A WORCESTERSHIRE woman, who has spent more than 20 years struggling to accept her brain injury, has now turned her life around.
Liz Jauncey, who lives in a sheltered housing scheme in Droitwich, Worcestershire, is 53 years old. There is little physical trace of the devastating brain injury – a subarachnoid haemorrhage – that struck her in 1993 when she was just 28 years old and a mum to three young daughters aged nine, eight and five.
As she waited for surgery, her family members were told she had a 50/50 chance of surviving. She came through the surgery with no obvious physical side effects, however, her personality had changed dramatically and the result was nothing short of devastating as she and her family silently adapted their lives to it.
Liz said: “After my operation, because I could still walk and talk and I looked the same, I was treated the same as before and was told that everything would get back to normal. I clung onto this for more than 20 years.
“One of the worst things was that I could remember the person I was before and, having been told that I would be back to normal in no time, I kept trying to be that person. I went from being out-going to suddenly being extremely nervous around people.
“Although my understanding was still there, I was not able to remember words and found it extremely difficult to think of the right things to say. Ultimately this led to me isolating myself and I found I could only cope in situations with a limited amount of people which led me into many episodes of depression.”
Liz had problems with concentration, memory, anger and fatigue and, because of the haemorrhage, she was diagnosed with epilepsy.
She said: “My downfall was that I masked the depression by laughing, smiling and joking and although I did ask for help, I was unable to get the support I needed as those around me thought I was fine.
“Because of this I allowed everyone to make all decisions for me. Unfortunately none were based on what I really needed.”