Stroke awareness month: how my strokes affected my journalism
I’m 21, PressPad’s commissioning editor and have had two strokes. Since May is stroke awareness month, I want to talk about how my strokes have affected my journalism and more importantly how I regained my confidence in my abilities.
The main thing the strokes took away from me was my ability to talk at the speed I once used to. Many people know me now as a slow talker who chooses her words carefully because I find some words particularly difficult to say. But, believe it or not, I could’ve talked for England as a child. I somewhat lost what made me, after the strokes because of this side effect. To this day I don’t feel like the person I once was because of my voice. As a slow talker, journalism was somewhat a discouraged profession for me, but I was determined.
My voice has affected my confidence in my abilities massively but every interview I have done has gone with very few glitches. I have interviewed people in government, campaigners and regular people – all of whom are very understanding. I was very cynical about how people would react when they heard my voice. In reality, it’s never been a real problem. This along with me talking every day has helped my recovery immensely. Of course sometimes I have a little wobble. There’s nothing wrong with having wobbles I have come to learn. There is always light at the end of wobbles
I have been told that I’ll never make it in journalism – apparently because of my health. I believed it for some time too. I was hesitant about applying for a journalism degree – I did it because I’ve loved journalism and writing since I was little. As cliché as it may sound, a tiny voice in my head spurred me. I knew, not doing it, I would regret not following my passion.
My confidence isn’t 100% back, I have become more withdrawn in myself because of my voice. Nonetheless, I’m so proud of where I am today. There was one point when I truly thought I’d never talk again. After countless hours of therapy and practising I have regained my speech. Despite it being a bit slow I’m grateful to have gained the ability back through hard work and persistence. I am getting stronger and I hope to regain my confidence fully. The strokes did affect how I practice journalism, but they have also shaped who I am. And I am proud of myself and who I have become in spite of them.