My name is Tina and this is my story.

In September 2016, I tripped on a pavement and hit the side of my head. I was seen at local hospital that day, but I was sent home and simply told to come back to the hospital if I had a headache. Not long after the fall, my health starting deteriorating. My headaches were getting unbearable so I decided to go to my doctor for a check-up, but they refused to give me a CT scan and told me to go home.

6 weeks after hitting my head, doctors discovered I had a severe bleed on the brain. I was taken to the main Neurology hospital in London for a Subdural Hematoma operation.  After the operation I found out I had lost my memories of the two weeks previous to the operation, and that my brain had been crushed by 50%, which was very frightening and worrying.

I later found out in November 2017 that I had damage to both of my ears, known as a peripheral vestibular dysfunction, which affects my balance and my hearing. I also have Auditory Processing Difficulty, so I am affected by background and loud noises, all resulting from the fall.  My memory has also been affected. The doctors are to this day are still finding out the severity of my brain injury.

I am currently trying to working for four hours a week consisting of 2 x 2 hours sessions and quite often fall asleep for up to three hours afterwards, due to fatigue.

My life has changed since the injury; I struggle at times with expressing myself and this can be quite frustrating for my family and I. Another challenge for me since the injury is that I have problems remembering words or their meanings when I am reading. I also get fatigued easily and my speech can get confusing, which makes it hard to talk to people as much as I would like to, but my friends are very supportive of me and that really helps.

Things started to change for me once I found fAABI. A lady from my local rehab mentioned fAABI to me around a year after my head injury and I thought I should give it a try. They have been very supportive. I have gone to various courses and activities since, including; ukulele classes, Tai Chi, painting course, writing course, the communication course and movie nights. My absolute favourites are Tai Chi, painting and the ukulele sessions.

The workshops at fAABI opened doors that I thought had been closed forever; I didn’t know that I could paint before I attended the painting courses. Tai Chi helped to calm me down and also helped me with my balance. The writing course helped to trigger my memories and expressing myself on paper which I struggled with since the accident. It has also helped me with my confidence and self-awareness, as well as socialising and making new friends.

I definitely feel benefitted by these courses and activities. They have given me the chance to meet others who also have acquired brain injuries, I felt isolated before fAABI since I didn’t know anyone who was in a similar position as me, but fAABI has helped me to feel connected. They have helped me and I try to help others.

I would highly recommend fAABI to anyone. fAABI has helped me to respect myself for who I am and has also taught me a lot about head injuries. It also gave me the confidence to participate in new activities.

It really is great what they do. fAABI helps us with the challenges that we face on a daily basis, they help us to better ourselves. It is truly a wonderful experience and it’s so lovely to belong to an organisation with such a helpful and reliable team, knowing that I can just call the staff when I need help, that they are just a phone call away is really nice.

fAABI has helped me to feel connected.

Tina, fAABI