On Wednesday 30 September 2009, my whole world stopped, I was one block away from home when I was involved in a terrible cycling accident. An ambulance journey, the emergency ward, and a number of operations later I was placed in a special ICU ward and later learnt I had sustained an Acquired Brain Injury.
For the last five years I have been working incredibly hard – doing physiotherapy, rehabilitation and speech therapy – to get as close as I can to the person I was before the accident.
It is hard, but 18 months ago when I started with Open Minds, it got a little easier.
My therapy program is really important and has helped me a lot, but I sometimes find it difficult to get to appointments. Open Minds make sure that I get to all of my appointments on time and they make sure I travel safely; the best thing about Open Minds though is that they support me through each appointment.
I am very thankful that I have been connected to a group of people who are all very kind, they all help me but they also let me help myself because I like to be independent.
Since being with Open Minds, I have moved into my new home. It’s the first time I have lived alone for a number of years so the change has been difficult for me, but I was able to move in at my own pace to make sure I was comfortable. Now Joey, my pet cockatiel, and I are settled into our new home and enjoying the independence.
I spend a lot of time solving technical problems on my computer to stimulate my brain and test my memory. I am recovering all the time, my goals for the future are to get out and meet new people in the community, to go out for more walks on my own and ultimately I would like to drive again.
My best advice to other people is: “Don’t give up! Nobody is going to help you but yourself. People can support you but nobody is going to lift your foot up and get you walking. As many times as you don’t want to do it, or don’t think that it’s worth it you just have to hang in there.”
I have struggled with my mental health for a number of years, at the beginning of 2014 I was feeling isolated, I was on my own and I was looking for support.
I am so thankful that at this time I was referred to the Open Minds Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (PHaMs), to help build my confidence and meet new friends.
It is hard, but 18 months ago when I started with Open Minds, it got a little easier. During my time in the program, I have attended a number of peer support events such as movie days and arts and crafts days. These event days were a really good first step to building my confidence and independence.
One of my favourite experiences so far was a whale watching event!
At first, I had some anxiety about travelling to Cleveland alone to meet the whale watching group, so in the days leading up to the trip I spoke to the team at Open Minds regularly about transport and the plan for the day. The team was very helpful and their support helped me to manage my anxiety and travel independently to meet the group.
The trip over to Stradbroke was brilliant. I sat at the back of the boat looking at the water, searching for whales. It was such a wonderful relaxing feeling, it was the most relaxed I had felt in quite a while. I enjoyed the wind blowing through my hair and the fresh sea air smell.
Back on land, and with the team there for support, I completed the George Walk at Point Lookout. The scenery of the pandanus palms and white sandy beaches truly was breathtaking, and to top it all off we were lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins swimming near the shore.
I will always keep these remarkable memories with me.
After the trip I felt stronger and more self-confident. I discovered that we need to live our life to its fullest and give ourselves the confidence and opportunity to experience all parts of life.
We Want to Hear your Story
We all have a personal story to share and your story of determination and recovery can help inspire others. By sharing your story, you can shine an inspiring light on the path ahead for people beginning their journey of recovery with Open Minds.
Your story can help people to find inspiration, understand that they are not alone and move forward and face each new day with determination and courage.
Here at Open Minds we are always interested in hearing inspirational stories from our clients. Are you proud of the progress you have made while being with Open Minds?
Tell us about it by writing to us below. Your story will be confidentially recorded by our team and we will make contact with you to discuss and confirm your wishes about sharing your story.