My story - by a hardy Scotsman

It was February I think 1986 was the year. I was going to have my eyes tested that day as I seemed to be having a slight problem watching TV. I was in my first year of a 3 year course at Falkirk College studying towards an HND in Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

I went to the opticians and had my eyes tested but was told by the optician that I better go and see my GP and that he had made an appointment for me that same day.. I was a bit confused as to why (and a bit scared). My GP had a look and ssaid that I should go through to Edinburgh Western General Hospital the next morning.

The details are a bit sketchy but suffice to say I had been diagnosed with 2 malignant brain tumours and needed them whipped out. This was done and I seem to remember being told at some point that if it had gone un-noticed for much longer then I would have collapsed on the street or gone into a coma or the like. Nasty stuff. I also vaguely remember being rushed to the Edinburgh City Hospital one morning because of complications (sorry I cant remember what they were).

I was placed in Astley Ainsley hospital to recuperate and felt totally out of place as the ward was full of various people, mostly older as I was only 18 at the time, most of them severely mentally impaired. I could not understand why I was there as I was fine, I am still a bit confused why. Anyway it is history now. I was finally allowed to leave that place and was told to go back to hospital for scans at regular intervals for a couple of years or so after which I was considered fine. I was fine (physically) apart from a few scars and a lack of balance which is still not perfect but I manage.

I stayed with my parents, went back to college and resat first year and passed, passed second year but failed the third and final year so never got any qualifications.

I did not get a job and moved out of my house to stay with a friend. Through Falkirk Job centre (I think) I was given a place at Granton Employment Rehabilitation Centre where I eventually had some work experience in their offices. Following this I was employed in The Scottish Office as an Admin. Assistant then made a sideways move to computer work which I was used to as I owned a succession of personal computers. I learned MVS and JES2 on an IBM mainframe computer and too much other stuff to mention. A few years later they decided that they were going to do away with the mainframe and concentrate on Server based networks. They offered me an other job but I considered it as an insult as it would be considered a demotion of responsibilities so left and started a 3 month contract job.

During this period I bought my own house in Falkirk.

That never worked out and I was out of work for a few months until I decided enough was enough and agreed to go to Manchester to start work. Again I was staying on my own, I rented my own house in Falkirk while I was away. I came back from Manchester to see my family at least once a month. While I was out shopping in Manchester I saw an advertisement for a position in Edinburgh doing the same type of work I was currently doing so I went for it thinking I was quite happy to stay down there if it never worked out.

I got the job and moved back to my flat in Falkirk. By this time I had gone a few holidays with one of my mates and also accompanied my Grandfather on holiday as my Grandmother had recently passed away. I never did settle in that job. I felt (and still do) that my face just didn't fit. I was Mr. Unpopular. I thought if I kept my head down and worked through it I would be okay but I was wrong. Things just seemed to get worse and worse. At the time I was looking for help with my work where ever I could and began speaking to one girl on the internet who9 stayed in Miami and worked in a similar job to me. Also at that time I attended HITS(Head Injury Trust for Scotland) in Grangemouth. I had found people at last who could nearly understand what I was going through and felt quite happy for the first time in years. I remember one day after a particularly bad night shift for me I suffered an anxiety attack - fortunately I had gone straight to the gym and was sitting at the edge of the swimming pool. This seemed to go on for days. My bosses agreed to meet with me and the representatives from HITS and for about 2 weeks things seemed better as we agreed that I should only work one shift instead of rotating between 3 shifts. this was good but became extremely boring after a while. I spoke to my doctor about this and he gave me a sick note for depression - this was in July 2000 and I am still not back at work and feel that I am not going back to the same job. I have to drive passed 3 of the busiest roads in central scotland to get to work which causes me a great deal of stress and anger. My GP is prepared to sign me fit to work if I am not trying the combination of Driving long distances and working shifts. I am very keen to get back to work and have been applying for jobs since August last year.

By the way, the girl in Miami that I mentioned is now my wife and has moved to Scotland to stay with me. Her name is Eliana.


Sorry my fingers are now too sore to type as I have taken about 2 hours to type this ;-)

I am now attending Headway in Glasgow and have been for 2 meetings and like it very much. I think that what Kenneth Gebbie has done is fantastic and I would like to reward the man (but he wont accept anything ;-))

Many thanks to Allan & Eliana Clark for the above.   May all their problems from now be small ones.