Lockdown has been really difficult for me. Before the emergence of covid-19, I felt like I was progressing well along the road to recovery, but there have been a few more twists and turns laid down now.
It’s easy to feel like I’m fully recovered whilst writing this post in a nice sun-dappled spot of the garden. The reality of the situation is though that I may never fully recover. Lockdown has given me a break from the fatigue, but when I get back to my day to day life, it will still be an issue. I’ll still have difficulties with concentration. I’ll still have a disability and I’ll probably still have a hard time coping with the stigma that surrounds that.
My point is, that my road to recovery so far has been more than a little tumultuous. Having a break from my difficulties now doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared. It does mean, however, that I can focus on something else for a while. I’ve focussed on my running during my first full week of being allowed to leave the house.
Being able to leave the house has been brilliant for both my mental and physical health. My parents give me a lot of support and I’m grateful for that, but it’s nice to get away from them for a while and have some time to myself. It’s also a huge boost to morale to see just how far I’ve come since my discharge from hospital.
A little over a year ago, I was living with my parents in the very early stages of recovery. At that time, my daily exercise involved a lap of our street and the neighbouring street. It was probably less than five hundred metres in length, but it was exhausting. Couple that with the fact that I couldn’t string a sentence together without getting tired and I was envisaging an almost impossible road to recovery. Sixteen months later, I am now stepping outside for my daily exercise that averages anywhere between five and ten kilometres. If that’s not progress, then I don’t know what is!
Running in the village I grew up in also brings a sense of nostalgia. The hills surrounding my hometown are a runners nightmare and running them now reminds me of school cross country runs as a teenager. Gone are the days where I’d try (and fail) to come up with a believable excuse to not do the run every October. Instead, I see each hill as a sign of just how far I’ve come. There were many times during my illness that I came within seconds of never been able to run again. I should definitely take advantage of being able to do so now.
My Road to Recovery has not been an easy one and with more surgery to come, the rest of my journey certainly isn’t going to be plain sailing. I’ve realised this week though that what’s to come doesn’t matter. I should be celebrating how far I’ve come rather than worrying about future surgeries and how I’ll recover from them. I should be proud of what I’ve achieved rather than being disheartened by my failures. I’ve weathered (most of) the storm, made huge progress along the road to recovery from brain injury and I’m happier and healthier than I’ve been in years.
While I’m well on the way to recovery, other brain injury survivors aren’t so lucky. I’d really appreciate it if you could help my cause by donating to Headway Oxfordshire; a charity that have supported me in my recovery and continue to support those less fortunate than I .