Advances in medicine mean that the number of people surviving brain injuries is increasing. In many ways brain injury is a silent epidemic; its effects are not always visible and cannot be communicated easily. This often leads to misunderstanding and frustration, from both the survivors and the people they encounter.
A desire to address this led our charity, Headway East London, to launch online writing project Who Are You Now? We want to tell the stories of brain injury survivors: who they are, what happened to them and how they’ve been changed by their experiences.
There are lots of case studies out there, but few that really describe a life in the person’s own words and style. So we used oral history techniques as a starting point, interviewing each brain injury survivor before working with them collaboratively to turn the transcripts into unique narratives. We started the project in late 2013 before publishing online a year later. There are currently five finished stories and another 10 in progress.