Andrew Vincent – My Story
A stroke in 2008 left me with behavioural problems which threatened both the relationships in my life and my career. Headway provided the post-stroke care and support which isn’t available from the NHS in Gloucestershire. The charity told me one important fact: I wasn’t mad, bad and dangerous to know. I was a person with a brain injury struggling to re-wire my head. What I was feeling wasn’t ‘wrong’ – it was part of a recovery.
With one-to-one support and guidance to other services and resources I slowly adapted and learned to control my thoughts again rather than letting them control me. It was OK to feel tired, it was normal to feel irritable, it was understandable to struggle with tasks most people took for granted.
Gradually my head settled down and I could function again.
I was asked to use my experience as a BBC journalist to help teach communication skills to other people who came to Headway. I am so proud of the radio programme we made – everyone of of us in that studio recovering from a brain injury, laughing and joking and telling our stories.
Then the Head Start course became part of my recovery, giving me back my confidence and also opening up a career I had never considered before; teaching.
Now five years after my stroke I am a university lecturer. I still volunteer with Headway and I’ve learned that slurred speech, mobility problems or behavioural issues are no measure of intelligence or the will to improve.