‘I could barely speak for two months after stroke’ – why I want to help others living with asphasia

MEET AND GREET: The new aphasia drop-in centre in Purewell, Christchurch

Bill Lindsay

First published in News

WHEN Bill Lindsay had a stroke at the age of 49, he couldn’t talk or walk. For two months the only words he could say were either yes or no.

He had developed aphasia, a communication disability, that can occur following a stroke or head injury.

Bill, now 51, who lives in Westbourne, explains: “It was very scary. I didn’t know about aphasia at the time, but it affects a lot of people after a stroke and it affects them in different ways.

“Some people cannot speak at all.

“Some people may have just a few words. Others may have difficulty reading, writing or using numbers.”

Bill is keen to raise more awareness of the condition.

“If I’m really tired I find it hard to talk even though in my head I understand what’s going on.

“Sometimes when I get on the bus I can’t say where I want to go and the driver gets really annoyed or people think you are drunk.

“You find you have to keep explaining yourself all the time.”

Earlier this month two new drop-in centres for people with aphasia opened their doors in Christchurch and Weymouth.

Bill is the ambassador for both and is keen to offer support for people in a similar situation.

“The sessions are for people to come and have a chat with people who understand what it is like.

“I feel lucky that I have made progress. All I could say was yes or no for about two months after the stroke and now some people say I talk too much.

“But I have a passion to help other people in the same situation because it is very frightening. One day you are fine and leading a normal life then suddenly you can’t communicate.”

The drop in sessions are run by Connect, a charity for people living with aphasia held at St Joseph’s Centre at Purewell on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 10.30am to 12.30pm. For more information, visit ukconnect.org

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