Brain Injury Awareness Belfast Area
Since my Brain Injury I have experienced headaches and I find it hard to use my right hand to write. I get very painful on one side and I want to get out of this chair. I feel I'm coming good though; I'm getting stronger and I use my walking frame at home sometimes, to build my strength.
Since coming to Cedar I have come on very well, I have done lots of work, met new people and I am now studying at Belfast Met, where I do Text Processing, and I really like coming here.
Cedar have been very supportive and helpful to me.
They have enabled me to find a job in Shopmobility at the Royal Victoria Hospital which is at the heart of my local community. It is due to Cedar that I have been able to lead an active lifestyle. It is thanks to Cedar that I have got my self-confidence back and feel I can live a normal life.
Picture 1 shows the start of your injury when you can only start to understand what's going on, this picture is blurry and dark, you don't really know what's going on, there's something out there but you don't know what it is.
Picture 2 shows things when you're a lot stronger and you can understand things, things are a lot clearer to you. Life is good and you start to appreciate things again. The dark cloud above the mountains is there because you still have an injury but you are getting on with it, the whole picture isn't perfect but it's a lot better than what it was at the start.
For people with a brain injury the Cedar Foundation are the people to have on your side. They will help and support you in your interest or hobbies, encourage you to get on with life. It's not easy coping with a disability but the staff and volunteers at cedar will be there for you.
They have helped me so much with what I want to do and they will do the same for you.
Thanks Cedar! Stephen Gee
Bang Bang Bang...
The day you nearly took my life was the day I knew it won't be the same. You filled my head with doubt and paranoid thoughts. Feel a bit mad with out bursts of energy. They call them panic attacks but I know its just anger building up inside. I know you're in a prison cell but you took me with you when you took my friends away from me with this paranoia. I feel trapped and hidden away.
All you left me was anger but now I feel sorry for you and want to know why?
Cedar are helping me trust people again and stop trying to be so paranoid and try to get my life again and get a job or something to keep my mind busy...
I came to Belfast 2 to 3 yrs ago and had never heard of Cedar before, and it was when I applied for a Housing Executive house that the person put me in touch with Cedar - and they put me in touch with Floating Support, which was a big help to me. They got me in touch with a social worker, which helped me a lot. I am also on the vocational programme now and I am in the middle of doing my ECDL, with tutoring. I have been a member of the user forum at Cedar for almost 2 years now and I can't thank Cedar enough for their help and support.
I never let my disability hinder my ambition.
The Cedar Foundation provides a support system, opens avenues with job opportunities via work experience and aided my personal development.
I received a Brain Injury in 1997 and went for many years struggling without the right treatment or help. By the time Christine, my Cedar Support Worker, came into my life I was living without routine, purpose and in chaos. Christine has helped me understand and accept my Brain Injury and has taught me invaluable ways of coping with many aspects of my life and gain a lot of control. This has left me feeing more confident and happy than I have done in years. Everyday has its challenges but the coping mechanisms and tools I have learnt from Cedar have helped me overcome a lot and made things more manageable. Before bills were forgotten about, repairs unreported, housework undone and meals and shopping had no routine or balance. It was bedlam. Things are so much better. I realise I had unrealistic expectations of myself, thus resulting in nothing getting done and a feeling of uselessness and negativity. By learning to pace myself, make realistic plans and goals, I have gotten on top of many things and feel more positive. Working with Cedar and Christine has given me strength, resilience, clarity, and acceptance and the ability to believe in myself more than I thought possible. There is still some way to go but with all this help I feel strong foundations have finally been built and look forward to building more with the help of Cedar.
Being told in hospital that I had a brain injury was probably the most devastating experience I have had and coming to Cedar and realising there was life after brain injury was wonderful; BUT your body never lets you forget that you have a brain injury.
Where do I start? My challenge is to get back to some kind of normality and reach goals with the help of other people. I like a challenge and if I can't achieve things on my own, I need other people to help me work around it.
I know because of this type of injury, I'm not going to go back to what I used to do - which was youth work and physical activity, but from what I have seen so far, I think this programme is a brilliant idea as it gets you out and about mixing with other people; which is what I always did. I also used to work in the carpet industry for years and so if anyone wants a contact about carpets - just ask!
I was an adult instructor for most of my life and if I was able - I would like to help other people again and use my social skills. It is really good to get out - I like to keep myself busy and I am trying to keep as active as I can - to build up my strength and stamina, so I can face new challenges!
I have been through the vocational programme twice.
The first time I came to Cedar I didn't know where I was or where I was going - but Cedar took their time with me and let me work at my own pace.
The second time I came to Cedar I had very little confidence; I was shy and felt unable to say 'no' to anyone. Cedar helped me to become more confident and come out of myself - I am more assertive now.