Advice

Learning after a brain injury

Little brain injury emoji I knitted! You can buy these in the shop for £6

This is my first proper blog post since November, sorry everyone. It’s with good reason though… I’ve been busy learning how to knit! I’d like to share my experiences with learning since my brain injury and what I’ve discovered along the way which will help those of you wanting to learn.

My brain injury was back in February 2013 and I’ve been wanting to knit ever since my mum knitted me some headbands after my surgery but I was scared. Scared of failure, scared of getting my hopes crushed, scared that I wouldn’t be able to do the one thing I wanted to do the most because of my stupid brain. I had many chances to learn as well… Every time I went to see my mum there her knitting needles, wool and all the quirky things she’d knitted were. I would look at them and want to learn but my brain was telling me no, my previous failures were telling me no:

  • Learning how to drive
  • Learning how to use Adobe Illustrator
  • Learning how to program
  • Learning how to play poker

Along with these previous failures was the fact that my memory is awful at times. Even if I did learn how would I remember it? This feeling of insecurity, self doubt, sadness and being overwhelmed lasted until July 2017 (Four years and five months…wow) until one day while at mum’s house I just said “Can you teach me how to knit now?” without even thinking. The one time I actually liked my no filter brain. You know what? I understood it straight away. I didn’t get frustrated with myself, I made a few mistakes which I corrected by myself, I was talking and knitting at the same time… I was multitasking.

But how did I pick it up so well?

I learned by copying and doing it along with mum. Many, many times until it stuck (and maybe because I wanted to knit for so long before?)

This quote couldn’t be more fitting and I feel it applies to everyone with a brain injury:

‘Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand‘

I carried on learning a few hours every day with napping and resting in between. Learning with a brain injury is exhausting and at the end I had this:

A little snake and a feeling of overwhelming (in a good way) pride.

So for those of you who have the fear of failure, try and ignore that feeling and go for it. You never know how it’s going to go until you try it!

Some key points to remember when learning

  • Copy someone else while they talk you through it
  • Repeat until it sticks, no matter how long it takes
  • Don’t give up
  • Ask if you don’t know
  • And most of all feel proud of yourself 

Here are some more things I’ve knitted. I’ve improved a lot since my little snake but that doesn’t stop me feeling proud of it. These were made for myself, family and friends. Sharing my work, my accomplishment with others brings me such happiness and the feelings I had before knitting have disappeared. It’s now the thing I do to relax, it’s another form of therapy.

And of course I knitted this little guy! The brain injury emoji, he looks so much cuter and sadder in real life! You can buy him here.

If you’d like to follow my knits I’ve made a facebook, twitter and instagram account called Naomi’s Needles (perfect name, right?) here’s a cute photograph of me knitting in the perfect, quiet corner table in my favourite cafe. Mum was with me and we had a mini knit and natter with lots of tea, coffee and cake! It was lovely and it’s lovely seeing my mum beyond happy because I finally asked her how to knit. It’s now our little thing and I love that.

Have you learned or are currently learning anything since your brain injury? Let me know in the comments below, let’s get excited about not scared about learning!

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