Survivor Stories: Eric’s Journey of Hope

Thanks to VBIS, the biggest thing for me was learning that I’m not the only one.

Eric, VBIS client

Donations make it possible for VBIS to help over 600 people every year.

Thanks to your generosity, Eric has been able to change his life.

Here’s Eric’s story: 

Eric became a client at VBIS after finally being diagnosed with a brain injury caused by concussion. His first major brain injury happened when he was only two years old and was thrown across the room. Then, at three or four years of age, he fell from a window and remembers awakening on the ground with his neighbour looking down at him. The final major brain injury came after the horse he was riding got spooked and took off into the trees where seven-year-old Eric’s head hit a branch, causing him to fall backwards off the horse.

As a child, Eric was diagnosed with ADHD, and then later in life he was diagnosed as bipolar and prescribed medication to manage his symptoms. The medications often left him feeling like a zombie and self-medicating was all he could do to get through the day. Anxiety and paranoia left him fearing how he would react in public, so he kept to himself to avoid the possibility of hurting someone or himself.

After years of suffering and a crumbled relationship, Eric found himself alone and homeless. An unsuccessful suicide attempt landed Eric at his physician’s office where he was put through brain testing, learned he had been misdiagnosed as bipolar, and received a long-awaited answer to his suffering – he had acquired brain injury due to his early childhood traumas.

Equipped with an answer, Eric was ready to take charge of his life. When a doctor suggested he check out VBIS, Eric finally found a place where he belonged.

Out of work and living in a shelter, Eric attended the Acquired Brain Injury 101 at VBIS. This knowledge-building course gave him the chance to engage in discussions concerning brain function & brain injury, gain an understanding of the effects of injury, and learn about recovery.

What he learned at VBIS changed his life.

“VBIS taught me that my brain isn’t the same and that’s okay. It’s what you do with that knowledge that counts.”

Eric, VBIS client

Eager to continue learning about his injury, Eric attended the Coping Strategies program and credits the group with providing him with a supportive network of like-minded people who understand what it’s like to navigate the day-to-day life of a brain injury survivor.

Now free from his medications, Eric is looking forward to securing a part-time job and continuing to make strides towards a bright future. More than anything, he is passionate about getting the word out to young people that concussions are serious and can cause life altering, cognitive impairment.

VBIS is passionate about that too! Thanks to the generosity of VBIS donors, we continue to work tirelessly to build awareness about brain injury and concussion throughout the community. The Student Head Injury Neuro Education program (SHINE) is a free presentation for youth in grade 12 and youth sports teams. SHINE teaches participants about the causes of brain injury, dispels myths and motivates them to minimize their risks around brain injury and concussion.

You can make a difference in the lives of concussion and brain injury survivors by donating to the SHINE program today.

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Victoria Brain Injury Society

Units C, D & E 830 Pembroke Street
Victoria, B.C. V8T 1H9

Phone: 250-598-9339

Email: admin@vbis.ca

The Victoria Brain Injury Society (VBIS) is situated on the traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) Peoples. We recognize and express gratitude to the Peoples and Nations in our community, and those throughout the regions we service.