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Q&A: Roger Merriman

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Q&A: Roger Merriman

Q&A: Roger Merriman

I began to use blogging as a way to express what I was feeling

Brain injury survivor Roger Merriman shares his thoughts on his accident, his blog, and what makes him happy.

Roger has no memory of his accident, which happened in December 2013. All he knows is that he was cycling to work through Bushy Park in London when something caused him to fall from his bike at precisely 7.43am, according to his GPS tracker.

He was assisted by a passerby and taken to A&E where he was diagnosed with a fractured skull and two subdural haematomas. Roger was stable enough to be discharged after just one week in hospital. However, he still struggles with the effects of his brain injury, including symptoms of memory loss and fatigue.

How long have you been blogging?

Coming up to two years now, I started in May 2017.


What made you begin blogging?

There was a lot going on in my life. I was having lots of medical assessments and rehabilitation. I began to use blogging as a way to express what I was feeling.


How has blogging helped your recovery?

It has allowed me to write down the thoughts that have been bubbling inside. I’ve found it a useful way to keep track of my progress and see the improvements I’ve made along the way. It’s also helped me learn about my injury – I know a lot more about brains than I ever did before!


Do you get positive feedback from people who read your blog?

Yes, my family say reading my blog has helped them understand more about my injury.


What advice would you give to an aspiring blogger?

Don’t worry too much about the content, if you enjoy writing then give it a go. There doesn’t always have to be a deep meaning. Personally, I do it because I like it. I’m a long way from being an influencer!


How has Headway helped you?

Initially, when I was discharged I was given some Headway leaflets so I read those. When I felt ready I contacted my local group which allowed me to meet others like myself. Equally, the HealthUnlocked forum was very useful in the early days and helped me to understand what was happening. I’m very grateful for the help Headway has given me.


What is the most frustrating thing about your brain injury?

The invisibility of it - since I don’t look like there is anything wrong, folks struggle to understand. The fatigue is really hard work at times. After an hour of cycling I can feel fine, but an hour in a loud, busy pub can leave me feeling shattered.


What makes you happy?

I’ve always loved cycling and the accident hasn’t changed that. I have good and bad days and sometimes my injury means I don’t always remember or recognise my cycling club friends. But for the most part, cycling is a nice break from it all.

My wife also makes me happy. My injury has been hard for us both and, although some things have changed, I love her very much.


What would your superpower be?


What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Try not to dwell on things too much, life carries on without you – the world didn’t end when I didn’t make it into work that day.

Top Tips for staying safe online:

  • Think before you post – don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your parents, friends or employer seeing. Once you hit send, it’s no longer private and you have no control over who shares it.

  • Be careful what photos you share – avoid posting images that might reveal where you live.

  • Never share your passwords – use strong passwords that are hard to guess. A combination of upper and lower case characters, numbers and symbols increases the strength of a password. Change passwords regularly and keep them to yourself. Consider using password manager programs/apps if you have problems remembering your passwords.

  • Check your location settings – turning off location settings can help protect your privacy

  • Be careful who you’re talking to – it can be hard to know if someone online is genuine.

  • Don’t share personal details – address, phone number, bank details, etc - with someone you’ve met online.

  • Don’t send photos to someone privately if you wouldn’t be comfortable with them being public.

  • If you have concerns about someone or something online, discuss it with someone you trust and consider reporting it to the social network or even the police if appropriate.

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