Graeme H

Before my injury was the happiest time in my life, because everything was going all right. I was at university, I had a girlfriend, and I felt comfortable with myself.

My brain injury occurred when I went away to Germany to study in May 2006. I’d been there about two months and one night when I was out with friends, this guy started an arguing with my pal. I ran to help and as I got there he tipped me up. I was up in the air and he smacked me down on my head. I remember being in and out of consciousness and when I later woke up in hospital, I thought I was dead.

The doctors didn’t really tell me what effect my injury could have. I didn’t really know. I knew I had a really bad injury and I had been in a coma but that was it. My future was unclear. I was in hospital for three weeks.

I took a year out of college and spent it seeing doctors almost every day. My behaviour was getting erratic. I could be on a high and be really happy, then I’d be down and very depressed. My personality changed.

I’ve thought a lot about dying. Sometimes I couldn’t see the point in being alive.

Then I got on the Attend ABI course. It has been good for me to meet other people with brain injuries. It’s good to finally talk to people who understand what it is like. It was a solace.

I’ve been into art for as long as I can remember. I was at Attend and I was doing bits and pieces of work in the TV/ Film industry and we found a Tate internship.

It was a hard one to get but we thought I should apply for it. I got the internship which I am really proud of. I was on the production team so I did research for upcoming films. I was also on film shoots and even ended up in a film as an extra.

I am more focused and determined than before. I still have a lot of contact with David; he is the owner of my paintings.

I have had gallery exhibitions in New York, South Korea, and London and Edinburgh. Now I am going to concentrate on paintings since this year I sold three big works.

I’ve also recently taken part in the TOMS Art of Giving exhibition where I was given the opportunity to design and create my very own pair of TOMS shoes and TOMS eyewear. This means a lot to me as I see the exhibition as a platform to explore my manifesto in a new creative environment. Moreover, all profit from the exhibition goes to a number of local charities. Therefore, this is my way to help others in need.

I feel optimistic now. Since being on the ABI course I’m definitely more confident with my injury. I had been so reluctant to let anyone know, but the course shows you shouldn’t be, it’s there and you’re getting the help.