As I write this it’s World Book Day and if you have kids of a certain age you probably already know this as many of them get the opportunity to dump their school uniform and dress up as their favourite book character.
Coincidently the previous day I did a presentation on the self-publishing process I used to create the Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK book – “Life After Cardiac Arrest“. I volunteered to do the presentation to a Meetup Group I had joined approximately 9 months after my cardiac arrest. The group is for Freelancers/Work at Home/Startups and Creatives and I thought it a good idea to go to it to see how well I would cope with a work style environment.
The group held its meetings in a cafe and had the tables organised such that they formed a large square. Including me, t
However, I persisted and set myself the goal of lasting the whole meeting. It was 90 minutes and by the end of it, I needed to escape to the peace and quiet of the outside. It was unfortunate I had to get out as I had enjoyed the activity and the people seemed very friendly. Having spent a lot of time at home the previous months meant getting out and chatting with others was a bit of a novelty and something that I realised I had missed.
I got to my car and just sat in it for sometime in order to give my head the chance to calm down. The persistent headache acquired due to the SCA hypoxia had ratcheted up a couple of notches and I really needed to get back and lay down. After a long rest and with my headache returned to its normal suffocating level I reflected on the day and the impact it had had on me. Yes, I’d had to endure some unpleasantness but on the plus side I’d gotten through it and it had been a positive step in my recovery.
This pretty much formed the basis of my experience with going to the group for quite some time. “No pain, no gain” so the saying goes and it certainly wasn’t wrong in this case. I since learned that sensory overload is a common sequela for those who’ve experienced a brain injury.
I’ve been going to the group for just about 4 years now and done some really interesting and varied things, visited places I never would have pre-SCA and made friends with some really great people. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and other people and whether they know it or not they’ve been a real help in my recovery. Which is why I decided to try to pay back in some small way by doing my presentation.
So if you’ve been a bit housebound since your SCA, why not check out Meetup and venture out into the world in a similar way. It can be a little daunting at first but also a great way of learning what you are capable of and where you are in your recovery, plus you might get to do some fun things and meet fun people as I did!
Back to books
Group member David Jeffrey has a wonderfully written book and it is a testament to the author’s skill and courage that he has been able to put down these obviously painful memories and the resulting introspection in a way that is highly readable, engaging and at times deeply moving. It’s not an SCA book per se but it deserves to be read, not just by those who have gone down the therapy path or are considering it, but also those who have experienced great loss from loved ones and are struggling with their feelings.
A recommended book by long time member Richard is Howard Liebgold’s “Freedom from Fear”, which helped him overcome some post SCA anxieties.
There are also many more on a previous blog article by life coach, David Edmonds.