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, 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 actual fact, it’s never been a real problem. This along with me talking every day has helped my recovery immensely - and of course there are some times where I have a little wobble. There’s nothing wrong with having wobbles I have come to learn, because 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. There was a point where I was hesitant about even applying for a journalism degree, but I did it because I’ve loved journalism and writing since I was little. As cliche as it may sound, a tiny voice in my head spurred me on and I knew if I didn’t do it I would regret not following my passion.
My confidence isn’t 100% back to where it was, I have become more withdrawn in myself because of my voice, but, nonetheless, I’m so proud of where I am today. There was one point where I truly thought I’d never talk again. After countless hours of therapy and practicing I have regained my speech. Despite it being a bit slow I’m glad to have that ability back. Each day I am getting stronger and I hope to regain my confidence fully - either way the strokes did affect my journalism but they also made me who I am today.