it is to just appreciate what you have, because I bet you, it is nowhere near as bad as you think.