Young, healthy, free and in control of the future I once held. However such brightness took a sudden and drastic transformation by the power of Stroke at the age of 19! 

Scared, confused and empty with life full of devastation. I woke to a new existence paralyzed on the right side of my body, left face feeling as though apart of me was missing. From life of independence I was unable and predicted to never walk giving me a sense of hopelessness and despair as from an athletic footballer to sudden standstill was one I couldn't accept! 

So with pain, frustration and anger I started relearning challenging movements as a child from sit, crawl, stand and finally walk... releasing a breath of achievements throughout my journey. However I was also embracing, mood changes, fatigue, depression, anxiety and loneness making everything become overwhelming. I was continuously battling with my physical and emotional state, making life extremely dark and isolated. My balance still today stumbles, making embarrassment silently hinder my body in my first coming years, but now through acceptance I use humor and look upon the brighter side.

My body restricted my movement at first, leaving a mind intact of thinking from the emotional impact creeping up as my friends departed to university.

Here I lost, yet gained true friendships where I now look back with a smile. I hold appreciation and love for my friends, because minus my ability they made me feel human and no matter what always showed their support. Now that’s the friend I want.

Nerve damage was unknown territory that struck me from the indescribable sensation of breaking, burning and reinforcing feeling it supplied. Making my world torture, until I absorbed meditation techniques as my coping mechanism. Looking back now I seriously thought I would never escape such pain.

I enjoy my original hobbies from music, theatre performances, attempting sports and walking along the beaches, as well as adapting some new hobbies from therapeutic (left handed) art and gym exercises, cycling for my fatigue helping me towards a brand new social life and reality as a survivor and a passionate stroke campaigner. 

Still now life provides challenging moments but also some golden ones. Though it feels unbeatable, please don't give up as through determination we can open our true potential and possibilities! 

Claire Whitehouse