Personal stories: Julie Wilson
'I’ll always be grateful for all the help I got'
A Belfast-based charity that is a lifeline to people affected by brain injury is one of 108 groups in Northern Ireland sharing in a grants windfall of £895,132 from the Big Lottery Fund's Awards for All programme.
Julie Wilson from Co Antrim suffered a devastating brain haemorrhage in 2011.
Julie said: "My doctor referred me to Brain Injury Matters in October 2013 and they arranged for me to see a councillor and a psychologist week about. They helped me through talking and listening and practical things which enable me to cope better with the challenges. They have worked with me to put together a plan of where I want to get to and they have helped me be more realistic about where that is.
"Living with a brain injury is like going through a bereavement of the person you used to be and getting to know the person you now are. I had always been a 'sorter-outer' – I was my parents' carer, for instance, but I wasn't able to do that anymore. When I'd left the hospital I hadn't even been able to shower myself.
"I always remember how far I've come and I'm so grateful for that. Brain Injury Matters have helped me get back into work, though it's a struggle, and back into my own house, which was a huge step.
"Without them I don't know where I'd have ended up – I don't even want to think about it. I'm also lucky to have supportive family, friends and colleagues."