'How I survived being shot in the head'
HE said "let's go" then shot me point blank in the back of the head.
Ten years ago, on the 17 October 2007, my life changed forever.
My (then) partner and I went to our local hotel for dinner. That night we had a bit to drink and had an argument.
About 9pm my partner said, "Let's go". He grabbed me by the back of my shirt and steered me out of the hotel. I assumed that we were going home.
We walked a few metres outside to the car park when he put a gun to the back of my head and shot me.
I was 25 years old.
There was no pain but I remember being on the ground and thinking "did that just really happen?" My thoughts quickly moved to my little boy. My beautiful six year old Dylan needed me and I wasn't going to leave him alone.
I kept calm and decided I was too young to die.
I knew I was not going to be found unless I moved, so I summoned all the energy I had left to crawl a few metres down the laneway towards the road where a security guard found me. It took me around two hours to crawl those few metres.
The security guard assumed I was heavily intoxicated as my speech was very slurred. I reached out to grab his ankle and said "000".
Not long after an ambulance arrived. I was able to tell them my mother's name and phone number. Then it all went dark.
It was unknown that I'd been shot until I arrived at hospital. The bullet had lodged in my brain (in the cerebellum) causing a traumatic (near catastrophic) brain injury.
I spent one week in an induced coma, three months at Westmead Hospital and six months at leading disability and rehabilitation organisation, Royal Rehab, before continuing my long (and ongoing) road to recovery.
Every day I am grateful to be living and breathing.
I have all my memory and brain function intact.
But dealing with a brain injury is challenging. You have to come to terms with the reality that things that you could once do easily, are now incredibly difficult or impossible. My balance and speech has been particularly affected.
However, as a long time yogi, I truly believe this has helped me recover from that experience both mentally and physically.
Since that night, I've gone from using a full walking frame to only needing one crutch and I hope to one day walk freely again.
Prior to being shot I ran a corporate yoga business. My focus now is on running adaptive yoga classes for other people with a disability. It's truly amazing to help them get back to enjoying recreation activity. I also plan on becoming a motivational speaker for domestic violence and brain injury.
Most people don't realise exercise and sporting activity really is possible at any skill level. I've even had the chance to participate in adaptive horseback riding through Royal Rehab's Return2Sport program. Being able to get back to this kind of activity has been amazing.
Many people don't realise over 700,000 Australians are affected by a brain injury and often the effects on thinking, emotion and behaviour can be hard to recognise or are mistaken for erratic behaviour.
I hope my story helps encourage others with brain injury and who have experienced domestic violence to speak out about their experiences, and gives people a little insight in what it's like to deal with something like that.
Because people with a brain injury shouldn't be left on the sidelines.
Rosanna Robertson is a mother and domestic violence advocate and ambassador for Sidetember, a fundraising campaign supporting Brain Injury Australia and Royal Rehab. Participants receive brain injury challenges via email and SMS and share their efforts on social media to raise awareness and funds.
Rosanna's former partner received an 11-year jail sentence. He is eligible for release in March 2019.