The funny side of a brain injury

Last week, I was asked to think of something encouraging that has come out of my illness, surely I must be able to think of at least one. My mind went blank. I could not think of one positive thing.

Although thinking optimistically about the whole ordeal may be somewhat difficult, perhaps the only way to really come to terms with everything is to laugh.

Humour and brain injuries though.

Do these two really go?

While many of you may think it a little insensitive; for us (the sufferers) making light of the situations we find ourselves in is one of the best coping strategies I have come across.

This weekend brought about the Encephalitis Society’s Annual Member’s Meeting; a weekend that enabled me to see the amusing side of having a brain injury.

One of our guest speakers (James Piercy) envisaged this idea showing some of the fun that can be had when living with a brain injury. My particular favourite was his take on having a t-shirt printed with “That’ll be the brain damage”. His outlook on living with a brain injury was not only amusing but also inspiring.

Every time I go to an event I meet two lovely ladies. They have prosopagnosia. When studying Psychology at University I remember briefly looking over it. Most people will have never heard of it. Prosopagnosia is when someone loses the ability to recognise faces. As you can imagine, they never remember me but are so sweet and try their best to explain the situation. It wasn’t until this weekend that I realised just how this lack of facial recognition must impact on their lives.

I have a special oyster card; I bought it on the day of the Royal Wedding. There is a picture of Wills and Kate on it. Now I have said their name how many of you can picture their faces in your head – I am assuming that the majority of you can. So, anyway, I pulled my oyster card out, to show it off, as you do. I showed it to the lovely ladies. One then said, oh is that you and your boyfriend? At first I laughed as I thought she was joking. She was not. I then said, no it is Prince William, you know, the Queen’s grandson. She then said, oh how did you get a picture of you and him on your oyster card? I then had to explain that it was in actual fact Kate Middleton with Prince William! We couldn’t help but laugh; we laughed so much we cried. They then went on to explain that they cannot even recognise their own husbands or children, and if the Queen walked past them in the street they would have no idea. The Queen!

It makes you think doesn’t it? If someone that has lost so much can still see the funny side, why do we spend so much time ruminating about all the little things? Having an acquired brain injury may feel like the worst thing that can happen to you, but then you have to realise, there is always something to laugh about, even if that something is your brain injury.