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8 years ago…

November 1, 2023

On 10 October 2015, I suffered an acute traumatic brain injury after suffering a fall at Durham University. I would come to blame it on a strong cold medication I was on, Nightnurse, that as an American I did not know the strength of and thought it would be a good idea to mix with alcohol.
Some new friends were going out to an event, and because of FOMO associated with being 18 and fresh to university, I decided to join them despite my fresher’s flu and dizziness from the medication.
I thought it would be such a great idea to slide down the grand bannister in the stairwell, and with the help of the inhibition blocking from the alcohol, promptly slid down the bannister. I then lost my balance, and fell backwards down the stairwell, causing my TBI as well as a fractured skull, hairline fracture in my pelvic bone, and begin my journey to recovering the person I was before the injury. But I came to realize that we can never be the full person we were before a traumatic injury. I tried to hide from this fact, to cover it up with alcohol, to lie to myself in any feasible way.
My brain injury taught me a resilience and bravery in conquering the hardest thing I’ve ever done. After an induced come, I was transferred to a rehab facility in Newcastle, where I solely began to build my ability to walk, talk, and eat again. Some of the advanced physics books I tried to read were still out of reach (I went on to major in theoretical physics), but I knew with time I would also conquer them.
I write this for anyone who is struggling after acquiring an injury, or knows someone who is. The human brain in the most complex thing in the entire known universe; and we are capable of so much more than we believe. Please don’t give up hope that things will get better, because 8 years later I have achieved my lifelong goal of obtaining a degree in physics, and my life is only improving (after removing alcohol from my life!)
We will never be the same again, but we can be so much better.

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