Friday, 8 February 2019

A Viral Experience

Social media has become a routine for many of us to visit regularly throughout the day. It enables us to express our opinions, join new communities, interconnect with people from all across the world and much more. The initial platform for social media was to interact with friends online. Now many businesses delegate huge spends into it and use it as a tool to promote themselves or products. Never did I realise the huge impact social media beholds over us, until the story about Bish (Richard) and I went viral. 

The 8th February 2017 was the date my story became common knowledge. Overnight we went from the average person to suddenly the entire world knowing a fabricated part of our lives. I use the word fabricated loosely as although some of what was placed in the paper was true, the main focus was constructed upon a love story around Bish and I, when really what went on was so much more than what could be elucidated. Furthermore I am not oblivious to the fact now that if this was not applied on the basis of a love genre with a somewhat happy ending, then would there have been such a mass enthusiasm around the piece? The views, shares, likes, comments and impacts would not have been the same. 

A lady who read my blog persuaded me to openly discuss my story in order for it to be published in the paper. Initially I had my reservations as I was embarrassed about what had happened but after discussion I agreed as I believed this could open doors for me to seek a second medical professionals opinion or meet other people who have faced the same or similar problems. What I had not anticipated was the colossal response not only I, but my family and friends received from all over the world.
I was lucky enough to speak on
an Australian radio!

My bestie tweeted her
fave footballer &
got a response,  win win for all!
Still amazed that people took
the time to share and read. 

Let’s begin with the ‘people from my past.’ A lot of people whom my parents naturally assumed would be there for me actually could not handle the severity of what had happened. I lay no blame on these individuals as I have no knowledge of      how I would have been if it occurred to one of them. 

When the story arose I was inundated with messages, kind words and expressions of encouragement from people who knew me prior to diagnosis. Lots of whom had premeditated their words before the story was published but were too self conscious to press send as they were unsure of my response. I do believe that many of their words were bona fide and while extremely thankful for their support, still a year later I needed something more. I still had a longing to reclaim my old memories and wanted them to provide me with a day by day analysis of what I once was like in the hope that this could be my trigger. I was yet to accept my reality. 

The messages from strangers also engulfed me. Never once have I received any hostility, only messages of positivity and guidance. I was also surprised to encounter the response from a handful of people who had either been through or known someone with a akin situation. People who knew what I was going through and could offer substantial advice. This gave me hope. Hope that my life would eventually be ordinary. These strangers had no obligation to contact me but I am eternally appreciative that they did. I’d like to think one day I could reciprocate this goodwill. 

It is uplifting to know that someone took the time out of their day to offer me direction all from seeing a article or Facebook/instagram/Daily Mail post. These ‘strangers’ have empowered me to speak freely to anybody in need of aid.

Having the story go viral not only gave myself but also Bish and my family a different type of attention. Although we are advocates of 'do not believe everything you read' mostly what is reported and described as rumours usually stems from the basis of fact. Each new story that was issued had it's own synopsis and structure but all consisted of three true fasts; I have retrograde amnesia, I was erecting a new life and that I had developed once again an intense and true love for Bish and my family. As long as these facts were entrenched, any mishaps could be overlooked.

Article in 'Reveal' magazine
My lovely grandad reading
the original publication x
The story in the paper granted me acceptance. Acceptance of myself and what had happened, to enable me to progress through to the next chapter of my life. It allowed an explanation; rather than cautiously only telling minimal people close to me, many I encountered had heard about my circumstances. I therefore had no need to be afraid anymore. Going viral gave me the opportunity of spreading awareness that     this can in fact happen in reality. 

Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter authorised my next decision by informing the rest of the world of my history. For me, social media opened up a lot of new ventures. Of course it has its faults but perfection will never be obtained. 
Now, when I look back, I was worried of what Bish and my family would make of the initial publication, I am glad it was constructed as it was. For us, this only cemented our healing process. We were no longer bonded in secrecy but could express what had happened and our perception to any and everyone that asked. A problem shared is a problem halved after all.
It amazes me every day how lucky I was to gain the reaction from the story that I did. For when I feel blue I am able to review old messages or posts that help reinforce my worthiness.

Amazed at the response x
We even got made into a meme!
if you can't laugh you would cry
To the lady that felt I should share what happened with the world, thank you for opening the door to social media and enabling me
to meet such fascinating people.


Sunday, 20 January 2019

What is recovery and how do you recover?

Although it has nearly been three years since my initial hospital admission for retrograde amnesia, I feel that I am still trapped in the world of seizures and memory issues. I am still recovering to this day and I am not afraid or ashamed to admit that. But what is recovery? 

The Oxford English Dictionary explains it as ‘A normal State of Health, Mind or strength’ 

On the outside, I probably look ‘normal’ or fit society’s expected perception. When you first speak to me, although initially a little slow and unable to form a coherent sentence (and sometime struggling with lethologica), after a while it fades and is accepted as standard. So does this imply that I have recovered?

Today, as I am writing this I feel as though I am in a good place. I am not entirely sure how to define the ‘good’ but I am by far miles better than I was this time three years ago. 

There would have been no ‘road to recovery’ for me if this world had not blessed us with two little angels in the form of my niece and nephew. The thing with children is, no matter what you’ve been through or how black and grey your world is, they will always help you find colour in a way that an adult can’t. They have the ability to love you for you without any judgements. They expect nothing from you other than your time and your devotion. Albie was just 2 on our reintroduction and Rubie a mere baby of 3 months. From the moment I laid my eyes on them and Albie grabbed my hand and said ‘Jessie play’ I had my first real experience of love.  Cuddling Rubie broke my guard and gave me a first drop of self worth. Without even knowing they were the beginning of making me, me. They gave me my imagination back. Through the past three years we have mirrored each other’s developments (although theirs was the natural next step in their lives, mine was a reintroduced one!). I can only thank them with showing how much I love and care for them. They will never know how much they helped to save me but I hope one day they can read this and reflect on how pure and open their hearts are.

They were just two of the many people who helped me overcome most of my initial hurdles to get me to where I am today. (More blog posts to come!) But they, albie and rubie gave me something I cannot explain.

So in answer to my question of have I fully recovered? 
I feel that when I am in my immediate families presence, that is me with a ‘fully recovered personality.’ This is when I truly perfect the Oxford English Dictionary description. But do I really care about a definition? No. Not really. Because recovered is just a word that has different connotations for each and every person. For me it means a seizure free life and being able to wake up each day as Jess surrounded by my family and peace. I have one out of two of these but I am way over the half way mark. 

I am grateful to see the world in colour each and every day.