Alison’s story: Finding a community after spinal cord injury.

alison, who found a community after spinal cord injury thanks to the back up lounge

Read on for a blog from Alison, who found a supportive community after spinal cord injury at our Back Up Lounge.

“21 years ago, I had a spinal stroke. This is when a blood clot happens, and lodges in your spinal cord. This damaged my spinal cord at S1, resulting in an incomplete spinal cord injury.

“My injury changed my life in every way. I ended up losing work, which made me become very isolated. I also had to learn how to do everything from scratch – learning to walk again, and teaching my young kids that things would be different now.

“Recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, I certainly needed some extra support. I was classified as clinically vulnerable, so I was careful not to go out. We were concerned about bringing the virus home. As a result, we were anxious and stressed. I think this made everything worse for me – my mobility certainly decreased.

“In July of 2020, I was going through some difficulty. Everything I usually did had stopped, I felt like I had nothing. Depression had hit me, I had very little outside contact due to living in a very small village. I had some counselling from my doctor, but it just wasn’t hitting the spot.

“I emailed Back Up, and asked if there was anything they could do to support me. They came back with a link to the Back Up Lounge. For the first time in 21 years since my injury, I was able to talk to other people with a spinal cord injury who could walk.

“It was good to learn that other people dealt with the same problems as me. We talked about having the same burning sensations due to pain, and discussed our medication and side effects. We also talked about bladder and bowel care, and for the first time ever I actually laughed about having toilet accidents. Instead of being totally embarrassed, I learned that there were other people in a similar situation to myself.

The Lounge is a wonderful community. It’s so reassuring to talk about things that I can’t even talk to my family about.

“Recently, I’ve been assigned a Back Up mentor. I’ve only had my first session, but I’ve found it to be very good. In the future, I’d love to be able to help others like me. I’d like other people here in Northern Ireland to know that Back Up is there for everyone with a spinal cord injury.”

We’re glad our Back Up Lounge helped Alison. You can learn more and register for this fortnightly Zoom call here.