As a journalist, our favourite words to hear are: "I've not got anything interesting to say." Because, in reality, that is never EVER the case.
Since going to Headway, the national brain injury charity, on Wednesdays, that feeling of "I've not got anything interesting to say" has increased.
Recently I started an activity called: "Who Are You?" which was started by Headway East London.
As a journalist of the last nine years, my abilities were called upon to interview people; hopefully to extract as many interesting details about fellow brain injury survivors as possible for the project. To give more of an insight into life after, or living with, a brain injury. Hopefully boosting confidence and self-worth. I can tell you, from my experience, confidence is definitely one of the biggest areas affected by brain injuries. You feel broken. Worthless.
It was understandable and beautifully polite of a chap there, let's call him "G" to be a little sceptical about sharing such personal details of his life with a group of relative strangers. So when the leader of the group, let's call him "R", asked "G", who has the most fantastic voice, the question: "tell me something interesting about yourself." His answer was: "There's no point, because there's nothing interesting about me; I had a stroke."
You can see the oxymoron here. He then proceeded to tell us an incredible story about his younger days. We were all captivated, and not just because he has an amazing voice! This was definitely the case in point. Why would anybody be interested in anything I have to say? I'm ONLY a brain injury survivor!
As is so wonderfully typical of "G", he was unhappy with my line of questioning for him, as most people are with journalists, but this time, it was for a truly beautiful reason.
He was not happy with me because I had not asked him about the huge part his wife had played in his recovery. I could definitely relate to this, as I feel the same about Amy.
This is the thing about Headway, which has amazingly surprised me, even as a journalist who has heard a few interesting tales, let me tell you. Everyone there is absolutely incredible. There has not been one person I have met there who I did not find absolutely fascinating, or captivating.
First there was my friend, let's call him "D", who suffered a stroke a few years ago, and can only move one of his arms or hands, and therefore can only use one set of his fingers. Can you actually imagine that? Yet every week he would make some kind of model, usually aeroplanes. Which just gave me the most incredible source of inspiration.
Anyway, back to "G", as I was thinking of questions for him on my feet, I knew nothing of the part his wife had played in his recovery. So there I was being made to feel like a naughty schoolboy being told off by "G" in his fantastic old school thespian voice! It was like I was back at school! As you may be able to tell, he was a teacher for many years so was certainly used to telling people off! I just hope Amy is not this good at telling people off because it was scary - believe me!
The truth is we don't want our whole story to be about brain injury but it is definitely featured in more than a few chapters!