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Caroline's Story by charity


Nearly three years on and its about time I told my story! So here it is:


I got up on June 5th 2008 and was making a cup of tea as I always did at 6.30am when suddenly I had this incredible headache and started to feel very strange, I stumbled upstairs with the tea and collapsed on the bed saying to my husband, you’ll have to do something! Think you need to call a doctor! My head hurts badly!

My husband said I’ll get a shower, will you be alright! Think he realised there was something wrong!, then he called 999 and explained to them they need to come. Meanwhile I was trying to access my phone to try and call a colleague that I was meant to be picking up from the station at 7.30am but with your brain going into melt down it was nearly impossible, my husband took the phone away from me as I drifted in and out of consciousness.

The next thing I knew was the paramedics coming in the bedroom, asking me questions, what was my name, could I squeeze his hand?… I remember them carrying me downstairs in a chair but after that nothing.

I don’t remember anything about the next 6 weeks! The only things I know are from a diary that my daughters kept for me. My husband recounts the time and says he really didn’t know what the outcome would be.

I came home, my daughters and husband were fantastic, gradually allowing me to function again. the next few months are all a bit hazy. The diary helped, although I cry and laugh when I read it now! The classic quote is when the doctors ask me ‘where are you? I reply ‘where am I or where would I like to be!’

‘Behind the Gray’ became my life line, it was the first thing I did everyday - logged on, was disappointed when there was no one to chat too! The site answered many of my questions as did some of the people on there, it was a real help and support in time of despair!

I couldn’t drive, had to try out the buses! Eventually I got my license back and decided I would return to work, I had to go back even though my husband didn’t think I should, but I had to try even if I couldn’t do it - and I couldn’t! after a staged return it became obvious that I couldn’t do the job ( I was a service manger for the local education authority, managing the service which supported children with behavioural problems) so I went through the process of applying for early ill health retirement.

It was very hard - having to retire from a job which had been my life, suddenly it was taken from me, all the structure was gone, my daily routine changed completely, what do I do? I felt useless, I cant potter around all day! What am I going to do! - it took me a long time to come to terms with this. I tried everything I could to help myself - Chinese medicine , hypnotherapy, NLP, anything that I thought might help.

I was weak, fatigued, lacked motivation, and feeling very low and depressed. My legs and feet in particular felt numb, I was frustrated that I couldn’t move as quickly as I used to - I used to be very fit, going to the gym, cycling, swimming - suddenly I couldn’t do this anymore.

I cooked and cleaned and tried to occupy myself, taking my dog out (which my family had bought for me - a black Labrador - Max). It became a reason to get up, to take him out. Then I took him gundog training, this started to give me an interest which I enjoyed. By this time I was a year on from the haemorrhage. My husband had also bought me a DLSR camera and this gave me another interest.

I then contacted an acupuncturist, she has been brilliant and has treated me for well over a year, she has given me more energy and motivation and I still continue to see her regularly. When I started to see her in January 2010 I was at 1 on a scale of 1-10, now I’m at 8/9.

Now three years on I feel much better, My daughters have graduated, one of them has married and I have become a grandma! that really did make me feel old! I have completed a psychotherapy course and have a diploma in counselling. I continue to study Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and Life coaching. I am also about to start a Diploma in Photography. I also continue to take my dog gundog training and am going to get another puppy later in the year, which I hope to train to a better level for working field trials.

What is important is that I now have a very different life, I might not have planned this but I am here and enjoying it!

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