Rediscovering who I once was, a perspective from Charlie and Anu


Rediscovering who I once was, a perspective from Charlie and Anu

Let me introduce you to Charlie. Charlie is in his early 20s. Two years ago he was working in sales for a very profitable company. He enjoyed talking to customers and they enjoyed talking to him! He had just bought a house and lived with his partner. In his spare time, Charlie played semi-professional rugby and had a very active social life. But this all changed when he was involved in a road traffic accident. He suffered a serious brain injury. After months of inpatient rehabilitation, his relationship with his partner broke down and he moved back in with his mother, Anu. Charlie had gone from friendly and sociable, to extremely frustrated and irritable. He both blamed the driver (his friend) and grieved his loss (his friend had died in the accident). He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t go back to work or play rugby anymore. This went on for a year and his mother, despairingly started to search online for someone who might be able to help. She had no idea what she was looking for but one of her friends had suggested that ‘family therapy’ could be a way forward.

Anu found it hard at first to trust the people she came across online. She spoke to a few people, but no family therapists seemed to specialise in brain injury, and she was beginning to give up hope. Then, one day, she was asking one of the family therapists about how he trained, and he explained that there was something called a ‘clinical psychology’ qualification. Anu typed into her search engine ‘clinical psychologist’ and ‘brain injury’, and suddenly everything opened up for her. She read about how clinical psychologists could train and specialise in neuropsychology and that these were the people who might know how to help her son. She was relieved, but also angry that it had taken her so long to find a possible avenue for support, when her son, Charlie, was becoming more and more depressed as the days passed. Anu booked an appointment with a clinical psychologist specialising in neuropsychology and she convinced a reluctant Charlie to go to an assessment. Charlie was quiet in the appointment at first, but the doctor got him talking about his interest in rugby and they were away!

Charlie agreed to complete a neuropsychological assessment as Charlie explained to the doctor that he was struggling to follow rugby matches on TV and the doctor explained that his ability to pay attention and process information may have been affected by the brain injury he experienced. Anu almost cried as they left the appointment, feeling emotional that they may have finally reached someone who understood. After the neuropsychological assessment (which confirmed the doctors’ suspicions), Charlie worked with the clinical psychologist to explore ways to cope better in his day-to-day life and she introduced him to local charities that hold community activities for people with brain injury. Anu fed back that her son’s attitude had completely changed, his sociable side was coming out again and he was less ‘snappy’ at home. She felt he still had a journey to go on but things felt more hopeful.

At The London Neurocognitive Clinic, we see people like Charlie and his mother Anu. We work with these families to find positive ways forward. No one journey is the same and our ethos is about finding the right solutions that help each unique individual.

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