It’s been done in movies in the past. A woman loses her memory, and her boyfriend has to woo her to earn her trust and get her to fall in love with him all over again. The woman relearns his qualities and, despite never getting her memories back, creates new ones with him. Well, it turns out that story does actually happen in real life as well.
When Jessica lost her memory and, along with it, any association with her boyfriend, she wanted nothing to do with him. It would take a lot more than flowers and fancy to win Jessica Sharman’s heart again.
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Loss Of Memory From Seizures
Jessica lost all of her memories due to a seizure she experienced on a seemingly normal day. Jessica had no idea who her family and friends were, or her boyfriend Rich Bishop. Jessica had even forgotten her own name, her home, and what she looked like.
Our brain stores different types of memories in specific parts of the brain. When a person experiences a seizure, it can disrupt the way memories are stored or processed. When seizures are repeated in the part of the brain that’s responsible for learning and memory (hippocampus), it causes it to shrink. This leads to brain loss and memory problems. Sometimes the memories come back, but sometimes they don’t.
Starting From Scratching
Jessica and her loved ones quickly realized that her memories weren’t returning over time. This means that everyone she knows would have to re-introduce themselves to her. Her boyfriend especially would have to woo her all over again slowly
Jessica, 20, and her 25-year-old Rich, were still young, but Rich believed that what they had was special and wasn’t going to let it go easily. Her loved ones were determined to help her piece together the parts of her shattered life
The Day Of The Incident
When the incident that caused Jessica to lose all her memories happened, she had been dating Rich for seven months. All seemed to be going well until the fateful day, their life was turned upside down.
The young couple were on their commuter train traveling from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to London, where they worked together in recruitment. On the way there, Jessica suffered a series of seizures that had devasting consequences.
The Parents’ Heartbreak
It wasn’t just her boyfriend that Jessica didn’t remember. When the accident first happened, Jessica realized she didn’t remember anyone at all, not even herself. This was a scary experience both for herself and all those who loved her:
“I was terrified. I had no idea who anyone was. Everyone was a stranger to me. I didn’t even know my own name. I remember boarding the train that day in March, but that’s it. I’ve been told my body went limp, and my eyes glazed over. But we had nearly arrived in London and Rich was able to support me until we got to the station, then walk me to our office and call my parents while he looked after me.
I now recall seeing a woman running toward 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 mom.”
Jessica’s parents, retail worker Lisa, 49, and electrician Gary, 56, were devasted when they realized that their daughter failed to recognize them.
Attempts To Jog Her Memory Backfired
When they arrived at the scene, Jessica’s parents desperately wanted to help her remember who they were. Jessica says: “My mom 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.”
The realization that she didn’t even know herself was jarring for Jessica: “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. Mom put a hand on my knee, but I pushed it off, it felt weird to be touched by a stranger.”
Scared To Be Alone With Her Boyfriend
Jessica’s parents brought her home, as they all still lived together. But when she got there, she had no idea where she was. Jessica explains: “I didn’t recognize the house. My mom gave me a tour, but nothing came back to me.”
That’s when Jessica’s parents decided to call her boyfriend over, thinking that since he was with her when the seizures happened, she would at least recognize him. Yet, even that backfired: “I didn’t know him, and when they left me alone with him, I was really scared,” she explains.
Out Of A Horror Film
The next day, Jessica’s parents took their daughter to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London. They were certain something was wrong but hopeful doctors could somehow fix it. The hospital kept her there for a week until they finally diagnosed her with amnesia brought on by epilepsy.
Jessica already knew she was epileptic, as she was diagnosed when she was 14. However, it hadn’t impacted her up to that point. Jessica explains: My head was spinning; it felt like I was in a horror film.”
A Mission To Fall Back In Love
Jessica’s doctors told her that it could take six months for her memory to return if it returned at all. They discharged her, and she returned back to the people who felt like strangers. Among them was her boyfriend Rich, but she struggled to accept him. She explains: “I remember at one point I was left on my own with him and hated it. I didn’t know him, but he was acting like we were in love.”
Jessica put up with him for two weeks but then decided to end the relationship. She remembers his reaction: “He looked so hurt and promised he would help me remember how great we were together. Seeing how passionate and caring he finally convinced me he must care for me, so I agreed to give it a shot.”
That’s. when Rich made it his mission to help Jessica fall back in love with him.
Falling In Love A Second Time
Rich knew that wooing Jessica back wouldn’t be easy, but he was determined. He did everything he could think of. He took her for walks in the park, they revised their favorite restaurants, and he described in detail all of their history. Over time, it worked, and Jessica let her guard down. She started to like Rich, and then she fell in love with him.
Jessica explains: “I don’t remember the first time I fell in love with Rich, but I do remember the second. He was so patient with me, so sweet. I couldn’t help but fall for him.”
This was the first step in helping Jessica find herself again. She had to learn all the basics again, from what food she liked to how to dress: “My parents taught me how to cook again, told me what TV I liked and how I liked to dress. Socializing was hard, as friends expected me to trust them straight away.”
A Second Life
Eventually, Jessica found parts of herself again and it restored her confidence to go back into the world. By September she was ready to go back to work, but she didn’t want to go back to her job with Rich. Instead, she got a call center job.
She explains that her progress was gradual and careful: “I was starting to leave the house more. People I’d known for years would approach me and start chatting. It was stressful admitting I had no idea who they were. “
She adds: It’s hard to explain losing 19 years’ experiences doctors say I may never get these back. I’ve had to relearn everything about those close to me — and doctors say there’s a 50 percent chance I could lose my memory all over again. But Rich was able to make me fall in love with him twice — so I know he could do it again.”
Jessica had to start over, with every new experience being a new chance at carving her path once again and restricturing her identity.
What Gives Life Meaning?
What gives our lives meaning? Most psychologists say that we form meaning through our experiences and relationships. With the loss of the memories of those two things, Jessica lost the meaning of her life. However, it also gave her a chance to restructure it, this time choosing the exact meaning that gave her the most purpose.
Are you still searching for your life purpose? You won’t believe what the science of Numerology can reveal about you!
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Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.
Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]