For the past five years, 52-year-old Jane Hallard from Gloucester has relied on her local Headway group to help her rebuild her life following a subarachnoid haemorrhage in 2015.
Jane was helping her son to clean his car when she felt like her head had been hit with a “sledge-hammer”. After collapsing, Jane was rushed to hospital where she underwent life-saving surgery before spending the next eight weeks in hospital.
The resultant brain injury changed every aspect of her life, leaving her with chronic cognitive fatigue and mental health challenges. It also led to the collapse of her marriage.
“Without the support of my local Headway I wouldn’t be able to get through each week,” said Jane.
“In fact, without their support, I wouldn’t be here at all.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated my feelings of anxiety and I have struggled to cope with the changes to my routine, but Headway has always been there when I needed them, and their support has been crucial over the past 12 weeks.
“I can’t bear to imagine a world without Headway in it and I really fear for my future if I can no longer access their specialist support.
“It is difficult to put into words how integral they have been to my life over the past five years and how important they are to my future.
“Lockdown has made the world with a brain injury an even lonelier place, but Headway has ensured that I have always felt supported and they have remained by my side, every step of the way.
“Things came to a head a couple of weeks ago when I found myself sitting in my car at 2am. I had hit an all-time low, felt completely worthless and in that moment, I just wanted to end it all.
“I glanced back at my house and I saw my dog peering out of the window. Seeing his face stopped me in my tracks and the realisation of what I was about to do knocked me sideways.
“The very next morning I called my local Headway and with their support, I was able to talk to a GP and get the medication I need. They have been calling me every week and I really look forward to their phone calls. It is such a relief to have someone to offload to, who you can speak to without judgement and who fully understands your injury.
“I find that friends and family struggle to understand how my brain injury has changed me as I look like my old self on the outside.”
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