Through my eyes: Aphasia

By Christopher Erle

Around 4 years ago, when I was just 26 years old, I experienced a serious brain injury. As a result, I couldn’t use my arms or legs, and I could no longer read, write, or speak. Essentially, I lost all the skills that made me who I am. This is called aphasia.

Following my brain injury, my family and friends taught me about who I was before it happened.

As I became increasingly aware of what I’d lost, I realized that I needed to regain my previous skills and talents. I wanted to have that part of myself back.

I started to work every day, firstly focusing on relearning the entire English language. I focused on reading, writing, and speaking, and as I gradually improved in these areas, I started reading each day.

I read a lot of articles, as they helped me remember the world. I used a dictionary to look up the meanings of words, and I started writing any unknown words down in a list.

I still do this; my list currently stands at 2,684 words. Each day, I read 10–20 of these words to test myself on their meanings. If I don’t remember a word, I will use the dictionary to remind myself. I have found this to be immensely helpful.

I also discovered that I had a very broad range of hobbies and interests before my injury, such as writing, photography, playing musical instruments, singing, contortion, and sword swallowing.

After 4 years, I can happily say that I’ve finally relearned all of these abilities to some degree.

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