They say that the only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.
Experience is always something nice to look back at, especially with my own experience working with children who have special education needs. That environment prepared me for caring for my son, who was involved in a traumatic accident and now has a brain injury. Even though I believed I had it all under control, my understanding was not enough. The whole idea of a brain injury had been all so new to me and I felt like a fish out of water.
The accident was widely life-changing for everyone around me. Seeing how my son’s body underwent a lot of damage made me feel desperate for time to tick fast enough for him to get back to how he was before. At the same time, I felt confused. It was like I was constantly running out of breath, tirelessly trying to find a place where I could just breathe. I wanted to understand the changes happening to my son because I saw how they were affecting his mental health. I was longing for him to feel his best again, but the confusion left me at a red signal. I didn’t know what to do.
As a family matter, it was all very traumatic for us, especially to his sister, who was only 10 at the time and did not understand why her brother started talking and behaving so unlike him.
Aside from all of that, I was finally able to catch my breath when we found Attend. I can truly say that the support has been immense and I wish we had found them much sooner. The relaxing and non-judgemental environment at Attend created a safe place to unload anything off of my chest. Through Attend’s Carer’s Group, I became aware that other carers are also in the same position as me. I was able to fill the gaps in my daughter’s knowledge for her to see the importance of supporting her brother overcome the experience he faced and get back on his feet. It makes me smile to know that there are people out there who understand what we’ve been through and that I am not alone.
By helping Jonathan, Attend helped us. I saw Jonathan blossom to become more positive and confident. It is just wonderful to see him more active with the community, and it is nice to share his progress in the Carer’s Group whenever we all get together. Despite the effects of his brain injury, he pushes himself to be better every single day. I also find that attending Subbuteo nights keeps him stress-free and happy, which makes me smile even more. I have also gone out with Attend’s sister charity, fAABI, on their off-site trip to explore around Tower Bridge. It was a lovely day to be out with other carers and their loved ones.
Just like my Jonathan, I have also been inspired to continue being involved with Attends services because it has been a pleasure to have the support they give, and it is always nice to give back. I have noticed how happier and accepting he now is. He now understands his unique capabilities and is out in the world determined to do great things, especially within the area of empowering people who have lost their motivation because of their injury.
Throughout my time at Attend, I have been given nothing but their endless support and the caring environment they created for me to share my experiences. Unlike before, I now find myself heading for that green light, feeling optimistic for the future and I thank Attend for that. I feel surrounded by people who remind me that I am not alone in this journey. I have learnt so much while being with Attend and would recommend them to anyone who is in the same position as me.