It is difficult to measure progress - there are no units for it. Therefore, it is hard seeing if I am making any progress. That is why I find these blogs useful - to look back and compare. Apologies if you have not found my subject matters interesting, but it helps me chart strides I have made - that is the only measure of progress I can find. So today, I thought I would look back through blogs from this time last year to show I am making progress.
Don't get me wrong, as well as the inevitable negatives which come with any brain injury, there have been positives.
My main goal was to increase my work hours. I have been extremely lucky with work being so patient and understanding. Not everyone is as fortunate. I began my graded work return in January 2014; going into the office for an hour a week to write these blogs. That has increased, from one hour a week, to six, as well as covering rugby matches on Saturdays.
Nobody wants this position, especially me. I want to do my job full-time, because I love it. A lot of people cannot wait for their working day to end, whereas I love what I do.
Another objective was walking to and from work by myself, and for some time now I have managed this, which feels amazing because it incorporates a number of different things, such as eradicating my limp. It now feels like no big deal to walk to and from work which is why these blogs are so important. I am humbled by the version of myself who wrote and struggled to achieve that goal. A man who could at first only manage walking there, not back as well, who at times forgot which way to turn or when to leave.
I have also caught the bus to Headway by myself on Wednesdays, which again, may not sound like much, but brings me onto another of the biggest plus points from my brain injury; seeing the positives. Catching the bus incorporates a number of facets, such as being organised enough beforehand by having my £5 note all ready to pay for the journey, after walking, and, more importantly, remembering the way to the bus stop.
My confidence has also been dented, to the point where I sometimes struggle looking people in the eye. I have learned from meeting many other brain injury survivors at Headway, I am not alone in this. Recently, Amy and I went out for end-of-term drinks with her PGCE course mates, who were celebrating getting teaching jobs. This was a great opportunity to push myself and become more confident in meeting and talking to new people. I loved feeling normal, going out with friends doing normal things. Amy and I sat in four different pubs on Saturday (we were celebrating!) and I like to think anyone walking by would not even notice us in a crowd, which is such a wonderful feeling.
I have achieved these goals in the last year, so I AM making progress, which tells me I will get there, one day. Clearly I am making progress even if I can't see it myself.