Mike’s story – #BackThe1in6
Mike lives with an acquired brain injury (ABI) following surgery to remove a brain tumour. He writes:
I was initially told by doctors that I would be ‘back to normal’ within three to four months after the surgery, but I struggled to readjust, and wasn’t referred for specialist rehabilitation until six months after the operation.
Sports and social opportunities which I relied on to maintain my mental health vanished during the pandemic.
Six months after the first lockdown I felt there was no other option but to take antidepressants after my mental health appointments were repeatedly cancelled.
Back to normal in four months?
I’m a changed person now. I left the hospital in a wheelchair and my left-hand side was completely numb. I couldn’t walk more than about 15 metres. But it’s not until you start to try and do things normally that you realise there’s a problem. What people don’t see is the hidden effects of life with an ABI. Imagine a day when it’s a battle to get out of bed, a battle to do every day things, walk the dog, cook a meal.
I did get some specialist physical rehab which was good, but I feel I am in between lives – I’m not ‘normal’ because of my brain injury but I don’t look disabled.
Any support would be better than none
The hidden impact of the brain injury is massive – cognitive fatigue, anxiety, depression. It makes life very difficult. Any support would be better than none, but there’s no paid professional I can talk to who might be able to help me. This year four appointments were made for me over three months to see a health care professional about my mental health, four times they were cancelled.
Since lockdown ended I feel strange going out of my normal area so I often don’t bother as the anxiety is not worth it, meaning this has an impact on my family. People only ever see me on a ‘good’ day, they don’t see me when I’m struggling – it’s a hidden battle.
#BackThe1in6 so Mike doesn’t have to face his neurological condition alone
Please sign our petition to #BackThe1in6 people living with a neurological condition in the UK now, including Mike, and call on all UK governments to come together to create a Neuro Taskforce to improve services for people with neurological conditions, including access to mental health and wellbeing support.