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I was released from hospital, I really didn’t know what had happened to me.  I was just sent home, I had three children at home living with me; two at school and one at college and they knew more than I did, but they didn’t know what to do and I used to just sit there looking at the four walls.

My condition when I was two, I had a brain tumour and that was operated on.  When I was thirteen, I had another brain tumour and that was operated on and told that it wouldn’t grow again - and then when I was twenty-three, I had another brain tumour.

I had an aneurysm in 2010, and straight after the operation I had a massive seizure which effected my left-side physically, I had lost, yeah… the physical side of it was damaged.  And then in 2012 I had a fall in Spain and smacked my head on the pavement, and spent nine days in the neurological hospital over there with swelling and bleeding, but not… I didn’t have to have a coil.

It effects my balance a lot and it effects my speech quite a lot as well. Fatigue is one of the big issues for me .Short term memory; If you ask me what I did last week, I would have to look back, as I jot things down of what I do, but then I get my kids to remind me. It effects my confidence… my confidence level, and although I’m quite an outgoing person, I find it hard to live my life the way I used to live it. There’s days when I can’t do a lot, and with the fatigue as well, that’s one of the big, big issues and like I say, the short-term memory.

I would be able to go into town and I might have my stick [my walking stick] or I might not have my walking stick.  So for all intents and purposes, it’s hidden from view really, that I have a problem with my… or an issue with my balance. My coordination, my eyes have been affected by it, so yeah, it’s just what people can and cannot see.

With my legs, if I’m falling about with my stick, people think I am drunk when I’m not. Do you know what I mean? It comes across that, people also have problems, when I get… if I meet somebody who I have not spoken to for a while or I don’t know, people get uptight with me because I can’t get out the words I want to get out. I become anxious and, like, for example at the moment, I’m trying to think, I know what I need to say but the words are not coming to me. We tend to remember the good bits but not the bad bits of the past and people, you know, look upon us because they remember what we was like, and then all of a sudden they now look at us, now they find it hard to believe that we are the same person if that makes sense? And it can be, yeah, I have had quite a few cases where people can’t understand why it’s taken so long. But with brain injury it takes a long time and you’re never going to go exactly back to what to you necessarily was.

I don’t think there’s enough put forward to tell people how to react to people with a brain injury. You know, when I got angry at times people could not understand why, and the health profession sort of, well, “we don’t know why you are getting angry”. With a broken leg - it mends. With a brain, it does mend but not to the same extent as what a break on a leg or an arm. You know on bones they recover, but with a brain, it has to repair, it’s almost like a circuit board having to recircuit, and that takes time and takes effort. Not just on the person whose had the brain injury, but on the family and the relatives. It’s the understanding.