Norfolk father-of-two’s brain injury left him forgetting his former self
- Credit: Archant
A father-of-two has described how an unprovoked attack 15 years ago resulted in him forgetting who he once was.
Chris Clark had been working as a carpenter in London when he was struck over the back of the head and knocked unconscious.
The attack, on February 24, 2002, left him with substantial brain damage. And after two weeks, the decision was taken to turn off his life support.
Miraculously, the 49-year-old, who lives in Norfolk, survived. But when he regained consciousness, he had become a different person.
'With my brain injury I lost myself and this was an enormous pressure,' Mr Clark said. 'Trying to be somebody you are not and guessing at it.
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'My friends and my family talked about the old Chris and how they loved him, but I didn't even know him.'
Mr Clark is one of many brain injury survivors who say they feel like a different person following their recovery.
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He shared his story yesterday following the launch of new campaign aimed at highlighting the hidden affects of an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
Headway Norfolk and Waveney's 'A New Me' initiative aims to give a voice to those affected by an ABI.
Its research found that of more than 860 respondents, around 74pc said they felt like a new person after their brain injury.
Mr Clark, who now works as the charity's service manager for its Norwich centre, said he spent two years struggling to come to terms with his injury.
But that all changed when he was referred to Headway.
'My confidence was shot and I was continually putting myself under so much pressure to get back to the way I was,' he said.
'I started to learn that I was in fact grieving, grieving for the old Chris.
'This was an important turning point as I then began to accept the fact that this person was gone. It is only when you start accepting that you can begin to move on.'
The charity hopes that the findings of its study will help increase understanding of brain injury amongst the public.
It has also opened a shop unit at Castle Mall in Norwich this week, showcasing the artwork of its members.
For more information about the study, visit www.ANewMe.org.uk
To learn more about Headway, visit www.headway-nw.org.uk