My stroke journey, in words and pictures

Painting the pain was my way of dealing with the trauma of a catastrophic brain injury

When I was discharged from hospital after 4 months following a stroke, my disabilities were a burden. My left-side limbs were close to useless. My energy was drained for most of the day. And I was bad tempered beyond description.

Six months later, I could walk with a walking frame and just about visit the toilet in private. That was a relief. And one month after that I was accepted as a member of Headway East London, a day centre in Hackney that supports people affected by brain injury.

The centre had an annexe, an art studio in a railway arch where members could try any kind of art practice (painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printing, textiles…). This quickly became my favourite place to be. It was also where they played the best music.

In the studio…

When the studio was invited to submit pieces for an exhibition at St Paul’s Cathedral on the subject of “identity after brain injury”, I made the first of what would become a series of 5 that I hoped would tell my story from the start to the present day.

That is how these five images came about. Each should be seen as a chapter in a story that spanned more than three years.

Studio head Michelle Carlile had told me that my handwriting was my most expressive quality (thankfully I am right-handed), so each picture contains a hand-written memory of the events at the time. For clarity, the words have been set in type for ease of reading and each chapter has a descriptive title.

Read about my stroke journey in full.

3 thoughts on “My stroke journey, in words and pictures

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.