Hello, my name is Andy Nicholson (aka the ‘brain damaged baron’) I am 46 years old, and my Story began in 1994. I was a young man, 24 years old, working on a building site in Leipzig, in the former East Germany. On a cold December 9th morning, everything changed for me. Permanently.
At 6am in the morning, I walked into the house that I was working on, and I fell 20 feet, headfirst down an unguarded stairwell and landed on my head onto bare concrete. Due to the impact, my skull smashed, and a large chunk wedges itself into my brain. I was rushed to the hospital, already comatosed. My parents were telephoned and told; “get as many members of your family here as we do not expect Mr Nicholson to make it through the night”. This was not the case, I was in a coma for a further three weeks, and fortunately, my skull healed without the need for surgery. I spent a further six weeks in hospital, and the extent of my brain damage materialised. I felt grief, grief for the life I once had, I was no longer the person I once was, the person who lived, now gone, a hazy memory.
On the outside, I seem ‘normal’, and to many, my brain injury is not apparent. People casually walk by, and see those outer walls, the impenetrable shell that hides the truth. The damage done, can never truly be seen, or understood, and from the outside all looks well. The fight within is not all well, but people never ask, their judgments are set in stone, and there they will stay. The damage to my brain is substantial. I am now, partially sited, I have a weakness down my entire left side, which effects my balance and coordination, I suffer from frequent migraines and I have developed epilepsy. Sometimes, the migraines are so bad, it feels as if a scalding dagger has been plunged into the temple. My life has been impacted in many ways, I feel ill and awful a lot of the time, I have not slept a full night since the accident, and, I will never be able to work again. There are long days, and even longer nights.
Although my life is greatly effected by my brain injury, I am still alive, and I am determined to enjoy life while it lasts. I have married a wonderful lady, Sharon, and we have two wonderful children; Joshua and Hollie. Life is wonderful. In some ways, I can barely remember the man I once was before the accident. Yes, I am a changed man, but I appreciate life a lot more now. You really have to live everyday to it’s fullest.
I have decided to share my story in order to end the stigma associated with brain injury. I may look OK to those who view me, but I’m really not. It is ok to share these experiences and to talk about them. To anyone suffering similarly, I would say, speak up, never be ashamed, fight to be heard. This is our fight, together. I believe that more information must be shared, and first hand stories must be heard in order to raise awareness of such conditions. Thanks for reading my story.
Andy has shared his story in more detail on his Facebook page: @Notesfromthebraindamagedbaron
To see Andy’s page, follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/notesfromthebraindamagedbaron/