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World Poetry Day

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World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day

“After the accident, poetry helped me to express my emotions and reconnect with my old self."

The diary of a stranger

It is almost impossible to imagine being involved in a near-fatal accident, suffering severe memory loss, and then going on to find your old diary. But that is exactly what happened to Christiana.

“I know the title sounds a bit silly, but that is what it felt like when I found my pre-accident diary of 17 years”.

In April 2004, aged just seventeen, Christina was involved in a serious road traffic accident, which also claimed the life of her close friend. Christina spent over three months in a coma, and her parents were repeatedly told she had died. At other times, they were told she would never walk or talk again and that her future, should she survive, would be unrecognisable.

Defying the odds

Thankfully, Christina defied the odds and not only survived but has gone on to live a full and independent life.

“They couldn't have been more wrong! For years, I've done race for life and ran 5k, and I can't ever stop talking! I even had my own radio show once.

"The biggest factor in my recovery has been the amazing feeling to proving people wrong."

After spending eighteen months in hospital/rehab, Christina then lived with her parents for a while before buying her own bungalow and living independently.

Christina has been involved in many projects and services that educate and support others. For example, she has worked with the fire, police and ambulance service on ‘Safe drive, stay alive’, using her crash story to help new drivers and army cadets understand the impact road safety can have. In another role, Christina has trained social work students at university and has been part of a social work inclusion group.

I’ve really adored the feeling of achievement and skill. I have loved using my disabled experiences to help others.

Getting creative

Christina is currently part of a drama show, which will be performing at a local theatre in March. It’s not her first performance either, she previously worked with drama students using her life story to put together an Alice in Wonderland play – Christina starred as Alice!

“I love for others to see that all is not doom and gloom and hope mustn’t be completely given up. I enjoy being able to understand disability more and help people not to judge.” Christina went on to say:

Never stop sharing. Others learn from your life experiences.

Through sheer determination, brilliance and accepting help from others where needed, Christina has achieved amazing things and is keen to inspire others to do the same.

Writing to express and connect

Before her accident, Christina had a love of poetry, and despite suffering significant memory loss, she has never lost this passion or her flare for writing. In a previous interview with Headway, Christina 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.

Putting the able in disabled

Over the years, Christina has done a huge amount of work to promote ability over disability and reduce the stigma of living with the title ‘disabled’. As part of this work Christina used poetry to convey her message. Here is one poem she wrote recently:

Disability is just two words,
Putting them together is quite absurd.
Everyone is able and should not be dissed,
People can try to do things, and this can't be missed.
Why can't people just stop and see and stop dissing my disability?

Christina has been involved with her local Headway group. Headway Portsmouth, for years, and even trained as a service user mentor. She attends weekly, participating in various activities and just enjoying a cup of tea and a chat with fellow brain injury survivors.


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