TerrieMy name is Terrie Wray, and I am a brain injury survivor. I got my brain injury in 2008 because I was addicted to cocaine.

I was in a bad place and I think I tried to take my own life and overdosed. I was taken to Royal Alex hospital, I was in a coma for nearly a year. When I woke, I was diagnosed as having Encephalopathy.

I have a supportive sister, who is a great advocate for me. She helped me enter a nursing home called YouVille, because she wanted me in a facility that is close to where she lives, so that she could oversee my treatment. This strengthened our bond as sisters.  Youville has a lot of old people, and very few of my peers. This caused me to feel depressed. With the help of my sister, I accessed the support team at YouVille and changed my attitude around.

Before I started with Keltie at WJS, I had been working on walking with the help of a physical therapy team at YouVille. From 2011 to 2013 I worked hard with parallel bars, a walker and learned how to walk with a foot brace. By 2013 I was able to walk independently. When I had my brain injury, I was unable to walk and talk. I had a feeding tube because I could not feed myself or swallow. With the assistance of support workers, I was able to re-learn these basic functions.

Then my sister did some research and found Brain Care Center, who then set me up with Keltie at WJS. I wanted to work with her because I needed some help to access the community. This was another barrier for me, as I have difficulty navigating and recalling where I am, which can be frightening. I needed encouragement to not give up on myself, and Keltie helped me in a big way.  Keltie helped me get motivated and have self love. I work harder for myself.. I started with her in 2012 and continued with the positive attitude I adopted in my initial recovery process.  I didn’t think I could ever do what I can do now.  I can make my own phone calls, and because Keltie worked on it with me, I can book my own bus and remember to write it down. I can schedule appointments and I always keep them. I can book my own DATS and feel confident doing it. I don’t need to ask anyone for help. I can budget for shopping, and that is something I could not do after my brain injury.  Most importantly, Keltie showed me how to use a cart while from my wheelchair. Keltie motivated me and helped me and didn’t let me give up. When it was hard and I was frustrated, people who work with me on a day to day basis gave me tools to calm down. No one gave up on me. So I couldn’t give up on me.

I have more confidence in the community. I am learning to manage my frustration and other emotions when I go shopping alone or with my newest volunteer and friend, Shaneen. I can also go out in the community with a companion and friend, Kathy, who came to us through the paraplegic society. Kathy has been with me from the beginning of my stay at Youville.

I can move around and do what I need to do. I have learned to be more considerate of others, and am much better at controlling my anger then I was.

Along with my regular support team, WJS  has had a very positive impact for me, and it makes me strive to work harder for myself. Today I feel more in control of my life.  Without my regular support team, physio team, doctors and WJS I would not be where I am today . I have so much motivation to try my new goals. Working on my mental health is an ongoing goal. With the help of Keltie and the encouragement of others, I feel confident and do not want to give up. WJS has been a huge factor in my merging back into life outside of Youville.

I never thought I would be where I am today. Without my sister, my physical therapy team and WJS, I wouldn’t.