Brain injury survivor Keely McGhee is supporting our You, me and brain injury campaign by telling us how her friendships were affected after a skiing accident.
"The accident has certainly affected my relationships," she said. "It's definitely strengthened some and I’ve also been able to see what different types of relationships I had."
In January 2017, Keely McGhee sustained a subarachnoid haemorrhage in a skiing accident and later developed hydrocephalus.
She also fractured her spine, pelvis, ribs, right wrist and left arm as a result of the impact. On top of this she suffered internal trauma to her liver and damage to her right eye.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, all of Keely's friends wanted to visit her in hospital. But once she was discharged, it was a different story.
"When I message my friends to see how they are it feels awkward like I’m being quickly cut off with 'I'm good, I will come see you soon,'" she said.
"Maybe a lot of people don’t want to talk to me about what they are up to but I still want to chat about our interests and what's going on in their lives.
"A lot of people only want to talk to me about the accident, and while I'm happy to answer any questions, I don’t want it to be the only thing we talk about."
But several of Keely's friends have stuck by her and given her the normality she needed.
"A few friends have been super supportive and helped me.
"They check in to see how I am doing in my recovery and what progress I have made. They still chat with me about silly stuff and take me out for a coffee and a catch up.
"It's not always easy for me to notice the progress I am making so it's always nice to have friends and family tell me the improvements that they can see in me.
Attending Headway Gloucestershire since January 2018 has also helped Keely to combat the loneliness that can come with brain injury.
"Headway has been a great help to me. I really enjoy being in group activities because it’s an opportunity to socialise. I’ve done living skills, pottery and cognitive games.
"I always look forward to my visit because I get very lonely and feel isolated at home during the day.
Keely's greatest support came from her husband Jordan McGhee and she says their relationship has only grown stronger.
"Jordan has supported and helped me so much with my recovery. He is not only my husband but also now my carer when required.
"He has fed me and helped me wash and dress when I couldn’t do it myself. He has always been there to cheer me up when I am feeling down and he is patient and understanding when I get frustrated.
"He works full time and then helps me when he gets home, even taking time out of work to take me to hospital appointments.
I am truly grateful for his help and appreciate everything he does.
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