Silent Struggles – Hannah’s Story

Jan 16, 2024

I have a unique history marked by two separate head injuries. The first occurred in 2015 when I fainted and hit my head on a concrete path. I managed to recover over the course of nearly a year, and although I had a few ongoing struggles, the injury didn’t significantly impact my life.

Then in 2022, I was sitting in the comfort of my home and accidentally banged my head on the concrete wall behind me. The aftermath left me with memory loss, dizziness, and struggling to speak. Concerned, my husband called an ambulance, and I was rushed to hospital.

I was observed for some time but as I had no external injuries and no haemorrhage, I was discharged. Upon returning home, I noticed changes in my emotions, difficulty in sleeping, memory loss, and challenges in forming complete sentences. I also became sensitive to loud noises and bright lights. Despite these internal struggles, I decided to return to work, hoping a routine would help me overcome these challenges.

With no obvious injury marks, my colleagues, friends, and other family members were not able to notice my internal struggle. It was very difficult for me to sit in a group of people and converse. Friends and family used to say that I had become quieter after my head injury. To avoid overwhelming situations, I often used to confine myself to my room at work as I preferred working quietly. It was difficult for me to communicate with my friends and family about the struggles I was facing daily.

I was in a dark place where no one understood my internal battles. For people around me, it was difficult for them to understand that I was a different person now.

Realising I needed help, I turned to Headway Thames Valley, a charity I had heard about. I spoke with Heather about my challenges, and she invited me and my husband to meet Jamie at the Centre. Jamie discussed the various challenges faced by people after a brain injury. I also got the opportunity to see how HTV was managing other clients like me with several support initiatives. It was at this point that I felt confident enough to join some of the support initiatives.

Participating in the ‘Living with Brain Injury Course’ proved instrumental. Sessions led by Bob taught me strategies for controlling emotions, improving communication, and implementing habits for improved sleep routines. This course allowed me to share my experiences with others facing similar challenges and we often learned and shared our coping mechanisms.

This course gave me confidence in managing my daily routines and I became more accepting of my injury. I was also advised as to how I could get help for my headaches and started neuro-rehab to help me with ongoing dizziness.

The support from Headway Thames Valley helped me understand how to cope with difficult situations and helped me to adapt my approach to recovery.

While I acknowledge that my struggles won’t completely fade away, the dedicated team at Headway Thames Valley have equipped me to navigate tough situations. The ‘Living with Brain Injury Course’ became a turning point, assuring me that I could reach out to the team at any time for support.