Chris's Story - Lost Identity

My Name is Chris Kew; I am 32 Years old and a survivor of a brain haemorrhage. This is my story.

I was 18 years old when I started suffering from severe headaches. I went to hospital many times over a few days and was sent away and told I had SinusiEs. My headaches become worse and eventually I collapsed and was taken to hospital to find out I had a blood clot behind my eye.

I was rushed to Haywards Heath hospital where a medical team was waiting for me to start operating straight away. My parents were told that I would probably not survive the operation or at best would be heavily disabled if I did manage to survive.

I did survive the operaction and was put into a medical coma, I eventually woke from the coma and was
paralysed and had no memory.

I was asked questions a few times a day, like what’s my name, how old am I etc. I did not know the answer to any of these questions. I was just stuck lying in a bed trying to figure out what was going on.

After a short time in hospital I was able to sit up, a week or so later I was able to start learning to walk again. Shortly after I was able to walk with a frame on my own.

I was sent home with my parents, I didn’t know they were my parents at the time, I was just advised that they were and I was being sent home into their care. I remember looking around the house not recognising anything or anyone.

After a few months I was trying to put my life back together, I have never gained back my memory so I had to try and build relationships with my family and friends all over again. I also had to re-learn a lot of life skills so I could try and work again and build new relationships.

Over this journey I had some huge stumbling blocks and issues to overcome. I took up photography so I could keep hold of my new memories forever as losing a lot of old memories was hard to overcome.

Fast forward 12 years and I am happily married and have two beautiful children. I work full time and have learnt to drive. Honestly I never dreamed I would get this far, but somehow I stumbled through life never giving up and I am where I am today.

Over the last few years I have used photography in a way I never have before. I used it to help me overcome issues I have been going through for years. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I also have many issues I struggle with like fatigue, memory issues. These in turn can cause me to feel stressed, frustrated and lonely.

Over the last few years every time I experienced emotions like these I tried to capture it on camera as I wanted to turn it into something positive. I also wanted to share it with others that may be going through something similar. Most of all, I wanted to make other aware that people may be dealing with a lot of hidden issues.

After my recovery, with the help of Headway West Sussex, I began to put my life back together.

Believe it or not this was the hardest part of my recovery.