Happy Go-Lucky

Happy Go-Lucky

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At 19 years old, she had her whole life ahead of her. But something happened while she was riding the subway. It suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks. Whatever it was, it made her hit the cold floor after stumbling down among passengers. At that point, all she could feel were stranger's hands frantically trying to lift her up. Unbeknownst to her, her whole life was about to change and everything she thought she knew would never be the same again.

Independent

Independent

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Jess was loving and living life after finishing school, and slowly but surely, she was starting to settle down into a comfortable routine. She had managed to score a pretty decent job in London where she worked as a recruiter. But a recruiter might do more than just find people for jobs. Occasionally, she might be able to meet the love of her life, too! Jess had been dating Rich for 5 months. In a way, she felt like all the planets had aligned and she was on the right path. While she was still living with her parents, Jess enjoyed the security and freedom that comes from not having to deal with paying for rent or food. She was still young, and was barely starting to become financially independent from her parents.

Adulting

Adulting

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Let's be honest. Jess was doing pretty well, considering she was still really young. Adulting isn't always easy! No one wants to manage credit cards or learn how to do taxes. But Jess managed to become independent from her parents slowly, which made her feel like she was in control.

Long Commute

Long Commute

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Every day, Jess and Rich rode the subway from Tunbridge Wells into London. The lovey dovey couple really knew how to take advantage of those two long hours to catch up on current events and enjoy every waking moment together. They loved having the privilege of keeping each other company. But Jess would've never imagined how fortunate she was to have someone by her side on that subway ride every single day.

Dreadful Subway Ride

Dreadful Subway Ride

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Rich has a clear memory of what happened that day. It all went down really fast. All of a sudden, he remembers Jess falling into his arms. He was confused. All he could do was hug her and hold her tight until the seizures stopped. Every excruciating minute lasted an hour, or so it seemed. The train kept speeding along, but Rich was struggling to keep it together. He wasn't able to get her off the train and get help. “On the 3rd March 2016, my life, my families’ life, and my boyfriend’s life were to turn upside down. I was on my way to work that morning and somewhere along that tube journey my memory and life disappeared…” Jess explained.

Longest Train Ride

Longest Train Ride

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Rich felt like he was stuck on the longest train he's ever been. Watching someone have a seizure can be pretty frighting. You might not even realize what's going on at first. The shock can leave you completely paralyzed, not knowing what to do besides panic and hold them tight. But when you finally snap out of it, you start to worry once more.

A Dangerous Situation

A Dangerous Situation

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Rich's heart was racing a million miles per hour. He didn't know what to do except scream for help, but he needed to wait a few more minutes until he could get out of the train and seek help. But when a person is seizing, time is of the essence, particularly if you don't know how to position their bodies and keep them from hurting themselves. The uncontrolled thrashing could even raise their chances of getting injured.

A Name For Her Symptoms

A Name For Her Symptoms

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Jessica Sharman was relieved when she finally got a name for her symptoms. In 2010, she was diagnosed with frontal lobe epilepsy. Jess was confused and a bit frightened at first, so she took to blogging to ease the pain. She wanted to explain her condition to avid readers who may be curious about her symptoms. She said, "Epilepsy: For those of you that don’t know, it is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain.” But her body was playing tricks on her as there was a darker secret that was a lot more dangerous.

Horrifying Experience

Horrifying Experience

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What Jess was experiencing at that moment was simply horrifying. But Rich didn't have it easy either. He went numb when he saw his beautiful girlfriend completely collapse until she went unconscious. The passengers were stunned at the sight of this poor young 25-year-old man trying to hold his girlfriend as tight as possible so she wouldn't hurt herself. Before the seizure started, Jess had been talking to Rich, but she stopped mid-sentence and went into shock. Her eyes were completely dead. While she was still unresponsive, Rich managed to carry her out of the subway. His plan was to take her to the nearest area with a phone where he could call an ambulance — their workplace! At that very moment, rain started pouring like crazy.

The Warning Signs

The Warning Signs

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But why did Jess stop mid-sentence without giving off any warning signs? Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes people to have seizures, which are sort of like electric storms in your brain. But some people don't always experience convulsing, jerking seizures. Most folks with epilepsy experience focal or "partial" seizures. But no matter how big or small their seizure may be, if someone is having a convulsion seizure, (or you feel like they're about to) it is crucial to roll them on one side. But Rich didn't know how to react as Jess' seizure caught him off guard.

Scared For Her

Scared For Her

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Rich layed Jessica down into a chair at the office, and quickly grabbed the nearest phone. He knew Jess had experienced a few episodes in the past, but he'd never witnessed one. He didn't even know if they were supposed to be so aggressive, or of her latest seizure was considered normal. In a frantic state, he got in touch with her parents who'd probably be able to guide him and tell him what to do next. But Lisa and Gary, (Jess' parents) were completely stunned. This was as far from "normal" as they could conceive. At that time, Jess' eyes started to go back to normal, seemingly losing the fogginess that covered them.

Scared To The Core

Scared To The Core

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Jess remembers bits and pieces of what happened next. It was all a big blur. She was in a state of total and completely confusion, and a lot of pain. The only thing she could focus on was this strange woman who run towards her in a state of panic. "I now recall seeing a woman running towards me but I had no idea who she was. She was hugging me and asking if I was OK but I just stared back at her blankly. She kept saying she was my mum.”

A Stranger Before Her Eyes

A Stranger Before Her Eyes

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“My mum started frantically digging out pictures of us on her phone to try to jog my memory. But not only did I not recognize my parents in the pictures . . . I had no idea what I looked like. I found a mirror and looked at my reflection but it was like I was looking at a stranger. I did match the person in the photos, though, so agreed to go home with my parents. Mum put a hand on my knee but I pushed it off, it felt weird to be touched by a stranger.”

Retrograde Amnesia

Retrograde Amnesia

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Soap operas and movies often fall for a number of cliches that make us roll our eyes, but you never expect to find yourself trapped in a nightmare like what Jess what experiencing. Still, she wanted to share her experience with all her blog readers and explain what happened on that train. Apparently, Jess was experiencing retrograde amnesia, which can often be the result of a number of issues. Retrograde amnesia is the loss of access to memories or any information that had occurred right before an injury or before the onset of a disease. This condition affects episodic, autobiographical, and declarative memory as well. But keeps procedural memory intact, so Jess was able to make new memories at least.

Lost And Confused

Lost And Confused

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When Jess finally came to her senses, she found herself trapped in a world she could barely recognize. Her face matched the ones she'd seen in the pics, but she couldn't understand the reflection that was staring back at her every time she looked in the mirror. That woman claimed to be her mother, but from Jess' point of view, everyone could've been lying to her. But why would anyone do such a thing? Her parents were starting to worry. Jess was always left in a state of confusion after an episode. But they'd never seen her this lost before.

Awful Diagnosis

Awful Diagnosis

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Jess' parents, along with her boyfriend, took her home. Her parents know she was bound to get confused after one of her seizures. But Jessica wasn't just "confused." She was completely disorientated. “I didn’t recognize the house. My mum gave me a tour but nothing came back to me.” Her parents decided to take Jess to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London the following day. After a full week of testing and evaluating her case, the doctors came to the conclusion that she was suffering from amnesia brought on by epilepsy.

It Tore Her Life Apart

It Tore Her Life Apart

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But the shadow of a grueling diagnosis as this one can leave anyone in a state of panic. The seizure had managed to destroy Jess' life, but that wasn't the last of her troubles. The doctors explained that it could take at least half a year for her to gain back her memories. But there was a possibility she'd never recover them at all. Jess didn't even know how to find the bathroom in her own home. She didn't know her name, and barely recognized the people around her. The pain was palpable. All you had to do was stare at Jess' parents and Rich, who were devastated to say the least.

Spinning Out Of Control

Spinning Out Of Control

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Jess' life did a full 180 and left her world completely upside down. She experienced a whirlwind of emotions after her diagnosis, but recounting the turmoil of emotions that were clouding her mind on her blog were sort of therapeutic. “I was trapped in a life I didn’t know anything about. I felt so alone, so scared and so sad. Guilty for not knowing the people that wanted to help me the most. I couldn’t come to terms with why this had happened to me, I didn’t want to accept it. I wouldn't let my mum or dad hug me because in my mind they were strangers.”

Starting Again

Starting Again

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Nothing she'd accomplished in her 19 years were of any use for Jess. She had zero experience or knowledge, so she had to get a hold of herself in this time of stress and start learning everything from scratch. And that included rebuilding relationships with those she felt were total strangers. At that point, Jess was completely taken aback by the sight of her boyfriend Rich, whom she didn't recognize. “My parents invited Rich over but I didn’t know him and, when they left me alone with him, I was really scared.” She could care less about this strange man everyone called "her boyfriend," and he was acting like they were in love. The situation was so stressful, she had to break up with him. But that's when he knew he needed to win back her heart.

He Wasn't Quitting

He Wasn't Quitting

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Rich refused to quit on her and allow Jess' condition to separate them. He couldn't go overboard, or he'd push her even further, but he wanted to show Jess that they had been truly happy and in love up until this point. He asked her to let him prove it to her. She didn't know the guy standing right in front of her, but she couldn't help but empathize with him, so she reluctantly accepted. Rich was flabbergasted. He didn't know were to begin! He was determined to win her back, that's for sure. But where was he supposed to start? They were total strangers in a way.

So Patient

So Patient

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Jess wasn't backing away from what the love they once shared. She was going through an emotional ordeal that left her in a permanent state of confusion and pain. Jess had lost her entire world, and even worse, any sense of identity was torn to shreds after the epileptic shock. He knew he needed to thread carefully and be patient with her. Luckily for them, he was a hopeless romantic, so he truly enjoyed romancing Jess all over again, showing her the beautiful moments they spent together.

Zero Memories

Zero Memories

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Jess tried and tried, but the memories just weren't there. She couldn't picture herself doing any of those things, so Rich decided to take her on a trip down memory lane. He took her to the many gorgeous parks they've walked on while lovingly holding hands. He didn't mind that Jess wasn't keen on holding him, or kissing him like before. He was just glad to have her by his side. They went to her favorite restaurants, hoping her favorite dishes could spark a few memories. He didn't even tell her what she used to order there. He wanted her to make new memories now. But there was something else she needed to know.

Trusting Boyfriend

Trusting Boyfriend

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Lisa and Gary were thrilled to see that Jess was starting to fall in love with Rich all over again. They couldn't help but admire the young man's determination to win her back. The change in Jess was pretty obvious. Falling in love with him also helped her relearn her life and find comfort in someone else. After so many sleepless nights, confused and disoriented, Jess finally understood that she needed to trust her parents and her boyfriend. They were the key to help Jess regain her own identity.

Becoming Jess Again

Becoming Jess Again

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She didn't know the first thing about who she was. What was she good at? What were her biggest pet peeves? What really irked her? What foods did she love? Jess had to rely on everyone else to remember bits and pieces that made her who she was. But now she had to try to go back to her old self, even if at first it felt a bit forced. Jess hadn't seen any of her friends yet, and she would have to muster up the courage to let them know she didn't recognize any of them, or remember any special moments they once shared.

Overwhelming Process

Overwhelming Process

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At first, Jess had a tough time explaining what happened on that fateful subway ride. She had to retell the same story and watch the horror in stranger's faces. But those strangers were actually friends who've known her for 20 years. Some of them, she'd met a bit more recently. But the process was just as overwhelming for her. She was supposed to trust and instantly love every one of these people, but they were strangers to her. Lucky for Jess, Rich was right by her side, so he helped her transition into her new normal with ease. Thankfully, Rich became her safe place. She finally knew she could trust and rely on him, just as she had done so in the past.

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