“Losing my speech is like being in a bubble. You feel trapped in yourself.”

Alisha had a stroke in 2016, aged 26. She was a primary school teacher at the time: “The last thing I remember was texting, but I didn’t really know what I was typing. My mind wasn’t coming together.”

Alisha’s stroke left her unable to read, write or walk. It also left her with aphasia. She spent five months in hospital recovering. “I was very tired and weak. I was in a lot of pain. My friends and family kept saying ‘Alisha, Alisha’, and I said ‘Aliral’. I knew who I was but it wasn’t coming out. I didn’t cry because I had to be strong. But inside, I was empty.

“Having aphasia is like being in a bubble. You feel trapped in yourself. I have a head full of ideas and things I want to say, but I can’t say it. For one year I was learning A B C D. Sometimes I’d bite my wrist because I was just so frustrated.”

Alisha now attends the Stoke Association’s support group at Harrow Arts Centre, and has found meeting people with aphasia helpful in rebuilding her life after stroke. “My life has changed but in a completely different way. Now I volunteer. I meet similar people and we raise awareness. I enjoy that. There is a way you can put your life back together.”

Our Rebuilding Lives campaign

Alisha features in our Rebuilding Lives campaign. Find out more about the campaign and watch the film here.

Recovery is tough, but with the right specialist support and a ton of courage and determination, the brain can adapt. Our specialist support, research and campaigning are only possible with the courage and determination of the stroke community.

Find out about the support available, sign up to hear how you can get involved, or make a donation to help us rebuild more lives.