Alisha Martin tells reporter Rachael Comer about how a concussion changed her life and her mental health.
Alisha Martin never knew what it was like to feel low or anxious, until a knock to the head changed her life.
A head injury while cleaning last year resulted in concussion and has meant ongoing complications, including low moods and feelings of anxiety.
She says the past year has been a tough one.
However, the low points have also been contrasted with positive moments, and a new found interest which has led to a business opportunity, she said.
She hopes sharing her story during Mental Health Awareness Week will help others to talk about their mental health.
The theme for the week is Nature Is Key, and fittingly it is through working with flowers that Martin has found a silver lining to the cloud which she says has been hanging around her since her injury last August while she was doing a cleaning job.
‘‘It really has changed my life,’’ Martin said. That included a lack of confidence.
‘‘I used to be such a confident person and when I have to go out now I really have to psych myself up.’’
She had never experienced low moods before her head injury, and said she has isolated herself.
‘‘Before the head injury I was pretty much a normal person.’’
The head injury also meant she hadn’t wanted to venture far from home, adding to the isolation, she said.
Social media had helped in her recovery, with overseas support groups allowing her to talk to people from throughout the world going through similar situations.
‘‘Talking about what you’re going through is so important and chatting with other people who are going through similar things.
‘‘Finding support from other people and talking with them is so good.’’
Looking for a way to keep busy, but work at her own pace, Martin decided to try working as a florist. ‘‘I used to work on a flower farm in Christchurch and I love flowers.’’
The work fitted in with her as she could take it at her own pace, and allowed her to work with bright colours which helped perk her mood up.
‘‘Something good has come out of it - my floral business.
‘‘It’s my therapy and something I love doing.’’
She said walking, resting and a slower pace of life also helped.
‘‘I used to be racing all over the place. Now I have to plan things and take one day at a time.’’
It could be quite difficult for people to understand what those with a brain injury or suffering a mental health issue went through, she said.
‘‘It’s not like you’re walking around wearing a bandage on your head.’’
She said every day was different, but she tried look after herself. ‘‘The positive thing is out of all of this I have discovered something new, that I’m passionate about.’’