When I get the bus to Headway on Wednesdays - all by myself may I just add - I can't help feeling a tad out of place now.
I feel like my brain injury sets me apart from everybody else in society, which of course it doesn't, but I can't help feeling slightly insecure about it, as it is one of, if not the, biggest thing to ever happen to me, certainly the worst thing, with Amy being the best, or most positive thing to ever happen to me!
I have also mentioned before, how I feel like I have a big sign written across my forehead saying: "I have suffered a brain injury", which makes me feel like I stand out from everybody else in society.
Another thing I have also said is how the limp in my left leg felt like another reason for people to look at me strangely.
Now though, thanks to walking everywhere, and all of my trips to the gym at Leisure@ in Cheltenham, my walking has got a lot stronger, and I am proud to say my limp is no longer so pronounced as it once was, and you can hardly notice it at all, (I hope!) making me feel a lot better about it, as it shows progress can be made.
Another consequence of my brain injury, is impaired planning functions, so I try and be as organised as I can by having my crisp £5 note all ready to go well before Wednesday morning arrives, because it is difficult for me to plan ahead.
When I go to Headway, now this may not sound like much to anyone else, but this level of organisation means a lot to me, I am convinced it will help heal some of the damage which the bleed caused and therefore help improve any of the consequences I have suffered as a result of it, such as my limp or impaired planning functions.
Another aspect of my life you will have read about before in a previous blog is travel training, which is where a lovely chap called Phil, who works as a "travel trainer" at the National Star College in Gloucestershire has helped me regain some independence in my life by learning to get to Headway all by myself on the bus, releasing Amy from the burden of having to drive me everywhere, seeing as I still can't drive yet.
To help further build on this, I have worked with Phil again to do the bus journey to the Leisure@ gym in Cheltenham from our flat. Just like before, Phil kindly researched the route, timetable and what to ask the driver for. Then he generously provided me with all of this information, so I could then get on with it myself.
I never realised before now how all of these tiny little steps I am taking build up to rather big blocks of independence.
One thing my injury, and amazing girlfriend Amy, have shown me is always looking on the positive side of things and seeing the good things in life. So I thought today I would celebrate a positive which Amy highlighted on her Instagram with the picture above. She wrote: "another huge milestone for Will is complete confidence to go and order at the bar by himself. I am so proud! And this time Will remembered everything." I am so glad someone else can remind me about these small steps and achievements which could so easily go unnoticed. I am so aware of where I "should" be in my life but I can no longer compare myself to friends or colleagues because I am still celebrating walking up to a bar.
I am still aware I stand out from the crowd (at least in my head). I must, though, remember this is my new normal and it IS worth celebrating.
Now I don't mean to sound preachy or even like a Monthy Python song, but when you are in a situation like mine, where you feel like you have lost so much, the only way to go is up.