One of the things which has been affected enormously by my bleed is my confidence and if I'm honest, it has affected Amy's confidence as well. As we said last week, we have our comfort zone and we rarely stray from it.
I do rely on Amy for a lot of things, which might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but is a huge deal to me. For instance when we have been out for dinner, I do not say anything to anyone, Amy has to walk in first, give our orders and make small talk to distract from my deafening silence. Ok, so maybe that is a little over dramatic but, I'm sure Amy won't mind me saying this, Amy's confidence has taken a bit of a knock too. It can sometimes feel like we are out of place.
I am also a bit of a traditionalist and think I should be there to protect Amy, and our home, and be the man of the household. Unfortunately my injury has made this job a little harder.
It's hard to explain so here is an example; on Saturday, Amy and I drove to a pub not too far from where we live, as a treat, following a long week. The pub garden was packed with people and loud; we both felt anxious and ended up not going in and just driving home instead. We both reflected on this in the evening and tried to understand how we can stop ourselves getting in the way of our own happiness again. We instantly regretted not getting out of the car and taking the leap of faith, all because we were a little intimidated by a crowd.
This is a direct result of what happened to me, but it was made clearer on Saturday how we are missing out on so much purely because we are a little scared. I hadn't noticed until now Amy's confidence had been knocked because she has spent the last year protecting me from the world and her own doubts. I think this is important to remember, I cannot stress enough, brain injuries don't affect one person, it affects whole families, friends, even communities. Everyone affected needs support and encouragement.
So I promised the next day, I would take Amy out for a roast dinner and she would not have to say a word, to anyone. We went somewhere we have been before and at a time we knew would be relatively quiet so as to start this confidence building slowly. I can report it was a success! I got the orders right, I even took care of the small talk.
It felt like a huge step for me to make a bridge back to who I was before the bleed. I have told Amy this is not an excuse to go for dinner everyday but it is definitely one way I can build my confidence as well as give Amy time to build her own.