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Q&A - ‘Be in the mome...

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Q&A -  ‘Be in the moment. This is all you have.’

Q&A: Harriet Barnsley

‘Be in the moment. This is all you have.’

Brain injury survivor Harriet Barnsley on happiness, ignorant friends and feeling free.

Harriet sustained a traumatic brain injury after a speeding driver doing more than 100mph hit her while she was standing at a bus stop. She still works hard to cope with fatigue and anxiety.

What makes you happy?

Being alive, every moment of every day. Nature. Kind deeds. Other people’s happiness.

Who in your life understands your brain injury the best?

Myself. I understand what it’s like from the inside. Those close to me try to understand with the bits and pieces that they have learnt about brain injury, but after 4 years I am the one who can see clearly how it has changed me.

What is the most frustrating thing about your brain injury?

People not taking it into consideration when they interact with me. Friends who compare me to who I was before, who take the new me as passive aggressive and cruel. Who refuse to treat me as a brain injury survivor and so cannot interact with me anymore.

How has Headway helped you?

I’ve learnt a lot via the website and the support you have provided. I’ve exchanged emails with members who have always been kind and willing to help in any way they can.

What is your most treasured possession?

My life, my whole world, this is my most treasured possession. I value this every day.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you about brain injury?

‘I refuse to treat you differently.'

How do you relax?

Sitting still and focusing on the deep breathes.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Be in the moment. This is all you have.

What has been the most positive aspect of your brain injury?

I feel free. I used to not be very sure of myself. I was scared of judgement or upsetting others.

When I realised that I can do whatever I want, as long as it's not directly hurting others, I began to enjoy every aspect of my life, even the challenges.

I look forward to learning from all of life's adversities.

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