Ceara turned to Headway for support after sustaining two brain injuries which left her with lasting effects. She had her first Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, also known as a ‘mini-stroke’) in 2016, followed by another in 2021.
Despite being described as mini-strokes, for Ceara the TIAs have been anything but, leaving her with weakness and loss of motion in the right-hand side of her body, making walking difficult and causing fatigue. Her memory has also been affected as well as her speech, making it difficult to identify words and string sentences together.
But following a referral to Headway’s remote support services in Northern Ireland during lockdown, Ceara has never looked back...
She said: “The Zoom groups have really helped me to connect with other people, and I have been talking to members of the group outside of the sessions as well. We exchange notes and experiences. It’s amazing how much you can have in common with someone!
The remote sessions are invaluable when you are trying to walk that path and cope with life after brain injury.
The Zoom support sessions were introduced in 2020 to allow Headway to continue supporting people throughout Northern Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic, but due to overwhelmingly positive feedback, the charity intends to continue offering the service alongside the re-opening of its face-to-face support groups.
“I live very far away from the people in the online groups, I forget that everyone is really spread out,” said Ceara. “I probably won’t meet everyone face-to-face, but that is the benefit of Zoom.
“For some, it will take a long time to pluck up the courage to go out so it’s great that the online groups will continue. I will be going to them as well as in-person so I can keep the connections and friendships that I have made.”
Like many others with a brain injury, Ceara really benefits from the support of her local Headway as she navigates the long road to recovery.
She said: “It’s an invaluable source of fun, friendships and information.
To others in Northern Ireland with a brain injury I’d say to get out there and look for that support – it’s very important to know you’re not alone, and you can get the support you need.
Headway operates remote and face-to-face support for anyone with an acquired brain injury in Northern Ireland. You can find out more here.
For those who live in the rest of the UK, you can search for your local Headway group or branch to find out what support is available near you.
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