In November 2001 I was involved in a serious road traffic accident where I smashed my head and leg and acquired a brain injury for my trouble. The brain injury nurse at the hospital introduced me to Headway as she knew there was something quite not right.
Whilst I was at Headway Essex I realised, she was right. Socialising became an issue for me – I had inappropriate behavior and I struggled with mental fatigue. When I was tired I used to do and say things without thinking of the consequences. My speech was also affected.
After a few challenging years being at Headway, I left to go back to work but passed out as it was too much for me. I didn’t take advice from the staff and my family and I obviously wasn’t ready, so I helped out as a volunteer occasionally.
The next course on my rehab was to go to a college for people with disabilities like myself where I could meet fellow disabled people and we could learn from one another. The course at Queen Elizabeth Foundation Training College was for 9 months and initially it was Domestic Appliance Engineering. I did this course for 3 months but didn’t enjoy it and changed courses.
It was a long year at the college. All of my friends at Headway put bets on how long I would last. No one anticipated I would manage the course but I did! I gained a lot of qualifications but most of all I learnt how to think before I spoke (though I still have occasional outbursts). I was then more socially adept in the real world and could see light at the end of the tunnel. I could see my destiny in the world of travel leisure and tourism.
I pursued in sales and management where I had been before my accident. I tried working at JJB – the town’s department store gave me the opportunity to start from scratch, working 4 hours a week and building myself up doing 8 hours, twenty-four hours and then onto full time, and this was the way forward.
Eventually I wanted a change and got a job working in security at the MOD in Melville Barracks in Colchester. I now work in a security role where I am a security officer and a CCTV operative.
I could have stayed being disabled forever with this hidden disability but I didn’t and Headway helped me start again and made me believe, I was better than that.