10 years ago, Angela’s life as a mum and Beauty Therapist changed forever doing what most Australian families do every weekend, emptying the camper trailer. While Angela was taking everything out of the back of her family’s camper trailer the lid came down catching her head between the lid and the trailer itself, leaving Angela with a brain injury.
“My recovery was tough; it was really tough. A lot of my recovery, especially the first 12-months, was just me on my own and my kids. I just kind of got up and kept going because there were two little people at home, they were 12 and 13, who relied on me. So, between the three of us we just muddled through,” said Angela.
Step by step recovery
After her injury, Angela struggled formulating her thoughts, while having problems with balance, dizziness, understanding, and even talking. The confusion and loss of who she was before her injury affected both her personal and professional life.
“When you have a brain injury quite often you look in the mirror and you don’t recognise who’s looking back at you, because the person looking back at you is nothing like what you used to be. You can’t see it because there’s no external scarring there’s just what happens within your head. I tried many, many times to go back to beauty therapy but I just couldn’t. In the weeks leading up to my injury I was applying to go to uni to study dermatology and I was having those discussions with my kids. Then things changed dramatically while emptying a camper trailer.”
Passion to support others
Three years after her injury in 2015, a doctor helped Angela come to terms with her brain injury and feel confident in accepting her new life living with a brain injury. Angela then shared her story and became passionate to help others feel supported post injury, so she soon founded a charity called The Brain Injury Community.
“In 2016, I got a speaking gig with Synapse at one of the Brain Injury Network events and I stood up and told my story. It really gave me strength in knowing I could share my story and really make a difference to somebody else. Then over the next couple of years I decided I wanted to help people and I started an online support group for people with brain injuries.”
Today, 10 years after her injury, fatigue is what Angela struggles with the most especially when it comes to running the charity. Previously, Angela could work 12-hour long days and manage being a mum. Now, she has to manage allow quite a bit more rest throughout the day.
“I spend most oy my days, nights, and non-workdays sleeping. It’s absolutely exhausting! There are some days where I’ll finish an event and I go sit in my car and cry because I’m so tired and in so much pain. But I know I’ve got to keep going because there are so many of us out there with brain injuries that need this. I want to see more and more people come together to share their stories and experiences, prop each other up, and help each other through it.”
Advocate for the community
This experience has seen Angela become so passionate about supporting other’s living with a brain injury. Angela is so excited to make a difference for others just like her.
“My advice to others is keep going! Yes, life is going to be different but keep going because you will find what’s your new normal and your new normal can be exciting. Find your cheerleaders and let them be there for you. One of the hardest things is putting your hand up for help but once you put your hand up people will know they can help you and they will come running to you.”