My brain injury has gained me inclusion into a select group in society.
I'm now a member of the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) club, which I recently enjoyed the benefit of.
Traumatic Brain Injuries shatter confidence and self-worth. On my weekly Headway visits, I have met someone called Matt.
Each week he plays pool on his own, to build confidence following his brain injury because he loves pool, and is really good!
Not long ago, Amy and I went for drinks with her course-mates at Cheltenham's main student pub, The Frog and Fiddle, and we bumped into Matt.
Seeing him was fantastic; it meant there was another person who knew what I'm going through, which sounds depressing, but when you feel you're on society's sidelines, it's great to tell someone: "It's good to see you."
Not only that, but it was amazing to see Matt step out of his world, just like me and do something challenging, such as go for drinks
Sometimes I need excuses to talk to people, but am often afraid, shy, or intimidated because I feel different to everybody else, so I made sure I talked to Matt and he really came out of himself.
These things can be taken for granted, because they come naturally, but when you've had a brain injury, there's lots of adjusting, or relearning skills, like talking to people. I never considered myself confident, or able to talk to people, so for example, I could never "chat up" girls.
Amy claims she spoke to me first when we met in Dublin on Valentines' Day, 2012, proving my point. This impressed me, and not just because she joked about herself; she had forgotten her hair brush and had very matted hair!
Straight away we clicked, following numerous Bob Marley references.
Having put up with my sense of humour, and brain injury, for the last few years, it is clear she is special, and I am incredibly lucky.
I live with Amy, which makes me feel lucky, as I have someone to talk to and to talk to me (when I haven't annoyed her!) whereas many brain injury sufferers live in care, or on their own, or don't have the confidence to socialise.
Confidence is definitely underrated.
I have felt broken by my brain injury, so sometimes I don't feel worthy around new people or people I don't know well. Therefore, I feel shy, awkward, or insecure.
I'm embarrassed by my brain injury because I feel weakened by it; they destroy confidence, no matter how much you had, and are not prejudice.
I have found so much strength in finding more people who have suffered with a brain injury. It is being talked about much more. All I have to do is a quick internet search and I find words written or spoken by fellow survivors. This gives me so much strength, there is strength in numbers.