After a brain injury in 2004 wiped out almost two decades of memories for Christina Sweeney, she didn’t know if life would ever be the same again.
She was a typical teenager, enjoyed a lively social life and was a lover of poetry and literature.
But at just 17-years old, Christina was involved in a near-fatal road traffic collision which left her with severe memory loss.
She didn’t know whether she’d ever be able to walk or talk again, and her prospects for the future looked bleak. Thankfully, Christina pulled through.
Despite losing some of her most precious and important memories, Christina never forgot how to write poetry.
She said: “After the accident, poetry helped me to express my emotions and reconnect with my old self.
“Poetry is important to me because I feel it is a strong and creative way to communicate. It is a brilliant way for people to see my points of view and learn from them.”
Christina, now 33, credits poetry for helping her come to terms with her memory loss.
“I was inspired to write poetry as a way of staying in touch with one of my pre-accident abilities,” she said.
I’ve forgotten 17 years of my life but found that I could still write, so I like to use this ability. I am inspired by seeing how powerful words can be.
Christina is supported by her local Headway group in Portsmouth.
She said: “Going to Headway’s social group every week has given me more confidence. I have been able to seek help and advice from staff.
I can make friends and share experiences with other people who have been through something similar. It helps me to not feel singled out and different.
She also attends a monthly poetry group where she is given the opportunity to share her work and make friends.
As for the future? Christina said: “I want to keep writing poetry and sharing it with the world.
“My advice to others is: never give up hope, always believe in yourself and press on in life.
“Don’t let people get you down. Stand up for yourself, and try to discover ways that you can help others to understand brain injury.”
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