My name is Richard and this is my story.

Following my brain injury, I searched the internet for support during a time I needed it most, and was lucky to come across Attend. With their assistance, I became an active member of society again, and was especially grateful for their Open Job Club, which aided me in finding a job. It was only a matter of time before I was introduced to fAABI, an organisation that has changed my life for the better.

Looking back now, it feels as though my brain injury was waiting to happen. In 1995, I had a brain haemorrhage, and headaches and migraines that were progressively getting more painful became a part of my life. The brain injury has severely affected my memory, and both my long-term and short-term memory have been impacted. As well as impaired speech, the brain injury led me to develop Charles Bonnet syndrome. The disorder means I see hallucinations as a result of my vison, which was also damaged after my brain injury. The operation I had after my brain injury also left me with epilepsy.

Extreme fatigue has also become a regular part of my routine. Days where I am too exhausted to get up are very common following my brain injury. However, due to fAABI’s support, I’m dedicated to not letting anything stop me from getting to work towards my goal. Trying to get a full time is not easy in the current climate, especially with my ABI, but fAABI have given me the drive to carry on.

I attend a number of fAABI’s events, such as the Evening With sessions, Movie Nights, and the music sessions, which is definitely my favourite. Being part of an independent music group of my own, the music sessions at fAABI are truly helpful in refining my skills as a musician, which is a big part of my life now. It can be very difficult in terms of concentration, but fAABI has helped me rediscover the joys of music. The music sessions have really benefitted me in more ways than one; as well as helping my memory, I enjoy the social aspect of fAABI. Meeting other people with similar injuries is always beneficial. Being able to talk about my struggle and knowing that I can help others is something I find really rewarding.

A specific memory I have that stands out to me from fAABI is the first concert I attended. A group of fAABI members that had never played an instrument before were invited to the music sessions to play the ukulele. It went really well and was enjoyable to see them coming along to play.

As well as the improvement in my social skills, I’ve also noticed a boost in confidence thanks to fAABI. I would most definitely recommend fAABI to someone who is in a similar position to me- I have found their support throughout my journey with my brain injury incomparable.

Being able to talk about my struggle and knowing that I can help others is something I find really rewarding.

Richard, fAABI