April 8, 2012
Easter Sunday 8th April 2012 I was out with friends and family enjoying a few drinks. On arrival to a bar I went to the toilet: meanwhile a fight broke out in the lounge area of the bar. A man who had been involved in the brawl came into the toilet and punched me for no reason whilst I had my head down doing my trousers buttons up. I was knocked unconscious. I was taken to Hull royal Infirmary by ambulance for CT Scans on my head.
After CT scans i was admitted to Neurosurgical ward 4/40 at Hull royal infirmary.I had suffered a brain haemorrhage and frontal lobe contusions. This was due to my head hitting the ceramic floor. My brain hit the front of my skull on impact. Consultants said I was lucky to be alive !
April 10, 2012
My brain injury caused a haemorrhage and contusions on the frontal lobe. Here’s a link that covers some other brain injuries that may apply to you or your loved one –
April 13, 2012
I spent the first five days in and out of consciousness. I suffered seizures and was taken to high dependency for 24 hour care. My brain had significant swelling and my family were told that if it got worse i would need a hole drilling through my skull to relieve the pressure. Thankfully it didn’t come to that and the swelling eased naturally.
The reasons for the seizures was not known but doctors said it was either my brain not managing salt levels properly or possible epilepsy brought on by the brain injury. After a few days i was able to return to ward 4/40 were i would stay for a few weeks.
April 18, 2012
The time spent in hospital is a blur to be honest. I didn’t really know what had gone on. My family said I was very confused and repeated myself a lot. I didn’t make much sense.
I remember seeing things which at the time I thought was real , (the borrowers from the t.v show) I saw them helping out on the ward and one was washing the wheels on my bed and I gave him the thumbs up haha , I really thought they was real and thought it was an undercover government operation . Not sure if it was the injury or the medication but I was out of it.
April 20, 2012
My dad took this photo in HRI. It was the first time I got out my bed and sat up alone.
April 24, 2012
Whilst in hospital I didn’t really understand what had happened to me. I was starting to come round a bit every day from what i was originally but still very basic and not really with it properly. At the time I thought i was ok but looking back I was far from it!
April 28, 2012
My partner Gemma and family were told I had to be put on epilepsy medication. It was a precaution in case I now had it as a result of the brain injury. A further seizure with a blow to the head could of been fatal. Because I had suffered seizures there was a h3 chance I would have epilepsy as a result of the injury.
April 29, 2012
Here’s some info on brain injuries and seizures –
May 1, 2012
Yes it will X For anyone worrying about someone after brain injury –
May 2, 2012
I started being more awake but I was in a daze. I had a variety of ailments including: sight problems, tinnitus, a speech impediment, minimal concentration span, severe memory loss, headaches, cognitive problems, confusion and a slow and vacant persona.
May 3, 2012
May 5, 2012
Looking back – Something my family really struggled with is the lack of answers after brain injury. There were no real answers as to how I would recover. Brain recovery is unique to each individual. I think they really struggled with this, as you would expect. Its tough………. You must try and be patient, Positive and have Faith.
May 7, 2012
I was able to go home after 1 month. I had to undergo tests with occupational health to make sure I was safe to go home. Because of my ailments I had to be cared for by Gemma, family and friends.
May 8, 2012
Life after serious Brain injury requires patience, a lot of patience from yourself family and friends! It’s going to take time to repair. It will no doubt be the hardest test of your life. Chances are you won’t be the same person you were. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a great person!
I want to give a special mention and thanks to all the staff on neurosurgical ward 4/40 at HRI. They have a great team who did an amazing job looking after me. I was in a real mess and struggling. The staffs cool and nice natured approach is really important and they do it so well. They deliver first class care day in day out to really vulnerable patients.
May 9, 2012
Looking back I think I pushed to go home to early. I tried to act like I was ok when really I wasn’t .I didn’t understand the severity of my injuries at all. I think I was trying to just get on with it, i put that down to a man thing. Nothing can prepare you for the normal daily stress of being at home with a brain injury. I wasn’t ready and looking back I really struggled so my advice would be stay in hospital or organise full time care.
May 10, 2012
I was sent home with a bag full of medication , even liquid morphine was in there ! I had to take around twenty tablets a day. Setting alarms to alert you to take them and a weekly medicine tablet box is a good idea. If like me your memory is poor that really helps remind you.
May 11, 2012
Although the care on Neurosurgical 4/40 was amazing it was tough when I left and went home. I didn’t really understand at this time but there is a real lack of advice or education for my family on how to deal with me. I couldn’t explain how I was and they struggled to understand. It is such a tough situation for everyone around you.
In the early days of recovery you really need to rest. Do as little as possible. You can’t operate at the same level as you did before ! Take it really easy, no stress, no pressure.
May 12, 2012
The brain injury was effecting me differently on different days. I spent most early days vacant, lost and confused. Throw in sight, speech and hearing trouble and things are getting frightening. The injury was robbing some of my main human senses.
May 14, 2012
Everyday will bring its challenges for someone with a brain injury. Some days are a real battle. You must be resilient for this injury is really going to test and test and test your character ! It’s relentlessly tough Don’t let it break your spirt X
May 15, 2012
Don’t be to proud to admit you need full time care. I was trying to get on with normal chores around the house but I was struggling. It took a lot out of me. My headaches and stuttering seemed to be getting worse.
May 25, 2012
Shortly after returning home I was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. I started seeing a Neuro-psychologist for assessment and rehabilitation. She told me it would take 2-3 years for my brain to recover and I would never be the same person I was. There were no answers as to how my brain would recover. There would be permanent damage but to what extent they didn’t know. I would have to wait for the recovery period to be over to see what damage was there for life. To be honest at that time I did not really understand the seriousness of my injury. I knew I was struggling but I did not really understand why.
May 26, 2012
Here is some info regarding length of time for brain recovery –
May 27, 2012
I knew the next 2-3 years would be a struggle and as you can imagine this was hard to take. To be told to walk a path of that length of time to recover and at the end of it you still wouldn’t be the same person is heart breaking. At the time I was that basic I didn’t really understand the severity of the incident. My brain injury had taken away a lot of my normal thoughts and feelings but make no mistake it still hurts.
May 28, 2012
I started speech therapy. I had to get my eyes tested as I was having lots of double vision. I went to the doctors as I had persistant tinnitus. I felt really vulnerable at this point. I was learning that life is really difficult living with a brain injury.
May 29, 2012
It was about this time that I realised I couldn’t see my past properly. I knew who I was but my memories was blank . It was the visual memory side that I really had problems with and couldn’t see. This was frightening as it was the pictures and memories of my life.
May 30, 2012
I obviously had to go on sick from work . I was a foreman electrical engineer . I had started my career at 16 with an apprenticeship at a top firm in Hull called Humber Electrical engineering co ltd. I had worked there 17 years. I had worked my way up to be a foreman. I managed jobs with up to 15 men under me. Organising jobs for electricians and apprentices. Sorting the materials , liaising with other contractors on site etc. Running the show with work on schools, hospitals,chemical plants.I was looking after jobs costing half a million pound. Pretty responsible stuff ! I loved the job and the lads I worked with.
May 31, 2012
I could only claim statutory sick pay. I had to have a break from the mortgage for 6 months and could feel the strain from little money coming in. My advice would be to completely pass the job of paying bills and managing the house to your partner or family. That pressure and responsibility is not good for your already fragile mind !
I was really lucky to have such great friends both in and out of work who did a money collection for me ! My kind and generous friends gave me a much needed boost and took away some pressure which was priceless at the time . They will never know how much that collection helped me mentally, I really needed something to go my way and they came to my rescue. I will never forget X
June 1, 2012
I was really tired all the time and wasn’t even doing much with myself. The tiredness from a brain injury is like nothing you’ve felt before. Its a different league. Any sort of thinking is an effort. Generally its hard to think of nothing but I sat regularly and did just that. No thoughts I was complete blank. I can relate to the people you see staring into space, that was me.
Because I had minimal concentration and attention span nothing interested me. Its like I wanted to do something but I just didn’t have the brains to focus on it and understand it . Not only your keen interests which is really upsetting but t.v or books or normal daily activities. This leads to frustration . Frustration is unfortunately a large part of brain recovery.
Because of the severity of my injuries I needed lots of care and support. My partner Gemma,family and friends completely carried me in the early days. I really don’t know we’re I would be without them. There love and support got me through the hardest days of my life X
I have an amazing son called Reece who was 13 at the time. As a son I couldn’t ask for anymore. He makes me proud everyday. I found things extremely hard in front of Reece. I wasn’t able to do normal recreational activities with him or even chat to him like we used to. I took this one bad it hurt a lot dithering round in front of him confused. I had to rely on others to pick him up and drive us around and been on sick meant I couldn’t afford his maintenance.
I wasn’t even able to walk to the local shop with him. As a dad this really hurt my pride. Not been able to support my son was destroying my fragile mind even more.
Me and the lad X
I mentioned earlier that I couldn’t see my past – the visual memories of my life. Not being able to see my son being born was heart breaking ! Something no father should ever have to go through. I didn’t know if I would ever see that memory again.
In them early days it must of been really tough for everyone to see the effects of my brain injury- confused,vacant,vulnerable,low mood etc The brain injury had an impact that caused a ripple. I was at the centre and it was going out effecting everybody and everything in my life. In particular life became really difficult for Gemma who saw the effects daily.
My partner Gemma is a real lady that is smart and beautiful. Things were really difficult in the early days and it couldn’t of been easy. The injury had completely changed me. The man I was, was gone. My personality, strength,chat,love,affection etc all gone. I was fragile, confused, vulnerable, slow and distant with no deep understanding.
Normal everyday relationship stuff was blown to pieces. I couldn’t look after myself or Gemma. As a man been like this in front of her was really painful.
Me and Gemma X
I was really struggling at this point. I was functioning at a basic level just getting through the days. I could still feel the pain of my life crumbling around me but there was no real deep thought or understanding to anything. I was lost. The attack had taken my independence, my income, my mind and my memories. My life had been ripped apart.
June 2, 2012
I didn’t realise at the time but looking back from present day my bonds with loved ones was non existent. It was a really sad consequence of the injury. I was in a complete world of my own. I was functioning but at such a low level of thought and feeling. I was a shell. If your caring for a loved one with a brain injury and feeling this then try not to worry. This did get better in time throughout my recovery as you will see. As I grew back as a person so did the bonds.
Nothing can prepare your nearest and dearest for dealing with a brain injury. I hope this link can help give you knowledge or an insight in to supporting in the best way possible –
In my early recovery I found it hard to explain how I was feeling. Because I was that basic I couldn’t find the words to describe it and make people understand. I did not even understand. How could I ? I was brain damaged. I will try to explain now how it was for me to help you maybe get some sort of idea how it might be for your loved one. I hope this will give you an understanding and appreciate the difficulties they are facing.
Trying to make sense of living with a new brain is a daily complex challenge that is tormenting and cruel. Not only is everything around you turned upside down which is obviously a nightmare but your brain is functioning differently. It doesn’t work how it use to which is what your use to. Throw in the constant fatigue and life becomes a real struggle. Everything you knew and the way you felt has changed. When things become hard in life you normally sit and think about the best way to resolve the problem but when you have a brain injury that is taken away from you .So your sat messed up not even being able to think of how to sort it out.
I had lived with the same brain for 32 years. That brain was me and everything about me. EVERYTHING I was , all information, feelings, thoughts, likes, loathes, ambition, memories, planning, confidence ,personality, vision , drive, etc etc. Imagine your brain been a jigsaw puzzle of a 1000 pieces. Each piece is a part you have built up over your life and makes the picture – you and all that you are. In them early days the puzzle was in pieces and some were turned upside down to be blank so I couldn’t even see the piece picture. Some bits was damaged beyond repair.
The picture was not there anymore – I was lost. You are not the same, how could you be?
I mentioned before brain injury tiredness is a different level of fatigue. Especially in the first few months. To be honest throughout recovery. Imagine when you’ve really had a really tough stressful day and feel mentally drained , now times that by 1000 ! Any sort of thinking is an effort.
Dividing your attention is impossible. Any sort of Decision making is a major deal. You are just not with it.
Because I was so tired and I was living with a new brain that was not as quick as before I become easily irritated and frustrated. When your tired constantly its an every day struggle it becomes annoying so you have a low mood which makes things worse.
If your caring for someone with a brain injury and they are snappy , angry and easily irritated try not to take it to heart. It’s not you it’s the brain injury and the ordeal. As a carer you will need real patience throughout recovery.
The person recovering will be very tired and not with it as they once was. Living with a brain injury is extremely tough.
A brain injury can cause behavioural problems. Here’s a link to try give you an idea of what to look out for and hopefully help you support-
June 3, 2012
I was a smoker before the incident smoking 10 a day but during early recovery i was going through 20 cigarettes a day and was drinking 20 cups of coffee a day. I would pace up and down not really thinking anything like blank then make a brew and have a smoke . This was a constant loop routine all day. I think your brain needs some sort of routine and pattern and this was like my comfort. It was what I was reduced to.
I didn’t realise at the time but my unusual heavy smoking and coffee drinking was not helping my brain! I was told by my Neuro-psychologist. Obviously smoking is bad anyway and effects chemicals in the brain so trying to cut down rather then smoke more would be a good idea. Caffeine changes chemical signals in the brain and to much is also not good for recovery. Defiantly not good 2-5 hours before bed. De-caffeinated is a better choice.
Another one to definitely avoid is alcohol ! I was told not to drink for 2 years by Neuro. This was another blow for me as socialising with friends was part of my normal lifestyle. This injury was punching holes in every part of my life.
Here’s some tips on diet and things to avoid whilst recovering from a brain injury –
When I left hospital staff told us to get in touch with Headway-The brain injury association for advice and support. We didn’t at the time and looking back We should of done. Its a fantastic organisation offering information on all aspects of brain injuries. They hold meetings where people with brain injuries and their families can go to share stories which helps. Definitely worth checking out –
Now we are at June 2012 so was 3 months after the haemorrhage. I was still really basic with not a lot of deeper understanding or connection to things. At this point I still didn’t understand what had happened to me.
I knew I was ill and was struggling with my life in tatters but was just trying to get through each day. Pushing on best I could with what capabilities I had.
Keep smiling things do get better X
I was still on all the medication for various things which was around 10 tablets a day. I was still on epilepsy medication. Consultants wasn’t sure if I had epilepsy but was giving me the medication to surpress possible seizers as my head wouldn’t of been able to take another bang. The plan was to ween me off it about 6 months into recovery.
I still had all the original ailments; blank, poor vision, Tinnitus, confusion, poor short and long term memory, stuttering, dizzy, no tolerance for loud noises, low attention and concentration ,cognitive problems. I couldn’t tip my head back as I would go really dizzy and my legs would turn to jelly. This had been happening since hospital and Consultants thought it was swelling and would eventually go. I occasionally had a massive buzz on the left hand side of my head and the room would turn upside down. This was very weird and pretty scary to be honest.
I was seeing a Neuro-psychologist once every 2 weeks for rehabilitation. I was undergoing tests for the psychologist to try determine which areas I was struggling with most. This rehabilitation was really important to me.
A really hard aspect of having a brain injury is that your family and friends can not relate to it. They do not understand what you are going through and how difficult it is. Its really important that the patient can speak to someone who knows what they are going through. I found it had a really positive effect on me talking with the psychologist. She had a level of understanding of how it was and offered tips and advice in how to deal with it. Those sessions was priceless during my early recovery.
I think its equally important for family and friends to speak with someone and also educate themselves on caring for someone with a brain injury. This is life changing stuff for the patient and everyone in their life. The more knowledge you have about the injury the easier you will cope making things better for yourselves and your loved one.
Although I was functioning at a basic level I could certainly feel the pain and heartache from the ordeal and how it had left me. So much had changed and things looked bleak. I didn’t know what the future held for me. I was at home: a shadow of the man I was. I spent my days lost and confused. I would sit and look out of the window, not being able to go out alone, not even to the local shop 200 meters away. Because of my vulnerability and injuries I suffered with a low mood in general.
The injury had taken my confidence. I don’t mean swagger. I’m talking about very basic easy tasks I once took for granted like; Conversation, making decisions, point of view, sorting a meal, watching a film The injury had taken my instincts and my wits. When this happens you lose your backbone because of vulnerability. The world is a scary place when your living with a brain injury.
June 4, 2012
We are all living life at such a quick pace. When you have a brain injury its like your in slow motion and someone has pressed the fast forward button on your life. It’s really difficult to keep up. Everything needs to be slowed down around someone with a brain injury. Especially more so in early recovery.
Stay strong X
In early recovery I would recommend not spending as much time on social media. You just don’t need to be keeping up with it daily. I think seeing others enjoying themselves and going about normal day to day life can have a negative effect on you. It can make you think your missing out and will naturally upset and make you jealous. This isn’t good for recovery.
To anyone with a brain injury – Try not to waste your time and low resources on insignificant worries. Family and friends will not judge you. They will support and care for everything you need. Try not to be to proud to ask for help. Don’t focus on your weaknesses but be happy for the things that you can do. Don’t be hard on yourself as you are fighting a battle only the toughest can survive ! Plenty of breaks and quite time keep smiling and keep going things can get better x
Try not to worry x
June 4, 2012 at 2:00pm For carers, family/friends- The battle your loved one is fighting is like nothing you can imagine. Everyday they are trying to piece back together their shattered lives with a damaged brain. A brain which will be slow, different and be still healing. They need plenty of patience, reassurance, time, love, smiles and positive encouragement X
Have faith X
I was shown this video of a festival about a week before the incident. Its strange because my memory was really poor but for some reason I remembered this video. I had never heard of Tomorrow land before but this 2011 video gave me a buzz. I used to watch it all the time in my recovery. It was the only thing on the T.V that would get my attention. Watching all the people happy and having fun made me feel great !
The human spirt had a powerful positive connection with me which was unusual as I didn’t feel much for anything at the time. The smiles and amazing setting off the festival was magical. The video was really important in my early recovery as it shone a light on my darkest days
I mentioned before that my friends and family carried me in early recovery. Their constant support was paramount in getting me through hell. Visits for a coffee ,taking me out ,walking to shop was all magic for me. Just being with them sat in silence was a treat. knowing they was there along side me was everything.
If you are thinking of taking someone with a brain injury out for coffee or dinner etc , its best to do it at a quiet time. I was wary in crowd situations and felt uncomfortable. The speed and noise of the hustle and bustle was to much for me to handle and it freaked me out. I don’t think my brain could take it all in.
It’s really nice to go out and feel like your involved in the world but not get thrown into the chaos of normal life. To busy to quick will leave the person feeling edgy and unsafe.
I would recommend having just 2-3 visitors at a time. I personally found it hard to keep up with what was going on if there were to many people. Dividing my attention was really difficult. I couldn’t juggle to much going on at once.
Also to many conversations going on in a room freaked me out. My brain couldn’t handle it . I think it was a case of information overload and it wore me out. Its easier having just a few at a time and keeping things slow.
In the early days I felt an amazing buzz when family and friends would visit. My brain was damaged so I was unable to understand things properly mentally. Instead of understanding a feeling I got a warmth inside me when they would visit. I felt their love it made my soul smile X When your not all there mentally seeing a familiar smiling face is amazing !
To be honest I was completely lost at this point. I didn’t really have a clue what was going on. I spent long spells in a complete daze. I was down but not out ! I ignored the confusion as much as I could and got on the best I could trying to be positive. My inner strength wasn’t going to let this beat me. No way !
Never give up – always believe in yourself X
June 5, 2012
These pictures were taken in June 2012 on my brothers birthday. It was great to be with him and the lads. That’s my friend Jonathon on the left and brother Mark on the right of me in the pic X
June 7, 2012
If your caring for or you know someone with a brain injury please be patient and give them plenty of time for tasks or answering questions etc. Be mindful of there injury at all times. Plenty of praise , confidence boosters and positive vibes is what they need. No pressure – no stress !
Me and Mark have always been really close. We have pretty much lived our lives along side each other through everything. Working together and enjoying social time we have a really h3 bond. We have enjoyed so much life together. During my recovery I spoke to consultants about the loss of my visual memories and told them I couldn’t see my brother and I growing up and playing as children. He told me I might ever get them memories back. Really upsetting and extremely hard to take. I didn’t give up hope tho -Never !
June 8, 2012
I couldn’t see old times with Gemma and friends.
I couldn’t see the memories of my past with family.
June 9, 2012
You don’t even realise but in everyday life because you take it for granted that the memories are just there with connections/understandings between people being built up and remembered. I used to see friends and obviously knew who they were and that we were close but deeper stuff wasn’t as prominent. Like things we had done or their wives or kids names etc . Sometimes it just wasn’t there- just blank . Because of this, conversation can dry out quicker and normal banter and chat is gone. This can make you feel awkward and stupid.
I spent my time sometimes trying to concentrate on a memory which was taking my little attention away. Don’t put pressure on yourself ! Looking back I should have been more truthful about my shortcomings rather than trying to act like I was ok.
June 10, 2012
I think because I was basic and just concentrating on getting through the days it helped soften the blow of my severe memory trouble. I felt the pain but tried not to focus on it as much as possible or it would bring me down. I thought of it as a piece in the puzzle that was going to take some time but would come right in the end. I never gave up hope of seeing my memories. I always believed I would see them again !
When you don’t have normal access to your memories it’s not just thoughts that are affected. It has a big impact on relationships with your family/friends. Your memories are everything in who you are,what you have done, who with and why. There were some days I didn’t even know who I was !
June 11, 2012
You can help retrieve memories by looking at old photographs and listening to family/friends talk about old times. Try not to do it to early in recovery tho as you might not be ready. If you are going to listen or talk with someone about old times just best to do it at a slow pace to give you time to think. Also with one person at a time otherwise to many voices will confuse you. Don’t freak out if you can’t remember straight away as mine are still coming back now, don’t lose hope X
June 13, 2012
Something I have really struggled with during recovery is decision making. Especially early recovery. Anything was like a million dollar question – hard work. Choosing a t-shirt to wear round the house and I’d go into meltdown. This made me angry. I got angry and agitated a lot with the injury. When you can’t think you feel pressured and because of that you feel agitated then comes frustration and bang – anger. It’s not like a mad anger its more like an upset anger. Before the injury them decisions wasn’t an issue but there a big deal now and it pisses you off and upsets you.
June 14, 2012
My advice on getting angry, Give yourself plenty of time to make decisions. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for their help or opinion , they will prob explain the 2 or more options in better context then what you are thinking. You probably aren’t thinking just getting yourself in a twist ! If you feel your getting angry leave the situation straight away.Go sit on your own in a quiet room to calm down. So as soon as you feel the trigger walk away count to 10 then sit and have 5 mins in silence. Before fuse is lit – stop,relax,take a breath,time out.
June 15, 2012
Decision making is large part a confidence thing . Looking back I was at rock bottom and knew I was slow and not sound of mind which made me question myself. Also my instincts and memory trouble played a big part. I think plenty of support and pointing in a direction from friends and family really helps. Try not to over do it taking away there independence. Try maybe a suggestion of what they might of liked before, it will certainly help and make things easier.
June 16, 2012
If you are struggling then this relaxation recording may help. I use to listen to it twice a day. It helped me in the early days –
June 17, 2012
In my early recovery I found it hard to express myself and tell everyone how I was feeling. Looking back it was a because of a mixture of not being able to find the words to explain it (I don’t even think I knew myself how I felt ) and not wanting to look any weaker then I already looked. I was getting on with it trying to mask my pain and looking back it didn’t do me any good. In fact I think it can make you look worse. Your bottling it up not releasing the torment and anguish. The pain will show through but will come across in the wrong way and your loved ones won’t understand it.
June 18, 2012
Try to open up and confide in those closest to you properly and it will do you no end of goodness. Communication is key for yourself and others ! Talking in any quantity of how you are , your worries and your pain will definitely aid your recovery. Family/friends will be able to try and understand more if they have an idea of how it might be for you.
A real low day in my early recovery was having to post my driving licence back to the DVLA . Although I was basic and knew I couldn’t drive it was really difficult sealing that envelope and posting it away. I didn’t have a clue when it would come back or if I did have epilepsy or anything . All I did know is that It was another massive blow to my life.
June 20, 2012
For family/friends of someone with a brain injury – I think it would be a really good idea to research the particular brain injury your loved one has. Each brain injury will be different but there will be plenty of information to look at regarding which injury they have. Getting some education on symptoms and how it might effect the person will give you a better understanding of what they are going through.
June 21, 2012
Looking back I had become more like a robot. Walking and talking getting through life but with no deeper understanding, thought or depth to anything. I was me but my personality wasn’t as it was and feelings were there but very much diluted. I was a very basic model of my old self. In a constant daze just doing enough to get through the days.
June 22, 2012
So I was living day to day with not much thought into anything. For a long time I felt like I had been placed in limbo – I felt like I was no were. I had minimal thoughts on my past, no vision for the future and just getting through in my present with minimal thought. That feeling is frightening and lonely. I didn’t even know if I would get better. Brain recovery is so long you don’t notice any quick changes which is worrying.
I just tried to make the most of each day and be as positive as I could with hope things would get better. You just gotta keep going and don’t let it bring you down X
June 23, 2012
This is perfect for someone going through early brain recovery X
June 24, 2012
My neuropsychologist was trying to educate me on my brain injury. I didn’t really understand it or take it in properly in the first few months of recovery but it was nice to hear my ailments was common with my particular injury. I was learning about frontal lobe damage.
June 26, 2012
My mum seen here in the photo with me was also educating me on dealing with a brain injury. She had recovered from a dual blood clot on the brain in 2008. Although it was a different injury some of the effects was similar to mine. She had an understanding of what I was going through and gave me much needed advice on how to deal with things. She had done so well in her recovery and was the perfect role model for me. My mum is an amazing woman, very loving and supportive. She was a real rock during early recovery. Here she is with Pete my step dad. I can’t speak highly enough of Pete. The guy is a legend ! X
June 27, 2012
The police had been in touch and told my family they had the man who had done this to me. (from the Hull Daily Mail appeal) He hadn’t just put his hands up to what he had done tho. Instead he had declared ” it was self defence ” !! The police said they was prosecuting on my behalf and that we would be updated on the investigation. It was said we would probably go to court. Not something I needed at all in my recovery !! At the time I was still that messed up I didn’t really understand that side of things.
June 28, 2012
In early recovery the relationship with your lover will take a massive hit from a brain injury. I can’t emphasise how much ! Home life is not the same – how can it be ? Roles and responsibilities that you played in making it work are turned upside down. You are not the same person so the person who’s going to see it and feel it most is that one closest to you.
June 29, 2012
Looking back my relationship with Gemma was taking a battering. I was messed up and unable to function properly which meant it had a massive effect on Gemma. The injury had robbed the connection between us, the bond. I use to sit confused ,repeating myself and staring into space a lot, not many thoughts going on so conversation was minimal. Normal daily activities was gone.
Just messing about, been flirty or stupid was gone. Planning normal nights or fun times ,getting cosy for a film or t.v was gone. Just sat talking about normal daily stuff like work or news on current affairs was gone. I was gone/lost and so was the relationship as we knew it !
As well as all that Gemma had more responsibilities around the house. We had generally shared the load but now she was having to do everything. I had to ask her to pick my son up because I couldn’t drive. So early recovery I was in a real mess and Gemma had lead role in seeing the consequences daily which obviously put a big strain on her. She was fantastic in them early days under so much stress X
June 30, 2012
If you know someone who is caring for their loved one after a brain injury an offer of help and support for them would be wise. The strain the partner will be under will be huge with the changes that have to be made. I think unintentionally People tend to focus on the patient and I think forget about the carer. Just an ask of “how are you ?” Instead of “how are they?” Would be really be nice and I’m sure they would appreciate the thought!
July 1, 2012
In the early days I was just trying to get through the days and make sense of things. Very basic so not much thought into anything. But I wasn’t retarded. I knew my relationship was taking a hit. As a proud man, the feeling of having to heavily rely on Gemma for everything and look after things was a daily stamp on my pride. I was helpless and having to watch it everyday unable to get my head together to sort it and go back to normal. It was like torture.
If anyone is reading this struggling, feeling the same way then hold on and don’t give up hope ! Things do get better and you will be able to play some sort of role again as I have done. Just a matter of time. Try not to let it torment you X
July 2, 2012
Here is a link I found that will give you an idea of the effects a brain injury has on relationships –
July 4, 2012
Relationships with family and friends will also change. Normally they work 50/50 but when you have a brain injury you obviously haven’t got 50% to put in. In early recovery you haven’t even got 5%. You will find out the strength of relationships whilst your going through brain injury recovery. Because of your vulnerability and struggle you depend on people more and when they visit or help you , you really appreciate it more. Sometimes because of brain injury you might not be able to express that gratitude as much as you feel it. I felt blessed to have the amazing people who visited and cared for me and still do !X
July 5, 2012
I saw and felt there Love! It carried me through my darkest days, They all know who they are X
July 6, 2012
As much as you need family/friends care and support its down to you ! Recovering from a brain injury is a very personal battle. It’s like mental warfare which could send you under every day. Never take a backwards step and always believe in yourself. Keep smiling and be patient, it takes time but things do turn around and the storm will pass. Hold on and be brave X
July 7, 2012
I could go to the local shop on my own !!!! Yessssss this was a massive positive boost for me. I had been plenty of times for walks with friends but going alone was a big step in my recovery. It was the beginning of walking back out into the world an independent man. It was only round the corner but I hadn’t been capable of that until now. To be able to think about going to the shop with Reece was magic X
July 11, 2012
The only thing with going to shop alone with a brain injury is that 9 times out of 10 you will forget what you went for haha. Best to write down what your going for. Even if it is one item make a note. And try not to forget your note haha, I did that plenty as well.
July 12, 2012
During my early recovery I went to Asda with Pete. I wondered off alone and went to the sun creams. It was summer so thought I would grab some sun tan lotion. So I did and was quite chuffed with myself for doing so. Anyway couple of days in the garden later i was alone at home and noticed I have brown stains on the palms of my hands. I didn’t have a clue what it was but for some reason I put it down to do with my brain injury.
I spent an afternoon googling ” brown hands developed through brain injury” and “brain recovery gives brown hands” Obviously I didn’t find anything and puzzled I asked Gemma later. She said it looks like fake tan to me ! She went to find the bottle which led to a big belly laugh. Yep I’d got the wrong lotion and been lathering myself with fake tan haha. Haha I got some stick for that.
July 13, 2012
In July I got a visit from my friend Claire that really inspired me. Claire had come to see me to see how I was doing and pass on some knowledge about recovering from a brain injury. In 2011 she had a massive operation to remove a brain tumour and the day after that she had a second operation to remove a blood clot. The operations were are success but obviously it left Claire with plenty of serious ailments to recover from. One of which was a right hand side weakness which meant she couldn’t walk or use her right arm. She had to learn to do this again and battled on with a smile on her face not letting the injury get her down and over time got back on her feet and back to work ! She still has to wear a leg splint today for her weakness ,she just gets on with it.
One thing that I really noticed when Claire came to visit is her positive attitude. She didn’t take the injury seriously and mocked herself, joking and laughing at some recovery stories she was telling me. It was really inspiring for me to see someone who had been through brain injury recovery laughing about it. She’s tough as nails and her strength and the way she cracked in with it was a real boost at a hard time for me, cheers Nug X Here she is going through her treatment with a smile and getting back out with friends – She’s a really brave woman , well done Nug X
July 14, 2012
If you are going out alone make sure to lock your door and turn things off (heating etc) Its wise to try make a check list of the things you need for your journey and what you are going out for. So for example you might need your wallet , or a letter to post etc and you might be going for a paper or a bottle of milk. Do a checklist so look door- check , wallet -check and milk – check when you buy. The amount of times I forgot my money or didn’t know what I had gone for was unbelievable.
I use to think , I will surely be ok I won’t forget this time and annoyingly sure enough I would do ! Also I would walk 200m down the street and get a sudden rush of worry that I hadn’t locked the door. I had to come back to check otherwise i would worry. When I did and it was locked I would get angry with myself. A bad memory can become really irritating and it’s not your fault so don’t be hard on yourself. If I’d of used lists and notes earlier it would of saved me a lot of aggravation.
July 18, 2012
I had been having home sessions with a speech therapist. We was working on some exercises and he gave me tips/techniques which really helped with the stutter. Really pleased to say we finished in July and my speech was just about back to normal. That was the first thing that I had recovered from so it felt amazing. It showed I was getting better !X
July 19, 2012
I was starting to go out alone to the local shop more often and really enjoying the independence. One day I ventured a little further to a busy local street Newland avenue. Looking back I I pushed it to early as I got a bit freaked out when I got there. In early recovery when you are slow and easily confused the world can be a scary place. Because you are not with anyone who knows your situation you can feel vulnerable and alone which is frightening. I was ok and made it home safe but it made me realise that I need to take things slowly.
July 20, 2012
Don’t run before you can walk ! Its great to keep pushing on positively but just be careful not to much to quick. There’s no rush X
July 21, 2012
It was three and a half months into recovery when I felt a bit of mind and energy come back ! Not a lot but I was aware I did feel better. I wanted to use this small but of energy wisely. I had wasted away physically because of the injury with no normal work activity. I decided I would do a little workout at home. It was only 5 press ups , 5 sit ups and 5 squats every day. I had to be careful still with fatigue levels but I really enjoyed being able to do it.
Just having a small focus and routine was magic !! I had been lost for so long this was my first taste of some normality and it felt wonderful !
July 22, 2012
I would describe the “feeling better” as like – just waking up from a deep sleep. That first moment you open your eyes. You are still not awake properly. Still dozey and not with it. I think the first three and half months I had been in like a trance state ,operating at such a basic level. This was a real milestone in my recovery. I was far from being ok but this was a massive positive that I could feel. It was like having some power on !! Although dimmed right down , the lights was back on !!
July 23, 2012
The “waking up” was a significant part in my recovery as it ended the “trance state” and started the “realisation chapter” It was brilliant to be more “with it “. Because I was “more with it” I started realising how ” I was” which can be more upsetting. Not properly at this stage but I was starting to recognise I wasn’t the same and was slow etc. I remember one day coming round from staring at the kitchen wall , I thought that was weird haha its like as if I hadn’t realised I’d been doing for months ! I noticed more that I was repeating words and getting confused.
July 24, 2012
Always try and be extremely happy with your progress in recovery ! Sometimes you think your never going to get any better because it takes so long but things can and do get better. Don’t become to focused on being the old you and ignore the milestones your reaching. Just because you took them for granted before doesn’t mean they are not achievements ! This is the new you everyday your learning about the new you , don’t be hard on yourself , take it easy – plenty of rest – no stress – no pressure – positiveness X
I had been going out pretty much everyday and been enjoying my freedom. My confidence was building in being out alone and I was ready to go further. I was ready to go to Hull town centre on the bus alone ! This was a big step for me but I knew I needed to do it. Its strange because I had been to town thousands of times and there I was sat nervous worrying if I was going to be ok with the trip. You will know when your ready and don’t go until then. At some point in recovery when your feeling ready you have just got to believe in yourself and go for it !
July 25, 2012
So I went into town and was feeling quite proud sat on that bus ! I got off the bus in the centre and to be honest I forgot why I had gone and what I was doing haha. I didn’t panic and stood against a fence for a few mins to get my head back together. Always give yourself time to catch up ! Don’t rush or it will rattle you. Stay composed it will come to you. I started wondering around really appreciating my first trip out. I went to a quite cafe and had a coffee (decaf) This was such a big deal to me , I can’t tell you how much this meant. I was rebuilding my confidence from scratch and this was the foundation. Most of my clothes didn’t fit me because I had lost that much weight. I went past Topman and thought I would see if I could buy some clothes. I thought it would make the trip even more off a success.
I didn’t think about my inability to make decisions ! I paced inside that shop ,up and down for an hour , I’m surprised they didn’t call security haha. I had found a t shirt and trousers but just couldn’t decide on the colour. In the end I bought the same t shirt in 6 different colours and same trousers in 4 colours Haha this brain injury wasn’t beating me I thought I can’t fail if I get the lot ! I walked out feeling well happy that I had made a choice (really I hadn’t , I had just spent a load a cash I didn’t have haha) But that feeling was good.
I told Gemma what I had done and she asked me to show her what I had bought. She was laughing at most of it especially my green trousers and t shirt calling me “Paul the pea” and said you’ll never wear these. She took most of it back baring a couple of items haha. I think the shopping was going to far but is funny looking back.
I was enjoying my small home workouts and had asked Gemma to buy me mens health magazine as I was looking for some more ideas on fitness and health. I wasn’t pushing it just enough to be feeling good about myself.
July 27, 2012
A couple of days later I was walking home one day and had bought a drink I tilted my head right back to finish it and the dizzy spell I mentioned previously sent me off balance and I started staggering. I knew that the problem was still there but just got by without tilting my head back. I had forgot on this occasion and it really worried me, especially as it happened whilst I was out alone.
I went to the doctors next day and they sent me straight to Hull royal infirmary. They said it shouldn’t still be happening and they was worried. I was admitted back onto Neuro ward 4/40. They thought it might be a trapped vain in my neck that had moved off course with the impact of the fall and was cutting off the blood to my brain. They also wanted to do an MRI to see if there was further nerve damage.
It was a nightmare to be honest. I felt like I was finally getting somewhere and there I was again having x-rays and ct scans. I had to stay in for a few days whilst they did tests and had to attend ENT at castle hill were I was to undergo tests on balance and movement. After a week or so I was diagnosed with – traumatic labythrinthitis. I learnt that the impact of my head hitting the floor had aggravated my inner ear canal system which effects balance and gives vertigo. This problem goes in time but there is no quick fix, just when it heals I was told. This along side all the other ailments going on was another blow !
I was really depressed at this time.
August 1, 2012
I had stopped doing my small workouts. I was stewing being down in the dumps with this new blow. I was feeling really low with everything that was going on. I knew at this point that I was going to either spiral into deep depression or do something in my recovery.
August 2, 2012
Because I was depressed it would of been easier to sit on the sofa and sink into meltdown. Really easily to be honest. My Inner strength and my positiveness wasn’t going to let that happen ! I wouldn’t be beaten by this, I was mentally damaged but physically able so this would be my strength.
August 3, 2012
My friends and family had carried me through the early days. They was still carrying me know to be honest. However, I had woken up a little. I had a choice in which way my recovery would head. Because I had been enjoying my small workouts I felt inspired to do something pro active. I decided to join a gym. This was the very start of getting my life back.
August 4, 2012
Never give in, keep going the best way you can X
August 5, 2012
Deciding to join a gym was going to be a huge test. I had never been a member of a gym. I was still struggling mentally with my ailments, I couldn’t look up, my confidence was gone and I had anxiety issues because of all this. It was either the gym or a dark hole so I had a walk to the local gym around the corner. I stood outside plucking up the courage to go in for twenty minutes. I was nervous with my brain injury. Worried incase I lost conversation or went blank whilst talking. I sometimes forgot my own name to be honest.
I pushed myself and went in and arranged to sign up and have an induction with a PT. Yessss I had followed it through and done it . I didn’t know at the time but them small steps into that gym would turn out to be the best thing I could of ever done for myself !
August 6, 2012
Always Believe in yourself X
August 7, 2012
When you do start going out alone and speaking to people who don’t know your situation it can be quite daunting. I would get words muddled up or lose track of concentration and be slow. This would hammer my confidence and make me feel stupid. Take your time and only engage in conversation when your ready. Don’t pressure yourself or set goals to high.
And people do understand if you tell them you have a brain injury. It took me a while to be able to say it because I felt daft but people will give you more time and it will help you X
August 8, 2012
Before I went to the gym for my first session I asked Gemma to take some photos of me. I told her I was going to get into great shape and hopefully be good enough to get into mens health !(I think she thought I had gone mad) My thought was to give other people, with similar injuries to mine HOPE at the start of their recovery. If they could see me in a respected health magazine it would give them a boost.
I didn’t realistically know if I could achieve this dream. I just wanted to help others in their recovery. I knew I would have to get into amazing shape and I wasn’t at the time –
August 9, 2012
I started the gym and was a bit edgy around people at first. I kept my head down. I suppose I was nervous around people and I was getting use to the new environment. I didn’t want to engage in conversation because to be honest I was blank most of the time. The time it took me to think of something to say could come across a bit awkward if someone didn’t know my situation. I just got on with my own thing trying to stay out of peoples way.
August 10, 2012
Don’t worry and dwell on the things you are not good at. Somedays it would of been easy to not go out or do anything but you can make your way through life with mental disabilities. Its different to how it used to be and generally a lot harder but there is always a way, you just gotta go for it and keep pushing on positive the best way you can.
August 11, 2012
At this time I was often in a daze. Just sat staring into space. Very little going on in my head. Try not to worry to much if your loved one is doing a similar thing. Looking back and reflecting I think of it as “brain relaxing” time. Because of my low resources it was shutting off and chilling when it needed too. Also if your talking to your loved one and asking a question make sure they are not in the daze state. I think I could maybe come across as been ignorant sometimes but I just hadn’t heard because I was in the daze. Address them and make sure you have there attention properly.
I was enjoying the gym every couple of days. I was taking it really slowly as I had to be careful with fatigue levels. The Only thing was I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing or if I was doing it right. Because of my memory trouble I couldn’t really think of my knowledge with exercises. I got by just doing bits but I had the Men’s health ambition In mind !
August 12, 2012
The Men’s health article dream became my focus. I decided I would dedicate my recovery to this ambition as well as trying to rebuild my life.
August 13, 2012
I knew if I were to achieve this dream I would need professional help. I hired a brilliant personal trainer called Tom Cowen whom I told I wanted to be healthy, lean and fit. I explained my injuries and ailments which he said he could work with. I told him of my ambition to get into Men’s health. Tom gave me a diet and started training me once a week.
August 14, 2012
So were in August 2012 now and I am venturing out a lot more with going to the gym and walks to newland ave and Hull town centre. Its fantastic going out places with Reece. I really enjoy doing some normal things with him again. It’s not the same as it was and still a long way off but he understands. I try to make it the best I can with what I have. He’s such a great kid he would be happy with any time with me doing anything.
August 15, 2012
It was great for me and the lad to get back into going to see nana Ev. She’s the best nana ever, hands down. Always there for anything we need. Your guaranteed a perfect cuppa and she always has a full biscuit tin haha We always went to see her on Saturdays for an hour but obviously couldn’t go for months with me been ill. We didn’t let me not having a car stop us. We jumped on the bus, in fact 2 busses .Its not the same and is a pain n takes longer but you just gotta get on with it. She’s defiantly worth it X
August 16, 2012
This is 5 months into my recovery. Certain areas of life are definitely improving. My speech has improved I am a bit more “with it” I can get about a bit more with walking and on the bus. I am able to do workouts at the gym. Don’t get my wrong in most other areas I was still struggling but I was getting better and the rebuild of my life was happening !
August 17, 2012
Always be happy with the abilities you have. Be happy for the things you have rather then the things you haven’t.
August 18, 2012
Looking back I didn’t appreciate the improvements i was making enough. To be honest I don’t even think I thought of it. My understanding of life in general wasn’t clear or normal. I wasn’t switched on properly. I was just getting on with it the best way I could.
August 19, 2012
I think its really important that family and friends really highlight these improvements to someone with a brain injury. They will recognise the improvements a lot more then the patient. Any milestone should be celebrated with plenty of praise. This will make the patient realise and give them a sense of achievement and give confidence.
August 20, 2012
I was really enjoying the gym with Tom. He was very professional and didn’t push me to hard taking into account my injuries at all times. I was learning new techniques and routines. Because of poor memory I would write them down so I would remember. Obviously it costs money to have a PT . At this time it was money I didn’t have with not working but for me , it was money well spent in aiding my recovery. Healthy body – Healthy mind.
August 21, 2012
I was enjoying my new diet and I started to look at other healthy options. I had got the fitness bug haha. I was researching healthy foods and looking at there health benefits ,this gave me more incentive to eat them. I started researching brain recovery foods and put them in my diet. I just wanted to help myself the best I could.
August 25, 2012
During August 2012 my brother and Lisa asked me to look after my nephew Flynn for the afternoon ! I felt brilliant they thought I was well enough and responsible enough to look after him alone. The fact they trusted me gave me some confidence in my abilities. I was worried I would be ok as he was in the terrible two stage so needed lots of attention but I managed fine. I really enjoyed spending time with him as I had not really spent much time with him because of my injury. A special day in my recovery. I was certainly ready for a lay down once he had gone This was another block in rebuilding my confidence.
August 27, 2012
My fitness levels were improving and I was feeling physically great . Tom was introducing tougher workouts as I was getting better. Because of my improved fitness I started running near my house. Not far and fast , just some light jogging which I really enjoyed.
August 28, 2012
I was seeing my Neuro-psychologist for advice and to talk about things I was finding difficult. I hadn’t even clicked before but I was attending the appointments at Castle Hill Hospital. I had spent 2 years there working on contracts doing the electrics during 2010/11. It was quite upsetting realising to be honest. From wiring the place up to being sat in a room confused and slow wasn’t nice ! The good thing was that I had retrieved some memories of working there. Not all of them but a memory. This was progress and i worked with my psychologist on memory.
August 29, 2012
With my increased confidence in fitness I started running home 5 miles from Neuro-psychology ! Who would a thought it a couple of months previous – 5miles ! The big one for me with this was that I didn’t have to rely on anyone for a lift home. I was getting more independence back and feeling healthy.
I was struggling with having bad thoughts about this time. I kept thinking awful things was going to happen to people. For example; if a friend called me and said they would be at my house in 10mins. If they didn’t turn up I would start thinking they had crashed or something bad had happened. This was happening a lot with different situations. I spoke to my psychologist who said it was because something bad and unexpected had happened to me. I had to distract myself with doing something or calling someone to stop that anxiety thought. This was a tough aspect of recovery that would last some time ! My Advice would be; to realise that when they do turn up or it works out ok , tell yourself and make a mental note that you was wrong it was ok its just bad thoughts. In the end they get less frequent.
August 30, 2012
Physically I was thriving but mentally I was still really struggling. All the ailments was still there with speed of thought and processing noticeable. Slow and confused easily. I didn’t have a wide range of thought. Quite narrow minded , like not seeing the bigger picture. Although I was fitter I still got neurological fatigued easily. I just couldn’t think properly. Deeper understanding and thought was still way off how it should be.
August 31, 2012
The path I had chose with fitness was turning out to be a good one. I was loving eating well, training and running. It took me away from the dark cloud that hung over me with brain recovery and the implications it had on my life. It might not be fitness for you. It could be anything at all. I would advise to try do something alongside recovery. Like a hobby or just something to occupy your attention away from dwelling on symptoms or struggles. My attention and concentration was limited so the gym seemed right for me. It could be anything at all as long as your comfortable and it’s not to much and you enjoy then perfect.
September 1, 2012
Find your dance and it will help you through the storm X
September 2, 2012
My Training was going well and knowledge into healthy foods was growing a little. I couldn’t take in alot of information in and to be honest I normally forgot what I had researched 2 mins later but having a focus just made me happy. A small and limited amount of brain power wasn’t going to stop me. I had my sights on getting better and achieving the mens health dream !
September 5, 2012
The police had been in touch and my family and I were told we would be having a hearing at Hull Crown Court in November. The police were prosecuting on my behalf. At this time in my recovery I didn’t really understand this part of the ordeal. I didn’t have any memory of it. I was told what had happened on that day from family and friends and that was it. I knew that I had been hit unprovoked and it had caused my injuries but I was just blank about the situation. I didn’t really think about that side of things.
My focus was just on getting through the days best I could. I didn’t have the spare brain capacity or thought to be thinking about that. My feelings were pretty much messed up as well. I didn’t feel much for anything. Probably a good thing as bitterness and anger wouldn’t of been good. I did hope it would get sorted in November and that side of things would be finished so could get on with my recovery.
September 9, 2012
For some reason something that use to really wear me out in early recovery was people getting angry around me. It was like it drained me ! To much negative energy was not good for me. I noticed it when family/friends would talk or ask about the attacker. Then they would get angry and aggressive. I didn’t like it. I didn’t need it to be honest. When your weak and feeling vulnerable agro does not feel nice. it takes lots of brain power to build up anger. Power that I didn’t have. I was just busy trying to get myself through the day with what energy I had. It wouldn’t of done me any good getting angry over him.
September 11, 2012
Family/friends need to be mindful at all times around someone with a brain injury. The way in which it happened needs to be considered. Reminding them or getting angry about the way it happened will not do them any good. They are fighting a battle. They don’t need bringing down with that. You need to look and think a little deeper with them. They will be feeling vulnerable and slow. Plenty of smiles and positiveness.
September 12, 2012
Looking back now I put some unnecessary pressure on myself. The small amount of brain capacity I did have was sometimes used worrying about things I didn’t need to ! My pride was getting in the way. For example; I would of worried how I was looking or the way I was acting in front of my family and friends. Feeling that I looked stupid or silly was hurting me Or I was worrying about the fact I didn’t have much to say to people when they visited and thought they may feel awkward. These are just a couple things I worried about when really they wasn’t an issue.
September 13, 2012
I found myself forgetting basic information. The knowledge was generally in my head but I had just forgot it. Once I was prompted or reminded it was usually a case of…… Ah yer course thats how it is. You can feel a little embarrassed and stupid at first but try laugh it off. Try not to let it upset you but see it as a plus. It’s something you have retrieved. Its back clear as it once was.
September 15, 2012
I was working on visual memories with my neuropsychologist. I was able to see few memories. Random ones would appear. When I was told to think of a certain time. I.e school I knew were I had gone to school and basic information but that was it. I found that if I really concentrated for a length of time on the particular subject I would get some more info. This was brilliant !! It gave me hope of seeing and knowing my past better again. It seemed like the memory’s were still in there but just harder to retrieve. The only thing was that Concentrating wore me a lot. It took a lot out of me. My poor attention/concentration span was to blame. It would be a waiting game to see how much more I could retrieve in time.
September 17, 2012
The 17th September was a big day in my recovery ! I was laid at home taking some quiet time and thought about my time spent on Neurosurgical ward 4/40. The staff had left a really nice impression on me. There positive care and attention at the very start of my recovery was amazing. I just really appreciated what they had done. I thought about the other people that I had seen on the ward in as bad or worse state then me. I hoped them patients were making a good recovery and knew the staff on the ward would be doing a good job of caring for present patients. It was then that I had an idea – Because of my improved level of fitness I would train to run a half-marathon getting sponsored to raise money for the ward. I thought about doing it on the anniversary of the attack. It would be a personal achievement that a year on I could run a half-marathon. I really wanted to help that ward and the future patients on it. I would speak with Gemma ,family and friends to see what they thought.
September 20, 2012
I was able to go watch Reece play his first game of rugby which was a great day for me. He had been going training but because I couldn’t drive i hadn’t seen him. I was really happy to be there cheering him on. I felt excited and nervous for him. He played really well getting stuck in. A few months back i couldn’t of done this ! I was a really proud dad X
September 21, 2012
I was training hard and sticking to my diet. I was feeling and seeing results so it was giving me a good positive buzz. Most of all I was enjoying it ! It was really important for me that i felt fit and healthy. I had been sat on my couch seriously messed up for months wasting away. I just wanted to feel fit and healthy and give myself something to focus on.
September 22, 2012
Something you need to be prepared for in brain recovery is people assuming your ok once your walking and talking. They don’t see the hard work that goes into functioning at the level you are. I didn’t help this by always trying to raise my game when people would visit. I didn’t want pity and wanted to push on the best I could. Looking back I think its important to tell family and friends how your doing and if your struggling. Don’t let pride get in your way. The more they know how hard it is for you the more support you will get. Its tough for people to understand as its not a physical problem so communication is key. Telling them your struggling doesn’t mean your weak. Its best to talk to seek advice and support X
September 23, 2012
My brother mark and his fiancÃ© Lisa had applied to get married on a T.v show – celebrity wedding planner , They had been accepted which was unbelievable ! All the family were really excited with the news. Mark asked me to his best man. A really proud moment. It would be an honour. He had met the love of his life, had a beautiful boy and now they was to wed, on T.v ! Absolutely Amazing X
September 24, 2012
Its hard to explain how I was at this time. I was functioning but I didn’t feel switched on with reality. Its like I was just going along with life. I was there in person but not in mind. My thoughts, feelings and understanding were there but very much diluted. I struggled with thinking and processing thoughts and was really slow in general. At this time I was still very much finding my feet with life. Each day I was working out the extent of my injuries and trying to find myself again.
September 25, 2012
I had spoke to friends and family about the half marathon and they loved the idea. I thought of having a family fun day after the run. It would create new positive memories with my nearest and dearest and put to bed what had happened to me the year before. I didn’t want to look back on Easter Sunday and think of that incident for the rest of my life ! The half-marathon and family fun day was defiantly going to happen x
September 26, 2012
Whilst I had been out on my runs I had been listening to music for motivation and a boost. I had created a playlist from tracks on my phone. Whilst out running some songs would bring slight memories of occasions or people. It didn’t happen all the time and most times the memory would die off quickly but it give me a buzz in the hope they was there . This was a pretty amazing feeling !
September 27, 2012
I found this link which is worth a read if you are struggling with memories –
September 28, 2012
I was spreading the word of my half-marathon to friends and family. Support was immense ! Some were saying they would train and also do the run with me. I couldn’t believe it .What unbelievable support ! Really amazing people X I was getting such positive feedback from the event and it was growing nicely.
September 29, 2012
I was still very much limited with mental thinking/understanding. Everything had to be done slowly in my own time. All the ailments were persisting. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get back to any decent level of brain function. You don’t feel any drastic changes. Everything about brain recovery is slow. It’s not were you wake up one day and you are suddenly ok. This is long drawn out healing off the most complex computer on earth ! This is one of the biggest things to accept with brain recovery – it’s going to take time, a long time !
September 30, 2012
As you start to get back on your feet and do more its really important to still take your regular breaks. I was going to the gym and doing some light chores around the house which was brilliant. However keep your eye on your fatigue levels. I pushed it a lot which didn’t do me any favours looking back. I would hit overload and to be honest its not a nice feeling. When you hit overload it makes everything seem harder then it is and it’s upsetting ! Regular breaks in silence for 10mins will really help your brain to relax. Don’t neglect yourself X
October 1, 2012
I was well and truly on the healthy train at this point. My whole outlook on diet had changed. I kept my eye out for foods that would naturally aid my recovery. I added all these to my new healthy diet.
October 2, 2012
So now its early October 2012 – 7 months after the haemorrhage. Money is tight as the mortgage has to be paid again. I am feeling the strain of having very little income. Looking back I really wasn’t with it still but i pushed myself and spoke to neuropsychology about returning to work.
October 4, 2012
I was aware I wasn’t mentally well but I ignored it as much as I could and pushed on thinking I would be ok. I went to Neuro and made out I was ready to try and return for work. They advised that I should go back in the new year. I pushed it and they agreed that I could return 2 days a week. This was only a test to see how I would do and there was no guarantees I would be able to manage. Looking back they was right. I had pushed to go back because of pressure with bills and Christmas round the corner.
October 5, 2012
DO NOT RUSH BACK TO WORK !! You should only go back when you are completely ready. This is a massive step in recovery. If you are struggling with money then I would advise to get some Help and advice with seeking what benefits you are entitled to. This responsibility needs to be done by someone else and not the patient.
October 6, 2012
Here’s a good link to look through regarding returning to work –
October 7, 2012
So the plan with work was that I returned and just see how I went. Because I was early in recovery Neuro did not have answers as to weather I would be able to be a competent electrician again. They said it was very unlikely I would be a foreman. Obviously to hear this really hurt . This was my career of 18 years . Because I was still somewhat very basic I didn’t understand the full depth of what this meant. I think it would of ruined me if I could of understood properly. I would go back and try prove to myself and others I could be an electrician again. First I needed to speak to my work and see if they would have me back as I was.
October 8, 2012
The Support I had received from Humber Electrical were I worked had been immense ! They put no pressure on me to go back and I had weekly phone calls from my boss to see how I was getting on. I was told to take as long as I needed and had plenty of kind words put my way. This really meant a lot and had made things in that department easier which was amazing.
October 10, 2012
The worrying thing with work was that amongst other things I had an extremely poor memory and concentration span. The Knowledge and wisdom I had built up over the years wasn’t no were near as clear as it once was. I couldn’t retrieve the memories of jobs I had run or tasks I had carried out. Normal procedures and methods I had used to do jobs were not in my head. Its fair to say I was very blank with life and work was no different. I just hoped I would get these memories and knowledge back when I returned.
October 11, 2012
Don’t worry you have just gotta go for it ! X
October 12, 2012
Best Wishes X October 12, 2012 If the time is right and the person is ready then I would recommended plenty of positive encouragement with returning to work after a brain injury. Confidence will be really low and so positive vibes and support is everything. Talks about your work with family or friends before you go back might bring back memories to help you.
October 14, 2012
I arranged to see my boss and discuss my possible return to work. I was nervous going back into the yard. The office new my predicament with the length of recovery and my lessened capabilities. My boss was brilliant on returning and put me at ease. He said I was well thought of at the company and they would stand by me. I can’t tell you how much that meant ! It was agreed I would return 2 days a week and see how I managed. They would be no pressure on me as I would only shadow an electrician. So watching, passing and carrying. I would return on October 20th 2012.
October 15, 2012
I am really enjoying the gym. It takes me away from any negativity the brain injury brings. I am still quite in the gym with chatting to people but my confidence is growing. I still have mens health in mind ! I had to be careful with fatigue levels with going to the gym and returning to work. But I was committed to both so determined to make it work.
October 16, 2012
Support for the half marathon was growing I had announced it on social media. The response was fantastic. There was lots of interest from friends in running it and or sponsoring ! I was overwhelmed and excited X
October 18, 2012
Not knowing how you will be or do in something you was once top of your game at is really frightening and frustrating. When I tried to think about my apprenticeship and electrical career I was fairly blank. I knew the basics and that was all. It was worrying and it hurt but I would go back and do my best.
October 20, 2012
Here I am ready for my first day back at work. I was going on a job that was being run by my brother. This made me feel much better. Having Mark alongside me, going in to one of my biggest tests in life was amazing !
October 21, 2012
I had ups and downs returning to work – It was nice to see and to be amongst old work friends. I felt good I was back earning money . I felt extremely vulnerable. There was to much going on around me. My brain was struggling to take it all in. I think being back at work gave me a little realisation into how slow I was.
October 23, 2012
I can’t tell you how big a step going back to work is !! The environment is like nothing you are used to. I went from sitting at home alone to being on site with 20 men all doing jobs. My head was in a complete spin and it freaked me out. I won’t lie I was way out of my depth and it was frightening. The speed at which everyone was buzzing around carrying out there jobs was incredible. It was far too quick for me. To be fair looking back it was to soon and I wasn’t ready for it. I had been foolish pushing to go back. Luckily I had Mark and great work friends to support me and so I stuck with it.
October 25, 2012
My brother Mark had asked me to be best man at his wedding which was to be in November. Mark had said that he didn’t expect me to do a speech. He said that with the way I was with my memory, concentration span and confidence etc it would be to much. I was well chuffed he had asked me and wanted to do my little brother proud. I knew I wasn’t capable of anything to in depth but I would write a short speech the best I could and hopefully have the confidence to say it on the day.
October 26, 2012
For me there was only ever one choice in my brain recovery – Give it all you’ve got ! Things will be tougher and life is harder with brain damage but just do what you can. Don’t take a backwards step. Do what you can with the capabilities you have. Be happy for what you have and make the most of it X
November 8, 2012
In November 2012 myself and witnesses went to Hull crown court. The person accused of the unprovoked attack on me would make a plea. At this point I still didn’t understand what had happened to me. I knew I had been hit and I was struggling in life but there was nothing deeper then that. I was still basic. I really needed this part of the ordeal finished so I could concentrate on my recovery and get my life back together. The person accused pleaded “not guilty”. We would go to trail in front of a jury at Hull Crown court in February. This was a devastating blow I really didn’t need.
November 9, 2012
During brain recovery you will feel negative strains daily. Life is tough and I often really struggled. Because of the hard times it is very very easy to get into a dull mind frame. Try to always look out for the good. Don’t sit and dwell on things it will get you no were ! Appreciate your improvements and growing capabilities each week. Look forward to up coming family/friends events. There is always something good to balance the bad ! You just gotta look for it X
November 13, 2012
Family and friends were feeling excited for Mark and Lisa’s up coming wedding. As I mentioned it was going to be on a T.V show. We was eagerly waiting to find out who the celebrities would be. I was writing a short best man speech. To be honest I found it really difficult. It was hard to retrieve memories of Mark and I. I couldn’t think properly and I was struggling.This was obviously quite upsetting. I got around it by not doing the tradition joking speech. It would just be a sentimental one telling him I was proud and congratulations. I got a couple of quality friends to guide and help me. Don’t worry about living up to the “norm”. Just do what you can. There is always a way, it will most probably be different to how you would of done it before but it doesn’t matter – it’s your new way. Don’t give in always try and find a way.
November 15, 2012
Here’s my brother Mark on his stag doo with the celebrities that would plan his wedding !! Martin kemp and Mc Harvey ! This was Amazing x
November 16, 2012
Martin kemp was a really cool guy. He spoke to me about his own brain ordeal and offered advice ! Martin had gone through 2 blood clots on the brain. He told me he is not completely right now. He developed epilepsy and told me he struggles with picture memories. He told me not to worry and things will get better. He said you learn to cope with your new brain. It will take time and new strategies need to be used but you will get there. It was unreal to be honest. There I was on my brothers stag doo chatting to Martin Kemp about brain injuries – He’s a top bloke !
November 17, 2012
It was a cracking day out paint-balling for Marks stag doo. I obviously couldn’t get involved because of my injury but it didn’t matter. I was happy to be there amongst friends. Seeing good friends together celebrating Marks stag was brilliant . Watching the lads enjoying some banter was fun ! Don’t dwell on things you can’t do or take part in. You can be part of the party still just not in the way you was. Its really important you still take part and have as much fun as you can.
November 22, 2012
Mark and Lisa’s wedding day was Truly unique and amazing !! The celebrities had done a grand job and everything was spot on. Lisa looked gorgeous and my brother looked the happiest man alive which was a dream for me to see. It was a perfect day spent with family and friends to celebrate.
November 23, 2012
I am pleased to say I did the speech for Mark. I wasn’t sure if I could do it to be honest. I had prepared it the best I could and would just take it and see if I could do it on the day. Self doubt in my abilities and nerves in speaking out loud to a crowd was worrying me. A month before I was struggling with stuttering and had trouble getting a sentence together. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in life. It took everything I had mentally to deliver it. I think it went well and Mark and Lisa were really happy I had done it. (Marks wedding video)
November 25, 2012
Going to a large full day event can be very daunting with a brain injury. Even if it is with family and friends. The buzz and energy of the day is overwhelming and will no doubt wear you out. Dividing your attention between people and engaging in different conversations will be really tricky and will no doubt be hard work. Looking back I tried to keep up. I did a decent job of covering up how hard it was for me. Inside I was exhausted. Don’t put pressure on yourself ! I think its wise to take breaks throughout the day to grab some quiet time for your brain to relax. On your own in silence just chilling. It will help you manage the full day.
November 29, 2012
One of my biggest mistakes throughout my brain recovery is not telling people how I really felt. To be fair at this point I still don’t think I understood what had gone on. Never the less I was struggling and I could of spoke more to close family and friends about how I was feeling. As a proud old fashioned man I think I just got on best I could in the situation I was in. All well and good but I know now looking back I should of opened up and spoke of my pain. I think it would of helped me. My advice to anyone in a similar situation Is to drop your guide a little. That chat might just do you the world of good X
December 1, 2012
About this time I went to see my consultant. He wanted to ween me off my epilepsy medicine. I was taking phenytoin. It was not known if I had epilepsy. I was on the medication as a precaution after seizures in hospital. I would take a lesser dose each week and gradually stop taking it. It would take 6 weeks to come off the medication. Because I was coming off the medication there was a higher risk of having a seizure if I did have epilepsy. Family had to be told of what to do in the event of a seizure.
December 2, 2012
I had mixed emotions coming off the epilepsy medicine. It felt good that I was at a position in my recovery to test coming off the medicine. On the other hand I felt worried about a possible seizure. It was just another test I thought. What will be…will be.
December 7, 2012
I was finding being back at work tough. I was a million miles from carrying out my normal duties. Basic tasks were difficult. My memory was weak and attention/concentration span was minimal. I decided to speak to my Neuro- psychologist to get some advice.
December 8, 2012
One thing I was finding a challenge was keeping up with conversations. Especially in groups. It was nearly impossible. By the time I had thought of an answer or something to say the conversation had moved on. I just couldn’t keep up. This use to make me feel isolated sometimes. Family and friends of anyone with a brain injury need to be careful with this one. Its best to ask one question at a time. Give your loved one time to respond then move the conversation on. Remember to slow things down. You need to go at their pace and then they will feel comfortable.
December 9, 2012
I was enjoying my running and thriving at the gym. It was my get away from the negativeness of brain recovery. Eating healthy and working out was giving me a positive focus. This helped me so much in recovery.
December 10, 2012
Every minute of everyday we are all thinking about something. All trying to do the best from our thoughts. We take it for granted putting these thoughts together to carry us through life in the best way possible. When your brain is damaged these thoughts don’t come as easy as they once did. Because of this life is challenging. Obviously more difficult then it already is. You are reminded throughout everyday that you have a weakness. When I was running or I went to the gym I didn’t have to think as much. My body was doing the work. I wasn’t reminded that I was weak. Fitness was my escape.
December 11, 2012
Family and friends were still coming to visit. They would take me out or prepare food at my house. I am really lucky to have such great people in my life who have been there throughout my recovery. It really matters. There support was and still is so important to me.
December 12, 2012
I took photos to record my progress. These would be sent with the letter to mens health. I really wanted to give others with brain injuries “Hope” . That good things can still be achieved after brain injury.
December 14, 2012
It was the gym for me. It could be anything else for you. There is always a way. Just don’t give up X
December 15, 2012
I spoke to my Neuro-psychologist about work. I told her about the things I was struggling with and she offered advice. My biggest problem was that I was to proud to listen properly. I noted it down but I just didn’t put it into practice. I tried to use the old original methods I was use to. Ill be ok I use to think. I don’t need to change. This was a big mistake in early recovery and this is some of the knowledge I am trying to pass on to help others.
December 17, 2012
My relationship with Gemma was still feeling the strain. We was doing alright but things change after head injury. I think in early recovery its impossible to have the same relationship as you did. The biggest change is that I was a different man. I was brain damaged,struggling to keep up and make sense of what had happened to me. Relationship stuff isn’t there in your head as it was. How can it be ? There will be hard times in relationships with brain injury.
December 18, 2012
The half marathon and fun day was coming on a treat. Lots more friends was signing up. The way things were going I would have fifty people signed up before Christmas ! It was overwhelming unbelievable support from quality family and friends.
December 20, 2012
Christmas was around the corner. I love Christmas time but to be honest that year I found it hard. Christmas is such a busy time. There is so much to think about in the build up. Sorting things out with presents etc is hard work. I tried to keep up and do the usual sorting out but it wasn’t any good for me. My low resources mentally was taken up stressing.
December 21, 2012
If its your first year at Christmas with a brain injury and your struggling then don’t put pressure on yourself. I am sure you can still play a role in helping out in the build up to Christmas. Sorting out a couple of presents or activities is still a really good effort. Get support from family/friends to help you with the rest. Enjoy the festive build up rather then making life hard for yourself trying to keep up.
December 25, 2012
Merry Christmas – All the very best X
December 27, 2012
Despite feeling the strain I was still smiling. I was happy to be celebrating the festive period with family and friends. Seeing Gemma and Reece excited for Christmas always gives me a buzz. I hoped the new year would bring better things. I had the fundraiser to look forward to and potentially mens health !
December 28, 2012
Looking back I found that Christmas tough. I was still slow mentally. I was slow cognitively and still had a poor memory. I was struggling with work. I could not drive. I had little money. I was suffering with depression. I had an up coming crown court trail to deal with. Life seemed like really hard work.
January 3, 2013
So now were going into 2013. I was there to an extent but I was still slow, vacant and very much robot like still. All the ailments were persisting although some was getting better. I just kept hoping one day I would wake up and be fine. I ignored my downfalls as much as I could and pushed on with the capabilities I had.
January 5, 2013
I know its tough but you just gotta go with it. Things DO get easier X
January 6, 2013
Don’t make life harder for yourself – Take your time ! Slow things down ! Go at your own pace ! No rush – No drama ! No pressure – No stress !
January 7, 2013
I was still watching the tomorrow land video and loving it !! I can’t tell you how much of a positive impact that video had on me.http://touch.dailymotion.com/â€¦/xsd7v4_tomorrowland-2011-offâ€¦
January 9, 2013
I was enjoying training for the half marathon. I think listening to music really helped my low mood. I would get lost in the music whilst running and it made me feel fantastic. If your suffering with low mood a quality playlist of tracks you like will defiantly help ! I think if your alone its better as you can really feel the music. It was soothing for me at some really low times
January 12, 2013
Although I was functioning, I was finding life really difficult. Any sort of thinking just seemed hard work. I had a real lack of insight and understanding into life. No real depth mentally, I was just getting through the days the best I could. I just went with what I could do and focused on that.
January 14, 2013
I now had over 50 friends signed up for the fundraiser. These people didn’t like to run a mile never mind 13.2 !! They was out in the cold training for it in January. I would get messages of progress from them which was humbling. I knew were this money would be going and the people it would help. All the runners taking time out to support me and ward 4/40 were Truly amazing people !
January 15, 2013
I had been working with my neuropsychologist on retrieving memories. I saw the memory of Reece being born and it felt wonderful I couldn’t hold the memory for long but it was enough. Seeing that memory again gave me such a rush. For that moment I was one happy man ! It gave me hope for all my memories.
January 17, 2013
I was completely free of medication I hadn’t had a seizure I am not one for taking tablets so this for me was magic. It was another milestone in recovery. A brilliant one. I don’t think I appreciated it enough at the time. Always be happy for any milestone reached in recovery. In fact over celebrate them. You are one step closer to the new you !
January 19, 2013
Gym life was really good. Tom was pushing me more and more each session. My confidence was slowly building. I use to get around my poor memory by writing down what we had done when I got home. This helped me remember the routines. I was starting to make up my own routines. I was using the knowledge I had built up. It felt great to be feeling fit.
January 21, 2013
The half marathon fundraiser was gaining momentum. Family/friends were helping me to plan and get it off the ground. I mapped a route with a pal called Tc. It was in the countryside near to were I use to live. A small village called Bilton. My mum and Pete spoke to the local committee. We would have the fun day at the local pub called British legion. My friend Sean helped to set up a sponsor site. Gemma made posters and sponsor sheets for all the runners. It was a big operation with lots of positive energy.
January 22, 2013
I was getting use to the working environment again. All the trades working away was hard for me to take in at first but was slowly getting better. I was still shadowing people and was way of the mark from were I needed to be. Despite that I pushed it with Neuro to add another day to my working week. I was well supported by the lads at work. I thought i would push up the hours in the hope things would come back to me quicker. I just wanted to be as I was before the incident.
January 23, 2013
Interest from friends in getting involved was still growing for the run. It was hard to keep everybody in the loop so we decided to create a Facebook site for it. Updates on people’s progress with training could be posted. Seeing how everybody was doing was creating a good buzz for the event. All information in the build up to the run would be posted on this site. If you would like a look then the Facebook site is – Franks Fundraising News My nick name is Frank. Frank Spencer I was called it years ago by a work friend and it stuck ! To the point now were pretty much everybody calls me it.
January 26, 2013
It was at this point in my recovery when I realised I had real trouble in structuring sentences. I noticed it when I was posting or messaging friends. I would generally put sentences in the wrong order. It was just a highlighter that I was still confused easily. I spoke to doctors who said hopefully it would clear in time.
January 27, 2013
Sometimes during brain recovery you feel like your jumping hurdles. Always another obstacle to get over or deal with. Your either waiting for something to come back to you or realising there’s something else missing. It’s such a long complex challenging recovery. It is a daily test of your character. You must stay h3 throughout. Always look forward and enjoy the positive milestones your reaching.
January 28, 2013
Always be extremely happy with your progress in recovery X
January 29, 2013
Always talk to someone about how your feeling. I know its tough talking about mental health issues but going through it myself I think communication is key. Having the courage to speak out could make you feel better. It will give family/friends more of an understanding of how you are feeling. This will only help your relationships.
February 1, 2013
Friends were pulling out all the stops to raise cash for the ward. A paratrooper friend Carl was going to run the half marathon with weighted back pack and in his military boots. What a beast ! A lovely lady called Linda was going to swim lake Windermere. A friend Mike was hosting a charity night at his club to raise cash. My friend Amy was baking and selling cakes at her shop and a friend David had a sponsored wax haha. There were all sorts of things going on to help the cause. It meant a lot to me !
February 2, 2013
The court date was coming up. It would start on Monday 11th February and we was told could last a week. I really didn’t need this. Going to trail against the person accused of putting me in hell wasn’t my idea of fun ! I was on my knees in life and then I had to deal with this. I didn’t want to stand in the same room as the person never mind contemplate they might get off with it.
February 5, 2013
I was feeling a lot of anxiety and depression in the run up to the trail. Because of my inability to understand things properly It didn’t break me. In a way I was lucky I was like that otherwise I think it could well of broke me. It was such a big burden. I felt like once it was done and hopefully the right verdict was given. I could move on a happier man and it would lift my spirits. Headspace taken up by this trail would become free and I would be able to recover better.
February 10, 2013
Once I was venturing out into the real world again a real pain in the butt was not being able to drive. Having to rely on Gemma or family/friends for lifts or use public transport was another blow to my self esteem. I was having to fit in with other people plans and times. I felt a pain. I hated having to ask people for lifts and this really hurt me as I am an independent man. I was letting my pride get in the way again. Unfortunately it’s just something you have to get used to. It doesn’t last forever ! I am sure people offering lifts are more then happy to help. In fact they probably like the fact they can help you along in your recovery. Don’t let it beat you up.
February 12, 2013
The court trail wasn’t nice at all ! An experience I hope Ill never have to go through again. Gemma and family were there for support and my witnesses were ready to testify. They had originally said that I wouldn’t go on the stand because of my injuries. I wasn’t having that ! I knew it would be tough but I was ready to do what I had to do to get this finished. I was called to the dock and it wasn’t nice but I was pleased I did it. All my witnesses got up there and did a great job. We had got up there and told the truth. Now it was up to the jury. The verdict would be Thursday 14th February.
February 14, 2013
JUSTICE !! – He finally had to pay for what he had done to me. Thanks to Gemma and my family/friends for all there love and support in the build up to this trail and throughout my recovery.
February 16, 2013
It was fantastic news from the court. Family/friends and Gemma were celebrating the news. All really happy. I was happy it was over and the right thing had been done. This part of the ordeal was finished. I had thought that the news would of changed things for me. I thought it would of had a big impact on my feelings. I was blaming this court ordeal for them been suppressed I was expecting to be jumping for joy and everything be ok once it was done. It wasn’t the case. I was happy it was over and we had won. That was it. It was a big realisation about how much the brain injury was effecting me ! Here is a good friend of mine Jon wafer. Aka Waff He is a talented dj and has done very well for himself playing all over the world ! I had an amazing phone call from him in feb 2013 He told me he had been booked to play at tomorrow land 2013. He knew how important that video had been in my recovery and so wanted to take me with him !! Better still two of my best friends could also come along. My friend Sean and Riccardo was buzzing to say the least. Even tho I was still slow I could certainly feel this one haha At the time I was Completely blown away
February 20, 2013
I was realising more and more how I was. Only at a basic level. I knew life was hard and a bad thing had happened to me but that had been it to be honest. Now I was gradually becoming more with it. I think at this point I was still like a robot. Although I was getting better slowly I still had little understanding into things and certainly a lack of emotional response. I was missing that deeper connection to family/friends. I had just been getting on with life in the best way I could.
February 23, 2013
I had got myself into a position were I was ready to write to Mens Health. I wrote to the editor telling him of my progress throughout my recovery. I told him of my dream to be in the magazine to give others “Hope” at the start of their brain recovery. I sent progress photos. I had done everything I could. I would just have to see if I had done enough to fulfil my ambition.
February 25, 2013
Family and friends were going above and beyond for the Half marathon fundraising event. People were offering a hand for the water stations and marshalling. An old teacher who I had been close to at school called Mr Baish had been in touch. He was keen to help which was lovely ! We decided to do a raffle and auction. Donations of prizes for the raffle were ridiculous ! It was a super raffle. Friends who were getting involved in the run was also donating prizes. A top bloke called Wolfie sorted me signed Hull FC and Hull KR rugby shirts. This effort by everyone was immense ! I felt truly blessed to have that support.
March 1, 2013
The Hull daily mail had been in touch and said they would like to do an article on the Half marathon event. This was brilliant ! It would get some coverage throughout the city. I hoped other people with brain injuries would see what was (hopefully) achievable a year on from a haemorrhage. I could praise family/friends for there amazing support. It would give neurosurical ward 4/40 positive praise which it thoroughly deserved.
March 6, 2013
Here is the Article the mail wrote about the Half marathon event –
Half Marathon Article
March 10, 2013
In the early days going out on nights out and drinking wasn’t an option. I wasn’t well enough. Your social life with friends will definitely change with a brain injury. This can be really tough.Especially if your young. Generally going out and boozing is the norm. It’s no fun missing out on nights out. As I was getting a little better I tried going out on nights out. I wanted to feel part of the group again. I had a pint and enjoyed been with family/friends. Stick to none or minimal alcohol. Although you will enjoy that feeling of socialising it will come at a price. Keeping up with different conversations and the general atmosphere of a night out will probably take a lot out of you so be careful.
March 14, 2013
I was/had been really lucky to have great family/friends who had visited me and regularly took me for dinner etc. Because of the “nights out” socialising having to stop or be limited this is so important !! For friends/family of anyone going through brain recovery- Always be mindful of this one. Try and make time for visits,walks,meals etc. Always take a minute to think about their situation. This way they won’t have to feel left out or uncomfortable. I am sure your loved one will really appreciate your time and love the catch up.
March 17, 2013
You will find your feet with the socialising. Although it may seem it this not the end of the world. Good friends will arrange to meet up in different ways. Changes will have to be made from what you are used too but that’s part of this recovery. Take the opportunity to try new experiences. Give it time and you will probably find you like and appreciate some of your new ways of socialising.
March 20, 2013
It was all coming together nicely.
March 23, 2013
The more the run was building the more posts and messaging I was doing. I was still finding it really difficult to put the sentences together and keep up in the build up to the event. It was a nightmare for Gemma. I was asking every five mins to check things. I needed reassurance in abundance.
March 24, 2013
At some point in recovery you will start to take more on. This is a great feeling ! I loved it as at one point I wasn’t capable of much at all. Just be careful your not taking to much on. It’s very easy to start overloading. Don’t run before you can walk.
March 27, 2013
For the last year I hadn’t been able to see past properly. The event and fun day was also about making new memories. All family and close friends would be there and I couldn’t wait. To have them all there supporting and having fun would be amazing. New quality memories would be created with my nearest and dearest.
March 29, 2013
The big day was nearly upon us. The day had snowballed from the start. I now had 70 people running the half marathon. Friends were coming from around the country to join in or support ! There would be a super raffle,auction,bouncy castle and a face painter for the kids. My mum and aunties were going to do a buffet for the runners and everyone there. There was going to be positive vibes all round ! This was going to put to bed what had happened to me the year before in style.
March 31, 2013
Here we go !! The start of a Frank and Friends Half marathon – Amazing effort by all X
I did it !! Half marathon complete Who would of thought it ? In them early days after the haemorrhage I would never of thought it possible. Not a chance ! There I was a year on achieving a half marathon. I hope this sends out hope to anyone starting there recovery after a brain injury With the right attitude and determination great things can still be accomplished!
“Have patience …. There were times in recovery when I felt stuck. It’s a long process…
Stay h3. Enjoy What you can. You might not think it. You will be getting there….
A place were you can move on x”
April 1, 2013
The day created one big wave of positiveness ! It was a massive success all round. All runners finished safe. They was all buzzing after accomplishing a half marathon. Plenty of smiles even with a few aches and pains. The fun day was packed out with everyone I knew ! It was really special seeing everyone there. It was everything I had hoped for and more. We had all helped to raise £16000 for neurosurgical ward 4/40 ! And money was still coming in. I was blown away. What an effort. Well done to everyone who was a part in a day I will never forget x
April 2, 2013
The day was better then I could of ever imagined –
April 3, 2013
A few pics from a day I will cherish forever. An outstanding effort by all the closest people in my life. All coming together to support myself and the ward. A really beautiful day for so many reasons.
April 5, 2013
It’s only now at present day(5/9/14) that I can really feel the joy of that day. I was well enough to be running a half marathon which was fantastic. But I still wasn’t mentally well at that time. One year into recovery and I still had a long way to go ! To be fair I was functioning at a decent level mentally. I could get by a lot easier then before so Positive progress !! I looked fine and tried to act fine. It did not do myself any favours. I was still slow cognitively. Poor memory. I felt emotionally blank which I was noticing a lot. I knew logically how I should feel and could act it to cover up. At the time that connection to my heart just wasn’t there as prominent as I felt it should be. I was still learning about myself and my new brain.
April 7, 2013
I think I had got caught up in the whirlwind of the half marathon. My mind had been taken up with thoughts of the event. It was all I had focused on. To be fair looking back I had took on to much to early. It was only afterwards that I noticed I was less tired, agitated and confused. I had been hitting overload. In this case I think it was well worth it for the amazing outcome of the run but generally hitting overload is not going to do you any favours ! Just be careful that you are not taking on to much. Once you start getting out of your comfort zone with things then stop. Take a break, relax and re charge.
April 11, 2013
You must remember to take regular breaks. Preferably in silence and without mobile etc. Just you and your thoughts. Relax. This is something your going to have to fit into your daily lives. Yes you can manage without or with few but probably not to your full capacity. You will feel naturally better in mood if you include breaks throughout the day. To be honest at this time in my recovery I didn’t do it ! It’s only now looking back I know its something that would of helped me. I’m passing some wisdom on x
April 12, 2013
Words to describe the first year of my brain recovery would be – Lost, confused, vulnerable, vacant, Zombie, slow, lack of understanding, lack of emotional response, poor attention and concentration, lack of interest, extremely poor short/long term memory Not switched on in general. Just going through the motions. Despite the above I was getting back on my feet in life with plenty of support from friends/family. I was getting back into work I had chose a good path with health and fitness. The half marathon was a huge success all round. Positives were still being made !
April 13, 2013
It’s like when I was injured my brain put a recovery blanket over itself. At first when it had maximum damage it only gave me the basics to function and that was it. Very limited thought in any sort of depth. Very Gradually as the months we’re passing it was pulling the blanket back to give me more thoughts. My brain was only giving me what it had to, this was to aid itself in repairing. Really clever stuff ! Unbelievable really !
April 15, 2013
Going into the second year I would say I was still waking up from the daze. Its difficult to explain to be honest. I was being able to think a little more in depth. My understanding of my injuries was getting better. Like the heavy fog had changed into more of a mist.
April 16, 2013
I was still finding work tough. There was no pressure and I had top class support from the lads. I was realising each week how much the injury had effected my work. Simple tasks seemed hard work. I would forget basic instructions. Working memory was poor. I had been reluctant to admit it but I needed to use the coping strategies my neuropsychologist had told me about. These would only help me and hopefully make things easier for myself.
April 18, 2013
It wasn’t just work that i needed to imply coping strategies. It was in life in general. I think I had just always thought … No al be ok I don’t need to do that. Al crack on it’ll be ok soon. I hadn’t wanted to change my ways or adapt to the new me. It was a pride thing and to be fair it was only around this time that I started having the brains to realise that these new strategies were indeed going to help me.
April 21, 2013
I don’t think humans like change. Especially men haha. We each have an instinctive way of how to operate and manage our way through life. Changing that way of thinking feels strange so we tend to try and stick to the norm. After a brain injury you have to get use to change. You will have changed ! If you can understand the situation and put strategies in place it will help you. Your injury will determine your weaknesses. The quicker you can adapt to help you cope with these weaknesses the better and easier things will be.
April 22, 2013
It felt strange for me to use new ways of coping in life. But I was getting annoyed at myself over things I could do something about. I needed to make things easier for myself so some coping strategies I starting using were – -making lists(any new important info or materials for work etc) -taking regular breaks -setting reminders(to call people and things in general) -setting alarms(appointments) I was starting to introduce these new coping strategies into everyday life. To be fair they were really useful and helping me.
April 23, 2013
I had spoken to Neuro about feeling low. I had been as positive as I could be throughout my recovery but I was feeling low inside. I think as the recovery went on and I was realising more (getting better) that feeling was getting stronger. Everything seemed like hard work. I was putting a downer on things in life. Everything just seemed negative. There wasn’t much good stuff going on in my head. I put a brave face on to others(man thing) but I was hurting.
April 26, 2013
I told my neuropsychologist that I wanted to feel the happiness of still being alive ! I wanted to feel that joy and elation of not dying that day. I was lucky to be here and I hadn’t appreciated it. She still didn’t think I understood what had happened to me properly. She also said its hard to appreciate something when you are still struggling. And the low mood was put down to realising more how much I had been struggling. This injury had taken over my life with daily struggles for the last 14 month. And it still wasn’t over. She made sense. I would get there and feel that happiness one day once the struggle was over !
April 27, 2013
I was offered anti-depressants for my low mood. I refused. I could cope I thought. I had come this far. I didn’t need any help with them. I saw needing them as being weak. So I cracked on thinking…. Al be right ,I will pull myself round.
April 28, 2013
My relationship with Gemma was on the rocks. We was hanging in there but it wasn’t good. Although I was getting better there was still a long way to go. A year had been a long time with things really rough. I wasn’t the same person. My focus was on getting better. I was depressed and it was Gemma who saw that the most. Home life was no fun.
April 30, 2013
I was at home doing my ab exercises when I received a phone call from……….. The Mens Health editor !! Wowsers, I really couldn’t beleive it ! He said the magazine liked my transformation and my motives for doing it. He invited me to London for a photo shoot. I would feature in an article in the August edition. This was my dream ! The ambition of getting into mens health to be hope for others was becoming reality.
May 9, 2013
With Mens Health in mind I was really training hard. I was continuing to eat well feeling fit and feeling healthy. Something that wasn’t healthy for myself or natural brain recovery was smoking. If I was going down this fitness path then I would do it properly and that needed to go. I had smoked for 15 years so i knew it would be tough to quit. I was willing to give it a good shot !
May 15, 2013
My neuropsychologist was educating me on frontal lobe damage. A common problem that occurs after such damage is executive dysfunction. Here is a link to look through if you or your loved one is suffering with a similar injury –
May 17, 2013
Unfortunately my neuropsychologist was going on maternity leave. She would not be back for 9 months. She is the only neuropsychologist in the city of Hull ! So we had to stop the rehabilitation till she got back. In the meantime if I needed help/advice I would need to visit my G.P. At the time I thought I would be ok. For some reason I always just think al be ok and get on with it ! I had a really positive summer coming up so I was looking forward to that.
May 21, 2013
I was still forgetting basic information – About this time I went to visit a friend up the road. It was the first time I had been to his house. He told me he lived at house number 23. When I got there I was getting confused. I could see 22 and 24 but were was his house I thought. I was scratching my head thinking is it behind or something?! I must of been looking conspicuous because the guy from 22 came out… “Can I help you mate?” He said , ” yer I’m looking for number 23 mate ” I said looking over his shoulder into his back garden ! He looked at me and laughed and said “it’s there mate haha” obviously pointing behind me across the road. “Ah sorry course it is” haha I had forgotten that was the general layout of houses. I had noticed the more I was getting around the more things like that were happening. The knowledge was in my head it just needed retrieving.
May 29, 2013
The first time I had been to London. There I was in the big smoke for a fitness shoot at Mens Health !!! Who would of thought it eh ? The year before I could not even go to the local shop ! Never give up X I never realistically knew if I would ever be good enough to make it into that respected magazine. I just kept up the hard work in the gym never forgetting my goal. It wasn’t just the time at mens health that was amazing. The full London experience was incredible. I took the chance to have a run around Hyde Park which I really enjoyed ! Gemma and I went all over site seeing loving every minute.
June 2, 2013
The London trip really highlights progress I had made. It just shows how far I had come in my brain recovery. Although everyone will recover from different brain injuries differently good things can still be achieved. I hope it can give patients,families and friends some hope for the future !
June 15, 2013
Something that really annoyed me in recovery was being distracted from what I was doing. Some might say all men are like that haha but not true. I use to easily divide my attention between tasks at work but not now, its impossible ! I literally put everything into the job in hand. There is no thought for anything else. That’s a consequence of having a poor attention and concentration span. If you know or a caring for someone with a brain injury this is something you need to be mindful of.
June 16, 2013
A very proud moment was waking up to this on Father’s Day. The year before I was a shadow of the man I was. Not being able to feel like I could protect my son hurt a lot ! A year on seeing these words from Reece was magic x
June 20, 2013
I finding that I had limited thinking into subjects. I could feel there was significantly less thoughts rattling around in my head. Its like someone has turned down that voice in your head. In the early days that voice is near on muted. That’s why I sometimes look vacant. When there’s not a lot going on in there you have a slow response to conversation or situations. It was getting a little better month by month. Positive progress !
June 25, 2013
Unfortunately Gemma and I split up. The injury had robbed our bond from day one. We had done really well to hold on as long as we did. We had both been through so much. Our lives revolved around this injury. Our relationship had taken to much stress. This was another really sad consequence of having a brain injury. We parted on good terms and agreed to stay friends. I will always be thankful to Gemma for everything she did at such a hard time in my life. She will always have my respect and best wishes.
June 27, 2013
I started training with an old school friend Chris. He’s a great bloke. Thoughtful and understanding which is what I needed at this time. I could be slow and limited with conversation. I never felt any pressure with Chris. I could go at my own pace. It’s probably because he’s as daft as I am haha
July 2, 2013
Mens health August edition hit the shops. It felt pretty surreal seeing myself on the shelf in the local newsagent ! I just really hoped that article would reach people at the start of their brain recovery. That was my intention. That was my motivation when starting the gym. If it helped one person I would be happy. I was proud of my achievement.
July 5, 2013
This is Tom Cowen my PT. This guy is a legend ! He had such a positive influence on me with fitness. He expertly guided me and built up my knowledge from scratch. His sessions put me on the Mens Health path. Here we are sharing the joy of the article.
July 15, 2013
I wasn’t going to let my low mood and brain injury stop me enjoying the summer. I was thankful for being better then the year before and wanted to make the most of it. I felt like I was mentally well enough and in a position were I could go abroad with Reece So I did just that and booked a 5 day holiday to Ibiza. The lad was over the moon haha. It was a really important step for me. From we’re I had been not being able to walk to the local shop with him ! To be able to do this was special, really really special x
July 17, 2013
The tomorrow land trip was coming up. The festival is held in Belgium. So I would be getting on a plane. Consultants had given me the green light to fly. I was anxious about it to be honest but I didn’t want to let it stop me enjoying life. After a brain injury I think you are naturally going to worry about flying. With the pressure in the plane and all. Like I said I was nervous and anxious but i saw it as another hurdle. If you have the ok from hospital and you feel ready then try not to let your anxieties hold you back from new amazing experiences.
July 20, 2013
If you feel like you can then go for it ! X
I was really fortunate to be having the chance to go tomorrow land. I had just recovered enough to be able to go. It was like it was meant to be. A few months before and I defiantly wouldn’t of been able to even try take it on. I obviously still had plenty of mental weaknesses. I was concerned I would be ok. I was going with best friends so I knew they had my back. It would be a big test for me. I was ready to take it on. This festival had played a positive part in early recovery. Now I was well enough to be a part of it !
July 25, 2013
Tomorrow land 2013 ! Never in my wildest dreams would I of ever imagined I would be there. At that time the year before I was in a real mess. Sat on my settee not knowing what the future held for me. I would watch the 2011 video to cheer me up. There I was amongst it in 2013. I had an amazing 3 days with best friends. The festival is a wonderful place full of positive energy and smiles. People from all over the world buzzing with excitement. Amazingly we met a great guy who was an top music agent called Steve. A really cool bloke who made our experience a complete dream. He got us V.I.P bands for the weekend ! Honestly Unbelievable ! We was hanging out in the artist village with djs from all over the world. We met Pete Tong and even shared a speed boat ride with him ! We also met the owner of Tomorrow land. It was like a fairy tale weekend.
July 26, 2013
Although the festival was amazing I did find it tiring. I managed by taking regular breaks away from the crowd. I made sure I ate well throughout the day to keep my energy up. I slept well each night whilst I was there. I had an hotel rather than camping. I don’t think I would of attempted that ! It was really important I used all these coping strategies otherwise I would of come unstuck.
August 1, 2013
The flight was fine. I think I will always have a little anxiety with flying after a brain injury but I can deal with that. Your first flight is always going to be a test. You may well feel a little sick. That might just be the anxiety. I try to focus on the destination rather then worrying. I would definitely recommend a short flight if it will be your first time since the injury.
August 11, 2013
The holiday with Reece was coming up. Ibiza for five days. I had been to Ibiza 5-10 times in the past so I was familiar with the island. It gave me some confidence that I would know were I was going etc. Going somewhere I didn’t know would of been to much. To have recovered enough to take my lad abroad on my own felt fantastic. It would be a big test of my abilities. I wasn’t sound of mind but I felt I had enough brains to be able to do this. It was really important to me that I did this. I wanted that time to show Reece is dad was getting back on his feet. I was nervous and anxious but I knew if I went at my pace I would be fine. We were both really excited for the trip !
August 19, 2013
Sat on the beach with Reece in Ibiza was a really special feeling. The full holiday was amazing. I took my time and everything went smoothly. I did get confused a few times but nothing serious and we laughed it off. To be able to be there with my lad laughing and joking in the sun meant so much. It was a perfect father and son get away. We loved every minute x
August 20, 2013
I had been collecting all the sponsor money from the runners of the half marathon over the summer. Originally after the event I thought we had about Â£16,000 but the final total was even more !!! We had raised a massive Â£17,000 for neurosurgical ward 4/40. Really special as I knew were that money was going and had seen the people it would help x What exceptional support from family/friends. They all put it 110% in helping raise that cash! An awesome effort all round X
August 22, 2013
I organised to present the cheque to the ward. I was really looking forward to going back there a stronger man. I had come a long way since back at Easter 2012.
August 28, 2013
A nice write up from Hull and East Yorkshire hospitals –
August 29, 2013
Thanks to everyone who helped to raise that massive amount of cash !
September 2, 2013
It was a really proud moment giving that cheque to the ward that had cared for me in the early days. The ward staff and the chief executive of HEY hospitals were there ! Also local media. There was a nice spread of cakes and coffee laid on. I felt like a celeb haha. I did a short speech to say thank you to the staff. It was an amazing experience !
September 5, 2013
Despite my injury I had enjoyed the summer. I had achieved amazing things and had some great experiences. Low mood was always there but I had tried to carry on as normal were possible. Not letting anything hold me back. Ignoring the minefield of problems I had been left with. I was Pushing forward positively the best I could.
September 9, 2013
Around this time I found myself liking new experiences. It could be running a different route to normal. A walk through the countryside. Going new places. Cooking a different recipe. Trying new foods. Anything at all done differently to normal then I liked the sound of it. I felt like I would have a go at anything. Just appreciate the experience. I think this was part of me realising what had happened and wanting to appreciate life to the full
September 12, 2013
Keep smiling along the way X
September 17, 2013
Gemma had always wanted to go to New York for her 30th birthday. It was coming up at the end of December. Although we was not living together we still saw each other. We was still really close. We spoke and decided we would still go as planned. New York for new year would be an amazing experience.
September 18, 2013
Summer was gone and the mist was clearing. Realisation of this injury and everything that had happened to me was becoming more clearer. I was understanding it more. This realisation had been happening all summer. It had got to the point were I stopped and took a minute. I thought to myself … This isn’t going away ! The build up of months of realisation hit me i jeez was I really hurting !
September 20, 2013
Don’t make life harder for yourself – Take your time ! Slow things down ! Go at your own pace ! No rush – No drama ! No pressure – No stress !
September 22, 2013
The more I started realising how I was the more I would think I want things to be different. I wanted to be the old me. I wanted my life back. I wanted to be happy. Etc I spent a long time feeling like this. Its not nice. This is something I would imagine everyone will go through in brain recovery at some point.
September 24, 2013
Try not to do it to yourself X
September 27, 2013
I had been finding home life difficult since Gemma had moved out. I had full responsibly of the running and upkeep of the house. I regularly forgot things that I needed to do. I got frustrated with myself. I was on a downer with it all. I was struggling at work and home. I didn’t have transport. It was all becoming really tedious. I was finding life really tough. I was sick to the back teeth of this full ordeal !
September 28, 2013
I was defiantly finding that any sort of pressure made me stressed easily. It could make me feel upset. Like that feeling when you have to much going on and you can’t handle it. We all have our own measure of pressure we can handle. After the brain injury my measure went down considerably. It doesn’t take a lot now and it feels to much and I can stress out.
September 29, 2013
People stressing out around me seemed to have a negative effect on me. It seemed to zap my energy and leave me feeling quite agitated. When people are stressing out the tempo of life goes up. That quicker pace was harder for me to handle. My damaged brain was working overtime to try soak it up and was stressing it. It’s not good. Try to keep things as calm as possible around someone with a brain injury. Nice and chilled – no pressure – no stress.
October 1, 2013
October 6, 2013
My training partner Chris had been feeling inspired from completing the half marathon. He asked me if I would join him in taking part in a sprint triathlon. I told him that I struggled to swim a length so it wouldn’t be possible. I thought about it ….Chris had not been a runner but had trained really hard for my half marathon. How could I say no to training for something he suggested ! I told him I would try to learn to swim to take part in the triathlon. He told me he couldn’t swim either haha. It would be a challenge for us both . I thought of it as another hurdle. We organised a swimming lesson.
October 10, 2013
Your mood will be affected once you get to the realisation stage in brain recovery. For me realising more n more that I was struggling was hard for me to take. This isn’t something you can come to terms with over night. Brain injury doesn’t just cause maximum damage it drags it on so long even a saint would get annoyed. At this time I suffered with really low mood daily. I don’t even know how I got out of bed somedays. If your feeling like this then never give up ! Don’t let your injury break your spirit, just keep going the best way you can. It does get better
October 13, 2013
Chris and I went for a swimming lesson with a friend Ronny. He was going to watch us swim and offer some advice. I was dreading it as I really was a terrible swimmer in every stroke. Front crawl would be the one we needed to do for the triathlon. He watched me struggle to get through a length with no real proper technique. He was giving me some tips on posture and rhythm. He then said to exhale whilst in the water… “You can’t breath in water” I said , “you can exhale” he fired back , “don’t be stupid no you can’t” I said , “are you taking the piss?” he said “Are you?” I said. Chris was there and asked if I was ok. I was confused so I dunked my head under and exhaled… “Wow that’s amazing”I said coming up for air, they were both laughing. I had forgot you could exhale In water haha it was new to me again so I did it a few times like a kid ! So I think Chris realised when I had said swimming is not my strong point I meant it haha. Ron carried on the lesson going through the basics to get us started.
October 16, 2013
I was in a real low mess. My neuropsychologist was on maternity so I went to doctors to seek some help. I was referred to mental health. I was assessed and put on high priority. I got an appointment with a councillor called Lisa Harris. I went to Lisa feeling worthless. I was hurting with having a deeper realisation of what was going on. Tired of my endless battle.
October 18, 2013
October 22, 2013
There were lots of times during recovery I wanted to drop to my knees and scream. It was Anger and frustration at my situation. Somedays really pushed me to my limit with struggles. I was like a pressure cooker ready to blow. I never let myself do it. I would ride through that feeling till it passed. Looking back I think I should of gone with that feeling and let rip. I think it would of done me some good. Them negative emotions were building somewhere in my head. They were pulling me down taking up valuable head space. If anyone is feeling the same I would advise to release them if you can.
October 23, 2013
October 25, 2013
Since a was going to try and tackle a triathlon I would need a road bike. A good friend Pete helped me sort one. I was ready to go out and get going, looking forward to it. This was another step for me. I was a little nervous about going back out onto the road. Worried with my poor memory and attention. I was just wasn’t very confident in my knowledge of we’re to be in the road.Manoeuvring around junctions and roundabouts might be tricky. To get around this I went out early Sunday morning when there was minimal traffic. As I got going I was soon remembered and my confidence was rebuilding. I really enjoyed it. I soon found myself out and about my bike all the time !
October 28, 2013
I was going to the local swimming baths every Wednesday trying to get the hang of it. I was rubbish ha ha, I seemed to sink like a brick. I was persisting tho, I would get there!
November 1, 2013
My lifestyle had completely changed from before the incident. I had always been out on the beer before the injury. Now I was either at the gym, swimming baths or out on my bike. I would never of imagined I would ever be like that. This fitness path was fighting the negativeness keeping the balance with positiveness. If it hadn’t of been for this I really don’t know how I would of coped. I think health and fitness was saving my life !
November 3, 2013
A consequence of your social lifestyle changing will be that the strength of some friendships will weaken. You probably won’t see friends as often as you did. I think this is a real tough one at first. You will naturally feel like you are missing out on not being able to join in as you once did. This does get easier over time. You need to do what’s right for you. You will find your path. It will no doubt be a different path from the old one. Try not to worry as the strong relationships will last through the storm. Your closest will still be there along your new path.
November 5, 2013
I had noticed that I was having sort of blackouts whilst I was awake. Like i was heavily zoning out. Just sat staring into space with nothing going on in my head. Like someone had just turned me off but my eyes were open. I knew when they was happening. I just sat through them until I came around. I had just got on with them. My brother noticed them happening and was concerned. I went to doctors and reffered to a specialist in Neuro.
November 7, 2013
Something I was realising is that I wasn’t really 100% sure on anything. I wasn’t confident with my choices or judgements. I just normally went with a decision but I was never really sure. I would give myself a hard time over it. To be fair in early recovery I had struggled to make any decisions so really I should of seen this as progress ! At least I was making a decision now. Although not 100% it was progress from not at all ! Although I didn’t realise it I was actually growing in confidence. I didn’t see it like that at the time. I think the low mood was making me give myself a hard time. Always remember how far you have come in recovery. Don’t be hard on yourself x
November 10, 2013
Your confidence will grow as your recovery goes on. You will probably have different stages of questioning the trust in your decisions or knowledge. This is probably because your aware your still not 100% all there. The main thing is that when your out of early recovery and ready then you DO still make decisions. It would be really easy not to and get help but this is about you growing as a person and learning again from the good and bad decisions. There will be bad ones but someone sound of mind will make bad ones. It’s about you rebuilding your confidence. This DOES get better in time !
November 15, 2013
November 16, 2013
I went to hospital about the zoning out whilst awake. I was told that because I was only just over half way through recovery it was hard to say. He had a few ideas being , A possible type of epilepsy. Stress and low mood. My brain being overloaded. Not having enough breaks through the day. I was put on epilepsy medication as a precaution. He was going to book me in to undergo some epilepsy tests. I needed an EEG. This would indicate if I had any form of epilepsy.
November 20, 2013
I went for the EEG scan. It felt a bit weird at first. They attached loads of pads to my head. Felt like I was wired up for some mad science project haha. They flash lights in your eyes and you have to try relax. I ended up falling asleep ha ha. These tests were for the greater good as they would determine or eliminate possibilities.
November 22, 2013
A big consequence of my brain injury was that I was restricted in thinking. I had a lack of capacity, insight and flexibility. I only realise that now. At this time I was still short on understanding myself and life. These play a major role in your everyday life. So living with them being impaired is going to seriously effect everything. At the start of recovery these were all a lot worse then how they were at this point. So positive progress. Things was improving but just very slowly.
November 24, 2013
I think the lack of insight into things could make me come across as being rude. For example- If a friend was telling me about a subject I could portray as being not bothered. Its not that I wasn’t its just part of the injury. It’s just that I haven’t got the insight into thinking about how,why,were etc about the subject. I know I would want to chat about there subject sometimes but just couldn’t think of what to say. It’s almost like there’s a brick wall in your mind stopping you. Its frustrating to be honest. If you know someone with a brain injury/damage that can come across in this way then this is something to consider.
November 27, 2013
I was having counselling with Lisa. It was really good to talk to someone impartial about how I was feeling. Lisa helped me make sense of the way I was feeling. I really needed that support. Lisa’s advice and understanding was great medicine. I felt she was really going to help me at this part in my recovery.
November 29, 2013
I was spending lots of time alone. It felt easier to be on my own. I needed that time to find myself. With poor concentration I was easily distracted. I could think better when I was alone in silence. It was good for me. I was realising about everything and I wasn’t good to be around. I was hurting and needed time on my own to get my head around it. In the end I think that’s why Gemma and I had split.
December 1, 2013
Be careful not to isolate yourself. I appreciated my alone time but I still met friends etc Try not to shut yourself away from the world. I know somedays it will seem easier that way but always crack on – onwards and upwards x
December 3, 2013
December 5, 2013
I had my results from the EEG. I didn’t have epilepsy. It was put down to the brain injury coupled with stress and low mood. My sessions with Lisa were helping with the depression. To be honest I think they was getting less frequent as time was going by.
December 7, 2013
My brain injury had left no physical scar. I was living with an invisible injury. In the early days I think people could tell of my injury with my stutter and general vacancy etc I found that as I was looking better the more people just presumed i was fine. People don’t see your pain, your disability. It could be quite annoying to be honest. The Brain injury had left me really struggling with certain parts of thinking. Thinking that effects me everyday. Its tormenting. I didn’t want sympathy. I think I just wanted people to understand. Its a frustrating part of brain injury. Its hard for people to appreciate how it is. I was not the same and still in recovery after 18 months, how could I be fine.
December 9, 2013
I was enjoying country walks with Gemma. It’s not something I had really done before the incident. I found it really relaxing and tranquil. I really appreciate the great out doors so these walks were great. Perfect for brain recovery.
December 12, 2013
You will probably find new hobbies whilst going through brain recovery. In early recovery things look bleak but you will find new activities to do. Activities that suit the new you !
December 15, 2013
The more I was recovering the easier it was to retrieve my memories. It obviously wasn’t as easy as before the incident. Generally it still took a long time and quiet a lot out of me but I could get to them. Positive progress !
December 16, 2013
I was enjoying the build up to Christmas more this year. I was able to manage a little more in the festive preparations. I was using some coping strategies that I had learnt. This made it easier. It felt really good ! Positive progress x
December 18, 2013
Reece has Inspired me right throughout my recovery. My lad has been a perfect role model and given me strength. He has had a disability from birth. He has Worster Drought syndrome. A type of cerebral palsy that has an effect on his everyday life. The way he carries himself is exceptional. He doesn’t let it hold him back. He is a shining example of how to carry yourself with a disability. The way he gets on with it is truly inspiring.
He always has a smile on his face. He is the bravest person I know. He makes his full family proud everyday. My heart bursts with pride for him ! Here he is on his fifteen birthday X
December 25, 2013
I had a great Christmas 2013. I felt miles better then the year before. I was more with it and able to enjoy the buzz.
January 1, 2014
NYC on new year 2013 ! Gemma’s birthday was brilliant ! It completely blew us away. We visited all the main attractions and even did an helicopter ride down the Hudson River ! A truly amazing place it was an amazing experience.
January 2, 2014
I hadn’t forgot about my fitness in NYC. I took the chance to run around one of the most famous parks in the world ! I got up early one morning and jogged down to Central Park. It was really amazing feeling to be able to do that. I had a photo at the john Lennon strawberry fields memorial. Who would of thought I would be there doing that the year before ? Not me ! Positive Progress !
January 3, 2014
That run was the first of 2014 ! A Really memorable one. That would be the start of my training for another fundraiser. I had decided to organise a 10K run. I wanted to get involved and help a charity close to a friends heart. So this time I was raising money for a local based charity called “Life for a kid”. A charity supporting children under the age of 16 who require life changing operations and equipment to lead a better life. A really worthwhile charity !
January 5, 2014
In the last year whilst recovering I had been able to run around two of the most icon parks in the world ! I would NEVER of thought that possible at the start of my recovery. Never give up hope ! No matter how long it takes great things are still possible
January 7, 2014
Despite my mental injuries I was feeling the fittest and healthiest of my life. It was such a positive feeling. I wanted to spread the word of my achievements with health and fitness further. Hoping it would reach brain injury victims and help them. I wrote to a respected worldwide sports nutritional company called PhD Nutrition. I had been using there products in my training for recovery. I told them about my story so far including mens health and my fundraising.
January 9, 2014
I had received my driving licence back from the DVLA !! It was such a buzz to see it. Not being able to drive had been a constant struggle throughout my recovery. I had managed but it hadn’t been easy ! Support from friends/family had been superb. I was reluctant to get behind the wheel. I was aware I was slow cognitively. My confidence in my abilities had grown throughout my recovery but I was still shy in certain areas. Getting behind the wheel of a car was going to be a huge test !
January 12, 2014
I still seemed to be finding work life difficult. I was using my strategies but it just seemed to much. I could carry out instructions but I was struggling thinking for myself. Basically I had become more of an electricians mate. I had given up hope of being a foreman but I was striving to be a competent electrician again.
January 14, 2014
The way I was feeling with this realisation hitting me was another level of depression. I had been in a negative mind frame for a while but I had always managed to rise above it. As I was getting more brains back I was getting a deeper understanding. Everywhere I looked my life had changed. I was a different person and living with brain damage. I had said no to doctors about anti-depressants for a while now. Always thinking I would get better naturally. I didn’t want to appear weak. I thought they would question my strength of character. Silly really ! Man thing !
I was in a bad way and needed help. These tablets would just balance some chemicals in my head. They had become unbalanced through everything I had had to endure over the last 16months. It wasn’t like I’d lost my ball and through my toys out my pram. I had been through a whole whirlwind of shit ! I needed to give myself a break. I would start them to see if they helped. I was ready to give them a shot.
January 15, 2014
Don’t judge yourself ! If your hurting real bad get some help x
January 18, 2014
It was months before I agreed to have the anti-depressants. I don’t know what the big deal was. It’s like I thought I would be cheating if I took them. I was being an old fashioned fool. Far to hard on myself. There comes a time in life when we all need a pick me up or a boost. If anyone is in a similar situation then I hope this helps you. Try not to spend a time unhappy, miserably fighting through life. You’ve been through enough x
January 20, 2014
I was back having sessions with Lisa. We was working on my understanding. One good thing about realisation is that is if we realise then we can deal with a problem. In my case I needed to accept what had happened. Accept the new me and move on. Up till this point I hadn’t been able to do that. This would be the start of another chapter in recovery !
January 21, 2014
I am still really enjoying training with Chris. We are enjoying the fitness journey together which is brilliant. I never feel any pressure or uncomfortable with Chris which is really important for me. He’s supportive and his witty spin on things keeps me laughing which is great. Its really nice to have someone who’s interested in the same hobby as me. Something positive to focus on alongside brain recovery is a good idea. It could be anything at all as long as it’s not stressful mentally. If you can get an understanding friend alongside you then perfect.
January 23, 2014
Word was spreading of Franks 10K. There was lots of interest. Family/friends were out training again. Lots of then being virgin runners but taking up the challenge. My friend Chris was also doing a sponsored beard grow. Lee was carrying on the tradition from his brother Carl, running with back pack and in Military boots. There was a good buzz in the build up. I had terrific support from them all again ! I can’t speak highly enough of them, love to then all It was building up nicely. If you would like to look through the build up please request Franks fundraising news.
January 25, 2014
Accepting you are not the same is a massive step in the right direction. I can’t stress how much ! At this point in my recovery I still hadn’t come to terms with it. I don’t think I knew how too. I had just got on with things. I think it was a few things. The injury , my personality and just been a man in general. The thing was I was always thinking of how I use to be and wanting to get back there, striving to get back there. In every aspect of my life i was chasing the old me. Trying to do what I use to do.
January 28, 2014
Its a tough one finding the balance with pushing on the best you can but not to the degree were your hurting yourself mentally. I had been regularly pushing the same boundaries again and again. This had been through not accepting the way I was. I had needed to recognise that certain tasks were to much for me and accept it, but I hadn’t. It was one of my biggest mistakes in recovery. Try not to make the same mistakes I did !
January 29, 2014
The sooner you can accept that you are different the better it will be for yourself. You will defiantly find life easier. It won’t be easy. Looking back it was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. Once you come to terms with it you will be at peace with yourself. You can employ new strategies for your weaknesses. Build up new routines, methods etc.
February 2, 2014
Brain recovery is 2-3 years. The type of brain injury will determine the lasting damage after that long recovery. People need to always be mindful of this long recovery. After a while I think people tend to forget its such a long journey. I always appreciated an ask of, how’s your recovery going ? It was nice to know people still appreciated the difficulties I was facing
February 5, 2014
Although I had my driving licence back i wasn’t in a rush to drive ! You would think I would of been eager to get behind the wheel. Get my independence back. It wasn’t the case. I was well aware I was slow with poor attention. I had lost my confidence with driving.
February 7, 2014
Mark had encouraged me to try it with the driving. He organised for us to go wasteland so that I couldn’t do any damage haha. I appreciated it, I needed that push. It felt great to go for a spin ! I picked it up like I had never stopped. Although I was really cautious that first drive had given me a little confidence back.
February 8, 2014
If your nervous about returning to driving then that might be an idea for you. I would recommend it. Confidence in your abilities will no doubt be low. This for me was like dipping my toe in. I didn’t go straight back on the road even after the first drive. I did a few more until I was ready to attempt the open road. There is no rush. Make sure your comfortable
February 10, 2014
I was slowly starting to accept the new me.
February 12, 2014
I am really pleased to say that I received a letter inviting Gemma and I to be – Golden heart committee members for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals ! Each year there is a prestigious awards for Hull and east Yorkshire hospitals. It’s for staff who have made a real difference to the organisation by continually delivering over and above what is expected of them . It was an honour to be invited on the committee of people who have to decide the winners for the awards ! I was really proud. This was in recognition of the half marathon I had organised which raised Â£17000 for ward 4/40 that looked after me . We were invited to attend a meeting with our other committee members to select the winners of the awards. We were really looking forward to this amazing experience.
February 14, 2014
I found I had been feeling angry randomly. Rushes of anger. The thing was it was coming across at the wrong people ! It wasn’t like me to be like that so it made me concerned. I mentioned it to Lisa who educated me on- Anger displacement. I was angry inside but I wasn’t dealing with it in the right way. It was surfacing at wrong times. Its like when you go home and see your dog each day, you’ll probably pat him nicely. Then when you’ve had a bad day he will run up to you and you’ll kick him away. You displaced your anger towards the dog. It wasn’t his fault. If anyone going through brain injury is feeling the same sometimes then this could be a possibility. You maybe need to express your anger, cry it out or scream. Any friends/family caring for someone with brain injury then this is something to consider. If they are having random outbursts it could be anger displacement. Another one is that they might be doing to much and overloaded.
February 15, 2014
Seeing Lisa for support with my ordeal had been an essential. Her advice and education was valuable in getting me through recovery. I would highly recommend her counselling service to anyone living in or around Hull. Here’s a link if your interested-
February 17, 2014
I went to a Headway meeting in Hull. It was were local people with brain injuries can meet. Families can talk to other families to share understanding/advice. They also told me about this workbook. I ordered one through the charity. I found it really useful. The charity have lots of great book, defiantly worth a look.
February 19, 2014
Don’t make life harder for yourself – Take your time ! Slow things down ! Go at your own pace ! No rush – No drama ! No pressure – No stress !
February 21, 2014
Personally I can relate to Apathy a lot through brain recovery. Not completely in every sense but it was certainly there. I found that the chart on this link made sense for aspects of my life I was struggling with.
February 26, 2014
I was doing lots of training for the triathlon. There was no looking back as we had entered into a local event. Training was tough particularly swimming. I had been going on my own twice a week and seeing slow progression. I needed some expert advice so I built up the courage and went with Chris to a triathlon club. Everyone was really nice and the coaches was first class.
March 1, 2014
I had built up my confidence to go on the open road in a car. I could manage small journeys. I wasn’t comfortable doing longer ones. To be honest I avoided driving in general unless I had to. I just didn’t feel the same behind the wheel. It was concerning me so I waited to speak to my neuropsychologist.
March 5, 2014
I was really keen on new experiences. If they involved fitness it was all the better. A friend asked me if I wanted to take on the Coast to Coast bike ride. Its from the west to east coast of England.It would be over 150 miles taking us three days to complete. I jumped at the chance ! I love the countryside and had been enjoying cycling so this seemed perfect.
March 14, 2014
It does get better in time X
March 18, 2014
I had a really positive reply from PhD Nutrition. I am proud to say they asked me if I would like to be a – PhD Brand Ambassador ! I was delighted. They were the best in the business for sports nutrition. To be representing an internationally recognised company during my second year of my brain recovery was an awesome feeling !
March 19, 2014
We attended the Golden heart committee meeting. We was amongst the top brass of the NHS. All really nice and friendly. We discussed the candidates for the awards and choose winners for each category. Generally the NHS gets a bad rep and you hear all the bad stories but it was amazing to get an insight into behind the scenes at Hull hospitals and hear about the hard work in commitment from nurses/doctors/consultants and all the staff in general . It was heart warming stuff to hear about the lengths of effort the staff are going to , to help support us all when ill. They are striving for better standards and better care for us . Some amazing stories of people doing a tough job ! We were introduced to a very special couple Tony and Ruth Knowles.
March 20, 2014
We quickly hit it off with Tony and Ruth Knowles as we had a common interest. They also raised money for neurosurgical ward 4/40. Sadly in 1998 there daughter Emma-Jayne passed away on the ward due to a brain tumour. Since then they have worked tirelessly to raise funds to help future patients on the ward. They have raised an astonishing Â£135,000 to date. It felt an absolute privilege to have met such inspiring people. There consistent selfless hard work in fundraising was astonishing. They were due to get recognised by the Queen and receive BEM’s for there amazing work. Rightly so ! Here is a link to there fundraising website were you can see just how much they have helped the ward.
March 24, 2014
I was still getting fantastic support from Mark at work. I had top support from all the lads. I could carry out basic tasks confidently. More complex jobs I would struggle with. On the spot thinking about a fault, or initiative, forward planning etc I was having problems with. I just didn’t feel confident overall. I was still part time. As time was going on in recovery I was starting worry if I would ever be a competent electrician.
March 27, 2014
Acceptance does not mean failure ! It means you are ready to move on with how you are now.
“Have patience …. There were times in recovery when I felt stuck. It’s a long process…
Stay strong. Enjoy What you can. You might not think it. You will be getting there….
A place were you can move on x”
April 2, 2014
I’m not sure if I would have got through the last few months without my brother Mark. He had my back daily with work; transport and helping me get my shopping etc. He was there alongside me helping me in everything I needed and more. His support was carrying me through some really low days.
April 3, 2014
Here is an article the Hull daily mail covered on my progress.
April 4, 2014
I am really pleased and proud to say that article reached as far as Swansea in Wales! A guy called Nick who was half way through his brain recovery contacted the Hull daily mail to say the story had really inspired him. He asked the mail to pass the message onto me. He gave his number and asked if I would contact him. I was made up with this news. I called him and we spoke for an hour chatting about our recovery. He was a really sound bloke and it felt quality when he said I had given him a positive boost , I always hoped what I’m doing would help people in a similar situation to me so that phone call felt amazing.
April 5, 2014
That phone call with Nick was amazing! To know my story had given someone with a brain injury a positive boost was sensational. Whilst speaking with Nick I found out about his injury. We had very similar circumstances in how we sustained our injuries. He too had been unprovoked attacked. Nick had been kicked whilst not looking! We spoke a little and understood each other. Nick went on to really amaze me with something he had done in his recovery. Nick and his family had agreed to take part in a video for Swansea police. It was a “one punch ruins lives” campaign. It’s a hard hitting video which gets a powerful message across. I really admired him for doing that and congratulated him on his bravery. I was really happy he had got in touch. I still keep in contact with Nick today. He is doing well and pushing on positively x
April 6, 2014
Here are Nicks “One punch ruins lives campaign” I have great respect and admiration towards Nicolas and his family for doing this. I know the implications one punch has had on my life!
April 7, 2014
East Riding sprint triathlon 2014 Competitors. Here’s Chris and I completing our first sprint triathlon.
April 8, 2014
I completed my first sprint Triathlon! It was a tough challenge. I loved the experience. All the hard work in training had been well worth it. I had worked really hard on my swimming to be able to compete. To have that achievement under my belt felt fantastic. There had been of times I had been cursing Chris whilst training for this event. On that finish line I was really chuffed he had asked me to get involved. Don’t give up, good things will come x
April 12, 2014
My Neuropsychologist was back after maternity. I was really looking forward to seeing her. I had questions about my injury. Things I was finding difficult still. Would it be permanent damage? I was hoping for answers about my struggle with work, reluctance to drive etc.
April 15, 2014
Reflecting on the last year of my recovery I would say that I was still really poor cognitively i.e. memory trouble and attention, but I had recovered really well in other areas. The main positive change I had noticed over the last year was that I had woken up more. I understood things better and was regaining some of my self-confidence. I was more in tune with life. A negative was that I recognised my struggles more which led to deep depression and apathy. It remains really difficult to handle at times but it is all just a part of my journey. The main thing is I am getting better!
April 20, 2014
Franks 10K 2014!
It was a huge success with over 90 runners completing safely. A huge team effort to raise money for a great local cause “Life for a kid” It was a cracking day full of good vibes. All family/friends were there to support. More amazing memories created from a super day!
April 21, 2014
Here’s an article the Hull Daily mail wrote about the 10K –
Life for a Kid
April 22, 2014
It was amazing to see that we had helped to make a positive difference to Julianna’s life X
April 25, 2014
I have had unbelievable support from family/friends throughout my recovery. At times they have carried me through some really tough times. I feel blessed to have had that love, advice, guidance and backing. I couldn’t have managed without them. Love and appreciation to them all X If you know anyone living with a brain injury then please be mindful of them throughout their recovery. Your support may well be carrying them through their darkest days.
April 27, 2014
I had been back with my neurophysiologist. We were going through how I had been recovering. When I last saw her I was still short on understanding the injury. This year I had really come on in that way. I was more aware of the damage and how it was affecting me. I was told that the bulk of my recovery was over. Although it was still possible I might see improvements it was said they will probably only be slight.
May 2, 2014
Golden hearts awards for HEY Hospitals 2014. It was like the Oscars! We were rubbing shoulders with the elite NHS staff for Hull and East Yorkshire. They were all winners! It was an honour to be sat amongst them inspiring people. We had an amazing time. We were really overwhelmed to of been involved in such a prestigious awards.
May 5, 2014
With my memory being so poor I was often finding I forgot to reply to family/friends messages. If I got distracted from replying I just forgot about the message. At first I think this could make me come across as been a little rude. So I told my friends and now they will prompt me to remind me if don’t reply. If this is the same for then its important your friends know how bad your memory is. Ask your friends to be mindful of your weakness. If it’s an important message or in need of a quick response then they should know it’s best to call you instead. I am sure your friends will take your injury into consideration.
May 10, 2014
I had carried on with my cycling after the success of the triathlon. I now had the Coast to Coast bike ride to conquer. A few friends and Mark my brother was also going to get involved. This was brilliant! I was enjoying my training in preparation for the challenge. I even bought some Lycra haha Now I defiantly wouldn’t of thought I would of ever have done that! I was enjoying the full new experience of it all.
May 14, 2014
I spoke to my neuropsychologist about my concerns with driving. I was well aware my cognitive abilities had been impaired. This had made me feel significantly different behind the wheel. I just didn’t feel right. I was advised that there is a cognitive driving assessment I could do. I would look further into it. Best to be safe than sorry!
May 20, 2014
I am still really enjoying training with Chris. We are enjoying the fitness journey together which is brilliant. I never feel any pressure or uncomfortable with Chris which is really important. He’s supportive and puts a witty spin on stuff which makes him fun to be around which is great. It’s really nice to have someone who’s interested in the same hobby as me. Something positive to focus on alongside brain recovery is a great idea. It could be anything at all as long as it doesn’t stress you mentally. If you can get an understanding friend alongside you then perfect.
May 26, 2014
The Coast to Coast Challenge done! Over 150 miles cycling through the green grass of home. This country is beautiful! A thrilling and rewarding challenge. It was a tough one but well worth it for the sights. They are amazing. The year before I wouldn’t have been able to take part. I was smiling every minute Positive progress! Keep going x
June 1, 2014
Neuro arranged some tests for me to carry out. This would enable them to assess the lasting damage left by the injury. The tests were over 3 days. With this info they could write a report. This was a big one for me. At the very start of my recovery I had been told to walk a path and see how I was after two years. Not knowing how you’re going to be in the future for that long is a psychological torture sentence. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.
June 5, 2014
I am pleased to say I had gone over a year without having a cigarette! Quitting smoking is without a doubt one of the best things I have ever done. From 20 a day in early recovery to none. I am really happy with that. Positive progress!
June 8, 2014
Pleased to say I took part in the Hull 10K this year. It was another great experience. The run created a positive buzz in the city that morning. It was great to be involved with good friends.
June 14, 2014
All the money was in for Franks 10K. We had raised £4005! Another brilliant effort by everyone involved. I presented the cheque at a fundraising event for the charity. It was nice to see my good friend Wolfie. It felt really special presenting it in front of Mark and Reece. I was proud to have helped Julianna get her trike. I was made up to receive a special contribution award. Thanks to everyone involved in making this happen X
June 15, 2014
I had a brilliant Father’s Day with Reece this year. We spent the day out and about doing lad things. I couldn’t have done this with him in early recovery. Special times! I hope this gives comfort to anyone struggling in front of their children in early recovery. Things can get better.
June 18, 2014
Confidence in me has really come on this year. As I have learned to cope with my weaknesses I have found things easier. I needed to go through that process of accepting and learning about the new me. I made it harder for myself because I fought that process wanting to be the old me. Always be happy with yourself during recovery. It’s such a long journey you will be repairing slowly and changing over time. You will find your feet with it.
June 21, 2014
As my recovery goes on I am always learning more about myself. Learning how to work better with my new brain. It’s really important to you take notice of the things that you are struggling with and keep making adjustments to ways of thinking. I noticed recently that I have been putting myself under pressure with on the spot thinking. As one of my weaknesses is processing information this was no doubt going to take longer than before. A coping strategy I have employed is to tell myself … There is no need for an immediate response. Also to tell people about my situation to get that bit more time I need. I have found this helps me with this.
July 4, 2014
I was able to visit Las Vegas for a good friend’s stag party. Having a brain injury doesn’t always mean you have to miss out on what friends are doing. You just need to do what’s right for you. I got involved in the fun. I made sure I spent some time alone relaxing and had time in the gym. I did plenty of site seeing. I took the chance to see the Grand Canyon and I did a sky dive over the Nevada desert! These were both once in a lifetime experiences. I am at a stage in recovery were I am comfortable doing my own thing even if it is different to everyone else. You must do what’s right for you. At your own pace. I wouldn’t have managed this trip the year before. Positive progress!
July 7, 2014
If you are not at a stage where you can take part in certain activities then try not to dwell on it. I had done that throughout my recovery and it didn’t do me any good. Unfortunately you will no doubt miss out on things going through brain recovery. Always try to focus on the things you can do rather than the things you can’t. Stay positive things can get better. Keep smiling and appreciating life along your journey.
July 8, 2014
If you are struggling with day to day chores then try not to be too proud to ask for help. I still don’t like asking but it’s just how it is at the minute. I still need help with household chores, doing my shopping and for transport. My family are always keen to help me out. Don’t stress yourself out with it. Do what you can and get help for what you can’t.
July 9, 2014
Don’t make life harder for yourself – Take your time! Slow things down! Go at your own pace! No rush – No drama! No pressure – No stress!
July 10, 2014
Here’s a pic from a fitness shoot I did recently. I am currently in the best physical shape of my life. Positive progress! Never give up!
July 12, 2014
Keep going the best you can. There is always a way X
July 20, 2014
I had an appointment with my neuropsychologist to hear the results from the tests. My family were also asked to come along. These results were really important. They would indicate the implications the lasting damage was likely to have on my life. I often forgot to relay information I had been told. This way my family would hear it from the neuropsychologist. They could ask questions and get advice on how to help me. The results were hard for everyone to hear. I was really poor in certain areas cognitively. My working memory was impaired. I had scored poorly on layering thoughts. These were just a few of the weaknesses discussed. Taking my results into consideration I was advised to leave my job.
July 21, 2014
It was a devastating blow to hear that my career as an electrician was over. For 18 months I had been trying my best, hoping I would make it. Neuro had told me there were no guarantees with work. I just had to return and see how I recovered. Now I was getting the answers. Not what I wanted to hear but they were answers.
July 22, 2014
Although it was hard to hear about work I was relieved at the same time. It was the area I struggled with the most. I had got better but I wasn’t right. I was still getting preferential treatment from the lads. I didn’t want to hide behind them forever. It’s not my style. I had been the strongest link at work and now I was the weakest. It’s really difficult to be struggling daily with something you used to the best at. It’s torturous. I had given it my all but it just wasn’t meant to be. At least now the struggle of trying to prove myself is over.
July 24, 2014
If you are caring for someone with frontal lobe damage then this link is worth a read through. It may help give you some understanding as to how it might be for them-
July 31, 2014
I had my report for work from Neuro so I went to see my boss to break the news I was leaving. This was a conversation I had dreaded. I had always hoped it wouldn’t come to this. The company had supported me for so long hoping I would get better. I had tried in vain. It just wasn’t meant to be. He was really disappointed with the news. We came to an agreement I would officially leave on the 19th September.
August 14, 2014
A friend James asked me to get involved with in catwalk show. It was for St Stephens’s shopping centre. It was a big event at a ladies day. It would be a new experience. The year before I wouldn’t of being able to enjoy something like this. I wouldn’t have had the confidence in myself with being around so many people. Although I was nervous I give it a go and loved it. I met some really nice people. Positive progress!
August 17, 2014
We had a great time at a fundraising duck race day. We were supporting our friends Tony and Ruth Knowles. They raised a brilliant Â£822.50 for Neurosurgical ward 4/40 at HRI.
August 20, 2014
I was able to take Reece back to Ibiza this year. I took it one further by taking my brother Dan as well. We had a cracking time. It felt great to be able to take them both together. The year before I wouldn’t of managed the responsibility of taking them both. Positive progress!
September 2, 2014
I still use my coping strategies. To be honest there just part of normal life for me now. I just do them naturally. It took a while to adjust and start using them but I soon saw the benefits. Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t use them sooner. They are there to help not hinder.
September 8, 2014
Going through brain recovery I have always struggled with attention. I have found that you get the best out of me in a one to one conversation with no distractions. I am fine with two or three people but it needs to be one conversation at a time. I can handle a group conversation but chances are I won’t be taking it in; I will just be nodding my head haha. So if you want me to understand something properly then it’s best to get me on my own. It’s something to think about if you know someone who has a brain injury and is struggling with attention.
September 12, 2014
I am really lucky to have amazing family/friends. They are still here today taking time out to catch up. That support is so important. If you know anyone recovering with a brain injury then take time to visit. There lives will be a lot different from before. I am sure it will go down a treat.
September 15, 2014
During brain recovery you certainly won’t have it all figured out ! Don’t sweat it, keep going forward positively. It will come together.
September 19, 2014
I wrapped up my tools up at work for the last time. It was a sad day. I would miss the lads I had grafted with all them years. It was a privilege to have worked with them. I would take away great friendships and fond memories. If you are struggling at work after brain injury then be true to yourself. Don’t struggle for the rest of your career. Its frightening leaving your job but I knew it was for the best. There will be something else out there for me.
September 20, 2014
Onwards and upwards. I am nervous but looking forward to seeing what lies ahead regards work. At the minute I have no plans. I need to finish rehabilitation with Neuro first. During the next couple of months I can evaluate my strengths and capabilities. Then I will carve out a new career being the best at what I do again ! Always keep going the best you can X
September 22, 2014
Here’s some statistics to show just how many people are living in the U.K with brain injuries. You are certainly not alone going through recovery.
Great things can still be achieved whilst going through brain recovery
September 25, 2014
I have frontal lobe damage which has affected me cognitively. Here’s a link to look through to give you an idea of what its like for someone with cognitive damage –
September 27, 2014
I do have mental weaknesses but I am a stronger person then I was before. Keep going and you will get there X
October 3, 2014
Recovering from a traumatic brain injury is a long drawn out battle. It’s going to test everything about your character and your life. You will need plenty of support for some really tough times ahead. You will have to be resilient and versatile every day. There will be plenty of lows which will really test you but also highs to be celebrated along the way. Stay strong – keep going Don’t let it break your spirit. Things do get easier ! Were ever you are in your brain recovery – Best wishes.
October 8, 2014
My Neuropsychologist told me it would take years to recover from the haemorrhage.The bulk of brain recovery is normally expected in the first 2 years. Small improvements may be be felt in the third year and possibly even time after that. I never believed it could take that long. There were plenty of times I thought I would not get any better. Brain recovery is so slow its easy to lose hope. I am pleased to say I am definitely still seeing improvements. They are only slight but they are certainly happening. Never give up hope that things can get better going through your recovery. The repair will take time. Try not to let that time be wasted expecting quicker results. Anything worthwhile takes time.
October 9, 2014
The longer I am living with my new brain the easier life is becoming. During my recovery I have learnt to adjust whilst it is repairing. Adjustment is something you will need to work towards. Keep looking out for better ways to cope with your weaknesses. Implementing coping strategies to everyday life is really important. Not only will they help but they make you feel naturally happier and more at ease with yourself. It may feel unnatural to adjust to using new strategies at first. Initially I was reluctant but I pushed myself and got use to them. I am managing better in general life because of this compromise. Positive progress !
Adjustment is key. It may take time to find the right strategies that work for you. You will work it out and they will help.
October 10, 2014
My recovery has been built on health and fitness. Fundraisers and personal challenges have kept me enjoying life and given me a positive focus whilst going through brain recovery. In the next 6 months running up to my third year milestone I am going to take on my biggest challenge to date. I am going to post and share my challenge experiences to show how far I have come and what is possible. I hope this gives others hope at the start of their recovery. Never give up !
Here’s my challenge. Its a big test. I am ready to take it on. Always believe in yourself !
October 11, 2014
Always try to…..
October 12, 2014
Here we go…….. Ready to get my “26 week”marathon challenge started with a 1 mile swim. This should be fun. I couldn’t swim at the start of my recovery. With poor memory I had even forgot that you can exhale under water. I took it up and have learnt during recovery. Now here I am taking on a mile. I have never swam this far so will be a personal best. Its an example that good things can still be achieved whilst going through your brain recovery ! Feeling really excited to get this underway. I will post how I get on laters.
1 mile – 64 lengths…..Done !! I never would of thought that could be possible 2 years ago. It feels great to have achieved a mile in the water. Things can get better ! Always believe in yourself. MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 1
October 14, 2014
Take each day as it comes during your brain recovery. Some days will be a real struggle, especially during early recovery. It will take a long time to make sense of your new brain. Try not to put any pressure on yourself. Keep smiling. I still have off days were I am slow but I have learnt not to beat myself up about it. Go easy on yourself – enjoy what you can !
Try not to let the tough days blind you to the good things that are going on
October 15, 2014
It feels amazing to have a national gym supporting my latest challenge. I would never have thought that would be possible 2 years ago ! Not in my wildest dreams. Always believe in yourself – Never give up.
Here’s an article and video that the Hull Daily mail covered on my marathon challenge and brain recovery page.
October 17, 2014
I went back to neurosurgical ward 4/40 today. It’s always nice to go back there and see the great staff that cared for me. I spoke to staff about this brain recovery page and the possible ways of passing it on to future patients and their families which was great. I was pleased to get the chance to speak to a couple of patients on the ward. I chatted with their loved ones to share my experience and pass on information. It was really nice for me to be in a position were I could do that ! I wouldn’t have managed that a year ago in my recovery so it just shows things are still improving for me. Positive progress ! Keep smiling guys – Things will get better – Best wishes X
October 18, 2014
Pleased to say I completed the 2 mile row for my challenge today. It was great to have my family supporting me whilst taking it on. I pushed myself and achieved a new personal best!Remember – Things can get better … Always believe in yourself x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 2
October 20, 2014
Have a great week with plenty of positive thoughts everyone. Wherever you are in your brain recovery…. Keep your Chin up, keep smiling, things WILL get easier in time x This made me laugh, He sums up how I felt a lot during my early recovery. Whacked out ! Take it easy – Regular breaks – Enjoy your rest x
October 21, 2014
Keeping up with life after a brain injury can be tough. As your getting back on your feet some situations can confuse you. You can feel very vulnerable. Just ….. Take your time……. Breathe…….. Don’t stress…….. Breathe……… Don’t worry…….. Deep breath………. In your own time………Continue ……. Go at your pace X
October 23, 2014
There were plenty of times in my recovery were I completely forgot what I was doing. For instance , I might have been sat on a bus going to town then next minute i just didn’t have a clue were I was going or why. There were some times I didn’t even know who I was or why to anything …. This can be quite distressing. Try not to let it frighten you ! Keep calm and composed. You’ve got to learn to just “Go with it”. Try not to panic ! It generally came back to me after a minute or two. It happened quite frequent in early recovery. Only occasionally now. Positive progress !! For patients and families … Recovery is a battle ……Go easy on yourselves x
October 24, 2014
These 3 are key during recovery …..
Had a great afternoon back at Neurosurgical ward 4/40. Really nice to get the chance to catch up with my consultant and staff. Pleased to say i got the thumbs up on my recovery page. This poster will be going up on the ward and will be handed out to patients and families to try and help give an insight into what’s ahead in recovery. Hopefully it can can have a positive effect and help them. It felt amazing seeing the posters being put up on the ward were i had once been so fragile. Every time I go back there i feel stronger ! Keep going guys , things can get better X
October 25, 2014
You can’t beat a nice autumn morning in East park. It was a really nice start to the day. I Completed the 3 mile run in 21.10mins as part of my challenge. Great to be involved! Onwards and upwards x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 3
October 26, 2014
I would never of imagined I would be stood with my consultant and staff doing this! During the first 2 years of recovery I wouldn’t of thought it could ever be possible. It just shows how much things can improve. Keep going and Always…..
October 27, 2014
Something that i noticed in my recovery is that if I missed a meal I would feel a really big dip in my mentality. It would expose my weaknesses more. Before the injury I could of had a busy day and not had chance to eat but i could still function at a decent level. It’s not possible anymore. My general thinking and mood takes a big hit. To operate at a good level constantly I need to make sure i have regular meals. It’s something to think about if you or a loved one is going through recovery x
During my recovery I have researched food that is good for the brain. I tried to include these foods into my meals. I looked at them as my natural medicine. Helping myself the best I could. Good fuel would be helping to repair and keep me functioning well. Here’s a link which is an interesting read about our brains regarding food and some foods that may help –
October 28, 2014
We all know how much music can have an effect on our lives. It can pull you round and give you a boost…. During my recovery i found it had even more of a positive effect. With limited concentration/attention I struggle to watch t.v. But music……I can connect with music easier. My mind can slip in and out of songs as they play. I am not having to keep up. That connection gives me a great feeling of happiness! Music has been amazing therapy throughout my recovery. I would recommend making your loved one a playlist of their favourite tracks to listen to. Its soothing for the soul.
Music has an effect on all different areas of the brain so chances are…… You will always feel the music x
October 29, 2014
One of the consequences of my injury is that it takes me longer to process information. Throughout my recovery I have struggled with sudden/rushed “on the spot” thinking or changes in plans. If something happened suddenly that I hadn’t anticipated it could be a major catastrophe. Or it felt like it! It could be as simple as a change in time to meet or a quick change of plans for the day ahead. Normal everyday stuff but…..
It threw me and I got confused because I couldn’t process it quickly. This would lead to agitation/frustration and I would be in a huff. I could feel quite angry. Not mad angry but upset angry. It’s annoying not being able to keep up! The more notice I get the easier it is.
If you know someone that has trouble with processing information then this is something to think about. If you can try stick to plans or give plenty of notice to changes in situations the better it will be for them. They will feel more comfortable. This affected me a lot during the first 2 years but pleased to say only occasionally now. I have learnt to cope with it. Positive progress !!
For family/friends of someone with a brain injury…. With reference to the last post about finding it hard to process info and keep up with situations…… Watch out for your loved one isolating themselves because of this. In the 2nd year especially as I was doing more in general it could get me down. I sometimes felt like it would of been easier to just do my own thing and shut everyone out. That way life would be less stressful. I could go at my own pace with no complications. Although tempting i didn’t want to choose that option for myself so i rode it out. Luckily I have amazing friends/family for great support which helped pull me through. Be mindful of going at your loved ones pace. This will really help them. Support and understanding is everything x
October 30, 2014
I had a good one at the cinema with Reece watching the new Teenage mutant ninja turtle movie. My attention span is so much better then a year ago! I actually watched it properly and followed the story which is brilliant for me. I really recognised the difference and it feels great! I could of gone a year ago but I would of drifted in and out of the film not taking it in. Positive improvements are still happening….. Never lose hope x
November 1, 2014
Enjoyed doing a four mile run around Liverpool as part of my challenge. Took it steady and had fun taking in the sights! There were times I wouldn’t have thought this experience could be possible…. Things can get better guys x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 4
November 2, 2014
A proud moment…… I hope my story gives others a boost!
My Journey from attack
I started this year off in NYC Times Square singing John Lennon’s song. I ran through Central Park and got a photo at his strawberry fields tribute. Then yesterday whilst running I came across his monument in Liverpool. That’s three amazing experiences I would never have predicted this time last year. Imagine…… Anything is possible X
November 3, 2014
We all appreciate a kind word. You never know what’s going on for people. Its easy to make a positive difference…….
One thing that has plagued me during recovery is making mistakes. Tasks can generally take longer because I am slower then before. Everyone makes mistakes and we shrug them off but when you have a brain injury and they are happening daily with easy tasks it can become really annoying. I could make the same mistake 5 times over. It would get on my nerves. Sometimes It would of been easier to walk away and leave the job in hand. Don’t let it beat you! Carry on and laugh at the confusion. It doesn’t matter how long it takes….. You can still achieve the end result. Don’t give yourself a hard time over it x I thought I would share some fun out-takes from videoing my run at weekend to show that despite the boobs I still got the job done. It gave me a good laugh when editing to be honest.
November 4, 2014
Have patience …. There were times in recovery when I felt stuck. It’s a long process… Stay strong. Enjoy what you can You might not think it. You will be getting there…. A place were you can move on x
November 5, 2014
There is one plus about having brain injury. As I got better I realised…. You can get away with pretty much anything haha. Its a bit naughty but I have to admit I have used it sometimes…… “But I’ve got a brain injury” It’s great if you forget your partners b- day or something. It’s your trump card! If it can get you out of some sticky situations…….. Might as well use it x
I’ve only been playing football tonight with some of the Neurosurgical team and their friends! These are some of the staff that cared for me during the early days of my recovery. Jeez, unbelievable smile emoticon Who would of thought that! Its the first time I’ve played properly since my injury. It’s only recently were I have the confidence and the mind to keep up. I wouldn’t of been able to do it a year ago. I wouldn’t of been on the ball haha pardon the pun. I really enjoyed it amongst a great bunch of people. You just never know what you will be capable of in a year…… Keep pushing on positively X
November 6, 2014
Prompts…… Reminders…… These are things I have needed lots of during my recovery. I need a reminder about a reminder sometimes. I can be so forgetful. I can have all good intentions of doing/texting/calling/sorting but 5 mins later it can be gone. My poor memory/limited thought is a consequence of my injury. It can get me down as some of the things I forget can be important to myself or others. I really appreciate a prompt or a reminder from family/friends as I need that help to guide me. Have you remembered to… Have you thought of…. Have you got…… What about doing…… Do you need…… That support/guidance may be vital for someone with a brain injury x
I am definitely different to how I was before my injury but……
November 7, 2014
It was nice to pop into the Hull Truck Theatre today. I went to a Headway meeting for a coffee. It’s always good to talk with people who have had brain injuries. Share your stories in a relaxed atmosphere with people who can understand. Great group, I enjoyed it x
November 9, 2014
Early rise this morning for week 5 of my challenge. I really pushed myself this week. I have never done the 3 together so was a new experience. If you never try then you never know what your capable of. Keep pushing on strong X
MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 5 Stronger and wiser Positive progress. Always Believe in yourself……
November 10, 2014
Every brain recovers differently……. We are all unique individuals in our own way. Thinking and operating differently. Because of this each recovery will be unique. Your going into battle with no rulebook. No real answers on how long it will take or to how well you will recover. What’s right for someone else might not be right for you. Because of this …..
It’s important to set your own goals as you are going through recovery. Personal goals that are right for you depending on your injury and how it’s affecting you. As long as your pushing on to the best of your abilities then great. Always be happy for your achievements no matter how small. Positive steps ….
They will increase as you get better x
Please Share this page and hopefully it will reach more people in their recovery x Thanks for your support everyone!
November 11, 2014
Just had a fantastic meeting with 2 great blokes! We was talking about some amazing opportunities I could be involved in going into 2015 smile emoticon Top secret at the min but I will reveal when I get the nod. Feeling excited for the future! Feels amazing to say that as sometimes I have/can really worry about what the future holds for me. Positive progress!X
Coffee and cookies today to celebrate my friend Claire getting discharged from Neuro at HRI after 4 years! She has never taken a backwards step throughout her recovery from a brain tumour. If you have looked through my page you will have read how much admiration I have for Claire X Although she is still under Neuro at Sheffield it is a massive milestone in her journey!! A really brave lady – Congratulations Nug X
November 12, 2014
You are not alone going through your recovery. I often felt alone which could leave me feeling isolated. I noticed a lady and her son in a queue a while ago in town. The lad looked a little dazed. No one else would of recognised it but I just knew that he had a brain injury….. It upset me a bit to be honest. I saw and felt his pain. He was like me in my early recovery.
Slow to respond and not with it. He might of had a different injury to mine and will recover differently but it was classic brain injury symptoms. Remember there are others out there in a similar boat – Never feel alone X
November 13, 2014
I am not ashamed to say that I fell into depression during my recovery. I am a man living with a different brain and life can be really tough. It can pull me down. Depression is a nasty illness that consumes your well being and fills you with darkness. If you are struggling with it then don’t be afraid to tell someone. Get some help. Don’t suffer in silence . Although it comes back to me sometimes I have learnt to tame the black dog….,
November 14, 2014
They may be limited whilst you are going through your recovery but they will still be some available that suit you. Try focus on them and go for it x
Nice to pop onto Neurosurgical ward 4/40 today. Great to get the chance to sample some of the much talked about baking by Mr Spink! Only just …… There wasn’t much left of the Pudsy cake as these ladies had nearly polished it off haha wink emoticon It was a right treat! Thumbs up Mr Spink x
November 16, 2014
On with my marathon challenge….. A 6 mile run in the countryside this week. I have often been for walks up here during my recovery but this was the first run – positive progress x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 6
November 17, 2014
Thought this might help in some frustrating/angry times during your recovery Give it a shout and it might just make you laugh and change your mood………
November 18, 2014
The only way that your going to rebuild your confidence after a brain injury is to get yourself back out there. When your ready and just a little bit at a time. At your own pace. It will be hard and you will feel vulnerable but you must keep plugging away. I pushed myself through some really difficult situations to get my confidence growing. I was rebuilding the new me and I wouldn’t give up. It did get easier over time – Fight for your future X
November 19, 2014
From the Hull Daily Mail to Headway Hull + East Riding. Really pleased to have a write up promoting my page in there monthly news letter. To have the backing from them is amazing – Positive Progress x
November 20, 2014
Citizens Advice – I went to find out what benefits I am entitled to yesterday as my injury has left me unemployed. I have to say it wasn’t enjoyable. I have worked all my life. Having to sit and ask for help felt uncomfortable – It’s not me – I would rather be grafting with the lads! But……circumstances are what they are so ….. I bit the bullet and got some advice. (Swallowed my pride) That advice was invaluable as the benefits system is a minefield that’s hard to make sense off. Einstein would struggle to work it out – then he would laugh! If your like me then seek professional advice.Don’t be embarrassed or take it to heart. Get all the support you deserve. If a family member can take this burden then all the better. It’s complicated stuff for someone with a brain injury! My brother came with me and took in all the information which was much needed as I would of forgotten it by the time I got home.(cheers bro) Make sure you get all the help you can x
Exciting times …… This is Andy Rollins. An IT Whiz who has offered to make me a website so that I can reach more people affected by brain injuries. This was our second meeting going over ideas and designs for the site. I needed a break to take this page to the next level and here it is….. Happening thanks to Andy! Thanks mate – Top guy. More info to follow but it’s looking amazing !!
November 21, 2014
My friend who has gone through brain recovery sent me this – Thanks Claire X A very tough part of recovery is accepting that you will not be the same as you was before the injury. It’s sad but true. It doesn’t mean to say that you can’t be great again because you can!
November 22, 2014
Felt great to do a 7 mile run around my home city this morning as part of my challenge smile emoticon Hull and proud x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 7
November 23, 2014
I worked in the construction industry for 20 years. I was lucky enough to work on some great jobs and meet top blokes who would become good friends. That was why it was sad when I had to leave the industry because of my injury. It doesn’t mean that I still can’t see them and do good things wink emoticon………. Recently I thought of a way of catching up with them great men and do something fun and worthwhile. I decided to organise a calendar shoot. A Hull Workmen Calendar 2015. Sexy/fun calendars for the ladies;-) These calendars will be sold for Â£10 and all money raised will go towards my pot for Neurosurgical ward 4/40 at HRI. I pulled in some great lads who were up for getting involved. I got a great local photographer and sourced a brilliant location. I am very lucky to have such supportive friends to help in my projects! Today was the shoot day smile emoticon I had a great time with them having fun and catching up and all for a good cause! Here are a few behind the scenes pics –
November 24, 2014
I will not let my brain injury stop me from being successful…… My injury has left me with some permanent damage. Damage which has taken away some of my thinking skills. I accept that I cannot think as well as I use to. Certain jobs I used to do with ease are out of my limits now. But I will not accept that I can’t still achieve good things because of it. It may take me longer and be harder then before. But I will find a way! There is always a way. Find your way to do things – Never give up X
A video post to try pass on some knowledge to people affected by brain injuries. It tells about how i am managing to make the calendar project possible x
November 25, 2014
It’s coming soon…… My website will be known as- PAUL My brain recovery. A friend and I are working on the logo Thanks to family/friends for helping with some great ideas. In particular my mum and Shannon for there positive influence in reaching the final name x I chose my name in the end as I hope the site will help people affected by brain injuries and offer some –
November 27, 2014
I became oblivious in situations after the injury. I just don’t seem to take things into consideration that I would of before. I generally have to put all my concentration into the job in hand. That means that I am oblivious to things going on around me. It’s like my scope of intellectual vision is very limited. I can’t see the whole picture. I think people could mistake it for being rude, ignorant or unthoughtful but i am just Oblivious. Unfortunately it can be a consequence of a brain injury. All though I can still be oblivious now at times I am miles better then before. In early recovery I was oblivious to pretty much everything. I have definitely seen good improvements – Positive progress
Being Oblivious – Its a tough one for everyone….. When you have a brain injury and your oblivious you become vulnerable. You are in a bubble, just going off what you can manage mentally. You don’t always see the danger to situations. You just can’t see all the factors/implications of everything going on around yourself. You become susceptible. Leaving yourself open to making mistakes. You could get yourself into an embarrassing situation and you haven’t got a clue. Other people’s thoughts/feelings are not always taken into account. You can’t always manage that level of thinking. It’s sad really that an injury can have these types of personality changing consequences! Family/friends must stay strong with this one. I can imagine it could be really upsetting to seem like your Not getting thought of Or Waiting for a comment that never comes Or to See your loved one oblivious were once they would of been switched on. It may seem like they don’t care but it’s the injury. It can just take them thoughts away. Try not to feel like they don’t value you. Your constant love and support will be keeping them safe. They might not be able to express that appreciation but I am sure they will feeling it inside. It’s important for everyone to Be patient and Stay strong X
November 29, 2014
I have often got to X, Y and Z….. Learning how to cope with your new brain is going to be a real challenge. It’s going to take patience and determination. You will need to try new/different approaches and strategies to carry out and complete tasks. Push through the frustration to find out which suits you best. It’s a constant test throughout recovery – Don’t give up X
November 30, 2014
Something new as part of 8 miles for my challenge today. Having some fun building up the miles….. MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 8
December 1, 2014
It’s really important that you test yourself…., Don’t be afraid to try things once you feel ready. Yesterday on the paddle board was a new one for me. It took me a while to get on my feet with it and then I fell off into the water but I dried off and got back on to complete the 3 miles. Things may take time and you may fall whilst going through recovery but keep getting back up and trying – You will get there x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 9
December 2, 2014
Look out for an article in the Hull daily mail tomorrow covering the Hull workmen calendar I have put together. Amazing to see Local businesses uniting to support Neurosurgical ward 4/40. I appreciate everyone involved in supporting and making this happen. Massive thanks to…. Ace Local contracting lads doing the modelling! Pics by Andy Houghton @ Gate5 – Hosted by Martin & Rob (different language) Rich Sims – Oriel printing company Wolfie – For his help with Sponsors – Front cover- – Humber electrical Eng – Oriel printing company – Neville Tucker Services Jan – UK Print services Feb – LED Save Mar – DK joinery Apr – Bridge McFarland solicitors May – Neil Hudgell solicitors June- Xeco Engineering July- Tommy Coyle Academy Aug – HD Drylining Sep – Poorboy boutique Oct – Lasercroft Flooring Nov – Life for a kid Dec – Lansco Builders & Shopfitters Thanks to local retailers who are stocking the calendars. Priced at Â£10 each and available from WED 10th December. Town centre- Poorboy Boutique Bolo menswear Herbys – princess Quay Cook Hair Holderness rd- Gems Cutting room Cott road- Benedicts Newland Ave- Madison’s Deli Poorboy Marina- ACDC All proceeds are going to my campaign to support Neurosurgical ward 4/40 at Hull Royal Infirmary. Helping local people with brain/spinal injuries. Inbox me on this site for any details – Thanks everyone X
December 3, 2014
A great experience with the lads raising awareness and funds for Neurosurgical ward 4/40 – Thanks to everyone involved x I would never of thought this would be possible during my recovery. I hope this shows to others in early recovery that things can get better and good/fun things can still be achieved ….. Keep pushing on strong x
December 4, 2014
It was great to get a mention on Viking Fm this morning !! Well done and thanks to everyone involved x I would never of imagined that I would hear my name on radio during my recovery! Positive Progress X
December 5, 2014
Coming to terms with having a brain injury is not going to be easy…… It will be your toughest test in life. It’s going to take a long time to get back to some normality. Whilst you are finding your feet with life again stay strong- Don’t let it break you! No matter how low I got I always believed and I still believe that …….
December 7, 2014
Pushing on with my marathon challenge.., This week I did a 9 mile run around Beverley and Walkington. It’s the furthest I have ever ran around that area. New Accomplishments after brain injury…. There still achievable – Always believe in yourself x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 10
December 8, 2014
Over the moon!! Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS are fully behind this recovery site. Here I am with Joe Bennet who is the communications officer for HEY hospitals! Joe has designed a poster which will be going up all around Hull Royal Infirmary and local hospitals. What a great feeling to be sat with Joe, watching it get made. It’s amazing to have coverage from the NHS. With this sort of backing my page will hopefully reach and help more people affected by brain injuries. I am made up – Positive progress! Thanks Joe – Top man.
December 9, 2014
You don’t need to understand everything to achieve…. Something I have struggled with since the injury is understanding. I find it difficult to think deeply so my understanding is limited. I can easily forget what/how/why to things i am doing. I just go blank.
It can be tormenting and frustrating but don’t let it stop you from carrying out tasks! Keep at it – Try and find ways to help you cope. For example .. With these posts that I write. I forget the meaning of words so I google it. I even had to google the meaning of a key the other day! It just means things can take me a little longer then before. I always get there! If you go at your pace and implement coping strategies you will still achieve the end results x
December 10, 2014
Enjoyed some air time on local radio tonight. It was a completely new experience which I never would of thought possible! At one time in my recovery I couldn’t string a sentence together. I had to have speech therapy at home for weeks! Up until now I would never of had the confidence to do that interview. Positive progress x Not knowing what was going to happen or what I would be asked was difficult but I just thought I’d give it my best shot….. There will be plenty of tests in your recovery … Just always give it your best shot X
I didn’t get chance to say it on radio but it won’t stop me …… I always get there somehow so here it is – Don’t let anything ever stop you from achieving what you wanted to X
December 12, 2014
Wow……. What a week! I can’t remember half of it but I know it was all good wink emoticon So much going on at the minute and having lots of fun doing great things. I am doing more then i ever thought possible. I don’t always have a deep understanding to things but when I do have them realisation moments I just chuckle and think…….. Enjoy every minute! I thought it only right that I keep my energy up by eating this box of chocs wink emoticon I am outside poorboy boutique in princess quay selling the workmen calendars tomorrow ….. Haha As if I just wrote that… It’s all Positive Progress Enjoy your weekend guys x
December 13, 2014
Had good fun selling the calendars today! Thanks to everyone who came down to support and those who bought a calendar. It was great to see the reaction on some faces, fair to say the calendar is getting some pulses racing wink emoticon Pleased to say I sold 50 today. So we made Â£500 towards the fund. I really enjoyed having a quick chat with some people who are following the page! Nice to meet you guys. Keep up your great work ! Thanks to all the kind people who wanted to support Neuro 4/40 at HRI. X
December 14, 2014
Early start this morning for 10 miles as part of my challenge. I covered East to west Hull. This challenge was especially good as it brought back good memories. Memories at one time I couldn’t see! It might be harder to retrieve them but I can see them if I really try and concentrate. Positive Progress….. Never give up hope x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 11
December 15, 2014
Feels great to see how far I went on the map going right across the city! A great new experience I never thought I would do. I am enjoying the challenge. If anyone would kindly like to sponsor me here’s the link- https://pledgie.com/campaigns/26979 Thanks everyone x
December 16, 2014
I was recently contacted by a couple of ladies who have set up an online support group – http://www.headsmatter.com They are also campaigning for change. Trying to get more support and rehabilitation for people and families affected by brain injuries. I think this is great! It’s really needed so I am fully behind all there efforts – Well done ladies x
Great to drop into Neurorehabilitation ward – Ward 29 at Castle hill hospital today. It was an amazing feeling to see my poster up! Really nice to get my picture taken with my Neuropsychologist – Dr Selen selvachandran , Sister Rachel Hoggarth and ward staff. When I first started seeing my Neuropsychologist 2 years ago i was completely lost! Although I am still under rehabilitation now I am so much better, stronger and wiser. Who would of thought I would of been stood alongside Dr Selen promoting my page! It shows that things can and do get better over time. A proud moment…. Positive Progress x
December 17, 2014
Being different doesn’t have to be a bad thing…… Something I struggled with in my early recovery was being different from how I was before the injury. I always looked at my differences in a negative way. I thought that if I couldn’t be how I was then life would be dull. That’s not the case. Don’t be hard on yourself! I learnt that I didn’t need to be as I was to enjoy my life. I just needed to get use to the new me and do the best with how I am. I saw this new apartment block in Ibiza town this year which looked cool. It wasn’t the same as the others…….
Christmas dinner with Headway tonight. Always nice to catch up and be in there company. Best wishes to all of the Headway team over the Christmas holidays x
December 18, 2014
It’s a triple with local radio stations;-) From Viking FM to BBC Humberside and now… KCFM! It was great to meet and have an interview at HRI with Gemma Benefer from KCFM. Tune in tomorrow morning. I will be running on the hour in the news from 6am till 2 pm. I talk about pretty much everything that has happened during my recovery. I really never thought I would be sat in HRI having a radio interview. I wouldn’t of had a clue what radio was at one time…. Positive progress! Things can get better X Thanks to Rachel Johnson and Joe Bennet from HRI for making this possible x
December 19, 2014
There may be tough times during your recovery but always remember……. There will be plenty of amazing times ahead!
December 20, 2014
It was great to get some Airtime on KCFM yesterday. Here’s a link on there site that covered my story. There is also a clip so you can hear more of the interview. Really pleased to say that they are going to cover some more of my story and campaign in the new year ?
December 21, 2014
11 miles as part of my challenge – Really enjoyed this week! My lad Reece got involved. Well proud dad X
December 22, 2014
Hope everyone is feeling the Christmas buzz:-) If you know someone with a brain injury then chances are they will may need more support at this time of year. With lots more to do and think about it can be tough. If you can help take some of the load it will really help! I use coping strategies like my lists and reminders to help me through the busy period. I have found that Christmas has got easier and so better and better as my recovery has gone on, Positive Progress wink emoticon Hope your enjoying the build up everyone X
Really pleased to say that the Premier Practice will be sponsoring my marathon challenge. Thanks Dennis and Ollie. I am going to need that top class support as the miles are building up! It’s another amazing sponsor for the challenge – Positive Progress x
Another 100 printed just in time for Christmas wink emoticon Seems like its Hull’s bestseller – Thanks for everyone’s support X
December 23, 2014
Really happy to say that I am in the …… End of the year awards on Viking FM breakfast show! Tune into tomorrow morning at 7.20a.m to hear me talking to Sean Goldsmith;-) I couldn’t believe it today – Who would have thought I would have been in the studio getting pics with the Viking FM team a year ago! Keep pushing on positive -Things can get better guys X
December 25, 2014
Merry Christmas everyone x I hope your all having fun with family and you got everything you wanted – Best Wishes X I’m loving my new selfie stick I will be using it on my challenges X
December 26, 2014
Feeling lazy….. Me and my mum taking 5 mins out:-) It’s nice to chill out at Christmas. If you have a brain injury you’ll no doubt feel the pace even more over Christmas. Be sure to take regular breaks, even more so around this time. Try not to get caught up and end up struggling Play hard – Rest hard X
December 27, 2014
Christmas country walking…. Out in Welton today for a stroll. You can’t beat being out in the countryside. I don’t think there’s any better place to de-stress and feel naturally peaceful. If you’re affected by a brain injury I would highly recommend getting out in the great outdoors for a walk. It’s always been great therapy for me X
December 28, 2014
On with my marathon challenge today. Week 12 so…. The 12 miles of Christmas;-) We decided to mix a bike ride up and add on an extra exercise at each mile like the Christmas rhyme. We worked back through all the exercises each time we added another on. A great new experience in the country with a good mate! Having fun building up them miles X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 12
December 30, 2014
Heads in a spin after Christmas….. I love everything about Christmas! It’s like a whirlwind of family, friends, goodwill, love, kindness, beers, gifts and chocs! So pretty amazing:-) I think the comedown can be quite big for us all. If you have a brain injury you may be feeling the event amazing but quite overwhelming. Everything’s been going at such a fast pace. You can forgot what your normal routine is!
It can completely throw you out. If your feeling like this and it’s getting you confused then don’t worry. Everything will settle down and get back in order in the new year. Remember…… Don’t put pressure on yourself. Get back into your usual pace, Just roll with it and enjoy what you can X
December 31, 2014
Thanks to everyone who helped make 2014 a great year! Wishing you all the best with good health and happiness for 2015 X
January 1, 2015
Happy new year everyone!! Enjoy and have fun:-) Looking forward to some… New challenges & New experiences. Always appreciate what you have and how you are doing throughout the year;-) There will be….. Positive Progress for us all X
Positive thoughts for 2015…
I might not of had the brains but I still had belief in myself at the start of 2014. With that belief I did some amazing things…. Always believe in yourself x
January 3, 2015
On with my challenge…… I hit the Half Marathon week with a run around York. It was tough but I enjoyed it! I could not remember York A year ago I wouldn’t of had the confidence to do this. With poor memory I would of got lost! Now I am cracking Half Marathons in places I don’t know….. Get in – Positive Progress! Things can get better guys x
MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 13 I wasn’t sure where I was heading with the Half Marathon but I didn’t let it hold me back. I changed direction a few times and found my way. During brain recovery you will not always know what’s ahead. Just do your best and try to enjoy the journey as much as you can. You will find your way X
January 4, 2015
Really happy to be introducing my page logo…. Special thanks to my friend Sarah Robson who has designed it! She is an absolute star x Haha I really never dreamed I would have a logo…. Positive Progress;-) x
As I am recovering this page is developing and my website is coming soon. I hope this logo can go on to be a recognised symbol of hope to people affected by brain injuries and offer some..
January 5, 2015
Holidays are over and back to some normality… Feeling positive and ready for the year ahead – New milestones:-) New experiences:-) New challenges:-) There will be struggles ahead but we will always get over them and be stronger. Just do your best and enjoy what you can x
Paul’s 10K Run…. This will be the last 10K of my marathon and will mark the end of my challenge in April. If your looking to get fit and have a focus through the winter then here it is. Come give me a boost and help carry me over the line;-) All welcome to get involved with a fun day afterwards. Details are coming soon x
January 6, 2015
Like most people my diet went out of the window over the holidays. It was nice to let go over the period but it’s great to get back on the healthy train. Throughout recovery I have always tried to eat well. I think it’s even more important for people with brain injuries to have a healthy balanced diet. If you want to be operating at the best level you can then your going to need good fuel. A good balanced diet will help you feel naturally the best that you can. It is a part of recovery that you have got some control over. Good food can be Great Medicine x
Everyone’s got to start somewhere……, Although it was small this routine would lead to rebuilding my confidence. No matter how you are, just do what you can manage and build from there x FITNESS VIDEO EVERYONE HAS GOT TO START SOMEWHERE
January 7, 2015
Make the most of what your capable of x
Really pleased to have just organised a TV interview with a local station….. I am going to be in the studio at Estuary TV. I will be talking about PAUL – My recovery page, the success of the calendars and my Marathon Challenge. Wow who would of thought it!My debut TV appearance. It will get me warmed up for Lorraine Kelly wink emoticon Positive Progress X
When I first thought of the idea I wasn’t sure if I could manage it but I just went ahead and pulled it off with some amazing support! Massive thanks to everyone who got involved and played a part in making it a worldwide success x I wouldn’t of managed this a year ago………. Things can get better guys x
January 8, 2015
Anyone affected by a brain injury will be able to associate with this…….. It is a frightening part of the injury. The consequences are life changing. The unknown can be really distressing. Get some help and advice if you need it. Try to keep moving forward each day the best you can. You will be learning, adapting and developing. Don’t let it break your spirit X
January 9, 2015
Feeling Proud to get 2015 underway with an “Award of the week”! Thanks to a great local charity “Nice 2 b Nice” who promote good causes. Its great to know that my work is recognised and valued – Have a great weekend guys X
January 10, 2015
Saturday morning running club with the lad and his mrs…. Made up that Reece and Kelsey want to train for my 10K in April. First run out the way with over a mile under there belts. Well done guys – Proud dad X
January 11, 2015
Week 14 of my marathon challenge complete….. It was great to cover the 4 main parks of Hull in this challenge. Really enjoyed the test with a good friend Mark. New great experiences…. They can still be had after brain injury. Give it time and keep optimistic guys X
MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 14 From the Parks to the pub…. Great to catch up for a carvery with good friends. They was keen to help me with ideas for a future project. Support I receive from family and friends is immense! That support is so important for someone with a brain injury. If you know someone affected then please take the time out to see how they are. I’m sure they will appreciate it x
January 12, 2015
4 years ago today….. Congratulations to my friend Claire who has battled through brain recovery for 4 years. A truly brave women who has seen some great “Positive Progress” since the day of her operation to remove a brain tumour. From bandaged up to enjoying some beers and from her Zimma to some cool wheels;-) Your Awesome Nug X
January 13, 2015
I have fallen a million times during my recovery but I just wouldn’t stay down…… No matter how hard things get, you get back up and keep going forward. Get support if you need it. It does get easier… There will be great things ahead x
January 14, 2015
Unemployed after brain injury…… I left my job as an electrician four months ago now. I just couldn’t manage that level of thinking. I struggled to keep up how I use to. I miss been a skilled tradesman. I miss the times on site with my old work friends. I have been frightened for the future. With little money and a disability I am not sure what’s ahead. But…….
I will not struggle through life as a consequence of my injury. I will not hide behind people. It was only tormenting me. If I am out of my depth with something I accept it and move on. Don’t let your mental weaknesses torment you. Although I miss my old job, it would be harder been there trying to keep up. After all I would rather have my mind then money. I am working with rehabilitation at the minute looking for a new career that I can be good at again. If your struggling at work after brain injury then don’t be afraid to change career. There is something out there we can all excel at X
January 15, 2015
Everyone’s got different capabilities…. Always be grateful for what you can do. For what your capable of. Don’t compare yourself against anybody else. You are unique!
It doesn’t matter what Jim, Jane or John can do. Do what’s right for you. As long as your doing your best and making the most of what you have then great. That’s enough. Enjoy and be proud x
January 16, 2015
Looking forward to catching up with this mad lot….. My family are so crackers they make me feel normal;-) Have a great weekend with your loved ones guys x
January 18, 2015
Week 15 of my Marathon Challenge…… Them miles are building up now! It was my toughest week so far. Great to have a good friends join in to give me support! Sandy at the start and claire to finish – much love Guys X It was especially amazing to see Claire out on her bike – Well done Nug – Great work X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 15
January 19, 2015
Always a laugh with Claire….. We’re both so forgetful I don’t know how we manage, but we do! We do laugh at ourselves:-) Here’s a few sketches of us yesterday in Costa after the challenge x
Adapting to the new you….. Learn to adapt and you will manage easier. Family and friends will have to adapt too x
January 20, 2015
Use your energy wisely….. Don’t fight against things you can’t alter. Accept the change and walk your new path with your head held high Have faith for your future x
January 21, 2015
Paul’s 10K & Family Fun day Really looking forward to my third annual running event. Always a great atmosphere with family, friends and more getting involved to support! This will be the last leg of my Marathon and complete my 26 Week challenge:-) Runners please enter here – https://pledgie.com/campaigns/26979
January 22, 2015
Posters are starting to go up in HRI……. It was a very proud moment yesterday seeing the posters going up around Hull Royal. It was quite surreal to be honest. Thanks to Joe Bennet. You will be seeing me on Neuro, on the stairs, in the canteen, everywhere;-) I have been in that canteen so many times and never dreamt I would have a poster up advertising this page. I hope it reaches and helps people affected. Remember ….. Great things can still be achieved after brain injury X
Brain Recovery is a long journey… Take your time …… Don’t expect to much… Get some support… Try not to be afraid…. Accept the change….. Use new strategies…. Take regular breaks….. Just keep plugging away….. Don’t be hard on yourself… Enjoy what you can…… Small steps = Positive Progress. You will be getting there X
January 23, 2015
Blueberries are Brainberries… I have eaten plenty of these little fellas in recovery. Not only delicious but studies have shown the blueberry is a superfood for the brain. Add some to your diet to enjoy some brain boosting benefits…
Having fun with the lad….. We got invited to do a promo video for bubble football. Great to get the lad involved. We had a right laugh. I really enjoy doing things I once couldn’t and to be with Reece makes it even more special – Good times. I couldn’t of done this in early recovery…. Positive Progress X BUBBLE FOOTBALL VIDEO
January 25, 2015
Week 16 of my Marathon challenge…. Thought I would push it and try to do a 16 mile run to the Yorkshire coast. I didn’t doubt myself I just went for it and believed I could get there. It was the furthest I have ever ran! I made it to Hornsea for an ice cream X
January 26, 2015
The aches and pains ain’t stopping me smiling….. Few aches today but I am feeling proud after my run to Hornsea. It has taken me a long time to get to that level of fitness and confidence in my abilities. At one time in my recovery I doubted myself with pretty much everything. My Confidence was completely gone. The only way I built that back was to get back out there and start again from scratch. I have been turning that doubt into belief for over 2 years now. I am seeing and feeling some great results. If your ready and capable then go for it. Turn doubt into belief and you will see Positive Progress x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 16
Don’t let doubt hold you back…. Whatever it may be, Just give it your best shot and go for it! The more you believe, The more you achieve x
January 27, 2015
Just had my T.V debut…. Tune into Estuary T.V tonight at 5.30p.m – 7.30 – 11.30 to catch me on the News. Freeview Channel 8. It felt amazing to be sat in a T.V studio with my family watching next door in the control room. Loved them been there and part of it smile emoticon Wow… What an awesome experience! Thanks to the staff who made us all feel welcome. I wouldn’t of had the confidence to do this a year ago…. No way! But I have now – Positive Progress;-) Keep going guys X
January 28, 2015
Just seen my first T.V Interview….. Haha it’s well strange even saying that. A real milestone on my journey. It was a good warm up for Look North. Then Hullywood to Hollywood, Catch me about 6 mins into the clip x
Estuary T.V Interview
Not in tune with the general ways of life after brain injury….. We are all living by ways and rules. The do’s and don’ts of how we operate. How you carry yourself and act in certain situations. We just know them instinctively and that’s how we roll. After brain injury this may change. The dos or don’ts might not be taken into consideration as much as they would of been. The understanding of situations might not be accurate. I can say things and do things that are not fitting at the time but I just haven’t got a clue. I am not as switched on to the ways anymore. I can’t think as well as I use to. We only work off what our brains tell us. If it is damaged then judgements/actions may be poor. If you know someone affected by brain injury and they are doing/saying things out of character then please be patient and understand that they just might not realise x
January 29, 2015
Always value yourself highly… However you are. No matter the injuries. No matter the circumstances. You are unique. You are amazing. You are loved. You are valuable! Be nice to yourself. Enjoy everything you can. Keep going and keep Smiling. :-)X
A great afternoon at Photo Printz…. Had fun today going through ideas for PAUL T-shirts. Thanks to Photo Printz for getting things started to see how it looks. Great work Sean black. Looking forward to printing! Thanks to Sarah Robson for all her help in making this happen x I never thought I would be modelling my own T-Shirt! Haha….Positive Progress :-)x
January 30, 2015
One for the curry lovers ….. Some Spices in curries are great for the brain:-) I’m always getting Pete to whip me up a brain boosting curry. This guys the master! Here’s a few ingredients he threw in today. It was beaut! This link shows spices and there benefits for the brain. It’s a great excuse for a curry
Spices for the Brain
February 1, 2015
Week 17 of my Challenge… On the mountain bikes for a posh country ride with my friend Paige. Some tough weather conditions but we got there and I visited some new lovely places along way. Achieving and experiencing new things after brain injury. Keep going guys – There can be good things ahead X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 17
February 2, 2015
Marathon Challenge sponsors….. Thanks to all my great sponsors who are keeping me going on my challenges week in week out! All making this possible on week 17 x
Processing information after brain injury….. I can be slower at processing now but I still manage. I just sometimes need more time. If you know someone who finds it hard to process information then try give them time. They will feel more comfortable and I’m sure they will appreciate it x
February 3, 2015
Covering more miles then ever before…. I am enjoying pushing my limits whilst covering the beauty of East Yorkshire! If you never push yourself you’ll never know what you can really achieve. I would never of been capable of this in early recovery but I am now… Positive Progress! X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 18
February 4, 2015
Hard hitting picture of an unprovoked attack….. The scar is a mark of a cowardly disgusting act! This is my friend from Wales Nick Watkins. I spoke about Nick on my page last year. He contacted me to say I had inspired him in his recovery which was amazing. It influenced me to make this page. He was also attacked which left him with a TBI. Nick had to have part of his skull removed due to swelling. They tried to put the piece of skull back in the hope it would knit back together a year ago. Unfortunately it never. It left Nick in daily discomfort. He had constant headaches and balance problems. I spoke to Nick last night and it was great news! They have replaced the skull with a titanium plate and it has worked smile emoticon It was really nice to hear Nick with a buzz in his voice saying that he feels miles better. He said it has given him a boost for the future and he feels great. I was so happy for him. And he got engaged at Christmas – Congratulations pal. Positive Progress ! X
Awareness of what one hit can do….. One punch, one kick, one devastating blow to someone’s life! That’s all it takes to have life changing consequences….. Please…… Think before you have that effect on somebody x
February 5, 2015
Great to go back to the gym were it all began….. This is my friend Giorgio. He has also had a brain injury. We met today at his gym which happens to be the one I started at 2 years ago. Back then I wasn’t well so to be able to go back today showing Giorgio the ropes was amazing Positive Progress!! Good to catch up – You did ace pal x
February 6, 2015
We don’t need to get good cards to have fun…. Sometimes life can deal us a poor hand. Always try and work the best with what you have… Enjoy what you can. That water was freezing but it didn’t stop me smiling wink emoticon Have a great weekend guys x
February 7, 2015
Keeping the young ones fit….. Saturday morning running clubs getting bigger. Well done Shannon for getting involved building up the miles to Paul’s 10K. Great work kids X KEEPING THE YOUNG ONES FIT VIDEO
February 8, 2015
Taking my challenge to the west side of Yorkshire on week 18….. It felt great jumping on a train and heading to Leeds. Really enjoyed catching up with my good friend Jonathon. Thanks pal – Top support! Great to cover 18 miles around an Amazing local city! I never thought I would be running 18 miles….. and in Leeds!! Awesome experience! Never give up X WESTSIDE OF YORKSHIRE ON WEEK 18 VIDEO
February 9, 2015
There can be great experiences ahead….. Keep plugging away to the best of your abilities. Make your way through your situation the best you possibly can. Stay strong. Things can get better and the future can be more then you ever imagined X
February 10, 2015
Morning everyone…… Enjoying waking up to a brew in my new PAUL mug. Thanks to Sean Black at Photos Printz for making it. Am well chuffed with it, Have a great day guys x
Living in a World of your own after brain injury….. After my injury I found myself, Staring into space…. No real understanding…. Slow to respond…. I was lost in a world of my own. I think to some extent I will always be in a world of my own after my brain injury but I am not lost now. I am living and enjoying life. If you are not there yet then don’t worry, you will find your path and find peace, Keep Going X
February 11, 2015
There is always a way…A positive path….. Keep going – Keep Looking – You will find it X
First video talk in my PAUL T-Shirt:-)….. Try to keep Positive after brain injury X
February 12, 2015
A base in town with Bespoke Boutique……. Great to be getting some Top support from Garreth and his team at Bespoke Boutique. Thanks guys! We were going over some exciting future projects for PAUL – My brain Recovery. Some big announcements and events coming X
February 13, 2015
Proud to be a part of the “Golden Heart Awards 2015” …… Feeling really proud to receive an invite back onto the HEY Hospitals committee for 2015:-) This is an Awards night like the oscars to celebrate and give recognition to the outstanding work our NHS Staff are doing. It was a privilege to be sat amongst the Elite at the Awards last year. Very Humbling. Looking forward to another heart warming Awards night x
Getting the right support is everything…… Getting some top Physio treatment from Ollie at Premier Practice today. Sponsors of my marathon challenge. Thanks guys! I have had a tear in my abductor for the last 6 weeks. Without this weekly treatment I wouldn’t be able to carry on! Brain recovery is a daily challenge. Getting the right support to help in your recovery is so important. Weather it be family, friends, therapists, councillors , physios, get what you need. Don’t be to proud to ask for help. Everyone needs help at some point in life. It gets us through the challenges:-) Have a great weekend everyone X
February 14, 2015
Hot off the press at Photo Printz….. Great to get Reece modelling the first PAUL hoody;-) Looking great son x
February 15, 2015
Week 19 of my Marathon Challenge….. 100 lengths in the pool then jumped on the bikes to the Bridge. Thanks to Sandy the fish for his great support smile emoticon A 100 lengths in the pool!! Hard work and determination does pay off!! From not been able to do 1 to doing a 100 now, Positive Progress X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 19
February 16, 2015
Patience and persistence does pay off…… There was a time when I couldn’t swim a length. I use to try but end up walking half. I didn’t give up after 1 attempt In Fact I didn’t give up after 100 attempts! I only gained confidence from sticking at it and building it up. Keep working hard after brain injury, great things CAN still be achieved X
An educational poster about the brain….. I’ve been thinking about running a competition for the kids! Create a poster about the brain. So fun facts, good foods, how it works and caring for your brain etc. The winner would get a PAUL Goody bag, just something for fun and education x
February 17, 2015
Great to see my friend Giorgio in the paper today ….. Well done on your courage and determination to get this far in your recovery Giorgio, Keep up your amazing work pal smile emoticon Giorgio is a shining example to others going through recovery. Just look how far he has come, what he is achieving now is outstanding! Amazing Positive Progress x
February 18, 2015
Each day will not always be easy or perfect but if we try to focus on the good, on the improvements, on our strengths, on the positive progress during recovery we are making, each day can be better – Enjoy what you can X
A video to raise Awareness of speech problems after brain injury…….. An insight into my experiences with speech trouble and therapy to help. Patience & Understanding was key for me. The more I felt relaxed the easier I could speak. It took some time and therapy. At one time I never would of thought these videos would be possible – Positive Progress x
February 19, 2015
I can still get muddled up with words…… I’ve learnt to laugh at the confusion, it won’t stop me. I did get there after….Take 25 ;-)x
February 22, 2015
Week 20 of my marathon Challenge……. To Beverley and back – Thanks again to my mate Tc! We drove there on week 9 for a run, but now we’re doing it all on foot – Positive Progress smile emoticon That’s 210 miles covered on the challenge so far, It wouldn’t of been possible a year ago! Keep pushing on Strong Guys X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 20
February 23, 2015
A new week….. As long as your doing your best then that’s enough. Be satisfied with that and enjoy what you can. Have a great week everyone x
My belief is growing with each mile I do….. The building blocks in believing was only developed in starting with 1 mile. Wether it’s 1 thought, 1word or 1 single step, you will be starting to build your belief. With that belief you can go on to more then you ever imagined X
February 24, 2015
We all like to know we’re we stand with things….. One of the hardest things after brain injury is that you don’t know we’re you stand with anything. Not your job, not driving, not relationships, not income, not independence, not even yourself, your life, your future. Can you imagine that ???
Love and support is everything, your time, your thought and understanding will be helping them on the way back to knowing we’re they stand again. That care is so valuable – With your help they can rebuild a future. Always spare a thought for anyone going through brain recovery X
February 25, 2015
Stocking up on healthy fuel for the brain….. Always grabbing some brain foods from Alan’s Deliciously in Town. I have been munching on Goji Berries, Almonds, Walnuts and seeds right throughout my recovery. Here’s a link to show how they may help –
February 26, 2015
Al give it a go……. Five words that’s made the difference. My Positive Progress has only come from going out of my comfort zone constantly throughout my recovery. Once your ready then go for it, try not to let your weaknesses hold you back. Be brave and just give it your best shot X
February 27, 2015
Thanks to Claire who is doing a 5Km run on Sunday to raise money for Neuro. Looking good in her PAUL T-Shirt smile emoticon Good luck Claire X
Week 21 of My Marathon Challenge…… Had great support from 2 friends either side of the bridge. Thanks to Lee and Rosey. We crossed Yorkshire – Lincolnshire with a 21 mile run. It was tough but we got through it x MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 21
Ready to cross the Humber Bridge….. There have been lots of bridges to cross during my recovery. I had to wait a long time before I was ready to cross some of them. You can’t rush somethings. Have patience and cross each one when your ready. It felt great to be able to take on the Humber Bridge as part of my Challenge – Positive Progress X
March 3, 2015
Exciting Times……. A range of PAUL clothing is in stock now at Poorboy Boutique – Princess Quay. Thanks to Sarah my logo designer, Riccardo at Poorboy Boutique & Sean at Photo Printz who have all made this day possible – Much love guys! It’s Amazing to see PAUL clothingjpg hanging at a cool retail outlet in the city. Wow……:-)Positive Progress!!
March 4, 2015
Acceptance of what is……. It took some time to understand and accept my situation with my new brain but i did and I gave myself a break! Accept what is and love who you are. Accept – Adapt – Advance X
March 5, 2015
Great to see Claire building up them miles on the bike! There’s no stopping her, she even does it watching T.V smile emoticon Well done Nug – Great work x
Great to catch up with the lady behind my Logo… Thanks for all your amazing work Sarah – Looking great in your T-Shirt and Hoody X
March 6, 2015
A symbol of Hope…….. The future can be bright after brain injury. Thanks to Andrew at Bespoke Boutiques for creating this picture – Love it mate x
March 7, 2015
Great to be back with the Hull Workmen calendar lads….. Really pleased to say that we will be strutting our stuff on the catwalk for Hull Fashion Week;-) X
March 8, 2015
Week 22 of My Marathon Challenge. I went to London with Best friends for a bike ride….. We had a great time seeing the sights:-)
It was Ace to see the lads wearing PAUL T-Shirts in the Big Smoke! Top support!!! Feeling the love as always from Amazing friends. I am blessed with the best X
March 9, 2015
Getting about London Town… Great memories with the lads in London as part of my challenge. Feels great to have Top support as always – All we need is love X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 22
It’s all go….. Catch me on radio Humberside today at 3.15p.m I will be talking about my upcoming events including Hull Fashion week. Am enjoying a taste of the celebrity lifestyle ;-)x
March 10, 2015
I haven’t always known we’re I am heading but it hasn’t stopped me from going forward and achieving. I have always believed I will get to a good place, somewhere I was meant to go. Sometimes we must…… Have faith and just go with it x
March 11, 2015
Yes I had a brain injury Yes I am different No it won’t stop me No I am not less Don’t let anything stop you from enjoying your life x
Another great addition to the PAUL Store…… Massive thanks to Sarah for creating,making and donating these cool PAUL Bracelets – Coming soon smile emoticon Check out Sarah’s great work on Etsy which is www.oswellnrose.co.uk Thanks to Eve from Eden at Prospect centre for making this possible! It’s Amazing to have Support from local businesses x
March 13, 2015
PAUL Supporting Parkinson’s and Dove House Hospice. On the Catwalk last Night in aid of 2 Amazing Charities. It was a pleasure to get involved and support them! Thanks to Luke from Estuary T.V for inviting me down. I had a great night x
London with the lads…… Thanks to Patrick odia at Bespoke Boutiques for working his magic on my video of London with the lads. Loving your work mate!! Thanks to Garreth for making this possible;-)X
March 15, 2015
Week 23 of my Marathon Challenge……. I went to Dalby Forest to take on the “Red Route” with the lads on my birthday:-) A tough challenge & A great experience = Good Times! Top support again from good friends X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 23 Great to have support from Hulls rising boxing star Connor Coghill….. Buzzing to have upcoming sports stars from the city behind my work – Thanks Connor x
March 16, 2015
An amazing birthday weekend with family and Friends….. Getting older is great when your surrounded with the best! Every day I feel lucky to have such amazing people in my life, Love to you all guys X
March 17, 2015
Remember there is always someone worse off then you…… Work your best with what you have and be Happy with that x
March 18, 2015
Always Believe in yourselves guys… Don’t let doubt hold you back – Just give it your best shot:-) Thanks Andrew @ Bespoke Boutiques – Great work mate x
Spreading my story nationwide through Headway U.K….. Here is an article and video I have done for the national brain injury association. Really happy to tell my story in the hope it can help others affected by brain injury. Don’t give up X
March 19, 2015
A taste of the future for Brain development…. Enjoyed testing out some cutting edge Neuro technology yesterday. We’re working on bringing this to Hull to help people affected by brain injury x
March 20, 2015
Have patience….. You can’t rush some things. All in good time. It won’t help worrying. It will happen naturally. Just go with it. Enjoy what you can….. Better things are coming your way X
Great to meet the lady behind the PAUL Bracelets…..
Special Thanks to Sarah from Oswellnrose for making and donating them – Loving them there cool! Available at PoorBoy Boutique from Monday priced @ Â£2.50 x
March 21, 2015
Week 24 of my Marathon challenge…… A 24 Mile run to meet Albie Spence – He’s a beaut:-) Congratulations to my brother Mark and Lisa on his safe arrival – Love you guys X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 24
March 22, 2015
Enjoying the journey to meet Albie…. Going further then I ever imagined. The more you believe……. The more you can achieve:-)x
March 23, 2015
Don’t make Recovery harder for yourself – Go at your pace….. Regular breaks…. Don’t take to much on…. Regular meals…. Use coping strategies…. Go easy on yourself….. Keep Calm & Continue x
March 24, 2015
Mental health issues…. Get the right support – You CAN get through it x
MENTAL HEALTH VIDEO Great to see the Hull Legend Dean Windass and his girlfriend Francesca wearing PAUL T-Shirts:-) Loving the support – Thanks guys x
March 25, 2015
Nervous but Excited for my assessment this morning…. Once I pass this cognitive driving assessment I can get some wheels:-) After 3 years of buses & lifts I’m ready for it!! Can’t wait x
Yesssss – I’m good to go:-) Get in there – Thanks for all your good luck everyone! It’s been a long time coming but I got there – Positive Progress X
Awareness of passing your driving test after 3 years of brain recovery……:-)X
March 26, 2015
As my recovery has gone on I feel stronger mentally:-) With that strength I aim to educate and inspire anyone affected by brain injury by offering some…..
March 27, 2015
Absolutely buzzing with my Marathon T-Shirt…… Special Thanks to the amazing local businesses that have sponsored this T-Shirt helping me to raise Â£1500! I hope your all proud:-) I certainly will be when I put it on next Sunday and run my Marathon X
March 29, 2015
Week 25 of my Marathon Challenge…… I have built up the confidence to take all four activities on:-) It was my toughest ever challenge to date! If anyone would like to kindly sponsor my challenge, here’s the link – https://pledgie.com/campaigns/26979 Looking forward to the big one next week X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 25
Feeling incredibly proud to be mentioned in the same breath as the Amazing Man of steel Steve Prescott I’ve Never had a better compliment – Feeling honoured Thanks Wolfie X
March 30, 2015
Positive throughout the 25 mile …
Positivity, persistency, building, believing = Achieving! We are all capable of so much more if we push ourselves, Never Give up X MARATHON CHALLENGE WEEK 26
March 31, 2015
I believe I have recovered like I have because I got back out there and didn’t let my vulnerability hold me back. Yes I was frightened, with a damaged brain I knew I was out my depth most of the time but it didn’t stop me. I pushed and pushed myself, very often nearly to tears. I risked making myself look stupid and probably often did but I wouldn’t let anything hold me back. Yes I made mistakes and I learnt and then I forgot and made the same mistakes again(Poor Memory:-) but in the end I understood and it sunk in. I got strength from making them mistakes and my confidence rebuilt from rock bottom. Don’t let anything hold you back from building a bright future X
April 3, 2015
Medals and Numbers are in…. Special thanks to Bridge Mcfarland Solicitors for sponsoring the medals. One for every runner
It’s getting exciting now x
Great to have ITV Calendar crew round…… Look out tomorrow night when they feature my story. There’s even talk of them coming Sunday guys so be looking your best X
“Have patience …. There were times in recovery when I felt stuck. It’s a long process…
Stay strong. Enjoy What you can. You might not think it. You will be getting there….
A place were you can move on x”
INSIGHTS FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Welcome to our ‘Insight and Advice’ tab. This is where our brain injured friends share their stories to give you an insight of their particular brain injury.
They also give advice to people affected in the hope that their wisdom can help during recovery.
One thing that we can all tell you is that you are not alone.
A phone call at Easter 2012 changed my and my son’s life forever. Paul had been assaulted, punched so hard that he hit the floor with such force that his brain moved forward into his skull, causing a bleed on the brain and front lobe damage. I remember crying all the way to the hospital not knowing what I would face when I got there.
When I got on to the ward, a nurse took me to Paul. It was a sight no parent wants to see – my son was lying on a hospital bed asleep with tubes and wires all over him. When he woke up he was so confused he didn’t know where he was. He had hallucinations and double vision.
A few days later the hospitals rang and said I needed to go in because Paul had suffered an epileptic fit. I felt sick and ran from the car park up the stairs to ward 4 in a world record time. Paul was just lying there, saying things which made no sense. He looked pale and exhausted. Suddenly he made this horrible sound as he had another fit. I grabbed him and held onto him as tight as I could. It was horrible I thought, this is it, my son’s dying. I was shouting and crying, the sounds Paul made will stay with me for the rest of my life, when the fit had finished he just laid on the bed, staring at me. Then he fell asleep.
On a visit to see Paul at HRI out of the blue a nurse came over and asked Paul if he wanted to sit up in a chair. We looked at each other and typically Paul said “I’ll try.” We helped him up and there he was sat up in chair. I took a photo, silly as it seems now, but it was such a relief to see him sat up.
Eventually Paul was discharged from HRI and went home. All of us were ecstatic that he could go home but at the same time very apprehensive. Would he be ok at home? Would he be frightened and confused? Does he even know that it was his home? When Paul was leaving the hospital, he was in a relationship with Gemma. It was a relief to know that he would not be on his own.
For the rest of that first year, Paul hardly left his house. He had speech problems and putting a sentence together was difficult. He developed a stutter and usually sat, confused, staring at the walls. Every time I saw him it broke my heart. I always woke up in bed thinking about Paul, sometimes sobbing and other times angrily thinking about revenge; wanting to kill the person that did this to my son. I don’t think that I handled the next few months very well as a parent and perhaps I didn’t go to Paul’s house as often as I could have. His mum and my other son Mark were going around and helping out all the time to support Gemma. I just backed off a bit, not knowing what I could do or where I would fit in to help out. It was a massive learning curve for me and I do regret it. I now know that in those months of Paul’s rehabilitation, I could have done more to help. But wouldn’t every parent feel that they could or should have done more? I’m not sure.
Paul refused to let this injury beat him and started going to the gym. He found comfort there as he didn’t have to think too much about anything and, with help from a personal trainer, it wasn’t long before he started to regain his confidence. He was going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, getting fitter and stronger. I’m sure going to the gym saved his sanity.
Soon Paul started thinking about others in a similar position to himself. He wanted to do a fund raising event to say thank you to ward 4/40 for all the care they gave him. With the help from friends and family, he decided to organise a fun run. On the first anniversary of his injury, Paul along with about 70 friends and family, ran 10k. It was a fantastic achievement and filled me with so much pride to see him not only have a big role in the organisation but to run and then get onstage afterwards and say thank you to all everyone. He raised £17,000 for HRI ward 4/40 that day.
Paul continued to struggle at work but at this point was determined to carry on. Paul hated that he did not have the capacity to be a foreman anymore and that he had to have help from others all the time. He was frightened about not working for financial reasons. It was terrible to see him so tormented.
Paul’s next fundraiser for Life For A Kid brought in £4,000. However he was massively struggling in everyday life. Just going shopping was tough. He lost his driving licence. In spite of all these difficulties Paul still continued to think about ways to help others with brain injuries, even though he was now suffering with depression himself. The sense of pride and admiration that I have for my son is immense but at the same time I was worried sick that it was all getting too much for him to come to terms with. Paul’s relationship with Gemma ended which was a really sad time for us all, although they do remain friends. In September 2014, Paul made the decision to leave work which was a real blessing. He didn’t have to struggle anymore and could concentrate on getting better in terms of resting his brain, giving it every chance to repair itself and to reshape his life with less stress.
Paul has not wasted his time sitting around feeling sorry for himself. He has devoted all of his time to helping others. He has raised awareness about the lack of aftercare given to people with brain injuries. Now that he had time on his hands, he could plan events at his own pace. He would go into HRI and talk to patients, reassuring them and their families that there was hope and people with brain injuries can still have a good quality of life.
It never fails to amaze me that he doesn’t let his brain injury stop him from carving out a new life. He now focuses his energy on raising money and supporting others. I wasn’t the only one who recognised his efforts and desire because he was asked to join the golden hearts committee at HRI; a fantastic award for him and one he richly deserves and takes pride in.
Paul continues to work as hard as possible for others. He organised a calendar for 2015, he did a twenty six week challenge, ending with a marathon on the 3rd anniversary of his injury. Best of all he has started up a charity. He shows so much enthusiasm. It’s incredible to think how much he has done with such adversity. I’m sure he will continue to work as hard as his brain allows him to in order to make the charity a huge success.
For me as Paul’s dad, watching him go through so much pain, frustration, depression and adversity was unbearable. Probably the worst part about Paul’s brain injury was that it made him lose the emotional feelings we all take for granted; the ability to feel love, happiness, sadness, etc. But hopefully as the months go by, he will start to get some of these feelings back. Whatever happens in Paul’s life in the future, his family and I will always be there. We will stand by his side in every battle he might encounter.
A view from a proud dad. X
My son Paul. Where do I begin? Watching Paul struggle at the beginning of his injury was so difficult. As a mother, you obviously want to protect your children. I often watched Paul pace up and down and stare into space for what seemed like hours at a time. He would look around blankly with no emotion. It was heart breaking. I would often look at Paul and think: where has my loving son gone?
Although he was stood in front of me, everything about Paul had changed. His independence had been taken away. He couldn’t be left alone as he was incapable of thinking for himself. He needed so much love and support from his family and friends. I must say I can’t thank Paul’s friends enough!
Whenever I saw Paul, I would put my arms around him and wouldn’t want to let go. I wanted to protect Paul and keep him safe. It was so difficult to remain calm and patient but that’s what I needed to do. We soon learnt that this was going to be a long hard journey for all of us. The amount of devastation and pain which a brain injury brings to the patient, their family and friends is immeasurable. It’s so tough!
My emotions around Paul were concealed. I cried no end whenever I left Paul’s house. I would give him a cuddle as I left, but looking back at my vulnerable son was terrible. It was so hard to leave him. In the beginning when Paul was in hospital he was placed in ICU. He had been admitted there because he had started having seizures. I was sick to the stomach at the thought of losing Paul. I feel deeply blessed that I did not lose my son. It was heart breaking and no one can imagine that pain unless you are a mother in similar circumstances. When Paul came out of hospital, he found it hard to accept the changes within himself. He was a broken man and his confidence was so low. He struggled with daily life and got frustrated at how his life had changed and his loss of independence. He was tormented by not being able to remember memories, and it still haunts him now. He was so lost and we just had to wait to see how he would recover.
Around 6 months into recovery he told me that he was going to join a gym. At the time I thought it was madness. Given that he struggled with everyday tasks, how would he manage at the gym? He was so determined to go. He wanted to get out of the house and start getting his independence back. He then wanted to go back to work. Again I thought it was too early. He was determined despite his weaknesses. He was going. Then came another bombshell. He was going to run a half marathon on the anniversary of the attack. I really started to worry at this point because here was my son who was still so confused in general, struggling with so many things whilst trying to get back into normal life. I always thought he pushed things to early.
Although he was starting to learn new strategies to help him cope with day to day living I thought it was too soon to be taking on so much. It was particularly hard watching him trying to organise the half marathon event because it was a massive struggle for him. I had so many sleepless nights worrying about Paul. Life was taking so much out of him. He was often fatigued and easily exhausted. Paul’s vision, focus, determination, strength and achievements have amazed me. I think the gym played a massive part in Paul’s recovery. He was right to defy others and join. Although he wasn’t well he got by and it gave him a focus.
He found it hard to keep up but he kept at it. His half marathon fundraiser was also an amazing success. The support from friends and family was incredible. I was so proud of him that day. He had achieved so much in that first year but there was still a long way to go to get back to where he was before the attack. I think Paul was starting to realise and become more aware of his damage. His understanding had been limited but over this summer it started getting better. Although it was slow, you could definitely see small progress.
Paul then wanted to organise another event for the second anniversary of his brain injury. It was organised to perfection and was a huge success. I am so proud of what Paul has achieved, despite being faced with so much pain and anguish. He had come so far but was still really struggling in other areas. He wasn’t able to drive which made life harder for him. His relationship with Gemma had broken down. I suppose it must have been hard to be in love with a man one day, only to watch him change completely the next. That’s what basically happened. Although Gemma was very supportive at the start, things between them became too difficult and unfortunately they split up. Paul was also finding work really tough. I remember reading an article from the Hull Daily Mail. Paul had described himself as going from the strongest to the weakest link. I couldn’t stop crying. The thought of how he’s struggled for so long and how difficult it must have been for him trying so hard to be a good electrician again. In the end it was in vain as Paul was advised to leave his job. I can’t emphasise enough how hard it was to watch Paul give up his career. He had been an electrician since leaving school. I was worried for his future. How will he cope? What sort of living will he have?
Why do I worry?
Paul is really positive that things will get better. He has put all in his energy into supporting others affected by brain injury. It has and continues to be difficult for Paul but I am so proud of the person he has become. He’s truly amazing and an inspiration to others. I love him with all my heart.
Well done Paul – Love you X
I just want to give everybody an idea of how Paul was before the attack that left him with brain damage. I would also like to look into the journey he has been through to try and give you an idea of how it impacted not only on his life, but also the lives of his family and friends. So this is a little insight from a friend’s point of view to show how difficult it was to see Paul (AKA Frank) going through such a life threatening attack and the impact it had on his life.
Before the attack, Paul was a very sociable person. He loved to go out, meet new people and was always one to initiate conversation. He was very confident at approaching friends and making new ones. He was naturally always up beat when talking to people. He was a born leader not only in his personal environment, but at work too. All of this would soon change for Paul. It would make a massive impact on his life. This is my personal insight on how I saw Paul in 2012, his first year of recovery.
I remember when Paul was attacked like it was yesterday. It was an Easter weekend and I was on a night out in Manchester with some friends. At around 1am in the morning I received a message from one of Paul’s friends, saying that he’d been attacked and was in hospital. After hearing this, I went back to Hull. Then I heard that Paul was in HDU and had had a brain haemorrhage which was putting pressure on his brain. It was very upsetting. I knew how serious it was. At this stage, I felt a mixture of emotions. I was angry at the attacker, and also sympathetic towards Paul’s family. I also felt angry because Paul didn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this.
After a few months, Paul had shown signs of recovery and was released from hospital. At this point life was still moving on and I felt like other people thought that Paul had recovered. This perception soon changed when Paul was strong enough to start having visits from friends, including myself. It was clear that Paul had changed both mentally and physically.
Paul had lost so much weight and looked weak and confused. He seemed worried when you spoke to him and was barely able to maintain a small conversation. Paul would break away and pace around the room with frustration. I could tell he was frustrated and was struggling with the outcome of his injury. As a friend, I felt helpless. Paul was also suffering from memory loss. This did not help our conversations because he couldn’t remember anything. It was so upsetting to see a once confident, independent and caring guy look so lost and confused at what was happening to him. Words cannot express what Paul was going through in those stages. He was lost. He needed lots of support from both family and friends.
Paul remained very secluded and it took a number of months for him to leave the house. He eventually came round to my house. We had a lovely evening but it wasn’t the same. Paul lacked concentration and had also developed a speech impediment. He would find it hard to talk to people without stuttering. He explained to me that he knew what he wanted to say but it was not coming out. This only frustrated Paul more and became a massive challenge to his early stages of recovery.
As time went on, Paul began to learn how to overcome his speech impediment. He taught himself to take his time with speech. He learned to control his thoughts and cognitive behaviours. His speech became stronger and clearer. For me it was so good to see improvement and I was so happy that his speech was coming back, but this was just one of many things that he had to overcome.
Then he decided to focus on his physical health and started training at home. This was the first stage of Paul becoming physically stronger. It was great to see him focused and watch him achieve his first goal, to be in the national magazine, Men’s Health. This was so great to see but it was only a fraction of things to come.
Whilst all this was going on, Paul was looking physically well, but he was still undergoing mental recovery, which was still very fragile. He was receiving counselling and finding it hard to work in an environment where he was once a leader. Every time I spoke with him, he was clearly upset about this. That was the biggest thing in his life which he needed to overcome… to become mentally strong.
But despite this, he carried on staying focused on his physical health and built up his body to a strong state by eating and living well. Exercise helped give Paul something to concentrate on, which was and was great to see. He then told me that he was planning to do a half marathon to raise money for the neurology ward 4/40 HRI, for all the lovely staff who helped him. It was a big task to take on during the first year of his recovery, but he was determined to show anybody who was going through anything similar that, if you stay focused and keep driving forward, you can recover and get your life back. It was great that a lot of his friends and families got together on the anniversary of his attack and did something positive. Paul chose this date specifically so that when he looked back on that date, he would not remember it negatively but with a positive memory instead.
While this was a massive task, it was a big step in helping Paul accept his brain injury and stay positive. Not only did Paul conquer this challenge but he raised £17,000 for Hull Royal Infirmary. Paul got so much out of this as did all our friends and family. Everyone pulled together and made the year of the attack a thing of the past. It was amazing to be a part of it and to see Paul developing and staying strong. Despite his mental battle, he was determined to move on. This is only an insight into his first year of recovery. Paul has achieved many more things throughout his recovery and still is now. Paul’s positivity and determination has touched so many people’s lives and still continues to.
I’ve been a good friend of Paul’s for the last 10 years and I was out with him on the night of the unprovoked attack which resulted in his brain injury.
We had entered the pub and made our way straight to the toilets. As I left first, there was a fight in the bar, so I went back in to warn Paul. Then the attacker came in and hit the first person he saw which unfortunately was Paul. Paul was knocked unconscious and fell over, hitting his head hard on the tiled floor. He was breathing very heavily. It sounded like snoring, so I made sure his airway remained open as his brother rang the ambulance. At the time, I didn’t imagine it would be such a serious injury.
Paul was admitted to hospital, and regained consciousness, but he had suffered a brain haemorrhage and his condition deteriorated dramatically. He went into a coma. It was a very worrying time. At some points, we didn’t know if he’d pull through at all, or how much of the Paul we knew would be left. The first time I spoke to Paul after he came out of hospital was upsetting for me because he had a very bad stammer and could hardly talk. It was a few weeks after he got out of hospital until I met up with him. I was shocked to see the change in him; he seemed very vacant, slow, and confused. He was still struggling with his speech. From always being the life and soul of the party and always being really chatty and upbeat, this was massive change.
In the beginning he’d lost a lot of confidence and was anxious to leave the house or go out alone. So, as often as possible, I’d offer to take him out, give him a lift to shops, or visit and help him with the gardening etc.
Gradually in the first year, with his strong determination not let the injury ruin his life, he made improvements and got into healthy eating and fitness which gave him a focus. Even with his brain injury, memory loss and confusion, he decided to organise a half marathon charity run to raise money for the ward which ultimately saved his life.
This inspired over thirty runners, including myself, to get fit and take part. Organising the run would’ve been a major challenge for most people, let alone a man with a brain injury.
Paul had been unable to work but was slowly allowed to return. Not in the capacity of electrical foreman as before, but undertaking simple tasks. This was frustrating and hard for him to come to terms with. This coupled with trying to live with a slower brain led to Paul becoming depressed and the neuro-doctors prescribing him anti-depressants to help.
Determined to not get stuck on anti-depressants, Paul continued to set himself big goals in the second year, like getting himself in Men’s Health magazine, doing a coast to coast bike ride and organising a second charity run, all the time making slow improvements in his memory, computational speed and confidence.
In this last year, since Paul had to leave his job on the doctor’s advice, I’ve seen the biggest improvements in Paul’s confidence and ability. Although he is still a bit slow, his old personality is really shining through again, and he is achieving some amazing goals and planning some big charity event to keep raising money for the brain injury ward at Hull Royal Infirmary.
The saying “sometimes you have to break a life to make a life ” could not be more true of Paul. He’s battled though his injury, learning to live with his new brain capabilities and in the process has inspired everyone he knows with his positivity and determination to not let his injury ruin his life. The future is looking very bright for my mate ‘Frank…’
I’m honoured to call you a friend xx
Here is my insight into the last three years of Paul’s recovery.
I was shocked after receiving the news that Paul had been attacked in a bar whilst innocently standing in the toilet at the urinal. I called and texted his brother but did not hear anything back until the next day, when his brother informed me about what had happened and how serious it was. I either couldn’t take it in or wouldn’t take it in. All I could think was that it would be ok. His family were taking turns to stay overnight, which wasn’t a good sign. All in all, Paul was in hospital for four weeks, of which the first two weeks were touch and go as the salt levels in his body were really low which was causing him to fit. After the first two weeks, he started to show improvements. After a couple more weeks he was discharged.
I was eager to see him so when he came home but when I first saw him I couldn’t help notice how different he looked compared to the last time I saw him, before the attack. It was hard for me to hide my reaction. He looked like a fragile old man. He had lost what seemed like two stone in weight. All in all he seemed fragile and a little timid, but was to be expected to be honest. I had to slow down my speaking because his face looked like he was trying to figure out what I was saying or at least understand what I was saying. Anyway, that was the first time I noticed that, other than his physical appearance, he wasn’t the same.
Throughout Paul’s first year, sometimes he seemed ok. Others days he didn’t seem good at all, but as I always spent time with him, I could see when he was confused and was putting a brave face on things to the outside world. He could come across as ok, if you saw him in the street or briefly chatted with pleasantries. I saw a lot of people who said “oh Paul seems ok now doesn’t he?” In reality he really wasn’t. Around six weeks after the incident, he started to acquire a stammer. This lasted for roughly two to three months, but, with the help from a speech therapist, he got rid of it.
I would say that the first six months for Paul were a blur. He wasn’t able to do much at all and he got tired really quickly due to his brain injury. He needed to rest a lot and sleep and sometimes just stared into space, giving his brain a rest from answering questions or searching for memories which were so hard to locate.
Sometime after six months, there was a birthday party at our good friend Riccardo’s house. There were maybe thirty people attending, and there was music playing. Paul came, but straight away I could see his reaction to everyone talking at once, people with high pitched voices and people talking at the same time over each other. It was too much for him. He couldn’t process everything that was going on around him and looked agitated. I suppose it’s hard for somebody without a brain injury, never mind with one to hold a conversation with multiple people and loud music. So Paul asked if he could go lay down in a spare bedroom for a little while. This was Paul learning to cope with his brain injury.
Two things that have always been with Paul before, during and after his brain injury are his ability to smile and laugh at 99% of things and his determination to do something once he has set his mind to it. Nothing more so than when he was reading a Men’s Health magazine and became determined that he would be in the magazine himself one day. I think in part it was a big challenge. As he had lost nearly two stone and was fragile, he wanted something to focus on as he was house bound. He had started with three press ups, three sit ups and three squats. As he got better, he joined a gym and his fitness journey began. It was a big step for Paul as he wasn’t well. He was just a shell when he started going to gym. He hired a personal trainer, who showed him how to do everything, as he wasn’t sure what to do. His persistence and determination paid off. Slowly he began to build his body back up and surpass anything that he’d physically before. His goal of been in Men’s Health was achieved. This was done all after a year of going to the gym with a brain injury! This was a major thing for Paul, as it would be for any man. Not only was he in the number one fitness magazine in the UK, but the fact that he was in it even though he was recovering from a brain injury, makes it even more impressive!
It gave Paul a confidence boost. The world would be his oyster and anything he set his mind to he would achieve, no matter how big or small. After this came his idea to run a half marathon to raise money for the ward that helped him in his early recovery. Paul wanted to give something back and this seemed a perfect way to raise money while doing something fitness orientated. I noticed that during Paul’s recovery, the more he started to get his senses and memory back, the more he liked to keep himself busy. After eight months, it was good to see Paul go back to work, all be it, part time. He started to work again at Humber electrical. I knew he was a million miles from how he was, but he would try his best. He struggled with fatigue and needed to take extra breaks. Again, this was Paul learning to cope with his brain injury.
Paul had told me that his brain specialist thought he should slow down. This was to help him understand what had happened to him. He wasn’t allowing himself time to grieve or reflect in a way on what he had lost, or on the changes he’d needed to make in his new life. Instead, as a way of coping, he had filled his time and pushed forward, not really stopping to relax or think about what had happened. But that was part of Paul’s character. He never liked to stop or pity himself. He preferred to just get on with it. He’s been like that ever since I’ve known him. He did tell me that he did feel like he needed to cry but couldn’t.
As time went on, Paul started to get depressed about his situation and what had happened to him. He struggled with various daily things. He couldn’t just go pickup his two children by car anymore. He had to go to collect them on bus. He had to go shopping on the bus. All the normal things in life were more difficult for Paul and he had to adapt. Also there was his situation at work. He went from being the site foreman, in charge for twenty plus men on some sites, to needing his brother to help him when he was at work. All this was building up on Paul and his outlook. Although he always tried to put a brave face on it, if you looked closely, you could see he was struggling with a lot of things. He tried his best to hide his depression from 99% of people. But, as we are best mates, he would confide in me a little more.
Two years on and I hadn’t noticed much change in Paul over the last six months, like I mentioned, other than he was a little more depressed. However, the good thing was that he was talking about it rather than bottling it up. Paul seemed to be getting through his recovery but during the second year summer I noticed some massive changes in him. He was becoming more short-tempered and snappy, especially when he was tired. He would be a lot blunter about things and often didn’t think about how it sounded or came across. It was a way in which Paul had never really acted before. When I noticed it, I remembered Paul telling me earlier in his recovery that people recovering from brain injuries can become short-tempered and angry. I was aware that this was Paul’s brain getting better with more awareness, although it was still hard not to argue back at him. I was kind of pleased that he was getting more argumentative in a non-selfish way because I thought the positive was that he was starting to have his own opinions on things, rather than just letting other people choose for him because he couldn’t. I knew I needed to give him a little space if he was tired or hungry, as he could get snappy, although it was still hard to bite my tongue at times.
September 2014 was a sad time for Paul as he had to stop working as an electrician. He had worked at the same company since leaving school. It knocked his self-confidence. He was really upset but understood the reason why he had to do it was that ultimately his health was more important. As Paul had more time to himself to let his brain recover, he seemed more relaxed and upbeat. He started a Facebook page to help and give inspiration to other people going through similar things. He wanted to give them confidence that they could become even stronger than they’d been before by going through recovery. It’s been a three year journey for Paul, his family and friends, with a lot of lows and changes but also with some amazing highs, which is testament to Paul.
His progress and successes were due to his positive attitude throughout his recovery. He never settled and felt sorry for himself, but instead did what some people think is the impossible for somebody recovering from a brain injury.