In 2014, magazine editor and publisher, Nick Gibbs suffered a severe head injury when knocked off a bicycle. He was in a coma for 10 days, but was fortunate to regain consciousness without any physical damage. He could walk, talk, read and write, and all his limbs were working perfectly. He tried to escape from Intensive Care so often that he was put on a Deprivation of Liberty Order, rugby-tackled one time only yards from the hospital’s main exit.
However, the traumatic brain injury means that he could no longer work as an editor of magazines and owner of his publishing company. “I tried to keep at least one of my magazines going,” he says, “but despite lots of support, realised quite quickly that it is no longer possible to continue the job I enjoyed for 25 years.”
Nick has searched for a new purpose, for new meaning to life. Over the last four years he has been a kitchen porter, a handyman, a fitter of internal shutters, a shop assistant at B&Q, a pedlar of Hand-Made Helicopters, and as a member of the site team at local water park. “Surprisingly, after decades as a passionate magazine editor, I now prefer being told what to do and given a task to complete.”
You never really recover from a brain injury; you find new ways to live a life, and recognise the symptoms and prepare coping strategies. Perhaps because he can no longer communicate through magazines he once edited, Nick has found public speaking the best outlet for his ideas and experiences. He now gives talks to groups, sharing ideas to find a new purpose in life, and entertaining an audience with tips on how not to try escaping hospital.