Alyson

I sustained my brain injury just over 6 years ago during a basketball game.  I was cross checked (hockey style) from behind and sustained the injury from the whiplash motion of falling, trying to get back up and falling again due to other players landing on me.  The most significant changes I experienced were headaches, fatigue, memory (short term and capacity), eyesight and vertigo.

I’ve seen several improvements over the years.  One of the biggest improvements has been the decrease in headaches and nausea.  Medication was not working for me.  The side effects were awful and/or they didn’t decrease my headaches.  What worked for me was acupuncture.  I swear by it and recommend it to anyone experiencing pain and nausea.  You won’t feel great for 48 hours after your treatment but will feel better in the long run.  My eyesight has also improved thanks to glasses!  If you have any visual impairments post-injury, getting your eyes checked is a good idea.  I’m proof your vision can change and be corrected with glasses post brain injury.  I’ve also seen memory improvements after working with an Occupational Therapist.  Some strategies I use include a day planner and a lot of sticky notes.

The most important thing to me for people to know about living with brain injury is that we can do anything a non-brain injured person can do.  We just do it differently and with accommodation.  It’s also important for people to understand invisible disabilities and know that just because someone looks able bodied, does not mean they are.

I got involved with BIST just over a year ago.  I am a mentor with the BIST peer mentor program where I am matched with someone whose brain injury is more recent.  I’ve really enjoyed using my own personal experience to offer assistance and guidance to others.  It’s also helped me prepare for my future career in social work.