Before my injury, I worked in many different roles and had various jobs. I use to have a catering job at Chartwell House; I worked at a Natwest Bank; I was a postman temporarily; and then got into organising events for a number of DJ’s. I was very successful in the latter role – I ran events, was setting up gigs, promoting parties and working alongside a number of famous muscians in London. However I had to stop because it was around this time that I had my accident.
When I was twenty-one years old, I was involved in a road accident. I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt and got into a car crash. Looking back, I can say that this was when my whole life took a turn for the worse. I suffered from slight asphasia on the brain and was in a coma for five or six days. Altogether, I was in hospital (Queen Elizabeth) for two years and they helped me a lot with physiotherapy and speech therapy.
After I came out of the coma, I got a job in Sainsbury, working a few hours a week. Although this was good news, I didn’t feel 100% myself. I started to wonder ‘Who am I?’ and ‘what am I going to do next’. I was alive, yes, but I didn’t feel happy. It was a stressful period.
When I got to thirty years old, my relationship with my partner broke down. She left and wasn’t allowing me to see my daughter. I remember feeling at my worst when that was happening. That’s when I tried to comment suicide.
My symptoms afterwards included not being able to recall names and addresses and being unable to communicate via phone. Also, my reading and writing was badly affected.
I came to Attend roughly around two years ago. I worked with Kieran a lot who helped me with my CV and my communication skills. He also helped me to increase my hours and experience at Sainsbury. Before that, I was originally doing stock filling duties but since Kieran’s help, I have completed trolley and basket collections and stock checks. This led up to a part-time job.
I have also taken up painting as a hobby. I often get requests from parents to draw themselves and their children. I do this from home and will frame and sell my paintings to those who have asked for one. I really enjoy this and find it a really therapeutic process.
I am a lot happier now. I wake up and think to myself ‘I like my home, I now live with my daughter, I have a cat who I love’ so I am in a much more positive place.