For therapy, training, advice and support call us on 01684 576795 or email:admin@arcos.org.uk

Real life stories

Pip's Story

May 24th 1996 was a day that changed my life. An 18-year-old girl driving too fast down a country lane.

I spent 7 weeks in a coma but can only remember waking up one day in a hospital. I couldn’t speak, wasn’t safe to walk, so had to stay in bed all day, plus I was hitched up to a feeding pump, which restricted me a lot.

Now I am disabled with an acquired brain injury. Disabled… not sure I have come to terms with it, even after so long.

I don’t fall into the stereotypical picture of disability, I am not in a wheelchair – I can walk now. I am not deaf and although my vision isn’t as good as it was, I am not blind. I have some difficulties in coordination, trouble with swallowing, controlling my mouth, and palsy of my right eye. Oh yeah and I can’t talk, well, I’m dysarthric.

It gets tiring (for want of better word), I mean, people always tell me: “you are so strong and tenacious” People see me as “Pip, the girl who can’t talk, but she’ s always smiling and happy, she manages just fine with that wonderful Lightwriter…… what a godsend that machine is” – Yeah, it is good…I’d never manage without, but you try hauling that thing around everywhere with you…Gets to be a bit of a pain really.

My life has moved on. I worked at ARCOS, I partied with friends, met John, married, started an art foundation course, and went on to study drawing and applied art at UWE.

pip_communication
My first-year project was called ‘communication’. I drew myself! People have said how I speak volumes through expression, so I tried to capture one that said it all about my not being able to talk. I am still trying to recover, it’s extremely frustrating knowing I will never recover fully – I often despair. There are so many things I wish I could still do; I have this dream where people could cure me, and hang on to the hope I’ll be able to talk again someday. But with or without my voice, I just want to be treated like a normal person, I have just lost my voice, not my mind.