Memory loss is one of the most commonly experienced effects of brain injury and can have a profound impact on the lives of survivors and their families.
Samuel Moore, who is sharing his story as part of Headway’s Memory Loss: A campaign to remember, knows this all too well.
Sam’s memory loss was so severe that he would often forget where he lived, causing him to walk into other people’s homes believing it was his own.
His journey began in July 1998 when he was assaulted. Sam had just finished playing his electronic music set at a concert and was making his way back to his studio when he was attacked.
He said: “I was struck several times before falling to the floor. As I tried to escape, the attacker bashed my head on the metal edge of the stairs and I stopped breathing momentarily as a result.
The next few days, weeks and months were a huge struggle for me. I could no longer recognise people who I’d known for years and for a time I even forgot the names and faces of family members.
He said: “People would come up to me in the street and start talking and I’d have to say ‘Sorry, who are you?’. It put a lot of people off.”
Sam’s memory loss also meant that he would forget what his house looked like and would often get lost.
He said: “I lived in a very small town and had been there for many years so I knew it like the back of my hand. But after the attack I started getting lost and would spend hours wandering around.
“I would forget which house was mine and after about three or four hours of searching ended up picking a house at random and walking through the front door, hoping that I had chosen the right one.
“You can just imagine the reaction I got. ‘Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?!’ I don’t know how I didn’t get beaten to a pulp or sectioned.
On a few occasions I would stop and ask someone in the street for help but they thought I was either drunk or on drugs. It was very distressing.
It wasn’t until Sam found Headway in 2019 that the true extent of his injuries became apparent.
Sam said: “The Headway helpline was an absolute godsend for me. The nurse I spoke to was very helpful and sent me leaflets and booklets about brain injury and its effects.
“The descriptions in the information packs matched what I was experiencing almost word for word. It was a huge relief to find out what I was going through was normal after a brain injury and that there was help out there.”
Sam also attends a peer support group run by his local Headway group in Shipley, Bradford.
He said: “At the group I get to meet up with other brain injury survivors and socialise. It’s great to speak to others who actually understand what you’re going through.”
As for the future? Sam’s determined not to let his memory loss define him.
He said: “It’s been tough learning to come to terms with the effects of my brain injury, but I’m so thankful for Headway’s support. I’m positive about what my future holds and look forward to seeing what’s in store next for me.
One thing’s for sure, I won’t let my memory loss hold me back.
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